Clint Griess 0:00 Hello, everyone. Welcome to the August 2016, International fluoride free teleconference called he said she said, science in crisis. My name is Clint Griess. And I'll be your host today. Thanks, everyone for coming. You know, every second Saturday, or Sunday down under, we meet we activists and campaigners from all over the world who are fighting to end artificial water fluoridation, we come together to share our experiences. We share our information, we strategize together, we inspire one another. And we do this all to support each other in our own campaigns where we're at work locally, in our towns and our cities, counties, states provinces, even nationally. So thanks, everyone, for being here. Today's conversation is going to be extraordinary. I am so excited to introduce Dr. Brian Martin, sociology professor. I was just so excited when I found out his extensive work on the political, sociological power dynamics behind fluoridation all of these decades that it's been been foisted upon us. And yet, when you look at his the extent of his work, it goes further, he is literally an expert in the various public health controversies. And further he's looked into the dynamics of whistleblowers and dissidents of all kinds. And so I'll make a fuller introduction. And we're gonna spend some time in the beginning just getting to know him and his motivations. Very interesting person. In the meantime, I'd like though, to invite you all to join us in discussion. If you'd like on Facebook, you can come to the event page for today's event called he said, she says find some prices by going to the international for three teleconference Facebook page, clicking on events, and then the very top of and of course, is today's click on there, you'll see a discussion tab. And then you can go ahead and comment there, ask questions, and postings if you'd like I'll be posting if there are any references to links, I've already got Dr. Brian Martin's resume up, so you can look at that. Pretty amazing. But please engage there if you'd like and, and in, if you're a Facebook user, I would also invite you to please share the invitations that you see on Facebook with others, it's a great way to introduce this teleconference to people who have yet to come. And I rely on on you all, to actually help promote this teleconference. And just pretty much a one man show here. So anything you can do to help get the word out about these about these events would be really, really much appreciated. So when you like the event, first of all, there always be an event page for each event, go ahead and show that you're attending if you want to RSVP in the affirmative. And then go ahead and share the event with your your groups and on your personal pages. Likes are great, but shares are so much better. And, and as well as the the email invitations that you receive in your inbox, if you can turn those around and share those as well. That would be helpful. Okay, so we're going to really be together for about two hours. And that time is going to fly by fast I can tell you, it's like previous teleconferences. We'll we'll first get to know, our presenter today and go through some of the questions that many of you submitted in advance. And thank you for doing that. It has helped to craft this presentation. And then we'll get to your live questions, q&a in the second hour, if not sooner, and I'll ask to get questions primarily from those people who are actively engaged in campaigns so that we can give you some real time strategies we can do some real time strategizing here on the teleconference, I do need to make a note to everyone that this is a public forum. And because of that, I have no way of controlling who attends and it is true that the pro fluoridation is either sometimes attend or they listen to the recording.
And so if there's something strategically sensitive that you want to keep private do not share That honor on our call today. Okay, so with that I'm going to introduce our presenter today. He's a professor of sociology as I said before, he also has a PhD in theoretical physics. Extraordinary. His research includes strategies to oppose injustice, nonviolent action, and social defense, whistleblowing suppression of dissent in science. And all these controversies, such as nuclear power, fluoridation, pesticides, the origin of AIDS, vaccination, it's really, it's really the big picture we're going to be getting today. I think if you guys go to his to Brian Martin's webpage where he has all of his published work, you your reading for the summer would be pretty much handled really interesting stuff. Very thorough, very well done. I felt like I feel like I've just just found a treasure in discovering Ryan Martin work. So Brian, go ahead and say hi to everyone.
Brian Martin 6:20 Hello, and thank you, Clint, for your comments. I don't know if I can live up to all the expectations, but I'll do my best.
Clint Griess 6:28 Well, yeah, it's, it's a lifetime of work, you've done it. It's literally decades and decades of research and academic publications that really go into great useful detail on all of these topics. And the way you treat it, well, I've discovered that just simply by reading both sides of the fluoridation of pro fluoridation and the anti fluoridation, to by treating the sides as the same, or symmetrically as assess, as actually put you on the outs with a lot of people that that just means making a academic publication where people where you treat the anti fluoridation side as a valid point of view is enough to put you on the outs with some people that you I guess you're supposed to not give us any valid validity at all. And so in that regard, you are yourself with that, even while you're attend attempting to be objective, have become somewhat of a dissident yourself is, is that right?
Brian Martin 7:39 That's right, it's the way it works. Exactly.
Clint Griess 7:44 It's just shocking. You can't even put forth a point of view that validates our side at all without running afoul of the powers that be so you do you do do work in an understanding the suppression of Dissident Voices, I had to look up the word dissident in the dictionary, just because it's a word that's tossed around and and certainly not something that I ever thought I wanted to be called. But it's simple in the dictionary, it says is a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state. Well, I, I might be a dissident just just hosting this teleconference alone might, you know, put me on some list somewhere, I don't know. But not not not here to scare people away. But really, to underscore the importance of what we're doing today. So let's see, let's hear a little bit about your story. Because it really before we get into the strategizing around fluoridation, what you've learned about how Florida the the power politics and sociological dynamics of fluoridation over the years, and the insight it gives you for us in terms of in 2016, helping us with our campaigns today. You know, I want to give people just a picture of you, I want to have them, get a sense of you your motivations, how you got into this topic in the first place, and some of the experiences you've had, because of it. Okay, start pretty much anywhere you want. I know it's a big question, but you know, just give us a little flavor of where you're at what motivated you.
Brian Martin 9:24 But I'll start from the beginning. I was born born in the US, Gary, Indiana. And I mostly grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and fairly conservative place, and I was fairly conservative. And then I went to Rice University in Houston, Texas. And I was doing, I did my degree in physics. And so I was basically just going planning to become a scientist, and that was the time of the Vietnam War. And even though I was conservative, I was opposed to being in scripted. I expected I wouldn't go to Vietnam anyway, because I was sent computer programming skills. But anyway, I decided to leave the country and come to Australia. And that was, what changed, changed things dramatically. That was 1969. I could have gotten to Canada, but I wanted to study cosmology, and I had to contact the University of Sydney. So I ended up going to University of Sydney to do my PhD. And during that time, I started getting interested in the politics of science, because I was reading about a lot of other politics was changing my political views. And I was involved with research about stratospheric dynamics, and particularly the effect on stratospheric ozone from supersonic transports, such as Concorde. And so that brings in all sorts of politics in the sides, because it's not just the scientific study, it's a study of you might say, how science interacts with political decisions and economic decisions in this, just discovering that the science itself, the research on on the effect of effective nitrous oxide, nitrogen oxides on the stratosphere, was influenced by politics. In other words, it wasn't just science, influencing politics, it was politics, influencing science. That's really the foundation of a lot of what I've done, done since then. So I was at Sydney University doing my PhD. And I started work on my first book, which is later published called the bias of science. And then when I finished my PhD, I got a job in Canberra, at the Australian National University. And I was doing, I was there for 10 years, mostly doing applied mathematics, astrophysics. And on the side, I started doing a number of other things in the environmental movement and the peace movement. And the relevance here to fluoridation is that I started getting involved with what I later called suppression of dissent. That was in the environmental movement. And I came across a number of cases where environmental scientists or teachers were suffering reprisals as a result of being just having those views about environmental issues. So this may seem hard to believe today. But back then, in the 1970s, being an environmentalist is very radical. Today, everybody is even the corporate big corporations. And it was quite radical. And so these scientists were, some of them were being censored. Some were having their tenure denied, some were dismissed from their jobs. And so I started collecting cases and eventually wrote a paper on the title of the scientific straightjacket. It's my first paper and suppression of dissent in particularly about environmental scientists. Okay, so that's the background, and I was at the Australian National University in Canberra for 10 years. And during that time, I didn't know much about fluoridation. But I knew enough about it from my friend, Mark Deason Dorf, who some of you will know, is one of the leading scientists who was critical of fluoridation. And Mark didn't have a view, but he was involved with a group called social responsibility and science. And they get receiving comments about fluoridation. And he decided to look into it and he started becoming critical of the science used to back it up.
So I had that sort of connection with the fluoridation issue. Now then I got a job at the University of Wollongong that's 30 years ago, 1986. And so I moved from science, even though I've been I've been doing science, I've been doing things on on environmental issues, peace issues, and so forth. And so I was able to get a job in what was then called history and philosophy of science. And later called Science and Technology Studies. And so I decided I'm going to do a more careful academic study of one of the controversies that I knew about, because I've been looking I've been involved in nuclear power debate. In following the pesticide debate, I knew about the forestry debates, and I decided to look at fluoridation. And that's what led me to that debate. Just pause for a moment clip How's it going?
