Busting out the old tin foil hat. More Stuff they told us to do which turns out to be crap

I made a list a month or so ago about stuff the media, our teachers, our doctors, our government told me growing up which has turned out to be either complete crap or worse, dangerous.

I don’t know why I just stumbled upon this now since this study was published in 2014 but it turns out that Harvard did a study that found that fluoride in the water can lower the IQ of babies in utero.

WOW, so you mean Alex Jones has been right about the whole fluoride thing?

So what is going to be the next thing they told people they were crazy for believing but turns out to be true? I’m starting to be dubious about vaccines now, should I be? I don’t know. What I do know is I can’t trust some of these people in authority as far as I can throw them.

Anyone else in the same boat right now?

Impact of fluoride on neurological development in children

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15 thoughts on “Busting out the old tin foil hat. More Stuff they told us to do which turns out to be crap”

  1. To be human means the universe is actively trying to kill you from the day you were conceived. From cosmic rays to pathogens, to volcanoes to ebola. from toxic venom to asteroid impacts. We build immunity where we can, adapt where we can and die when we cannot.

    The great lie is there is a safe place.

    Avoid what you can but live while you can.

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  2. TKC 1101:
    To be human means the universe is actively trying to kill you from the day you were conceived. From cosmic rays to pathogens, to volcanoes to ebola. from toxic venom to asteroid impacts. We build immunity where we can, adapt where we can and die when we cannot.

    The great lie is there is a safe place.

    Avoid what you can but live while you can.

    I get what you mean and it is absolutely true. I’m just getting tired of being told I’m crazy for questioning these so called “truths”, some institution has pushed. Instead of saying this is settled science, just take it. why can’t they just admit the limitations of their knowledge? I know it’s human nature and pride is the mother of all sins but it’s frustrating.

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  3. My cynicism about these “studies” hyped in the press has grown to such an extent that I mentally perform the following translations when reading the legacy media:

    • Analysis:→Propaganda:
    • analyst→moron
    • expert→idiot
    • politician→crook
    • Report:→Propaganda:
    • Study:→Propaganda:

    In fact, in 2008 I developed a browser plug-in to do these, and others, for me.

    Most of this stuff is content-free, manipulative, or both.  If they don’t mention N and p, or link to a published paper which does, it’s propaganda or fluff.  What are N and pN is the number of observations upon which the supposed conclusions are based, while p is the probability, (based upon a number of complicated assumptions which are also worth checking) that the results seen are the consequence of random chance instead of a genuine effect.  The general rule in most sciences is that a result is “significant” only if p is less than 0.05, which means that the odds the results are due to a random fluctuation are one in twenty.  In the harder sciences, p values like that are laughed at, and a probability of 0.0001 or less is required.  The smaller the sample size, N, the more likely the result is due to random chance.  You’ll see results in the “social sciences” with N less than 100 all the time.  I don’t know if they’re social, but they certainly aren’t science, especially when they report p values like 0.20.

    Then there’s the whole question of whether what they measure has anything to do with what they claim to be studying.  In medicine and biochemistry there’s a maxim, “You can’t get causation from epidemiology”.  What this means is that even if you can show, say, based on a study of N = 100,000 people with a p value of 0.001 that, for example, eating lots of garlic is correlated with bad breath, that doesn’t prove that garlic has anything to do with causing bad breath.  It may be that bad breath is caused by something which also causes people to crave garlic, or that people who have bad breath eat garlic to mask it.

    And then there’s the whole racket of “p hacking”, where you measure lots of different things, find one or two which, inevitably, have a low p value due to random fluctuation, and then publish them, consigning the rest to the file drawer.  It is impossible to improve on xkcd’s take on this.

    [caption id="attachment_26824" align="aligncenter" width="540"]xkcd #882: “Significant” This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.[/caption]

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  4. ctlaw:
    The two cited studies:

    https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp.1104912

    http://www.cleanwatersonomamarin.org/static-content/Neurotoxicity/Choi_2014_pub-2015_lifetime-fluoride-exposure_cognitive-functions.pdf

    The first link is to a meta-analysis of many studies. The key point is that the effect they found is miniscule: about 0.5 IQ points. Even though they claim that the result is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, such claims must be understood in the context of the many assumptions made. Countless such results obtained in the past have been overturned by later work. This is called “the replication crisis.” The fact that this is a meta-analysis counters that a bit. Nevertheless, there’s ample opportunity for confounding factors or other errors to erase this tiny effect. The second link is a one-off pilot study: even less credible.

