Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I am the object of people power at Change.org (all four of them)

The parallels between climate denial and fluoride opposition continue to intrigue, especially their mutual rejection of the importance of scientific consensus and their occasionally-sophisticated amateur understanding of the field.

Change.org put up a petition announcing I was personally legally responsible (news to me) for the damages and death caused by our decision to fluoridate our water. My response to the masses of four people* who've signed so far:

Thank you for caring about the quality of the public's water. This water is monitored and tested to a far greater extent than, for instance, bottled water, and is much safer as a result.

I have spent a great deal of time examining the health issues regarding fluoride. My conclusion is that I should not make my own conclusion, as there is too much conflicting information for me as a non-expert to make an adequate conclusion. Instead I look to see if there is a scientific consensus on this issue (and not just this issue but also climate change, evolution, or engineering issues). I think the scientific consensus is that water fluoridation does help prevent caries, and the prevention of caries can also prevent serious health complications from tooth decay. It also seems especially helpful for economically disadvantaged children. I do not think there is a scientific consensus that fluoride is harmless. At the present time, the risk from fluoride is only a potential risk, while the harm from not fluoridating is proven. In my opinion, that justifies fluoridation.

If you think the consensus is wrong, I suggest that you work to change the consensus.

I have written extensively on this at the links below:

Finally, the petition severely overstates its arguments in several respects. Let's choose just one section:

"According to the National Research Council (NRC) and the 2012 Harvard University comprehensive review of the studies, fluoride in drinking water, even at low levels, damages the brain and significantly reduces intelligence. Animal studies conducted in the 1990s by EPA scientists found dementia-like effects at the same concentration (1 ppm) used to “fluoridate” water...."

That "Harvard" study, which I've read, was a study by several researchers affiliated with Harvard. I've no doubt you'll find other "Harvard" studies that support fluoridation. It also neglects the 2010 Health Canada analysis (a true consensus document, unlike the Harvard researchers) that found that most of the same Chinese studies used by the Harvard study were too unreliable and too poor quality to rely upon. The 2006 NRC report, which I've also read, reached the same conclusion that more research was needed. The petition's overstatement doesn't assist its goal.

I'm sorry I'm not in agreement with you. I do think certain issues like vulnerable individuals (guardians of infants reliant on milk formula, maybe others) could use separate education about the issues they face and possible advice to use other water sources. Meanwhile I will rely upon the consensus position, if one exists and as it changes over time. I urge you to go change it if you think that is that is the right approach.

*Not denigrating them at all, I'm glad they're involved, and I'm just recognizing that I swim in a small pond.


Hank Roberts said...

Brian got it right.
-- Known, well established health benefit from reducing tooth decay by managing public water for a low level of fluoride on one hand,
weighed against
-- compilation of studies of naturally occurring much higher levels of fluoride (and what else??) that showed insufficient evidence to conclude anything about risk on the other hand.

Hmmm, how to decide ....

> Harvard

Yeah, right.
Read a September 2012 statement by the authors.

"These results do not allow us to make any judgment regarding possible levels of risk at levels of exposure typical for water fluoridation in the U.S. On the other hand, neither can it be concluded that no risk is present."

Anonymous said...

my problem with fluoridating water for cavity protection is that 99% of water is not drunk.
washing machines ,dishwashers, lawns dont really need fluoride.

Daniel Wirt said...

Brian, opposition to immunization, counter to clear scientific consensus and certainty, might be added to the list. The history of opposition to immunization is long and fascinating.

Also, i wanted to say that the mass of 4 average Texans is very large indeed.

Brian said...

Anon, you would have to say the same thing about adding chlorine/chloramine, or about the vast majority of treatment that raises water quality to drinking quality standard.

Absent the (expensive) development of parallel water infrastructure for non-potable use, it has to be done.

Anonymous said...

We've had fluoridation in Perth, Western Australia my whole life. It would have started in the late 60s I suppose. No ill effects here, no people dropping dead or clusters of Alzheimers. Given how many countries do use fluoride, you'd think if it had ill effects they would be widely known...



Perhaps the next Climate Reality telethon will expose the dangers of second hand halogenation, and chronicle the lukefluorers dastardly efforts to lure innocent children into the arms of Big Chlorine by spiking their drink with an entry level halogen.

