Background (Why I wrote this now) and Reference Links below
Obviously, we should not go blindly forward with anyone's recommendation, even if we are not experts, without posing questions to the experts in the areas that will affect us individually or as a society. However we must avoid regressing into rejected by science ideas like bloodletting, ancient "secrets" and other remedies not proven through double blind studies, or that have some regular consistency of positive result.
Ironically, there are many who fear Big Pharma because of their unethical behavior (bad science), yet also support ideas with little or no proof, which often have their own conflicts of interest. Many "natural" ideas or remedies were developed before there was anything like a scientific method in place, which was just in the last 100 years or so.
I don't mean there is nothing from the past that still has value today, but those natural treatments or "herbal supplements" should also pass the science "smell test" of plausibility and consistent validity.
So we all probably agree then that every old idea isn't wrong, and pills won't save us from everything. However, if a pill saves me and others, but a few are against it, society must still decide on a course of action, especially if a great majority of the public is at risk. Right?
Therefore, we must in the aggregate (as a society) choose to proceed one of two ways, either:
1) Go with the preponderance of evidence (aka: near consensus) as a public health strategy
2) Follow the anomalistic, anecdotal and "my friend says" method of individually dispensed and validated "alternative" health care
- Alternative care example, a Greensboro dentist critiques oil pulling.
This may not mean that every individual in every situation is required to follow a certain rule, but that there must be rules to protect society as a whole from the actions of a few who can't or won't acknowledge the evidence. Again this is not about being a slave to the consensus; but acknowledging the need to act concertedly in situations where the most good can be achieved.
There should and must be dissent, but that dissent cannot override haphazardly and continually in areas when it's critical for a wide ranging result to occur, and be effective. Otherwise, if public or societal health is not regulated in some way, a medicine show mentality would set the stage for general havoc. For example, the resurgence of plagues, small pox type epidemics and other consequences will be dredged up from the past.
Yes, cataclysmic change from scientific "advances" is an obvious risk, and it looks like we are going in that direction with global warming**, yet we also cannot go back to a supposedly better hunter-and-gatherer lifestyle and successfully tow along a 6 billion plus population. While my depiction is an exaggeration (I hope), the health problems and environmental restrictions we face are societal (huge), and those people with individualized solutions of how "they" think "we" can live, often do not factor in how to squeeze in all of us.
There is no perfect overall scientific plan for us to follow, as to saving everyone's teeth or our environment, but there are intermittent situations where science has gathered the knowledge to create significant improvements as with fluoridation. I suggest rather than backpedaling on science, we move forward to improve things. Letting unproven ideas about supposed negative effects of fluoride outweigh the obvious tooth-protecting benefits makes little sense at this point.
One article of proof as to validity of fluoridation: Unfortunately, my article will most likely be even less effective in changing minds than the one from The Guardian above. Yet, the reality is that there is nothing totally guaranteed, so we must do our best to figure it out from here.
And yes, there are also paradoxes involved in almost everything we do. Sometimes progress gets us to an end point, and societies still fail. Societies that have pushed for progress may not even see the fruits of their labor, even decry that progress as a total failure unknowingly but as accurate as they can at that point. Then the results blossom in another time and place, counterintuitively and unjustifiably justifying the progress of the science (as to the previous era's understanding).
Society may move forward, and fall apart simultaneously. For example, the dinosaurs "had to" die to "make room" for the human species. More recently quantum physics, developed in the first of half of the 20th century, was for the most part discarded as area of scientific study in the 1940s to 1960s, until its "revival" in the 1990s.†
This is not to say we need to move forward in a similar haphazard or destructive way, but I don't deny that there will be missteps (and missed steps), big and small. That said, I do see science as being correctable and malleable, as opposed to the fear of using scientific methods or other strategies of "societal intervention". Fears that are more likely to put us behind the future's eight ball consistently.
I see social engineering, often discredited by ideologues as the process of constantly moving forward, which we cannot avoid for many reasons. Again, "engineering" is not something to be feared, especially from the standpoint of being paralyzed by the idea of progress.
We either engineer a better future, or we devolve into haphazardly acting bands of non-real-science marauders blindly flailing in the tar pit of non-intelligence coordinating inaction, which will be the cause worse results.
-- FYI: I'm not a scientist or a dentist.
Richard The Chwalek (RTC)
Dental Marketing and Communication Consultant
BackgroundRecently spurred by this tweet:
And this one: https://twitter.com/FLRealtorLisa/status/482490325412220928
And this one also: https://twitter.com/FLRealtorLisa/status/482189122564395008
Originally posted here, (however edited some above):
NOTE: As to a liberal agenda mentioned in the 3rd tweet URL above, I must object to the assertion that science is from a political agenda. Yes, politics may co-opt certain scientific claims, but there would be no such thing as science if it first through a politic agenda. The science stands up for itself, or it is not science. Does the science provide "enough" proof or does it not. It's amazing how even this societally beneficial natural "vaccine" for teeth has been turned into a bad thing by some groups, who I dare say may have an agenda!
ReferencesFluoridation link noted above
*Book I recently read:
** Global Warming Proof, Human Caused (or climate change) https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
†Two of the Quantum Physics Books I've read: