Category Archives: Medical

A better way of dealing with Covid-19

‘How much have we been duped and sold down the river by the response?’

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[COVID-19 disease, image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)]

By Spencer D Gear PhD

This article appeared in On Line Opinion, 31 August 2020, A better way of dealing with Covid-19

I was waiting to see my local Dr this week and scrolled through Google News on my mobile. I was shocked to hear Sky News host, Alan Jones, state that ‘people are being swept up into a sense of hysteria and alarmism around COVID-19’ (10 August 2020).

Alan Jones slammed our political leaders for not showing leadership in the Covid-19 pandemic. He said more people died in Australia in 2019 from influenza than from Covid-19 in 2020.

And there was no closing of borders and wrecking the economy in all states and territories.

It would be misplaced to discard Jones’ views because you disagree with his worldview and place him in the ‘right wing’ category of commentators. It would be wrong-headed to do that as the evidence has not been presented.

1. People dying from flu – with a vaccine

His point was, ‘More people are dying from the flu with a vaccine than are dying from Coronavirus without a vaccine’. ‘Eighty per cent of Covid-19 cases are considered mild. But nearly 99% of Covid-19 patients experience the same symptoms – fever, dry cough, and fatigue – at different levels of severity’.

A check of the Australian statistics revealed a total of 705 influenza-associated deaths were notified between January and September 2019, compared to 417 in 2017. However, this figure reached 745 deaths in 2017, reflecting a later seasonal peak. These counts were not statistically significant in their differences (654-759 vs 692-800).

The 2017 season had moderate clinical severity based on ICU admissions among hospitalised cases’ (Global Biosecurity, Severity of the 2019 influenza season in Australia- a comparison between 2017 and 2019 H3N2 influenza seasons).

How do the flu deaths (with a vaccine) compare with Covid-19 deaths? ‘As at 3pm on 12 August 2020, a total of 22,127 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Australia, including 352 deaths, and 12,774 have been reported as recovered from COVID-19’ (Australian Government: Department of Health).

There you have it: 705 influenza-related deaths in Australia in 2019. To date, there have been 313 Covid-19 related deaths. So, flu deaths (even with a vaccine) account for double the number of Covid-19 deaths.

However, in an attempt to deal with the alleged Covid-19 pandemic the …

2. The Australian economy has been wrecked

Image(image of queue outside Centrelink office, Townsville Qld., courtesy The Guardian: Australian edition, 24 March 2020)

 What has happened to our states and nation with closure of businesses, closure of borders, and quarantine? It has wrecked our economy, caused many to be placed in unemployment queues, and sent small and medium-size businesses to the wall.

Australia now has a national debt crisis. Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, presented an ‘optimistic’ deficit of $184.5 billion for the current financial year. That will take zillions of years to pay off.

The Commonwealth government has assigned almost $150 billion to prop up our economy. To this is added $35 billion from the States and $26 billion in tax cuts, which the Treasurer brought forward.

ABC News reported (20 July 2020), ‘For the financial year just ended, UBS’s chief economist George Tharenou is tipping a deficit of $81 billion and for the current year a massive $194 billion. The only way the Government can fund that is through raising debt’.

3. Lockdowns don’t work

Why don’t we listen to the research authorities such as the leading British medical journal, The Lancet, which concluded ‘the U.S.’s major weapons against the Coronavirus–––lockdowns and wide testing––do not reduce death rates?

See recent Lancet research, ‘A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes’ (latest issue published 4 August 2020).

The Lancet study’s assessment was:

In our study, an increasing number of days to border closures was associated with a higher caseload, and more restrictive public health measures (such as a full lockdown compared to partial or curfew only measures) were associated with an increase in the number of recovered cases per million population. These findings suggest that more restrictive public health practices may indeed be associated with less transmission and better outcomes. However, in our analysis, full lockdowns and widespread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.

The conclusion to this research was that the Queensland government’s approach of full lockdowns and widespread Covid-19 testing is not associated with a reduction of serious medical cases and deaths.