Anonymous said...

so put a fluoridator at the bathroom tap

Daniel Wirt said...

Dr. Seitz, your metaphors are impossibly mixed, but revealing. You manage to combine climate science denial with second-hand smoke and nicotine addiction denialism --- it's a breathe mint AND a candy mint of denial! Brian pointed out in the first sentence of his post, "The parallels between climate denial and fluoride opposition continue to intrigue, especially their mutual rejection of the importance of scientific consensus and their occasionally-sophisticated amateur understanding of the field." So, your disordered thought is similar to that of the massive four that signed that wacky anti fluoridation petition. We could include you and make it the massive Five... I don't see anybody here supporting the wacky petition. Perhaps you could invite the four to participate here and add a little to your doubt and denial campaign. The vast majority of climate scientists are not out of touch with reality --- you are.

By the way, it turns out that my initial guess about your age was spot on, to the year, 66. That means that you started smoking in 1980 (since you say you you started at 33). Thus, Richard Doll's seminal work definitively linking smoking and lung cancer, published in 1950, was 30 years old when you started. That you have the temerity to make any statement or insinuation downplaying the hazards of second hand smoke or downplaying concern about hooking kids on nicotine for corporate profit is (as you say) beyond the Pale.

Daniel Wirt said...

You say you started smoking 30 years after the seminal paper of Richard Doll was published in the British Medical Journal?

"For my scientific knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General."

(With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan.)


Cynthia said...

Fluoridated water is not without its risk. For example, if children under the age of six drink fluoridated water or brush their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, permanent white spots are likely to form on their permanent teeth. Pediatricians rarely warn parents of this, and I have yet to hear the media do the same.

Garhighway said...


If what you say was true, wouldn't there be millions of kids walking around now with such white spots?


Kevin O'Neill said...

The risk of fluoridation is that at least 4* people will suffer serious brain damage.

* Reference

Daniel Wirt said...

In medicine (and in climate science and in science more generally), one constantly weighs risk vs benifit ratios, often with incomplete data (hoping to act before complete data is available at the post mortem of the individual or biosphere). If you desire risk vs benifit information about smoking or childhood nicotine addiction, for example, you should talk to an expert like Dr. Russell Seitz, who will give you information unclouded by right wing neoliberal free market fundamentalist political dogma (in which regulation and taxation of addictive drugs is equated with prohibition).

Daniel Wirt said...

"And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
'Tis that I may not weep"

Don Juan (Byron)

Anonymous said...

"...permanent white spots are likely to form on their permanent teeth" - cynthia

"Likely' deserves due diligence.

Anonymous Etc


Meanwhile, back at The Journal Of The National Cancer Institute

Kevin O'Neill said...

Russell Seitz said...
Meanwhile, back at The Journal Of The National Cancer Institute

Forbes article on same

"The report was based not on a published scientific paper, but, rather, on a presentation by a medical student at a conference in June of this year.

What was most surprising about this news item was how it was seized on as providing important new information on the risks posed to non-smokers by exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke."


What is completely unsurprising is your refusal to address the substance of this new and disinterested research, to read the report on which it is based, or even to read through to the truly oracular conclusion of the article you have googled instead :

"What this latest round of reactions to the JNCI news item reveals is how hard it is for both lay persons and many health officials to acknowledge the limits of our ability to identify a potential hazard due to very low-level exposures. This is, of course, especially true, in the face of a strong social trend to roll back tobacco use.

Due to the strong social and political pressures, it became hazardous for scientists to try to do careful, rigorous work on passive smoking. One analytical chemist who wrote the foremost textbook on the composition of, and exposure to, passive smoking used to end his lectures with the words: “If you like to get verbally abused, study ETS [environmental tobacco smoke] and publish politically incorrect scientific findings.”

[emphasis added]

The hallmark of ideological discourse is its refusal to acknowledge the existance of external evidence, let alone to read it, As I did not write it, your invective is better directed against its authors.

EliRabett said...


a. there is a not so small class of people who were exposed to a lot of environmental smoke, aka waiters and bar staff

b. environmental smoke is WORSE than the stuff you pull through ciggies, because there is no filtering effect

c. Eli has no particular desire to have to dry clean his clothes after having a brew.