Clint Griess 15:02 Great. Yeah, thanks. This is This is wonderful so, so by you had already been through personal experience, but also academically read your academic research you already seen in the 70s and extensive alteration or bastardization of science because of political agendas when you finish an issue.
Brian Martin 15:29 That's right. And I also had, I had personal experience, because when I started when I started writing about suppression of dissent, well, that wasn't too popular because several of the cases I wrote about work at my own university at the Australian National University, which is one of Australia's top universities. And, you know, and went up when my ideas within on the front page of the Canberra Times I got attacked by various people, so forth, I've had a bit of personal experience. Ironically, speaking out about this, it wasn't too popular. So and I was on all the time I was there, I was on one year contracts, and I was terminated three different times. So I was lucky to come to Wollongong because I've been an inhospitable academic environment. in Canberra, at least in terms of my political activities, I came to wheeling Gong has been very sympathetic environment, and I can carry out the sort of research I'd been wanting to do without any problems, my colleagues are very supportive. And so to look at fluoridation debate, this is to do academic work, is a fairly standard sort of procedures that personally just started reading everything I could about fluoridation, not so much the technical side, I read some of the technical papers, but I also look into all the social analyses, I can find sociology, sociology, political science, that sort of thing, the notion of the days before the internet, so it's a bit of a bit of a more protracted procedure in searching through citation indices, putting in interlibrary loans and all this sort of stuff. Anyway, so I collected a whole bunch of books and articles. And I also carry that interviews. And what I decide to do is I'll interview prominent use either pro or anti fluoridation. And that's not that many when you actually get down to it, but it's its thing called snowball sampling. With you know, I knew a few people already. And then I interview some and I'd asked them, Who else do you think I should interview? And I had a set of questions to ask them. And I thought, initially, I'm going to do a history of fluoridation in Australia. I interviewed two of the leading proponents of fluoridation, who were both at the University of Sydney, dental school. After those two interviews, I realized I can't possibly do a history, because even though they were key figures, they forgotten most of the things and their information wasn't too good in terms of the history, but it was potent in terms of the you might say, the psychology of what's going on in the fluoridation debate. And I found that the both the proponents and the opponents and basically, they lined up on two sides. And they the advocates of fluoridation said it's totally safe. The critics said, it's, you know, there's dangers here. He advocates said it's highly effective. The critic said, No, it's not, it's actually may not be all that effective at all. The advocates said it's ethical, and the opponent said is unethical. And finally a political choice. He proponents said, well, we need to leave it to the experts or leave it to the government's advised by experts. And the critics mostly said this should be something where the people, namely the general public should be involved in the making decisions. And I didn't find anyone who's sitting there in the middle of saying this is this is very safe, but we shouldn't do it because it's unethical. It's highly polarized. You're either on one side or the other and to be anywhere in between is pretty uncomfortable. That's already a glance.
Clint Griess 19:49 You Yes. Yes. I can just hear the groans out there on this teleconference line, because we all know this, too. Well. You I'm actually curious, I'm going to ask for folks to raise your hands by pressing one on your keypad. Because I want to do a quick survey just to see how many of you took some time to review or read any of the material that I posted in the email invitations and on Facebook, of Dr. Martin's work.
Brian Martin 20:21 Call me Brian.
Clint Griess 20:23 Okay, so I'll just call you, Brian. So Brian's work, if you read anything at all about the fluoridation about the silencing of dissent about any of this, of his work, if you have done that, please press one on your keypad. Just want to get a sense of how people have that background coming in to this call. Okay. Looks like about a quarter of people have. Thank you for, for chiming in. Yeah. So then. So then you publish, you actually published quite a few articles over several years, is that right on just the fluoridation.
Brian Martin 21:05 The the normal academic, academic approach is to write academic papers, is what I did is I wrote, wrote, I forget now, there were three or four papers, in academic journals. And then I put it all together in a book, which was published in 1991. State University of New York Press. And so it's, I mean, how changed the title of are doing it again, but anyway, called scientific knowledge and controversy, and basically approached the fluoridation debate through a series of layers. So start with the might say that the initial layer is the science. You know, let's look at what the arguments are used, both supporting fluoridation and opposing fluoridation. Then I went into what I've already discussed, the fact that people on either side of this debate had what I called coherent viewpoints, they lined up in two polarized ways, harder, in terms of benefits, risks, ethics, and politics, they lined up on two sides. And then I looked at the methods use analytical the struggle for credibility. And this is where it starts getting interesting in that there's a whole bunch of nasty techniques, use some nasty some or you might say, legitimate, but one of them is to appeal to authorities. So the pro fluoridation people regularly appeal to authorities on their behalf. But they also got all all sorts of endorsements. So for example, you've got the trade unions endorsing fluoridation? Well, you might say, Well, what the trade unions now know about fluoridation? Well, actually, they doubt it. But it's basically a bandwagon effect. You get a few dental, and medical authorities supporting it. And then you get all sorts of other people saying, Yes, we assume that must be good. So there's a struggle over credibility. And then I've got a chapter called professional attack. And this is, I've been studying this since the late 1970s than So now, it's like a dozen years later, studying the tax on dissidents in science, and I found this, I collected all sorts of cases in which people who were critical of fluoridation came under attack. And the some, some of them were dentists, some were doctors, some were scientists, I mainly looked at the professions, people in the professions, dentists, doctors, scientists who came under attack, because mostly the citizen campaigners were left alone. And that's because they weren't considered to have any credibility. So it's, it's part of this overall thing about the struggle for credibility. And so in all these cases, I'd love to see us and lots and lots of us cases, that there's also cases from other countries, including in Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands. And as one of the features of when you studying suppression of dissent, is that there's usually one or two or three key individuals who are like, they like magnets that they have, they suffer a major attack to get a huge amount of publicity. And then all sorts of other dissidents contact them to tell them oh, this happened to me too. And in the US, it's George Wald bot is undoubtedly the central figure. He's a he's a doctor and researcher. And he became the most prominent critic of absolute relation in the US. Now there's some other problems as well, but he was the most prominent and He then wrote books about his experience. And he documented all sorts of other cases of dentists and doctors coming under attack. So I had had all of that. And then the next, as well as professional attack, I then went on to the issue of the call the corporate connection. Now, as many of the critics of fluoridation that pointed out that are yes, there is a, there's some there's something going on here that the corporations like fluoridation, and so what's going on there? And now there's, you can go into conspiracy theories that I don't I don't think there's any conspiracy, I think it's a, you say it's a various groups take the path of least resistance. And the corporations would not like to. They don't want this way. There's certain corporations that don't want too much attention. And so you got the
sugary food industry would rather not be blamed for tooth decay. So it's a problem. It's the lack of fluoride. And the other one is the aluminium or aluminum producers who have lots of fluoride pollution. And they'd rather say, fluoride isn't so bad. Look, it benefits your teeth. And I actually titled that chapter, a corporate connection question mark, because I didn't want to I didn't want to suggest that corporations are driving the push for fluoridation. Actually, I said that the drive is from the dental profession. And so here's what my argument is to say, the dental profession took the path of least resistance, what they could have done is said, tooth decay is a huge problem. And we know that the big source of tooth decay is sugary food. So we need to have a policy of D sugar isation cut back on the matter of sugar and foods, we're going to tax it or ban it or something that the dental profession didn't want to do that because that would have been taking on this powerful industry. And so the path of least resistance for the and I'm not saying it's a conscious decision, it's an unconscious, this might say an easy way to go is to say, Oh, well push for fluoridation. And the only opposition there is a bunch of citizens, you know, no one with a lot of money. Not a lot of connections. So they've taken the path of least resistance we'll tackle, they'll push on fluoridation. And that way, we won't bother the industry. I'm suggesting this sounds like it's a conscious sort of thing. But I think it's it's an interactive process with, like I say, groups deciding to do things that they totally believe in what they're doing. They believe that they're benefiting people's health and in dental health, but also wider health. And but it just happens to be that it's conveniently not tackling any of the powerful industries. And then the final thing is good. They're saying, let's look at how decisions can be made about fluoridation. And my argument, and this is why I don't really take a position on fluoridation is that these decisions are best taken by citizens. And I've been involved with a idea called policy juries where you take just like a, like a criminal jury, but you take 12 randomly selected citizens, put them in a room and give them all sorts of information on both sides of the issue. And you listen to testimony from people on both sides, and then they try and work out something that would be suitable for the community. And there's lots of these policy juries that have been run over the years. And that's It'd be my view as the way to go with fluoridation. That's enough. That's your official. That's your official
Clint Griess 29:14 personal statement. Yeah. So and there's been a fair amount this happened in the last decade. Not sure how much of your research continues up to the, to the very, very moment, the very present day. We've had some, we'll get to those later in the call, for sure. But um, yeah, there's there. We definitely found that the CDC and the American Dental Association conspiring to withhold information from a certain segment of the population would like to know what drinking fluoride would do to their teeth if they knew. So, you know, conspiring to put fluoride in the water conspiring to keep scientific information from people. Yeah, I I, of course, I don't know what the more to say about that. But it's not, it's not hard for me to consider that there are people who literally get financial gain or other kinds of gains by fluoridating or water other than what they claim and I'm in terms of our benefits to our teeth, and that they're motivated by those things, and they keep those secret and that they do it in a conspiratorial manner. But that's my so that's a contrast to you. That's my that's my, my stand
Brian Martin 30:35 up I just come into my take on this is that unlike some other issues where there are vested interests, you know, where people take the stand because of money primarily, my analysis would say the driving force behind fluoridation is primarily the dental profession which has nothing financially to gain overall individuals might gain for sure, but overall, reduction in tooth decay supposedly would reduce, reduce the demand for dental services, even though its dental services have gone way beyond cavities. But
Clint Griess 31:14 whether there are well there are dentists who are indoctrinated during their dental education, this miracle, Miracle chemical, they don't even know they honestly, if you ask them, what is the action that actually happened locally, in the blood or on the on the surface of the to fake cannot tell you. They'll say I'm not a chemist, I literally don't know and they don't feel they need to know, but they will continue to promote not just topical fluoride treatments, but to have it added in the water. This is just simply, for me some psychological phenomena that hopefully people like you will be able to figure out. But other than that there is a financial incentive for the American Dental Association who receives royalties every time a consumer product comes out with the American Dental Association seal on it strictly because it contains fluoride as an active ingredient. So there's definitely let me just notice, there.
