Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Prominent Fluoridation Opponents Enjoy Drinking Fluoridated Water

Screenshot of fluoride content of San Pellegrino, 0.6 parts per million.Fighting against a cheap and effective healthcare strategy is thirsty work. What better way to relax than by pouring yourself a nice tall glass of fluoridated water?

Not from the tap, of course. For these special occasions you should turn to San Pellegrino. Crisp, refreshing, and served in an iconic tinted glass bottle, you'll be relieved to hear that it contains 0.6 parts per million fluoride. Sit back, take a well earned break from opposing the 0.7 parts per million fluoride in Irish tap water, and enjoy the one part in ten million difference.

Don't let your hard work claiming that fluoride causes everything from man flu to the black death prevent you from drinking the stuff. In fact, if you've claimed that fluoride causes depression, and claim that you cured your own severe depression by eliminating fluoride, you should probably drink even more fluoridated water.

What better way to toy with people's genuine mental health issues than to encourage them to cease medication in favour of an evidence-free crackpot scheme that you won't even follow yourself?

This I feel must be the logic of Aisling FitzGibbon, aka The Girl Against Fluoride, a highly qualified angel healer, proponent of 'curing' autism rectally, and adviser to Sinn Fein on matters of public health. Pictured to the left we see a screenshot of her ink361 page, proudly displaying a book of grain, lactose and refined sugar free recipes alongside her San Pellegrino.

Next we see writer, restaurant critic and Michelin star winner Paolo Tullio. Thankfully he has not offered to manipulate angel healing rays on our behalf, but he has issued a video saying he believes fluoridation may be dangerous. He then calls on the Irish government to end the practice. His primary reasoning seems to be that his home tap water smells of chlorine.

Fearing that fluoride is dangerous, and opposing the government's fluoridation programme, is it safe to assume he avoids parting with coin for high fluoride San Pellegrino?

Let us read some of his reviews:
"Although a bottle of still water was on the house, both Rocco and I wanted sparkling, so we added a bottle of San Pellegrino to our drinks order."Paolo Tullio at La Dolce Vita, Dublin 18 
"Two bottles of San Pellegrino and a bottle of Peroni beer completed our order."Paolo Tullio: Oliveto The Pavillion Complex, Dun Laoghaire 
"There were a few wines under €30, but the bulk of the list falls into the €35 to €55 range. I chose a decent Pinot Grigio, which was listed at €33. We also had two large bottles of San Pellegrino at €5 each."The Exchange Restaurant
I tweeted Tullio on the topic and he was kind enough to reply. He seems a decent sort, but rather confused on the area - he thought Ireland was the only country in the world to fluoridate, compared the chlorination of water to drinking bleach, and said he boiled Italian tap water because of the smell of chlorine. He has accomplishments in many fields, I just don't reckon science is one of them.

So why include him on this rather short list? Well, if opponents of water fluoridation have no problem with drinking fluoridated water, maybe we should wonder if their claims are worth entertaining.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sinn Fein Takes Health Policy Advice From Vaccine Opponents

"Drugs are overprescribed... One reason for inappropriate prescribing may lie in the opaque relationship between the medical profession and the pharmacuetical [sic] industry. Major pharmaceutical companies, such as United Brands, sponsor medical conferences for doctors in luxury hotels. Moreover, there are no restrictions on general practitioners or hospital consultants investing in shares in the pharmaceutical or other healthcare industries or in private hospitals or clinics. The conflict of interest between the doctor as healer and the doctor as drug manufacturer needs to be recognised."
The above pastiche of distrust and conspiracy comes not from an angel healing periodical but from Sinn Fein's health policy. Do read the whole thing if time allows. You will find no attempt to balance talk of financial irregularities in luxury hotels with promotion of best medical practice. There is no paragraph suggesting that your local GP is likely a decent sort, or that their offer of a flu jab may not be linked to a clandestine conspiracy.

Regular readers of this blog - a long-suffering and doubtless weary troop - will know that I've something of an interest in anti fluoridation campaigners in Ireland. An entry on Sinn Fein is therefore predictable - they've been tying up valuable county council time with anti fluoridation motions in Dublin and Cork, blithely ignoring that councils have no power to make such decisions. Their minister for environment, community and local government tried for a bill to have it banned. Why does Sinn Fein feel such rancour towards an intervention supported by the nation's medical and dental communities? The matter is hardly opaque. Six million English citizens drink fluoridated water, the rest do not. It is a simple effort to contrast the fluoridated and non fluoridated areas of our neighbours. Indeed I felt certain that Sinn Fein would leap at an opportunity to support a measure that leads to a 28% reduction in tooth decay for children in disadvantaged areas while nearly halving tooth decay related hospitalisation of children under five, but it seems they jumped the other way.

Have the boffins in Sinn Fein's underground laboratory make a game changing discovery? Has there been an explosion of new research that only they are publicising? Or are they merely casting aside best evidence and community benefit in favour of a populist publicity stunt?