Daniel Wirt said...

Meanwhile, back in the real world where studies and diseases are not cherry picked...

The volume of published studies is large, and the variably increased risk for multiple diseases is well-documented.

The Wikipedia entry on passive smoking is quite good. Or, for those who want a review of lung cancer:



Daniel Wirt said...

Dr. Seitz says, "The hallmark of ideological discourse is its refusal to acknowledge the existance (sic) of external evidence, let alone to read it..."

You must be referring to your refusal to acknowledge the existence of Richard Doll's seminal work linking smoking with lung cancer, published in the BMJ in 1950?


While we await your biography of Barbie's namesake, we can busy ourselves with three centuries of prior art, commencing in 1604 with

That the manifold abuses of this vile custom of tobacco taking, may the better be espied; it is fit that first you enter into confederation both of the first original thereof and likewise of the reason of the first entry thereof into this country; for certainly as such customs that have their first infiltration either from a godly, necessary, or honorable ground, and are first brought in by the means of some worthy virtuous and great personage; are never, and more justly holden in great reverent estimation and account by all wise virtuous and temperate spirits; so should it by the contrary, justly bring a great disgrace into that sort of customs, which having their original base corruption and barbarity, do, in like sort, make their first entry into a country, by an inconsiderate and childish affectation of novelty, as is the true case of the first invention of tobacco taking and the first entry thereof among us....

Now to the corrupted baseness of the first use of this tobacco doth very well agree the foolish and groundless first entry thereof into this Kingdom. It is not so long since the first entry of this abuse among us here as this present age cannot yet very well remember, both the first author, and the form of the first introduction of it against us. It was neither brought in by king, great conqueror, nor learned doctor of physics... "

Just how it went on to catalyze the enlightenment and fuel the scientific revolution remains a two pipe problem.

I do not share Eli's policy priorities because the air quality Watch and Ward society still focuses on smokers grams per day emissions to the exclusion of the tons their own vehicles combust annually. Since all aromatic molecules are created equal, there is merit in the JNCRI article's observation that epidemiological concern has in some cases been eclipsed by authoritarian schadenfreude as activists gear up to inflict ever more wholesome suffering on smokers.

Daniel Wirt said...

Richard Doll needs no biography written by me, as his seminal work is widely recognized and appreciated ( except apparently by a few merchants of doubt and science deniers). You can't deal with the history of this science because you so missed the boat, blinded by your political ideology, and now, in your ignorance, all you can resort to is a sophomoric ad hominem, "Barbie".

"Since all aromatic molecules are created equal, there is merit in the JNCRI article's observation that epidemiological concern has in some cases been eclipsed by authoritarian schadenfreude as activists gear up to inflict ever more wholesome suffering on smokers."

Like I said, typical merchant of doubt behavior. Cherry picking one study ( in this case, an unpublished study) and ignoring the dozens of others with regard to lung cancer specifically, and ignoring the numerous other diseases in adults and children linked to passive smoking, backed up by hundreds of studies. You have negative credibility, Seitz.

With regard to the molecular level, there is substantial data. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44321/

Daniel Wirt said...

"...inflict ever more wholesome suffering on smokers..."??

Seitz does not accept that smokers should pay the external costs of their addiction. Those costs are large indeed. So he and the other denialists promote doubt and characterize reasonable regulation and taxation to pay for the costs as "prohibition" and infringement of their freedom and liberty. We are all paying for the costs of tobacco use in multiple ways. Seitz is advocating for welfare for smokers. These are the same folks that talk about "welfare queens"...

Hank Roberts said...

> created equal

I've seen research with "nicotine-pretreated individuals, challenged with nicotine" suggesting otherwise. My guess is the tobacco scientists were well aware that second-hand smoke pre-treated children effectively, and that kids raised without breathing tobacco smoke don't take up smoking as easily.

Hank Roberts said...

Exposure to chronic intermittent nicotine vapor induces nicotine dependence
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
V 96, Issue 1, July 2010, 104–107

They should try this with diesel exhaust, and gunsmoke; perhaps the atmosphere of civilization has addictive properties generally. Well, at least for rats. No wonder they love us so much.