4. A better policy to follow

What’s the alternative? Is there a national policy for Australia to emulate? The model set by Taiwan, with a similar size population to Australia (23.8 million), is worth considering. It consisted of these elements:

clip_image002 There was quick action to control the country’s borders.

clip_image002[1] On January 20 the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) was activated to coordinate cooperation across government agencies and between government and businesses.

clip_image002[2] ‘The CECC also coordinates big data analytics, testing, quarantine and contact tracing’.

clip_image002[3] The national health insurance administration and immigration agency ‘worked together to identify suspected cases for COVID-19 testing, integrating their databases of citizens’ medical and travel history’.

clip_image002[4] Like Australia, since late March all new arrivals in Taiwan must quarantine for 14 days.

clip_image002[5] The CECC partnered with police, local officials and telecom companies to enforce the quarantine. This included support of mobile phone tracking.

clip_image002[6] Care for those quarantined was guaranteed by citizens who asked about the health of people in quarantine and basic daily supplies were provided, if required.

clip_image002[7]A 24-hour helpline was available, provided by Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control collaborated with two tech companies – HTC and LINE. This created a chatbox which allowed people to report their health status and get advice about the virus’.

clip_image002[8] Taiwan tests about 5,800 samples a day. A health worker distributes hand sanitiser at Ningxia Night Market, Taipei in late May.

clip_image002[9] To avoid the panic buying of face masks, the government rationed their distribution and ramped up production. In February, the government partnered with the Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association and manufacturers, investing in new machinery to produce surgical face masks. In return, manufacturers have to sell the masks back to the government at an agreed price. This cost approximately $6.8 million (What coronavirus success of Taiwan and Iceland has in common, The Conversation, 29 June 2020).

Iceland has a much smaller population (341,600), but has implemented a strategy similar to Taiwan’s. As of 29 June 2020, there were 1,838 confirmed Covid-19 infections; 1,816 have fully recovered; and 10 deaths were recorded. The government took quick action through its National Crisis Coordination Center on January 31, 2020.

5. What was the outcome in Taiwan?

It is important to remember that Taiwan learned its strategy as a result of the SARS epidemic in 2003. Thus, it was more prepared for the Covid-19 outbreak than many countries.

As a result of these strict measures taken, there have been 487 Covid-19 cases; 462 recovered; and there have been only 7 deaths.

6. Why not listen to these professionals?

Professor Mark Woolhouse, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh, is advising the British Government on Covid-19. He said that there is no proof that Covid-19 is transmitted from pupil to teacher in school anywhere in the world (with one exception in Australia). Therefore, ‘closing all schools completely during Britain’s lockdown might have been a mistake…. Statistics show 15 children and teenagers have died of coronavirus in England and Wales since March, 0.03 per cent of the total deaths’.

Australia is listening to the developers of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK. ABC News, Brisbane (19 August 2020) reported Prime Minister Scott Morrison as saying the vaccine developed by Oxford University is ‘one of the most advanced and promising in the world’.

In addition, ‘the Australian Government has secured the rights to manufacture millions of doses of the potential vaccine — called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or AZD1222 — if trials are successful and it’s approved. Plus, it’ll be free’.

Why aren’t ScoMo and his cabinet listening to another Professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University, Sunetra Gupta? She is a top disease expert who has urged Australia to abandon its ‘selfish’ and ‘self congratulatory’ lockdown tactics and embrace a Swedish-style herd immunity strategy to fight Covid-19.

Professor Gupta said the Scandinavian country of Sweden has ‘done quite well in terms of deaths’ – despite its record of 5,300 fatalities not comparing with Australia’s much lower level.

The Daily Mail (4 July 2020) reported: ‘Sweden holds the fifth-highest rate of deaths per capita in the world after the Nordic nation took its own path and declined to close its restaurants, bars, schools and shops to fight the spread of the virus.

Sweden took the soft line, as opposed to Australia’s tough stand. The Daily Mail provided a photograph of Swedish locals lapping up the sun next to a social distancing sign which they ignored. The Swedes were sunbaking at Malmo, Sweden in June. They took their own liaise-faire line, in spite of recommended discipline. Could this have as much to do with the Swedish worldview of liberty than to abiding by the recommended Covid-19 course of action?

While the Swedes ignored their government’s recommendations – with no fines for infractions – Australia’s shopping precincts of shopping centres, restaurants, pubs, clubs and streets remain deserted. The tourism industry around Australia is ruined by the strict cross-border restrictions.

Alan Jones commented:

Red-Glass ‘No proper checks and balances to lockdown measures’ (President of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia, Robin Speed).

Red-Glass ‘Health advice should have been released months ago regarding lockdowns, keeping children out of school, or shutting businesses’.

Red-Glass You can’t travel more than 5km from home for essential items (Melbourne); curfew is from 8pm-5am; limiting numbers in restaurants. Shut the borders’. Where’s the evidence to justify these actions?’