Brian Martin 32:10 Let me tell you an anecdote is when I was years ago, wheeling Gong and I was first there, I taught a class, which was basically environmental politics. And I used fluoridation is one of the case studies and I kept the students to go talk to a dentist, each student would try and talk to a dentist, about their use about fluoridation. And what was interesting is that nearly all of them were in favor of fluoridation. All that all but to this is out of like 25, or something. Nearly all of them had been to the Sydney University Dental School, because that's the only dental school in the state. And in the course that dental school is, was, that's where some of the leading fluoridation proponents were the key figures. And the only dentists who had a slightly different view or a critical view, were the ones who hadn't gotten there. Like there's one who'd come from Scandinavia. So you've got just what you've said, there's, you can call it the indoctrination if you like. But I'd say it's an education process that leads to a conformity of viewpoints, it's just becomes an accepted, accepted viewpoint. And I wouldn't say that any of the people. I wouldn't call it indoctrination in the normal sense, that suggests that the people who are the teachers are somehow trying to force people into something that, you know, that they know is actually false. But actually, I think they all believe it. This is one of the things the proponents all believe totally in what they're doing. And it leads to a process this process called confirmation bias, which is when you believe in something, you look for evidence that supports it, and you discount any evidence or even ignore it, any evidence that goes against it. So the proponents are subject to this. We're all subject to this same conference thing called confirmation bias, and they just keep going despite new evidence that may come up to the contrary.
Clint Griess 34:24 Okay, well, because so let's just get to this this question then of science the role of science, given confirmation bias, given many documented historical bastardization perversions of science to support that particular agenda. What could a sorry, free activists today do like what how shall we contextualize the science should we give up talking about science? It's all together, should we? How, how are we even to put forth a cut a cogent argument to a policymaker, for example, based on science when it's just been so muddied? Well,
Brian Martin 35:16 you've asked the best $64,000 Question is, there's no, there's no simple way to do this. Because if there was a simple way to proceed, and people would have figured it out already. So let's just look, look at the role of science. One of the common common beliefs that people have when they get into these controversies to say, Ah, if people actually understood the science, and got to the bottom of it, then they'd all agree, but the trouble is, it's not the way it works, because you got the two sides, and they've got, you might say, opposite beliefs. They use science as a tool in their arguments, rather than using science as the basis for making a decision about the issue. And so you've got hints, I think it's very useful to think of scientific knowledge. This can be research studies, or, you know, statements sparked, because scientists think of them not, as, you know, facts, whatever, but think of them as tools or resources that are used by campaigners to try and achieve their ends. And so what happens is that and you can think of this this way, if there's a study that supports fluoridation, and that'll be publicized, and, and repeatedly referred to try and justify the fluoridation. Whereas if there's a study that shows some questions about fluoridation, that will be brought up by the anti fluoridation campaigners to try and say, We need to change the policy or whatever. And so it's the science doesn't just sit there, you know, as a shining, shining piece of beautiful knowledge. But it's actually, it's both, it's both shaped in his own creation by the interests, namely, the interests, meaning, things like this are the interests saved by interests in his creation, but then it's also either used or misused or ignored whatever, after it's been produced, as part of the campaign. And so when you think of that, as a complex process, there's no easy way to say, Oh, we're gonna get the real science. And we're going to proceed on that basis, because there's just can't be done. And it's also should be recognized always that it's not just about the science, the science is only part of the game. And I think the anti fluoridation campaign is one of the strongest arguments are the ethical arguments repeatedly used, namely, it's, and it's that it's compulsory medication at an uncontrolled dose, which I think if that were brought in, my view is if fluoridation were introduced today, it wouldn't have have a chance, because environmental consciousness has changed the way people think about thinking about health, but it could be brought in the 1950s and became established.
Clint Griess 38:31 Okay, well, before we completely abandoned science, there was a report, you know, I've been Trust me, I know what it's like to try to propose a scientific argument in, in here back. That's quack science. So it's, it's, I understand the, the limits, so to speak, in a debate about bringing up scientific research, but there was recently a meta review. So, you know, these is a meta review, pretends to be able to take all of this disparate information, look at it, based on a objective standard of credibility and reliability of data. You know, some of the early fluoridation studies, if you just want to call it that they're barely studies because they have very little scientific integrity to them would rate very low in such a review. And so this meta analysis came out by the Cochrane Review, claims the research proving any effectiveness for cavity fighting is pretty sketchy, and that the the evidence for harm is pretty significant. And yet, the pro fluoridation is, of course, found ways to undercut even that one, are you familiar with a Cochrane review? I'm talking about?
Brian Martin 39:55 Love that particular one, but I know Cochrane Collaboration and It's what he described as exactly the process that happens over and over again and controversies is that you get some study. And let's, let's say you had the most, you know, amazing comprehensive study comes down on one side or the other doesn't matter, because those on the other side, have various ways to discredit it, to deconstruct it, to ignore it, to bring up new evidence, because there's a thing is in science in the thing is sciences that's about knowledge about the world. That the fact is, if you come up to say, say, a scientist comes up and says, Ah, I just did a study, and it shows that the theory of relativity is wrong, because I got, you know, got the wrong figure here about bending of light or whatever. But other scientists will say, Look, you just did the experiment wrong. So, for this person, so it's, there's no definitive scientific study on any issue. What is required is to convince other scientists about the issue. And so yes, studies, I'm not saying studies to be ignored, or the unimportant, they are important, but they're part of the struggle as opposed to being separate from it. And so the Cochrane Collaboration should should, should make a big difference. Let me just raise one other thing that I discovered in my research about the fluoridation issue, which is rather different than a lot of others. And that is that if you're sitting in one of the English speaking countries, especially the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, then the fluoridation proponents are dominant. And fluoridation is, you know, widely adopted throughout those countries. When he goes to the rest of the world, fluoridation is almost absent. So in Western Europe, there's almost none. And yeah, there's some in some of the Eastern European countries and so forth. And in developing countries, whether you go to India and so forth. Now, fluoridation is not, not there. So, unlike some other controversies, let's say nuclear power, where you got nuclear power plants, you know, in a range of countries, and it's mainly economics deciding whether you should or shouldn't have them, as well, as, you know, campaigning. In fluoridation, you've got only a few countries where the fluoridation paradigm is dominant. And so are the be saying, to campaigners against fluoridation used to be going out to all these other countries, go to Sweden, go to Germany, go to France, go to Italy and say, hey, you know, the science is exactly the same. Why aren't your governments imposing or at least recommending fluoridation? So all of these countries have had their own debates? You know, Switzerland had a pilot program for years Netherland was 50%, fluoridated at one time, and now it's not at all. So you've got in each one of these individual countries, there's been a bit of debate about it. And in most of them, as far as I know, the dental profession still supports fluoridation, but the decision has been made by the health authorities not to have it that is says something fairly significant to me. That I don't know anyone who's figured out the answer. Let me just here's the question is, why is it that in the countries where the dental profession and the medical profession are the strongest as independent, powerful organizations? Why are they the ones where fluoridation, which is something imposed by the government on the community is dominant? Doesn't it's it's opposite of what
Clint Griess 44:16 you're saying. That's the correlation. That's that's that's what that's what explains the countries where you find fluoridation you say that because of the the Dental Association professional dental associations have a very strong political influence.