Hank Roberts said...

PS for Brian, the "Harvard study" is actually a Harvard press release that, I think, misstates the conclusion of the paper. Down at the bottom of it they have a link to the scientists' followup statement making it explicit that their study said they cannot detect any effect nor rule out any effect -- for levels of fluoride in use in the US.

The press release omits to mention that the press release result refers to studies done in China where the water has (very) high natural levels of fluoride (and what other elements, one might ask, considering the state of the Chinese air and water).

Whoever wrote the press release screwed that up badly, and failed to correct it.

The petition people who base their action on a press release without reading the linked followup by the author pointing out that it's wrong -- also screwed up.

Brian said...

As to putting a "fluoridator" on a tap, there's no way to do this that's both economic and safe. Fluoride available in forms that you can mix with water is professional-grade safety issue.

Cynthis is describing something called dental fluorosis. You can all look it up, but it's caused by overexposure to fluoride. The most common, mild form is detectable only by professionals. Moderate form is moderate discoloration, no health effects. Severe fluorosis can actually pit and weaken tooth enamel but is extremely rare.

The 2006 NRC recommendation to change the optimal fluoride level from a range of .7 - 1.2 mg/L to just .7 mg/L is stated to reduce the risk of fluorosis.

I suspect, although I can't prove, that for at least some NRC members they thought the action also reduces potential risks of other effects from fluoride that could come at higher levels and exposure.

Hank Roberts said...

It's an ill wind that blows no one good.

"Little puffs of nicotine ... surrounded the air around the traumatized caterpillars’ heads.... the caterpillars siphon off a bit of nicotine from their diet in order to puff it out as a toxic cloud.
"... the team describes in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.... second-hand smoke turns out to be a life saver rather than a killer."

But I digress.


Beware of the man with just one book. here for Wirt is The Cancer Prevention Coalition's biography of Richard Doll:

Richard Doll, An Epidemiologist Gone Awry

Testifies on “safety” of toxins.
Admits Errors in his analyses
Polluters use his “testimony” to justify emission of toxins

In 1954 Sir Richard Doll warned that, besides smoking, exposure to nickel, asbestos, gas production tars, and radioactivity were major causes of cancer. In 1955, Doll published a landmark report warning of high cancer rates in asbestos workers. In 1967, in the prestigious Rock Carling Fellowship lecture, Doll further warned that an "immense" number of substances were known to cause cancer, and that prevention of cancer was a better strategy than cure (52). In the late sixties, Doll could have been even considered a radical.

However, over subsequent decades, Doll drastically changed his views and gradually emerged as a major defender of corporate industry interests. This role, still virtually unrecognized, has been reinforced by his key influence in U.S. and other cancer establishments worldwide. In these overlapping roles, Doll has trivialized or dismissed industrial causes of cancer, which he predominantly attributed to faulty lifestyle, particularly smoking. Furthermore, as the leading spokesman for U.K. charities, Doll has insisted that they should focus exclusively on scientific research, and not become involved in prevention research and education. Doll’s track record speaks for itself:..

In his 1981 report on causes of cancer mortality in the U.S., in the absence of any scientific evidence, Doll trivialized the role of environmental and occupational causes of cancer. He claimed that occupation was responsible for 4% of mortality rather than at least 20%, as previously admitted by consultants to the American Industrial Health Council of the Chemical Manufacturer's Association.

In 1982, as a longstanding consultant to Turner & Newall (T&N), the leading U.K. asbestos corporation, Doll gave a speech to workers at one of their largest plants (54). This speech was in response to a TV exposé that forced the Government to reduce occupational exposure limits to an allegedly low level (1f/cc). Doll reassured the workers that the new exposure limit would reduce their lifetime risk of dying from cancer to "a pretty outside chance" of 1 in 40 (2.5%). This, however, is an extremely high risk. Doll also declined to testify on behalf of dying plaintiffs or their bereaved families in civil litigation against asbestos industries. ..

In 1983, in support of U.S. and U.K. petrochemical companies, Doll claimed that lead in petroleum vehicle exhaust was not correlated with increased blood lead levels and learning disabilities in children. Doll's research had been generously funded by General Motors...