To answer my question we must look at those who answers the questions posed by Sinn Fein. And who better to elucidate than Brian Stanley TD, spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, who last year attempted to cease fluoridation?
"I am delighted to have two leading campaigners in Leinster House adding weight to our campaign. Both Aishling Fitzgibbon, aka Girl against Fluoride, and leading environmental scientist Declan Waugh." - Brian Stanley
This seems the total of his outside support. Stanley eschews the temptation to promote style over substance and introduces Aisling FitzGibbon first. Her credentials are impressive: as a Master Integrated Energy Therapist she has paid for a certificate that enables her to redirect healing angel rays into people's pets. For the right price she will 'cure' your vulnerable child of autism through a regimen that includes pumping bone broth up their anus. Naturally she opposes vaccination, describing it as her next step once fluoride is vanquished.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Armaggedon, The Young Earth, And The Cancer Cure Suppressing Freemasons

Most evenings I pass a brace of Jehovah's Witnesses outside a GPO. For comic juxtaposition they place themselves to the left of a statue of Cú Chulainn lashed to a tree stump, ready to attack all comers until his death. The Jehovah's Witnesses give a warmer welcome and are sometimes willing to discuss their organisation's worryingly regular habit of announcing the imminent end of this mortal realm.

Proceeding a figurative hop, skip, and jump will often land me next to Dessie. He's a likeable chap who considers the earth to be at most 11,000 years old. On past occasions I've met Hare Krishnas who sought to dissuade me of my heliocentric beliefs. Let us say that it is a vibrant marketplace of ideas where any viewpoint can be expressed without falling prisoner to the confines of reality.

It was there (where else?) that Immuno Biotech chose to plant a stall emblazoned "Cancer Cure". The subtext is "The Cure They Don't Want You To Have!" At this point I must make my apologies for the quality of the image. You see, my camera hand is as shaky as the claims of their salesperson Mike. [Edit: better shot by @pedView. Second edit: New shots by me taken two days later.]

Saprophyte. Festering pustule on the rectum of humanity. Mike.Dross and drivel in higher resolution.
And what claims they make!
"If you keep to the protocol[€450 for 8 doses], it [their snake oil] usually eradicates stage 4 cancer in a year."
There is no such thing as stage five cancer: stage four is the deformed pinnacle of what tumours can throw at us. The chances of surviving a half decade with almost any type of stage four cancer is below 30%. If Immuno Biotech had a product that could 'usually eradicate' all forms of cancer we would hold feast days in their honour. I would cast aside my keyboard and plug in a prayer mat, and doctors would learn their trade in institutions named to immortalise its founder.

Instead they have a limited number of glossy pamphlets, a name that calls to mind bad science fiction, and a stall of lower quality than a neighbouring group who believes that dinosaur bones are intended to test our faith.

Let's look at how they attempt a shroud of respectability:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lush Gets Into A Lather Over Fluoride - Vaccines Next?

Lush makes a damn fine soap. Their staff are friendly, energetic and helpful, and I often pay a visit when wrapping up my Christmas shopping. Until recently my only complaint was that I can smell their shops at twenty paces.

Rebecca Lush Blum I didn't say that science is not important. I was simply trying to clarify what information I was seeking. The issues of fluoridation and vaccination are obviously very divisive. However, I am simply concerned at the moment about evidence that this campaign is homophobic. I've read the blogs Geoff and am listening to the podcast, thank you. Is there any more evidence this campaign is homophobic? Thanks, Becca
That changed this week when they described vaccination as 'very divisive' and announced the launch of an Ireland only anti fluoridation campaign. Rebecca Lush Blum (above) is the charitable giving manager for Lush's multi million Euro charity fund and spoke in her official capacity on Lush's Cork Facebook page. Her description of vaccination as 'very divisive' is dangerous. It's also nonsense. Vaccination rates have never been higher - 96% of Irish two year olds are now covered by the six in one vaccine, despite the fact that we give charitable tax status to vaccine opponents. This represents a significant victory against the vaccination opponents that caused an outbreak of measles in Cork a mere two years ago. I find it outrageous that a Lush spokesperson in the UK would seek to pretend there is any sort of Irish debate on whether or not we should protect children from easily preventable diseases.

How did this all start?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Curious Case of the Girl Against Fluoride and the Disappearing Christy Moore

Imagine for a moment that you're a qualified master angel healer. You've paid for a certificate in nutritioniology from a quack who claims to cure cancer with urine and castor oil. You claim to be able to treat autism in children by methods including the rectal administration of bone broth, you oppose fluoridation and vaccination, and your campaign's creative manager is convinced homosexuality is caused by plastics and contraception. You want to raise some cash for a campaign to change how Ireland provides drinking water. What do you do?