    Even if their result is correct, the effect is negligible. Many environment influences could have effects on this order. As with all things, risks have to be balanced against benefits. Maybe it’s worth taking the chance of losing 1/2 an IQ point so your teeth don’t rot. There are no solutions, only tradeoffs. [Tom Sowell]

    Epidemiologists, with the complicity of the media, have been making careers by hyping minute health effects for decades. This is possible because no one bothers to scrutinize the effect quantitatively. The headline reads: FLUORIDATION OF WATER LOWERS IQ! A more truthful headline would be Fluoridation of Water Has Negligible Effect on IQ. Less hysteria and no all-caps. But that wouldn’t sell papers or generate clicks. As long as you keep clicking, they’ll keep hyping.

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  5. <rant>

    And another thing… The reason that “health experts have been unable to agree…” is that the effect is tiny, if present at all.  This is how we got the second-hand smoke scare. Epidemiology, bah!

    </rant>

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  6. Here we go again….

    They probably weren’t eating enough peach fuzz.

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  7. John Walker:
    They probably weren’t eating enough peach fuzz.

    Naw. It’s probably because the study participants attended Spanish universities. Also,

    Both studies are observational, which means they can’t directly prove a cause and effect.

    No shingles, Sherlock. But the beat goes on. I’m not even gonna bother to read the original papers.

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  8. The media is there to scare the hell out of women. You know what, it works!!! Because women want what is best for their kids and their families and are easy dupes for these kinds of scare tactics. Like the local news channels pulling this one “is your refrigerator slowly killing you? More at 11.”

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  9. Mate De:

    TKC 1101:
    To be human means the universe is actively trying to kill you from the day you were conceived. From cosmic rays to pathogens, to volcanoes to ebola. from toxic venom to asteroid impacts. We build immunity where we can, adapt where we can and die when we cannot.

    The great lie is there is a safe place.

    Avoid what you can but live while you can.

    I get what you mean and it is absolutely true. I’m just getting tired of being told I’m crazy for questioning these so called “truths”, some institution has pushed. Instead of saying this is settled science, just take it. why can’t they just admit the limitations of their knowledge? I know it’s human nature and pride is the mother of all sins but it’s frustrating.

    What “so called “truth”” are you being told is not true ?

    None of the cited studies have anything to say about the effects of fluoride on the health of human teeth.   They are simply looking into a potential bad side effect that had not been adequately studied.   The positive health effects of fluoride may have been overstated for decades, but there is a positive effect on the health of teeth, especially in children, from exposure to fluoride.

    Perhaps there are better ways to expose the general population to fluoride rather than adding it to tap water, but I cannot think of a less expensive delivery vector.

    Perhaps the best way to make use of the most recent studies is to advise pregnant women to avoid fluoridated toothpaste ?

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  10. Most tooth decay is caused by sugar. If you look at history, in the medieval period tooth decay was very minimal and this was because their diet was free from refined sugar. When sugar was introduced into the diet of Europeans it was usually the wealthy who could afford it, and tooth decay became a bigger problem for the upper classes than the peasants, at that time. Later, sugar became more affordable and everybody’s teeth were rotting away. So the whole idea of this toothless medieval peasant is a myth.

    So the fluoride is put into the water supply to prevent tooth decay, which is caused by the amount of sugar that is so prevalent in our diets that it is a much bigger health crisis than anyone wants to admit. Why do we have so much sugar in our diets? Could it be the corn subsidies, so that we have such an overabundance of corn that we turn it into sugar to put in everything?

    Also, in my opinion and just from general observation I think the high levels of sugar haven’t made us any smarter either. Diet is a very crucial part of any culture and the diet in the United States is terrible.

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  11. Mate De:
    Could it be the corn subsidies, so that we have such an overabundance of corn that we turn it into sugar to put in everything? Also, in my opinion and just from general observation I think the high levels of sugar haven’t made us any smarter either. Diet is a very crucial part of any culture and the diet in the United States is terrible.

    Something tells me that among your kids’ friends you’re not known as “the fun mom”.

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