In 1985, Doll wrote to the judge of an Australian Royal Commission, investigating claims of veterans who had developed cancer following exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam, in strong support of the defense claims of its major manufacturer, Monsanto. He stated that, "TCDD (dioxin), which has been postulated to be a dangerous contaminant of the herbicide, is at the most, only weakly and inconsistently carcinogenic in animal experiments". In fact, dioxin is the most potent known tested carcinogen,

In a 1988 review, on behalf of the U.S. Chemical Manufacturer's Association, Doll claimed that there was no significant evidence relatingoccupational exposure to vinyl chloride and brain cancer. However, thisclaim was based on an aggregation of several studies, in some of which the evidencefor such association was statistically significant...

In a January 2000 deposition, Doll admitted to donations from the chemical industry to Green College, Oxford, where he had been the presidential "Warden"..

Mal Adapted said...

Daniel Wirt to Russell Seitz: "You manage to combine climate science denial with second-hand smoke and nicotine addiction denialism --- it's a breathe mint AND a candy mint of denial!"

Perhaps Dr Seitz has been browsing Steven Milloy's one-stop JunkScience shop?

Daniel Wirt said...

Seitz, did I say anything about Richard Doll except for his seminal (let's review just that much, SEMINAL) work linking smoking with lung cancer, published in 1950 in the BMJ? You know, the one you didn't read and was 30 years old when you started smoking. People can be brilliant in one area and completely off-base in others. For example, Hansen is a brilliant climate scientist, but I think his advocacy for nuclear power is ill-advised. Your cousin will be as remembered as a shill for tobacco companies as for his work in solid state physics. You, on the other hand, will be primarily remembered as a merchant of doubt, in the service of rigid political dogma, memorialized in a widely read book.


Mal Adapted ought to get out more-- if he pops over to


He'll find my 2008 critique begins with paragraph 7.

Is it possible that he has never hit the first link in the
'Cuter in bunny ears' section of Eli's left hand sidebar?


The above should read ;

'my 2008 critique of MIlloy '

Susan Anderson said...

Hey guys, lay off Russell. He's true blue, Mooney and Oreskes got him wrong. Read what he actually says, not what other people say about him.


Actually quite red in tooth and claw, and unable to contain my innocent merriment at Wirt, according to Word Count, having thus far invoked poor old Sir Richard 24 times.

Hank Roberts said...

What Susan said. And Russell said. And Blake: "Opposition is true friendship."

Daniel Wirt said...

"My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time ---
To let the punishment fit the crime ---
The punishment fit the crime..."

Yes, I think Seitz is truly blue (as in blue bloater). Or are you a pink puffer?

And quite red in tooth and claw when he makes light of concern about hooking children.

Too bad Seitz didn't invoke Richard Doll 33 years ago before he hooked himself on nictotine.

I've spent a good part of my professional career doing my part to take care of people made very sick indeed by tobacco. The pathology and suffering is extraordinary. In my view, the best way to reduce harm overall is to make all drugs legal and variably regulated and taxed according to the characteristics of the particular drug in question, with research emphasis on public health education and behavior modification. Like his cousin, Seitz is a merchant of doubt regarding tobacco and nicotine, an apologist, apparently in the service of a bankrupt political ideology. An ideology where market fundamentalism reigns and any attempt to regulate or tax is viewed as an abridgement of freedom and liberty. Oreskes pegged him.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Dr Seitz *is* a merchant of doubt spreading the false equivalence meme. Despite censorship of scientists by every Republican administration at least as far back as Reagan, you never see him mention *that* fact.

Indeed, even though he used Jerry Mahlman as one of his sources for a 1990 article (A War Against Fire) he somehow never found it worthwhile to mention that the leading climate scientists were having their congressional testimony coerced and/or edited by the Republican administration. This is especially telling because the public revelation of these tactics was being revealed during Seitz's research for 'A War Against Fire.'


Like his cousin, Seitz is a merchant of doubt regarding tobacco and nicotine,

O'Niel & Wirt's invective to evidence ratio has flatlined entirely. They earlier noted Fred Seitz refusal to devote Reynold's money to smoking research, but aping Oreskes ignore the mere fact that as a solid state physicist he had nothing to contribute to tobacco research. As an octagenarian committee figurehead, he authored none and never testified on Reynold's behalf.