Brian Martin 44:32 Yes, but it's see, if you go to Europe, then the decisions are made more by the governments and see in the US for example, they had all sorts of referendums don't have those. Any other any very few other countries have referendums certainly thought about fluoridation. So all I'm saying is there's there's a puzzle going on about why fluoridation has become dominant perspective within it. A small number of countries, and yet is other countries which have the equivalent sort of economic, social development. It's been basically rejected. And it's not probably very suspicious about. And so and if like in the US and Australia, so forth, you never hear any of the proponents talking about what goes on in Europe as to why they haven't fluoridated. They don't want to talk about that. They just, they just assume that it's yes, it's a good thing. It's dominant. You know, it's the accepted view, everyone supports it. And it's simply not the case. And it's basically in the European countries, the issue is ignored. It's simply it's not on the agenda. As far as I know.
Clint Griess 45:50 It's not even important. Okay, good. So we've got already a couple of great advice from you in terms of argumentation and strategies. One is to focus on on the ethical argument. And we'll get into that a little bit more sure. Today. There's a lot to be said about that. But just in terms of the politics of fluoridation, we flourish for activists can point to those many countries where fluoridation is not on. It's not even, it's not even on the radar. They've completely they've summarily dismissed it and it's just not even controversy, and their teeth seem to be doing just fine.
Brian Martin 46:35 I'll just just mentioned that you normally use the word fluoridation to refer to fluoridation adding fluoride to public water supplies. But if you look more generally, there's other ways to get fluoride to people's teeth. And of course, we know that fluoride toothpaste, which is the most common way. And probably once fluoride toothpaste came in, probably should have said, well, we don't need it in the water anymore. Toothpaste is enough. And especially because of the research showing that most of the benefit comes from its contact in the mouth, not ingesting it. So there's, there's that sort of issue, but in in some countries, they've done things like having fluoride and salt, or fluoride in in milk. And there's a whole bunch of possibilities. But the advantage of all of those, including fluoride toothpaste, is you got choice. You can choose via fluoride toothpaste or non fluoridated toothpaste.
Clint Griess 47:38 Back to the ethical argument. Yeah. That's right.
Brian Martin 47:43 That's right. And so we've got the choice argument is quite strong. It's a reframing of what's going on. And what what goes on in lots of controversies is each side tries to frame the issue, namely, to see it from their own perspective, which gives them benefits. And so the pro fluoridation is quite a frame is as to say, there's this enormous benefit to people's tea, and there's no risk. So they frame it in terms of benefits and risks. Whereas I think the anti fluoridation has to be been, would be better to say, this is a matter of choice. We don't want to prevent people from having fluoride they can get it in their own way. But it shouldn't be forced on people. And of course, it's more complicated. People aren't forced to drink, the public water, unintelligible drink bottled water and all the rest. Nonetheless, it's a sort of semi comparison, because there's fluoride in so many, so many things that people drink, for example, in fruit juices and so forth, which are reconstituted.
Clint Griess 48:55 Okay, good. So, while we're on the ethical issue here, I assume it's pretty safe to say that most people here today already appreciate the ethic of choice that one should choose one's medication, which should be able to choose what goes into one's body. But let's look at the alternative ethical argument. Let's really take a look and see if why hasn't it been really successful every time for us to simply say, look, it's a matter of choice and for, for anyone, with an with any conscience at all to do so. Yeah, you're right. It is. That is an abrogation of choice, we should stop adding fluoride it doesn't happen. That's because there is there exists an alternative ethic that seems to be more and more dominant. To my to my way of looking at things today where people feel completely satisfied even after We're learning about individual cases where some minority of people some, however, we don't know the number of people exactly. But some number of people are really badly affected, they cannot drink the water and should not drink the water for their health. So how, what ethic could could there be that would trump even the knowledge that some minority of people are not served by adding fluoride to the water?
Brian Martin 50:34 Well, first is it just comes back to debate about, you know, what counts is a valid set of evidence. And so pro fluoridation is basically dismiss a lot of the claims of adverse health effects. The other thing is they have their own epic. And I don't think it should be dismissed, this needs to be addressed directly. And that is to say that different people in the community have different access to dental services. And those who are our most are poorest or most disadvantaged, are often the ones who end up with the worst mental health, they've got poor diet, and, you know, low income, so forth, they can't get to it can't afford a dentist. And so they are the ones that benefit the most from fluoride in the water supply. Because even though they can't get to have a, you know, have a dentist, apply fluoride, they can drink the water. That's the argument. And I think it needs to be addressed. And Chris has different ways to do this. And one would be to say, we need, you know, expansion of dental services to poor communities. In other words, there's different ways to address it. But that's the argument often used for fluoride. There's another ethical argument, which I'm much more skeptical about, which is to say our fluoride is natural. You know, it's natural in some water supplies, and we're just topping it up, topping up these deficient waters in extra fluoride. But that doesn't make much sense to me, because they don't. And other, you know, other minerals to water supplies, just to top them up to some suppose that natural state, but anyway, but it's used, it is used in some cases, that arguments.
Clint Griess 52:28 Very good. So those are arguments, but what's the ethic behind them? Because it's my literally, I got it. One of the major motivations for me personally, to get into this as was the matter of choice, it's just completely against everything I believe in for no matter who you are, to be able to come in and tell me what I need to do with my body and to force a medication upon me. So to be able to argue those two things, you have to have some underlying ethic that allows you to argue that way. I call it utilitarianism. Yes, certainly what you think about it?
Brian Martin 53:09 Look, I, I wouldn't want to sit this, the ethical arguments separately from all the others, they they form a package. And so the package to the protonation point of view is to say the risks are minimal. Normally say they're just cosmetic, the risks are minimal, the benefits are large, and therefore, the ethical concerns are not important. Because, you know, no one's being harmed, and some people are being benefit your
Clint Griess 53:38 arm so that they have to say zero. For me, my understanding is that they they are actually allowed more than cosmetics actually allow, because the NRC study from 2006 clearly points to a whole range of very probable health consequences. So, you know, these pro fluoridation is, can't ignore this mounting evidence can everyday ADHD, thyroid every just like whatever what part of your body doesn't take effect? And for them to continuously claim zero harm is to my mind, you know, bony but it's so that's why it goes. They're willing to justify harm to some percentage of people in some percentage of harm for a perceived benefit that there is a calculation that's happening that's why I call this why call it utilitarianism which is the belief that the greatest the what's right to do is what benefits the greatest number of people in the greatest way. And so it's always a series of calculations and there may and often is a loser but that's just quote unquote Too bad for you because it serves the greater good. Do you see that as a motivation in for fluoridation is
Brian Martin 55:00 I'd say certainly there's an implicit utilitarian argument, it's not articulated in terms of, we're going to add up the number of people who were harmed because they don't want to mention that. But I'll just mentioned another side. Because it's, these things are not simply a logical, you know, a logical conclusion from the evidence and, you know, utilitarian arguments and so forth. But they're, they're highly emotional. And some of the dentists that I talked to, said that, and this is back in the early days is that they'd come in, and they'd have to remove many teeth. A lot of Australians had very bad teeth, and they'd be removing many teeth or even removing all their teeth. And the parents would be crying, the child the crying, the dentist would be crying. And they saw fluoridation as the reason why tooth decay has become a minor problem, as opposed to a major problem. And so it's, it's an emotional thing. And so when studies are brought up to say, actually, everyone's teeth is improving whether the water was fluoridated or not. There's something else going on. That that might be, you know, the scientific argument. But it's very hard to penetrate against the emotional argument in terms of the lived experience of dentists, and tooth decay, and I'd say the same thing applies to a lot of areas is that people go by what they see. And what they see is they don't compare it to things they don't see. They don't see what's happening in Europe, where there's no fluoridation, but due to the case has been dropping as well.
