[ExI] Let's stop lowering our IQs.

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 5 03:49:15 UTC 2013

On Monday, February 4, 2013 6:59 PM Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> wrote:
> Re the subject line:
> Yes, let us stop acting at length against anything that
> seems scary but which we personally know little about.

I do agree about not getting overly upset about scare stories. I think an excellent thing to do in this vein is to, for the most part, ignore almost all "news" in all forms of media since there's always a bias toward the sensation and toward scare stories. And since it seems the human mind is biased toward focusing on such things and focusing on narratives, as opposed to digesting large amounts of data, seeking broader perspectives, etc., there's a good reason to not dose oneself with news. In fact, one has to be trained to avoid these biases, which is generally what learning in various sciences and humanities attempts to do, when it's at its best, no?

> Let us develop the habit, even instinct, to - whenever
> we hear about something that scares us but is not an
> immediate threat (i.e., not something we need to do
> something about in the next hour) - research that
> which disturbs us.  Let us check out snopes.com and
> similar sources, that we might recognize Big Lies
> when they are repeated, and thus inoculate ourselves
> against them.

That's only good if you trust them, but it's not a bad idea, IMO.

> Let us exercise our intelligence, not our fears, when
> these things come up.  Because just like our
> muscles, whichever one we exercise shall grow, and
> whichever we do not shall atrophy.  More intelligence
> and less fear sounds like a good way to live to me.

That said, what's funny here is James Clement did post the link to a paper on this topic that also links to other papers on the same. I think the subject line might be off, but I would find it strange if fluoride wasn't toxic... And the whole idea of fluoridating seems like the worst form of risk-taking: adding something new into the general water supply should always be something that has to bear the burden of proof -- rather than the other way 'round. It's kind of like if you were in the Amazon jungle and looking for a snack, saw some plant, didn't know much about it, then remember, "Ah, I haven't read any research articles or heard any clinical studies on this plant, why don't I just put some salad dressing on it and have lunch? And why don't I, while I'm at it, smear it all over my skin? After all, there's no reports of it being dangerous?"

This is not to support the scare story mentality or even to argue for the precautionary principle -- though it might seem like the latter. But before putting a substance into general use, even at really low doses, it seems reasonable to study the problems first rather than just do it and then later try to figure out if it's harmful -- whether it lowers IQs (whether that's a bad thing or even matters), makes some sprout fairy wings, or whatever.


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