Still, I doubt they will halt in mid-Gish Gallop to consider Doll's deplorable career as an expert witness as a role model for a superannuated Department of Transportation Chief Scientist named Fred Singer.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Dr Seitz - I have never written a single word concerning Fred Seitz.

Daniel Wirt said...

Seitz burbled as he came: "They earlier noted Fred Seitz refusal to devote Reynold's money to smoking research, but aping Oreskes ignore the mere fact that as a solid state physicist he had nothing to contribute to tobacco research. As an octagenarian committee figurehead, he authored none and never testified on Reynold's behalf."

Totally irrelevant. What is relevant is whether he was in a position of authority to "contribute" to how the money was spent or was NOT spent. For an old man, Seitz is pretty good at gymnastics.

And here is another back flip: "...consider Doll's deplorable career as an expert witness as a role model for a superannuated Department of Transportation Chief Scientist named Fred Singer."

I'm impressed with how studiously and assiduously Seitz avoids the ONLY point I have made about Richard Doll, and the only point that is relevant to smoking- lung cancer: Richard Doll's seminal work linking smoking with lung cancer, published in 1950 in the British Medical Journal; you know, 30 years before Seitz became addicted to nicotine... You ignore the bull elephant in the room, but everyone else sees it...

By the way, with regard to a previous comment, I have read some, not all of Seitz's stuff. What I've read isn't pretty. Including the Saturation Fallacy in that MOD piece, "A War Against Fire".

And regarding drug regulation. Based on what Seitz has written here, I think he views reasonable regulation as "prohibition". Recently Colorado has legalized marihuana for "general use". The whole chain is pretty tightly regulated, because they want to keep it out of the hands of kids. (Even though marihuana is far less dangerous for children than nicotine.). Does Colorado's regulation of marihuana infringe on anyones freedom? Is liberty compromised because people can't make more money by actively marketing to kids?


'Dr Seitz - I have never written a single word concerning Fred Seitz.'

Quite right- my apoogies for eliding your remarks with Wirt's less temperate ones it is hard to keep 100 comments on two posts straight

Daniel Wirt said...

Per Hank Roberts :

"Spiders are deterred by this nicotine-rich halitosis."

Seitz should be totally spider-proof. Those brown recluses cause nasty necrotizing wounds.

Regarding the number of times I've reminded Seitz about Richard Doll's work linking lung cancer with smoking --- 24 is it, Seitz? That's only 4 more than in one pack of cigarettes...


I think he views reasonable regulation as "prohibition"

Denying minorities ancient rights to access to the commons is a subject old as the history of injustice, and Wirt has made clear which side he has chosen.

At last count self appointed tobacco prohibitionists have imposed not just draconian indoor restrictions, but total bans on outdoor consumption of tobacco in some 200 communities.

I commend to all who cherish the achievements of of earlier civil rights movements Jacob Sullum's astute and continuing coverage of this escalating attack on liberty , property, and the life of the mind.

Daniel Wirt said...

Why do you keep on erecting strawmen, Seitz? Did I advocate a total ban on outdoor consumption? No, I advocate reasonable regulation to protect public health. (By the way, you say outdoor consumption banned in 200 communities, but what is the denominator?)

Your right to smoke ends at the lungs of those who don't want to breathe your smoke.

Your right to smoke end at the wallets of those who don't want to pay for your smoke-induced diseases (talk about an attack on property...).

Your right to smoke ends at policies necessary to protect children.

Comparing reasonable regulation of smoking to the abuses of civil liberties that sparked the civil rights movement in the US? That's a reach...

Otherwise, puff away, puff away. You're at liberty to kill yourself, but no one else.

John said...

Back to fluoride:
Back in 2000, the local (Las Vegas metro area) water district started fluoridating the drinking water. Some of the strongest supporters of fluoridation were dentists, who saw the tooth decay of children, especially children in poverty.

The authorities started fluoridating the water, and 6 months later held a vote on whether to stop fluoridating. A "no" vote meant don't stop fluoridating, while a "yes" vote meant stop fluoridating.
This was a wise tactic: the opponents of fluoridating were mostly cranks, who depended on inducing confusion. When voters are confused or uncertain, they often vote "no". In this case the no vote won, and our water stayed fluoridated.