Clint Griess 56:51 Great, great. Yeah, the emotional arguments. Yes. That's good. Very good. Thank you so much. So get ready, everyone, because now it's gonna be time for you to ask your questions. And I'm going to ask you, first of all, the folks who are engaged in campaigning currently who, if you have a can't an Active Campaign, if you need some real time, advice, or just some discussion about what you can do next, if you've, if you've tried to scientific argument that hasn't worked, maybe try the emotional route, you know, people who have been harmed, and they that hasn't worked, or maybe you've gotten, maybe you have seen some success you want to share with us. But let's definitely hear from those people who are actively campaigning. Currently, whether it's a ballot measure you're going for whether you're lobbying your legislators, whether it's just a public relations campaign, you know, whatever sort of campaign you have, we want to definitely have your strategizing be within the context of direct action that you're taking today. So if you have a question and you are someone like once described, please raise your hand by pressing the one on the keypad. And I'll get to your I'll get to you right away here. I'm going to make an appeal for donations. This teleconference does have some costs $150 a month for the teleconference service for the email invitations as well as I've done a little bit of Facebook ads, only to save me from going to 100 different Facebook community pages. There's enough likes on enough people like the International for free teleconference page that I can, I can advertise to them directly to make sure they know about the upcoming teleconferences. Anyway, there's just a variety of costs and activities every single month associated with these teleconferences which are absolutely free to attend. Of course, you can you can donate by becoming a member of the International 40 Free teleconference library where the recording of this teleconference as well as all the other teleconferences from years past or they're amazing discussions, everything from the history to the science, the politics, the personalities, the campaigns, the winning campaigns, they're all there. But if you want to make another donation over and above that, it's greatly appreciated. And in every single email that well most most the email invitations that you receive, and then the follow up email that will come tomorrow or Monday with a link telling you that the recording for for today's calls available will include a link to donate and I invite you and encourage you to, to donate, and oh, to encourage me and encourage to encourage the continuation of teleconference into the future. A lot of people come here, this is a sound just from from your feedback. And I really do appreciate all the feedback that I get. The format of the teleconference that you're experiencing today has come from your feedback in terms of how it falls out the way it plays out. And the kinds of topics that we cover. I learned that the number of you come here, there's a number of reasons to come. But one of the big motivations is just to be with like minded people to get you know, that connection and to be re inspired because so often, it seems like you're alone in such a minority. So it's really great to know that, hey, you're crazy, and you're not alone. And there's a lot of us out here and we are going to win. And this we will prevail. And it's because of people just like the folks who show up to the teleconference and all the things that we're doing. So that human elements very important. We're also motivated to come to the teleconference because of the information that that, that people will get the historical information, the scientific information. These are great motivators. So thank you, whatever brings you to this teleconference, I really appreciate it. And I want you to share it widely with people I would love to see, you know, greater numbers of people attending. And of course, the recording is always great to listen to that your convenience, but there's something about being here live, it's also wonderful. Okay, so please, please donate generously. And
thank you, I think in advance for all of your donations. I'll also take a moment to invite you to stick around after the teleconferences official time is over. After the first two hours of our teleconference, you can stay on the line and I will facilitate the creation of small breakout groups, random randomly three to four to five people in your group, so you can have a conversation and continue talking about what what came up today. And anything else related to anything artificial water fluoridation, you are unattended and you can stay on the line as long as you want. It's very popular. A lot of great connections have been made. And a lot of really stirring, important conversations are had. And our presenter today is going to hang out and be with us in that in that period afterwards, too. So let's see. Let's go to Michael Levesque. So great to hear from you, Michael, who lives right here in San Francisco. as same as me and we haven't seen each other for such a while. How are you?
Hello, Michael. Press the wine keypad for a question. I can't hear you
don't know, maybe you've muted your phone. But we can take some other questions. In the meantime, now. See, if there are any other questions, people please raise your hands. And I'll start calling on you. In the meantime, let's see.
There's a there's a general question too, about the the political arena that we were in. So you know, it's an election cycle, a lot of a lot of political energy as being sucked up by a national poll and national presidential politics here in the United States. And as far as I know, it's not part of either the Democratic or Republican platform to to continue fluoridation or to end fluoridation. They're kind of it's kind of not on the radar at all. But the Green Party supports fluoridation. It's Do you see any, any benefit any advantage for us to try to work within any of the political parties?
Brian Martin 1:04:36 Say political parties have a lot of money and influence. They can get media coverage. But there's a big risk in trying to cultivate support from the political party because in the other parties, the opposition parties then become hostile as a result in many cases. So I think a lot of controversies and fluoridation to be one of those Better to be non party political. And to argue with an issue that should be wider concern. But that's, that's obviously something needs to be decided in, in the context of each place. And when you start looking at what happened in Europe, you find all sorts of different configurations as to why fluoridation was stopped in nearly every case or you're prevented from starting in it. It can involve engineers or Polit. Politicians or sometimes minority parties, and but sometimes the government, government employees, government bureaucrats who are pushing for a certain decision. So I'd say look at it on a case by case basis, but don't assume that party politics is necessarily a very good strategy.
Clint Griess 1:05:58 Okay, let me ask another question about I don't know what to call these folks. Called trolls, and if you're familiar with that internet term, for people who seem seem to have a very clear agenda, and a lot of time on their hands, maybe they're employed, compensated financially to spend time online, making statements on the comment sections of news articles on on various social media platforms, and they just have a nonstop wall of consistently, you know, sometimes aggravating, you know, comments, sometimes scientific, you know, going through every single way of arguing against, you know, the florist free stamp stance, some, some of the names are famous to the to the, to the participants on today's today's call, because they've had run ins with them. And we, I personally have wasted a lot of my time and energy trying to interact with these people, as if I could change their minds without saying their names. Are you familiar with these tactics? Are you are you as your research come, you know, to the, to the internet, social media arena, such that you can give us some advice about what to do in any situation?
Brian Martin 1:07:26 Yeah, certainly know about this sort of thing. And there's no easy solution. But, I mean, the general advice is not to reply to them. I mean, there's a standard set, standard comment is don't feed the trolls. That's what they like they like, a lot of them are just in for the kicks and to get a response is what they're after. And, of course, you might say, some of them. In some ways, the worst thing is to have somebody who is pretends to be anti fluoride, and it is highly abusive, and so forth, because then it discriminates to cause that I would say, one of the strategies is, I mean, obviously, having moderation of platforms is important, because then you can filter them out. If that's not possible, then the long term strategy must be that anyone who trolls discredits themselves, namely, they just ignore them as, as, as people who have nothing useful to contribute, so it'd be like saying, we're going to treat them like someone who's standing up and shouting in church. You know, they're, they've got bad ethics, or bad etiquette. And up to treat them seriously, but like I say, could be an other side of the debate and you don't even know, you know, what they really believe is, are they just doing it to try and disrupt things? We don't have any any solutions. But I think probably if, if controls are a serious problem, then those people who are concerned get together and work out a strategy. That's, I think the most important thing is rather than trying to deal with them on an individual basis.
Clint Griess 1:09:19 Oh, great. Wow. Yeah, we can have a team just as they have a team of teams, that we've got evidence that they do they coordinate amongst each other, like an early warning system, and they all come jump on when they can. And one of them is a dentist, or at least claims to be He. He is a dentist and so just so DDS sign his name since the wedding credibility and so many. My general advice is not yet just as you said, not to comment to them directly. Do not engage them directly. If it's a news article, I direct my comments to the The reader and only to the reader. And so that, you know, yeah, that just because these people are insatiable and incredible in their way, and I found myself being really, it's just, it's really debilitating to engage with these people after a while. I know, I know, I've preached about this before in previous teleconferences. And I know that plenty people on here, in fact, one of our greatest jousters has raised her hand and her name is Karen from Boston. Karen is has some real war stories on those common dream?
Karen Spencer 1:10:41 Well, well, you know, I've got to say, you know, I have to thank the trolls for helping me become better. In my arguments. I try not to necessarily engage with them as far as getting, you know, throwing dirt, but as you said, Clint, you know, trying to, you know, really pay attention to the other people who are paying attention to this, this thread and saying this, this, this is what's going on. And, you know, the this, here's some real science, and what this person just said, is really contradicted. You know, you can't, you can't refute a 2010 study, with a study from 2001, for heaven's sakes, that is, you know, so so it has been helpful to a certain extent. But I want to I want to talk a little bit about that. policy that would you do call it the having the jury, the policy cherry? In theory, Brian, I do agree with you. But in theory, that is the Board of Health. And at least in these English speaking, countries, where our medical authorities have set themselves up as high priests and telling our telling politicians, you must do what I tell you, because I'm the scientist, and I'm the expert. It isn't working. I have had Board of Health. Chairman say, Karen, fine. You may have eczema when you're exposed to fluoride, and have other pain syndromes because of exposure to fluoride. But you're in the minority, and it's the greater good that health matters, we have to take care of the poor children. And so we need to Florida, as if the poor children don't have eczema or juvenile arthritis or gastrointestinal disease as well. So I really think that we can't I think a mistake that we make that I think the proponents do understand is by trying to go to referendum and trying to do it in those types of ways. I think we really need to focus on the politicians and those authorities. And it is very difficult with them to because they have their own little local dentist who they go to, and they have this, you know, CDC statement that it's a great, great thing to have fluoridated water. And so motivating and engaging your politician is difficult enough. Because if you say you want to talk about fluoridation, you just don't do get jolly along, you get ignored. But once you do engage the thought politician and you do get his attention, motivating the politician politician to realize, as Rita Barnet Rose said in 2014, in her paper that, you know, it is the responsibility of politicians in any authority in this to stop this policy because who cares about mandate rule, you know, a mandate or even a majority rule. If six out of 10 people in my community say put fluoride in the water? Does that mean the other 40% of us should have eczema and arthritis and gastrointestinal disease and all kinds of other issues. So I think we need to find a way and I would love your your opinion, Brian how to do this to get the the policymakers to actually own their own real authority about making the decisions that are best for everybody. Even those people for whom flooded the consumed consumption of Florida, Florida data products is medically contradicting.