Some assume that an ability to commune with intergalactic angels and divert their healing rays into people's pets guarantees a steady source of income. And training from someone who claims to cure cancer using only urine and castor oil strikes me as a qualification that could easily be monetized. As for ensuring children on the autistic spectrum reach their full potential using an enema kit and some bone broth - well, the commercial applications are obvious, if we take on faith that the various sources of income open to Aisling FitzGibbon (aka The Girl Against Fluoride) are grounded in truth.

FitzGibbon is not taking this approach to gathering coin for her anti fluoridation campaign. Instead she's elected to host a fundraising gig. It's appealing: the venue, Whelan's, is excellent, and 20 Euro to see the rightly described 'legendary Christy Moore' is an offer that had me almost tempted to put hand in pocket. I also quite enjoy Kila. Here's one of the many announcements of the fundraiser:
But is Christy Moore aware of the engagement? The concert is not now and has never been on his future gigs page. You'll note that the screenshot above is of the edit history: this is in fact an old copy. After folks bought tickets to see Christy Moore, someone using FitzGibbon's account edited the post to remove all references to him. The current edition is below:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dr Ali Selim - Voice of Irish Muslims?

"If Allah had willed, He could have made all of you humans a single people. But, He decided to let you choose your own path after showing you the Truth, and thus test yourselves. Outdo one another in actions that serve humanity and thus grow your "Self". To Allah is your final Destination, of all of you." Qur'an, 5:48
The hard right of authoritarian Islam and the hard right of anti Muslim bigotry are unnatural bedfellows, yet are as one in their desire to paint Islam as monolithic. These two heads of the same monster are conjoined in a delusion that Islam's 1.6 billion adherents throughout all cultures and societies have no diversity of thought, opinion, or desire. It is a monster that attacks those considered Muslim. It is the same monster that attacks those considered not Muslim enough.

It is for this reason that I do not welcome Dr Ali Selim's recent contribution to the debate on Irish schooling, where he obliquely claims that diversity in Irish society can be enhanced if diversity within Irish Muslim society is eradicated.

He estimates 65,000 Muslims in Ireland, presumably a figure that includes all 49,204 self described Muslims from our 2011 census. Selim uses his self appointed position as their spokesperson to present them as monolithic on many matters. Let us examine some of his claims:
"[Islam] forbids pre- and extramarital sexual relations, whereas RSE perceives sexual relations outside wedlock as part of normal practices."
I am of course shocked to learn that an authoritarian religious apologist frowns on relationship and sexuality education, and uses their faith and self constructed platform to oppose same. That said a favouring of marriage as an environment in which to raise children can hardly be considered the unique preserve of the Muslim faith, and I'm aquiver with anticipation for Selim's paper showing Christians do not share this position. Perhaps he will soon be calling for the introduction of Catholic values to some of Ireland's schools? It is hardly incoherent to favour waiting till marriage yet also wish to equip one's children with an understanding of relationships, human sexuality, self respect and respect for one's partner and it's baffling how Selim can pretend no Irish Muslim holds this view.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Iona Institute Declares Its Support For (Some) Marriage Equality

Yesterday the otherwise affable Oriental Cutlery tweeted a link to the Iona Institute's latest video. I encourage fans of unmuddled thinking to avoid watching at an hour where exasperation or a breeched balderdash threshold could cause insomnia or gritted teeth.

Today I experienced both surprise and chagrin when I realised that fully one fifth of their broadcast was an impassioned plea for marriage equality for same sex couples.

Not all same sex couples, mind you, but it's encouraging to see them take these faltering, progressive steps.

I reproduce the segment for your convenience:
We believe that children should be raised by their own mother and father in a loving marriage whenever possible. Of course, circumstance can often mean this isn't possible. But we believe children should not be deprived of a mother or father's love as a matter of deliberate design. - Iona Institute, Marriage Equality Supporters The banner on their page says "civil marriage for gay and lesbian people"
Some think marriage equality is the struggle for civil marriage for gay and lesbian people. To hold this view is of course to think bisexuals can never fall in love with someone of the same gender. This is not the injustice the Iona Institute seek to right. Instead I feel they speak to the inordinate challenges married transgender parents face.

A man assigned the sex female at birth can marry a cis male, give birth, and then later decide to come out. He may then begin the process of changing his gender presentation to better match his internal sense of gender.

Some marriages are strained by this. Some come through it. For those who choose to seek legal recognition of their correct gender they may face a stark choice: the State will only grant them recognition if they divorce. I can only imagine the sense of betrayal that must accompany one's government forcing a citizen to choose between recognition of their marriage or their gender.

The Iona Institute are convinced that the biological component provided by each parent is paramount in parenting. They hold marriage dear as the ideal institution in which children should be raised. They oppose any legal step that would, by deliberate design, weaken this arrangement. It follows with certainty, therefore, that they support marriage rights for transgender citizens of this state, regardless of gender.