Before the fluoridation began in 2000, we gave our two daughters fluoride drops to help protect their teeth. Both of our daughters have great teeth, no cavities ever. I can't make the same boast about my own teeth.


Does that mean we can have the back of the bus back, and separate but equal park benches ?

If you are in denial about denial of shelter from the elements being one of Rome's crueler forms of execution you might benefit from a 12-step program for recovering totalitarians.

Add denial of freedom of congregation and association, and outlaw the employment of smokers by smokers to serve smokers, and you could become Mayor Bloomberg's beau ideal of a dinner guest.

Daniel Wirt said...

Strawman Seitz (SS),

No, it means you can't smoke on the bus. You have equal access to public transportation, including sitting where you want, but you can't smoke on the bus. Have you ever seen a child in status asthmaticus, Seitz?

Same for park benches.

And because I advocate reasonable regulation of smoking/tobacco/nicotine, SS erects a ridiculous strawman, implying that I must favor execution by denial of shelter from the elements. No, your ability and opportunity to step into a public building to prevent hypothermia or hyperthermia is totally unrelated to whether you smoke or not. But you may not smoke in public buildings.

And adding yet another strawman. Show me where I have advocated "...outlaw(ing) the employment of smokers by smokers to serve smokers..." Like I've said several times, you and other like-minded people are perfectly free to kill yourselves, as long as you do not harm the public health and you pay all the external costs.

Do you realize how intellectually bankrupt your arguments are? That is a rhetorical question...

Bloomberg? He's toast. It's deBlasio. Bring your knowledge " up to the beginning of the century" Seitz.

If I followed SS's example, I would ask him: are you in denial about your smoking on the bus as the proximate cause of death in a child whose asthma is triggered, resulting in a severe attack and status asthmaticus, with the immediate cause of death being respiratory failure? Read up, Seitz.

Finally, people like Seitz have the ultimate temerity to raise concerns about the commons. When the unfettered capitalism and free market fundamentalism that is the core of their rigid political dogma is literally destroying the biosphere. This is the proximate cause of their motivation to deny good science or sow doubt, especially for AGW science.

Yes, Seitz, you are the very MODel of a. MODern Major General.

Anonymous said...

"Both of our daughters have great teeth, no cavities ever. I can't make the same boast about my own teeth."

Flouride is a big benefit.

But you can also blame your mom:




Will Daniel Wirt's next diatribe be directed against the fellow who wrote of carbon policy?:

"We must demand that the liberal left keep their hands off of our wallets. Not one dime of the carbon fee should be used to make the government bigger. One hundred percent of the money must go to the public.

Nor should any of this money be used for subsidizing research on specific government-selected industries.
The government is not competent to choose the best technologies—let them all compete."

Tune in to Jim Hansen's blog for the next exciting episode !

Daniel Wirt said...

Strawman Seitz creates another strawman.

I am no liberal. I have already said that I don't agree with everything that Hansen says (specifically, I think his advocacy for nuclear power is misguided). This does detract from his brillance in climate science.

The nuclear power industry would collapse in a heartbeat without government subsidies. Just one example: no insurance company will insure them. And does Seitz support taxpayer money going to the fossil fuel industry?

The destruction of the biosphere is a bipartisan phenomenon.

I don't want to subsidize the external costs of smokers any more than I want the "liberal left" in my wallet. I don't know why SS thinks I would not agree with Hansen on this point. (Except that Seitz chronically sows doubt and confused ideation.)

The role of government is properly limited to protecting the commons. Seitz creates another strawman when he tries to set me up as a supporter of big government.


For the first four centuries, smoking, non-smokers and smelly Manhattanites coexisted civilly and copacetically by arranging themselves upwind and downwind of each other as taste dictated.

Could Dan interrupt his diatribe against the civil liberty long enough to advise us just where on private property, in the New Model Big Apple smokers are free to congregate indoors to enjoy food and drink while providing employment for other smokers who serve them?

And how long he expects absolutist proponents of the precautionary principle to leave unregulated church candles incense and whatever else gives them the vapors ?