Brian Martin 1:14:38 Thanks, Karen. First, I'm going to go back to the issue about trolls before we get on to the policy juries. And that's to support your view and claims view that used to be responding to the other readers. I did a paper a few years ago called when you're criticized and it basically argued that you Have you come under serious attack, it's important to appear to be calm, neutral, and factual. And a lot of people who look at a look at a dispute between two individuals or between two groups will judge it not by reading all the content, all the detailed scientific evidence or arguments and so forth. But they'll look at the tone, and namely, the style of writing or the tone of voice, and those who come across as calm and sensible, are more likely to be supported. And that's that's the I think one of the powerful ways to make the trolls look look foolish is not to play their game. Okay, but to come to policy juries, policy jury is very different from a Board of Health. Board of Health is a bunch of people who have special, they've either been elected or appointed whatever. Based on their credentials, a policy Jerry is randomly selected people. The whole idea is you get people who don't have a vested interest. They don't have any special claimed expertise. It's like a criminal jury. He's supposedly ordinary people, a cross section of the community, they're representative. And they are ones that I would trust above others, to make an impartial or more balanced sort of judgment, looking at the benefits for the community as a whole. And that's certainly the experience of policy juries have been run. But I'd say that you've asked about approaching politicians, rather than coming with rather than coming to them always with the problems of fluoridation. Another way, and this is just a suggestion, you have to try it and see is to come to them with solutions. And so the solution is to say, we've got these alternative routes, for getting fluoride at people's teeth. And you'll get more people on board. If you make this a voluntary process, whether it's going to be fluoride treatments by dentists, where there's going to be fluoride in in something that's for sale. I mean, it's you could have flip free fluoride tablets for all that goes. In other words, something that they can hardly argue against, because you're saying we want to help people improve the dental Hill. And you can go outside fluoride as well, of course, there's other options as well. And then you're seen as somebody who's not complaining, but as someone who's coming with a solution, you'll say, you can avoid this whole fluoridation debate, if you adopt these particular measures. I'm not saying it's going to work, but it might be worth a try.
Karen Spencer 1:17:48 Well, I've tried some things along those lines and provided really, and I don't want to say too much on the public line, and provided, you know, some real solution oriented material, but it comes it still comes back to this obedience to authority. And this concept, that even though it's not true, they have to obey. Wha you know, the CDC Oral Health Division has said and recommended because that is the the the seems to be the bigger that is the top science place, but when it really, really truly isn't. In the States right now, there is a move afoot that has gotten some real steam behind it to tie Medicaid monies, just communities, to whether or not the communities have fluoridated and to even provide Medicaid funding for fluoridated communities, which is a financial incentive to again mandate something that's not supposed to be mandated. And for people such as myself, who who really has a medical reasons not to this is just ludicrous. It You're ruining people's lives and your health with this. And that's that's the point I think that really needs to be taken home with them. Have you seen or do you have any suggestions about how, how to really get that moral choice, ethical argument lit underneath the people with the power to make these decisions.
Brian Martin 1:19:46 Just give you a general comment, and that is about social movements more widely is that the social movement, if you look at the environmental movement or the peace movement or the feminist movement, the labor movement And they work primarily by mobilizing support. And by changing, changing the culture, if you like, by changing the way people think about the world. And they don't usually succeed by trying to lobby people in positions of power. Now there is lobbying going on and all these movements, but it's if if you can change the general thought patterns about the way people see the world, then then you'll have it, you'll have a lobbying process that happens without even trying, because part of those people that you that you're changing their views include the children and friends of those policymakers. And this is how social change actually happens. It doesn't happen by politicians mandating it. But it happens through a general cultural change process. Now, I'm not saying this is going to be easy. I, I would generally recommend is developing a strategy that takes the ideas to the widest possible audience rather than just concentrating people at the top. And the cause. And effect you've described to me is that they're in increasingly coercive majors to enforce fluoridation suggests that they realize that they can't win the argument. Trying to impose it using force is the wrong word using political power to get people to do things, and that's a sign that they don't really want to argue it in the widest possible forum. And I see this in fluoridation in many cases, is being argued, way back when in the dental journals, we don't want to debate the anti fluoridation is because it gives them more credibility. So I'd say you should be trying to encourage more debate or discussion in a wide range of people tenders. And I think if you look, look at three, look at the studies of other social movements. That can be very useful, because he learned not just by studying what's happening in fluoridation, but by looking at what's happening in all sorts of other movements in at the moment we've got, you know, incredible changes when you've got dictatorships being toppled in various countries, whether it's Philippines or Serbia, or Egypt, nearby, if by people power and how to apply those lessons to issue like fluoridation, it's not easy, but I think it's worth we're trying to trying to learn from other movements and applied ideas to fluoridation campaigns,
Karen Spencer 1:22:41 I couldn't agree with you more that does require a mind shift and a culture change. And on that note, I'll just make one plug and let's go on to the next person, people should go out to move on.org and sign the the petition on dietary fluoride that is out there directed to Congress and, and the National Academy of Sciences. And even though it's directed to Congress in the National Academy of Sciences, what it is, is a statement that can be passed around fairly easily and get people to interact with that has something there to hopefully you know change some change some minds and if we get the National Academy of Sciences talking about it down in Washington DC to that that can only be a good thing. So thank you Brian, it was lovely to talk with you
Brian Martin 1:23:34 you do care. I just say I'm not hearing anything at the moment I'll just make a comment to everyone that you if you want to email me I'm happy to correspond with individuals but it just got to my website you got my email address there and I can use their reply within a few days and I'll do my best to address it addressing the issues you want to raise thanks, could you go
Clint Griess 1:24:44 ahead and give that email now
Brian Martin 1:24:50 he's got to my website. Just put our name Brian. Put Brian Martin will And gong or whatever fluoridation and he doesn't get to me. Get my own website. But it's the web websites easier. It's it's www dot B martin.cc. Wonderful.
Clint Griess 1:25:19 Posting that right now on the Facebook page. Thank you. So Jay Sanders of clean water California is on the line with us. They were very lucky to have you live with us. Jay, go ahead, say hi everyone you can hear my voice can you not? Brian?
Brian Martin 1:25:44 I can hear you.
Clint Griess 1:25:45 Yep. Yeah. Okay, good. Jay, are you there? Got you.
Jay 1:25:51 Can you hear me clinic? There we are. All right. Thank you for thank you for putting me on clinic. Thank you for facilitating this amazing conversation. And, Brian, it's been a very enlightening hour of conversation. I was hoping you can touch further upon calm you made in the last few minutes. Regarding the, I guess, I would say the general public sphere of influence in effecting change in the water policy and fluoridation policy. For example, is there a some utility to the idea of like the 100th Monkey, and, you know, if we can just get the general public up to speed, you know, to a certain threshold that, you know, inevitable the force of nature will, you know, we'll turn the tables on it, and the policy, not magically will, will be changed, but it'll enable the the political will to, to change the momentum in in in our favor. Could you comment a little further on the notion of the general public's role in in this in this debate?
Brian Martin 1:26:59 It's a very good question. And you can say that social movements can often be struggling for decades with no apparent progress and then suddenly make a change. It might be the change in the in the political culture, whatever, but suddenly make a lot of progress. And so if you look at the women's struggle for the vote, you know, it was went over many decades, and it succeeded in different countries at different times. And in Switzerland, is decades after the other example. So the, the issue about this, there's no automatic success in any of these struggles. And some of them, some of them are surprisingly quick. And if we look at chlorination, it's one of the longest running scientific controversies or public health controversies in the world that is very few others that are going on. So consistently, and so long, and it's much the same arguments today as they were in the 1950s. And so if there's any, any My prediction is that it's going to continue to go on in much the same way that it sounds very pessimistic. But I think once turning the issue into something that is a public interest is the challenge, because mostly my my studies show that most places, most of the time, fluoridation is not an issue. And that's true, decide where it's fluoridated, and where it's not. It's only when there's a possibility of change, then suddenly, everyone starts getting excited. So possibly, part of the thing is to pick out the areas where there is a possibility of change, and put more energy into those areas, those particular locations and into others. And so I, as I was mentioning before, definitely, to be comparing notes across different parts of the world, as well as different parts of the US. And if you think internationally, then a lot of struggles go on, where what happens in one country influences what happens in another country. It's it's setting an example. And if anything in fluoridation, and I know this sounds strange, but Sir, fluoridation is on the backfoot. It's in retreat on the global stance, because it's not expanding to new territories. It's basically just holding it down in a few countries. Not that's not a great, a great, you know, a great message for those who are in those countries who are opposed to fluoridation, but nonetheless, that is the situation that could change the course, that the proponents are not making a whole lot of progress. But they're also pretty well entrenched where they are dominant. So no easy answers and afraid.
