Fluoridating water ban
We ALL fear human-made risks more than natural ones.We ALL fear risks that are imposed on us more than risks we take voluntarily (choice is why we want labeling, so we can know what’s in our food).
Amy Harmon’s excellent report in the New York Times, A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops, captures this brilliantly; a County Councilor on the island of Hawaii considering a proposal to ban GMOs studied up on things, found that almost all the arguments against GMOs didn’t stand up to even the most basic open-minded scrutiny, but watched in dismay and frustration as a mob of frightened opponents dominated government hearings, overwhelming the political process and, invoking passionate fears of a risk specifically because it’s reap the reward while we suffer the risks, rammed the ban through.
The problem is, these emotional filters sometimes lead to perceptions that cause us to light the torches and scream in fear “Kill The Monster”, even when there is no real monster there.
And once those passions are in place, no amount of evidence or reason can talk us down.
Instead, we cherry pick and distort the evidence, or ignore it altogether, to support the views we already have, perceptions we’ve established that help us feel safe.
It literally feels dangerous to change your mind about a risk once it’s made up.
Her study results have both confirmed fluoridation’s apparent benefits and discounted some of its alleged risks: they suggest that removing fluoride from Calgary’s water increased cavities in baby teeth, that the additive does not cause learning disabilities as some allege and that it’s not linked to thyroid disease.