The title A War Against Fire was chosed because one is manifestly in progress.

Anonymous said...

"I don't agree with everything that Hansen says... This does detract from his brillance in climate science."

Would that be the same brilliance that predicted more "Super El Ninos" after the 97-98 event?

Or the brilliant biologist Hansen that shamelessly intimated the extinction of "half of all speices"?

Or the brilliant economist Hansen that noted the abundance of "Death Trains".

Hansen is a huckster that made a career as a hysteric. ( And at least a cool quarter $million from John Kerry).

Daniel Wirt said...

Hard to arrage people upwind and downwind of smokers on a crowded bus.

My position is not a "diatribe against the civil liberty" (Seitz creates another strawman). I repeat: like I've said several times, you and other like-minded people aare perfectly free to kill yourselves, as long as you do not harm the public health and you pay all the external costs. Smoking on a public bus and causing status asthmaticus in a child is not a civil liberty.

Regarding "just where on private property, in the New Model Big Apple smokers are free to congregate indoors to enjoy food and drink while providing employment for other smokers who serve them". I don't know and I don't care. That is for you to figure out and arrange. I repeat: you and other like-minded people are perfectly free to kill yourselves, as long as you do not harm the public health and youi pay all the external costs. So arrange it, buckwheat.

Church candles and insense do not cause millions of deaths per year. And no, you may not smoke in church.

Your essay "A War Against Fire" is pathetically flawed.

Susan Anderson said...

Don't have time for all the wonderful wordplay and nuance, but must apologize for using the word blue in my comment about Russell, who seems quite sound to me. As soon as I babbled it into pixels I realized would be misconstrued as a political symbol. I was using it in a much older sense, meaning sound and solid in the world of reality; from which we all benefit. Like this:


I leave the rest of it all to you all; friends with cigarettes are not the same as friends with benefits, and it's complicated. And please, don't get started deconstructing "friend". If I choose to regard someone as a "friend" who's to gainsay me? We don't have to agree on all points, or even most of them, to admire complexity.

Susan Anderson said...

oh, and Hank, if you're still around, hot dam', thanks. Blake yet!

Daniel Wirt said...

I did not take "blue" as meaning anything political. It just made me think of the smoking-induced pulmonary disorder COPD, which is subdivided into "blue bloaters" and "pink puffers". I thought Seitz most likely was a blue bloater (because better dead than red or even light red, eh?)

Revision to my last post to Seitz: You may smoke in church if it is a recognized ritual in the religion. Perhaps you could seek out church services where this is the case. (I'm feeling helpful today, inbetween cancer cases.)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:"Would that be the same brilliance [James Hansen] that predicted more "Super El Ninos" after the 97-98 event?"

James Annan, at :http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2009/02/hansens-el-nino-forecast-reprised.html :"So, what can we conclude from this?

Well, Hansen clearly went out a little on a limb, at a time when established forecasters were more circumspect. He got it right, with events turning out absolutely in line with his prediction. I'm not sure how Roger justifies his "something for everyone" which is clearly intended as a jibe at Hansen for over-egging things, as the prediction of a super El Nino was only ever presented as a reasonable possibility, not a high probability event. As I've said before, I do believe that scientists bear responsibility when their words and research are predictably misunderstood as a result of them presenting their results in a misleading manner. I don't think this is one of those occasions. His words were admirably clear (admittedly not numerically quantitative)."

Hmm, anon vs. Annan, who to believe? Such a non-dilemma.

Rib Smokin' bunny

Bonus, anonymous said:"Hansen is a huckster that made a career as a hysteric." A Pielke, quoted by Annan:"If he is proven right with this forecast, contrary to all of the models and statistics, then his credibility will rise far beyond its already stratospheric levels."

Anonymous said...

Smokers got away with inflicting their dirty, unhealthy habit on the rest of us for a long, long time, publicly encouraged to by prominent members of society, with no concern what so ever about non-smokers. No wonder they came to feel entitled to do so.

But that time is over. Done.
Deal with it.

Hank Roberts said...

weird what bothers people, weird what doesn't.

"Due to the so-called “Halliburton loophole,” the oil and gas industry is exempt from important requirements under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and states have been slow to fill the regulatory gap."