Jay 1:30:09 Yeah, of course. But you still you, you do see utility in basically, you do see utility in raising the general public's awareness to a point where it is a possibility that it could affect change on Information Policy? Of course. Okay, definitely. And I think I think you touched upon threshold. Yeah.
Clint Griess 1:30:34 Are they threshold? Is there a threshold? Brian, like, have you seen? Like, is it 10% of the population that needs to be aware and caring about this? Or is it 199? How many, like, at what point will we get some, some uptake and some, some downhill to pushing uphill all the time.
Brian Martin 1:30:54 Definitely, if you, if you draw lessons from non violence struggles, then the message is you want, you want to, you want more people who are active, now they're just having an opinion, doesn't really change very much. But if you've got people who are active, who are actually, you know, whether they're out protesting in the streets, or they're, you know, having a vigil, or they're organizing a boycott, or whatever, you have people who are active. And secondly, you need a cross section of the community. So you want people who are active, it's good, if you're going to have you know, people who are, let's, let's say, you've got retired people, students, workers, you know, church people, the bigger the cross section, more likely, the movement is to succeed. And that's partly because you get new ideas as to how to how to take action. That's one of the most important messages from the research in non violent action, which is, you know, where people are bringing down dictators, through methods without using any, any, any violence. So, it's, but there's no, there's no single percentage that's going to get you there, it's depends on how strong you know what the opponents are up to. And I'll just mention one other thing, which I think is useful. And that is, to spend some time, I'm not recommending necessarily of every individual, but some people in the movement to be spending time talking with the opponents, not to try and convince them, but to learn how they think. And to better understand them. Because if you understand your opponents, you'll be in a much stronger position. And I think the pro flouride people don't do this audit, they don't, because they have the stereotype view of anti fluoridation as some sort of crackpots as opposed to concerned citizens. I think it's important. If you want to have a successful movement, understand the opposition, and understand the things that they're likely to do. Most movements tend to think of what they're going to do and their justice or their cause. But a good strategy, you need to understand the likely responses of the other side to any action that you take. And then to design your own actions, taking into account what the other side is going to do.
Jay 1:33:29 That's excellent advice. Also, really took to heart Your advice about packaging, any complaint to your political, elected officials, along packaging that complaint with a solution. Having interned for a little bit at city hall here in San Francisco, I can definitely attest to the, to the power of that of that package, people in elected capacity. So much. Love to hear complaints all day without any solutions. So I thank you for bringing that to our attention as well.
Brian Martin 1:34:06 Very good, thanks. Solutions. Yeah.
Clint Griess 1:34:12 Yeah, I noticed in one of your camera, which document Brian, but just logically, you were saying that, you know, the dental, the whole thing about you know, benefiting the teeth, patients benefiting teeth is not necessary, and it's not sufficient. So however people can message those, it's ultimately comes down to saying, look, it's it's certainly not necessary to Florida eight people in order to help our team and it's clearly not sufficient either, because cavities continue to be a problem. So there's lots of different ways to say the same thing, but I really appreciate it when you boil it down to those two, those two simple logical principles. All right, Jay. Well, thanks for being on the line. Thank you. Yeah. Let's talk to Richard sour sour Heber. Wonderful to have you. What's your question today?
Richard Sauerheber 1:35:17 Oh, well, I just had a comment to make about what you've been talking about, about educating the public and the public becoming educated. And I had some positive news to report. And that is that Gerber Baby foods, the big giant corporation, Gerber now has drinking water that they sell at retail. Pharmacy stores, the drugstores that it's advertised on the front as having no fluoride. And it's, it's for babies and infants. And pretty, pretty dramatic proclamation on the front of the bottle. So I wrote the I wrote the Gerber and thanked them for that, and tried to update them on why it was a good thing. Of course, most of them don't know why fluoride shouldn't be given to anyone. But they sent me back some free coupons and blah, blah, blah. But the point is, I think they are doing it only because the public wants it. Though the public is becoming slowly more aware of what's wrong with it. And then the other news I got recently was this crest 3d Tooth Whitening material that you can buy now at drugstores, that is also advertised on the front as having no floor, even from crest. Wow. So there's people that want options, and these mega companies are realizing that. So I think that's a positive thing to accentuate and spread around. You know, when I was at the drugstore when I was but I have a grandson now so that the drugs were buying some no fluoride, baby water. And I noticed that the in the infant section for newborn babies, it wasn't there. And instead, they had regular fluoridated baby nursery water there. But in the public drinking water section for adults. They had the Gerber Baby water with no fluoride. So I asked her what, why don't you put the Why don't you make this up and put it where it belongs to this is for infants. And he goes oh, good point. I tried to lecture him on why Florida is actually a poisonous material. It's useless and harmful. And so that's just a small thing that I did in my own town. But obviously the public is becoming more aware of what's going on.
Clint Griess 1:37:35 Well, wonderful news. Thank you so much. We don't get too much that all the time. So any good news, please share it rest, share it widely. And thanks for sharing that today. Do you agree, Brian, that these, these two news items are indications of something as shift.
Brian Martin 1:37:53 I think they're good examples of the power of working step by step. And one of the things that let's say you've got campaigns against against something is like the Nestle's and Nestle's boycott, because they're selling powdered milk to poor countries with terrific health consequences, is you target one particular corporation and try and get them to change doesn't necessarily have to be the biggest one, but you target one, which has got an obvious problem, and try and get them to change and then use that change to influence others. So if Gerber is doing this, then you'd want to say, Oh, well, we should ask some other corporations to say why aren't you doing this as well, you know, there's a market out here for it. So it's, it's in other words, rather than tackling everybody all at once is you tackle tackled things in a step and just he is another example in the US Civil Rights Movement. So there was segregation throughout the South. The Civil Rights Movement didn't try and do everything at once they protect particular cities, and you know, bus boycott here or lunch counters, sit in somewhere else all very carefully planned to challenge the system. And so you can learn from that sort of those sorts of struggles to say we want to do a step by step and choose our targets very carefully and try and win them over or whatever it is depends on the particular thing try and win them over and then use that as a stepping stone to others.
Clint Griess 1:39:41 Okay, great. Okay, I'm posting on Facebook as Gerber water says literally right on there on the webpage versus water with no fluoride added. Wonderful. Yes, we've been one of the six So we've had here in San Francisco and some others have had is getting the Public Utilities Commission, or the the water utility company to put a note in their annual water report that gets sent out to water users as well as on their web pages. A warning, warning, breastfeeding mothers to not use for dated water when constituting their baby formula. And that means considering everything else, that's a huge, it's always a huge victory. And it can be exploited to because if they can admit if they admit to that harm, then which is very, very rare that can be used to, to let people know that there is some something to be concerned about. Babies can't drink it, and maybe you shouldn't be drinking even as an adult. Let's see. So Brian, let me ask you. What do you think of the International Forestry teleconference, the monthly events are going on for over three years now covering a wide variety of topics, all related to any artificial water fluoridation, we get attendance between 30 and 50 people live every month, some of the most dedicated activists all around the world. And then tons of people download the recordings and listen to them. On top of that, as a forum, you know, you've had some experience now, you know, academically, objectively speaking, what do you think of it?
Brian Martin 1:41:41 Well, if I can contrast this to the way things operated back before the internet, before communication, it's, it's a dramatic advance. And I would say, Beckett, back in those days, everyone's you've got to contact someone, you write them a letter arrives a few days later or internationally might arrive a week or two later, and on people that occasionally visit so now all of this is suddenly condensed, contracted, and distance doesn't doesn't cause a problem. And I would say, a good thing you can do is one of the best things that happens through networking, is making personal contacts. And so what you're doing here is you're enabling individuals to connect into a network. And that's the basis for learning. And it's the basis for coordinated action. So yes, that's the way to go. Well done.
Clint Griess 1:42:48 Okay, good. Thanks for that. I think we'll keep on going then. Yeah, I personally enjoy engaging personally with other Forex forage for activists. I can't tell you how awesome we are, including myself. But you know, my experience with with forestry activists is one, there's a lot of integrity, just intellectual integrity, personal integrity. There's a lot of care and concern and passion about the well being of people in general, not just oneself, but of people. We really care about our communities. We're also we really do care about science, we do still want to believe that, you know, that science can still have some integrity in our decision making. And we're very informed people they have met such incredibly informed people and articulate so not only informed but they're able to turn around and communicate to others. The you know, the importance of this issue. So I get I personally get a lot out of the interactions and and I do get some real time and I get some anecdotal information about the impact. These teleconferences have out there in the various campaigns. Everything from literal financial support for campaigns from around the world to local campaigns who need it. Like right now New Zealand's got a hotspot right now and it's also just a way for people to stay connected and I want to put a word in for Florida Action Network who has supported this teleconference from from its inception and currently got a campaign to ask the FDA to apply the law and stop pharmacies from selling fluoride tablets. And to stop the manufacturers of the Florida What's for because it's never been approved by the FDA. It's literally they're literally selling and prescribing a drug that's never been approved as glaring exception to the FDA, otherwise very stringent enforcement. So just keep an eye on that there is a petition to that you can find there. So thanks very much, everyone, again, for being here. We've got a few more minutes. So if you have questions, raise your hand. Let's hear from Deb Moore, in Vermont. How are you, Deb?
Unknown Speaker 1:45:35 Hi, Clint, thanks so much for doing this. Brian, thank you so much for this really stimulating conversation. I would like to just add something that's optimistic here, especially for people who might be frustrated with the whole process. I've been involved with fluoridation for a while Florida, Florida issues and fluoridation for 20 years. And I think I mean, I feel like I have a little bit of a historical context. It's, it's really amazing to me that in the last, I don't know, when it started five years or so, communities have been able to actually get fluoridation out of the water. That is like, that was I think, unheard of. Before now. And I think a paradigm shift really is underway. It's happening, I think a critical mass is is growing, I think very well, largely or maybe entirely because of the internet. And and, you know, Florida Action Network. Second look and other while it's just, it's immense out there, the presence of Florida opposition is immense. And I just think anybody that wants to know anything is going to just does is not predisposed for fluoride, which was the case for many for generations. That's, that's not the case anymore. We have people who are going, Oh, fluoride, what about that, and just going educating themselves? And then going, oh, yeah, who would want that? You know, so I just think it really is like a critical mass. And so I, I'm, I'm very optimistic that we've, basically, I think we've already won the war, I think we've got a lot of battles to, to to win. But I think we've really won the war, that I agree with Brian, when he said, you know, it is a pro floor, please, I have nothing to add to the conversation. It's the same exact conversation that it's been for 70 years on their side. And so I just think it's a matter of time. And we all have to be, you know, proactive and, and optimistic. And it's, it's on its way out. That's what I was saying.
Clint Griess 1:47:59 No, right. Lovely words of optimism
Brian Martin 1:48:07 is you stimulated, a thought the mind. And that is that in most social movements, that people are involved. They need to have some satisfaction for being involved in the course the satisfaction and success, but most in any fluoridation movement. But like many other movements, there's not that much personal benefit to anyone involved, because most of the benefits will go to the wider community. And you must be environmental movements the same way or the climate change movement. You can say the benefits are not to us, not to the campaigner, but to many others course. Campaigners may benefit in a few cases. But so it's vitally important that the campaign be carried out in a way that satisfying the people involved. And so you want to make if you've had a group, and you want to have the group's to have, you know, get people to get to know each other to be friendly with each other to do things that are interesting to them. And, and in various ways to make it something that people will want to join. And so And sometimes if if campaigners are angry, and aggressive, and so forth, and that's not the best sort of atmosphere for getting others to join them. So it's important issue is how to organize the groups and and the actions and the overall campaign so that people will want to be involved. And if you can do that, then that's a very strong indication that it's going to be successful in the long run.
Clint Griess 1:49:51 I take Thank you. I take that to heart. I've caught myself getting angry and aggressive when you say angry and aggressive It's easy to do. So yeah, let's support each other everyone in creating an atmosphere of positivity to, continues to look continuously look for the solutions to offer solutions to get people engaged, because they know that they can be part of a solution. And that can it can be rewarding. The journey, you know, along the way to getting to the solution can be rewarding in itself. Well, anything else? Yep?
Unknown Speaker 1:50:33 Well, I just was gonna say, Brian was just talking about personal satisfaction or something. And I mean, I was the lead organizer from Worcester, Massachusetts in 1996. And also 2001. And we did win both times and 2001. It was an enormous fight. And and I've also often said that this is a lonely businesses, and frankly, thankless business. And I've really been heavily involved for 20 years. But I will say that, you know, Worcester, Massachusetts still has fluoride free water. And so you, that's all Thank God. But I feel like that effort, there were those efforts that, that I really put a lot of myself into it for a long time, it was really worth it, you know, and, and, and somehow, and along the way, you know, we also created some, some campaign materials that ended up getting used everywhere, and then in very successful fights all over the place. So I feel like you know, what, it's sometimes it really can be, says that, you know, feel you can get some satisfaction out of it. So
Clint Griess 1:51:57 far about all that you did, Deb, it's part of our history that I'm not familiar with that I just from what you've said, I want to personally thank you for every bit of effort that you put forward, we are standing on our shoulders.
Unknown Speaker 1:52:08 Welcome. Very welcome. Thank you. Oh, I do one more thing. Can I just say one more thing that about, I think there is no silver bullets. I think a lot of people always think, aha, we're going to do this. And then how can it possibly continue. And I've been saying for a long time, there is no silver bullets. There's no one big silver bullet, but there's like a whole lot of little simple silver bullets. And everybody contributes something. And Clint, what you're doing is, is a pretty big silver bullet there, you know, to add to all the rest of them that we've all been doing, you know. So, yeah, thank you for that.
Clint Griess 1:52:54 Wonderful Oh, that's great way to contextualize that we've got all the silver bullets. That's great. Wonderful. Okay, so let's see. We're going to be in a few minutes, ending the teleconference. And we're gonna be breaking out into small discussion groups. Brian is going to stay with us. So if you want to be broken, if you want to be in the group with Brian, raise your hand by pressing the one on your keypad right now. And then we'll continue discussion with Brian, if you want to be then in another discussion, just a random discussion group with three or four others. Don't raise your hand and I'll facilitate that as well. The next international for free teleconference will be in September, the second Saturday of the month, in the northern hemisphere, or not even the hemispheres, really but in Australia and New Zealand. It will be on Sunday morning, thanks to Brian Martin, sociology professor from the University of Wollongong, they say Right.
Brian Martin 1:54:05 Well, and go. Well,
Clint Griess 1:54:07 I'm going thank you for getting up. He realized that he was up at he started this teleconferences 7am on the east coast of Australia. And really all that
Brian Martin 1:54:22 I can make one comment is, this is a plug, a plug for my book called The controversy manual or the controversy manual. If you just got a list of my books, you'll find it there. I'm not making any royalties. It's a free download, but it covers fluoridation is one case study amongst a number of others, which I'm basically trying to summarize everything I've learned about scientific controversies over the years and explaining to people who are involved in them. So it's understanding them arguing, communicating and working together and agree is taking action, defending and so forth. So I think and, and as I mentioned before, I'm happy to correspond with anyone who wants to raise any issues or follow them up.
Clint Griess 1:55:13 Wonderful. So that's your latest work, right? The combination of all of the various different threads pulled together
Brian Martin 1:55:22 on scientific controversies, definitely.
Clint Griess 1:55:25 Topic. Yeah. Wonderful. Okay, I'll put a post link to that. And our telephone, teleconference event page on Facebook today. And, again, I want to thank you for all the time you took to prepare for this, on top of all of the years, of course of research that you've done, but just in the last month preparing for us, and giving us such great advice and during such great conversation. We really, really appreciate you. And I hope you know, if you want to join us, we're always here every month. And we're glad to have you join us anytime. So, let's see. Yeah, you're welcome. You're so welcome. So unless there any other burning questions, you know, I'm gonna try to at least Brenda's you get to say hi, I don't know much how much time we have. But you can least say hi, for now. We'll be breaking out in a minute. You can ask more questions, but just say hi. Do this. Hi. Yeah. Brenda. Hi, Brenda. Are you guys the ground? You could stick around for the post teleconference.
Unknown Speaker 1:56:42 Yeah, I was just gonna listens. I don't know who's all on?
Clint Griess 1:56:47 Yeah. Okay. Well, yeah, just hang out for everyone who wants to join in with with Brian and ask him some more questions or just be involved in the discussion with sociology professor Brian Martin, press one on your keypad. If you want to just be broken out in two random groups, stay on the line. And if you are satisfied with teleconference, you wanna say goodbye, just hang up and look forward to a registration link for the teleconference coming up in September. All right, and so with that, I wish you all the best
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