‘I’m telling you there is none’ (Jones).

Red-Glass ‘The central issue is, “How much have we been duped and sold down the river by the response?”’ (Alan Jones).

7. Conclusion

It took a shock jock to alert me to these facts – yes, facts – about the Covid-19 virus:

snowflake-light-green-small We have been tricked into allowing unelected officials – such as Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young – to influence government policy. This policy includes:

snowflake-light-green-small Closing state borders, restricting numbers of people in restaurants, social distancing regulation, and school closures.

snowflake-light-green-small These measures were taken with the view of restricting Covid-19 deaths. I didn’t read public evidence to support these policies.

snowflake-light-green-small There are many infectious diseases for which there is no vaccine and these are controlled in the community, e.g. Dengue, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Hookworm infection, Venezuelan haemorrhagic fever, Chistosomiasis, and more.

snowflake-light-green-small The whole suite of strategies used to prevent Covid-19 from spreading across Australia should have been released months ago to provide the evidence to implement these policies.

See the Alan Jones’ commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scZJFQCYEFA

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 31 August 2020.

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Why I oppose use of the COVIDSafe app.

Warning sign Covid-19

By Spencer D Gear PhD

The Australian government has spent a lot of time and money on encouraging all Australians with a mobile phone to download COVIDSafe app.

The COVIDSafe app is part of our work to slow the spread of COVID-19. Having confidence we can find and contain outbreaks quickly will mean governments can ease restrictions while still keeping Australians safe.

The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. Downloading the app is something you can do to protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus….

Your information and privacy is (sic) strictly protected (COVIDSafe app, Dept. of Health).

My reading led to my being not so sure of the privacy and security of the app, so I sent the following information to my friends by email and on Facebook.

1. Questioning COVIDSafe

I emailed my son, Paul, on 27 April 2020 to get this advice on downloading the COVIDSafe app to my phone. He’s an IT professional.
His response was: “My expert opinion is that this app will create far more problems than it solves, and it was very irresponsible of the government to even attempt it.  Stay far away”.

My personal view is that COVIDSafe app is the kind of approach of a totalitarian Communist government and not that of a democracy. I won’t be downloading it.

2. Taken to task

One of my respected Christian friends with a PhD in his discipline responded to the ‘Questioning COVIDSafe’. He wrote:

We’ve actually taken the opposite position.

COVIDSafe app logo(Image courtesy Australian Government, Dept of Health)

I’ve seen that there are experts such as Paul who are against it and there are experts for it. They might be right. They might be wrong; I think it’s a risk worth taking.

Re the totalitarian approach:  Certainly, the Chinese government and other totalitarian regimes will use this new app (they already have their own version up and running in China) to exercise population control in the same way that they already do with the internet and all manner of gadgets. But this doesn’t mean that the app itself is evil. This is important. 

If you were to be consistent in not using systems, equipment or approaches taken by the totalitarian regimes, then you would not use the internet, security cameras to all manner of things. But you do use these things, and benefit from them. In the hands of properly-motivated people, these systems are OK. 

My view is that if there’s anything we can do to reduce the risk of the spread of this virus, then we should do it. We have four phones in our home … and all four of us have downloaded the app (email received 28 April 2020).

3. Consider this response.

It’s important because my friend engages in some erroneous reasoning in his reply. I sent this email to him (29 April 2020).

Thank you for sharing your perspective on the COVIDSafe app. From your line of reasoning, it appears to me that you have committed two logical fallacies:

  1. Cherry Picking. This is also called the fallacy of suppressed evidence: ‘When only select evidence is presented in order to persuade the audience to accept a position and evidence that would go against the position is withheld. The stronger the withheld evidence, the more fallacious the argument’. I’ll explain the suppressed evidence below.
  1. Red Herring Fallacy: ‘Attempting to redirect the argument to another issue to which the person doing the redirecting can better respond. While it is similar to the avoiding the issue fallacy, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument’. I’ll discuss below.

3.1 Cherry Picking

In saying experts could be right or wrong, you provided no evidence to demonstrate your point. I was staggered by your comment, ‘It’s a risk worth taking’. You’re a bright and respected man who should not be entering into the gamble of using an app that some experts have many questions about.

Let’s check a couple examples:

Here are some links with information from experts who are recommending against it:

clip_image002Who can access our data? Does digital contact tracing even work? Five questions about the government’s new Coronavirus app.

This is from ABC Science, 20 April 2020. This article and a link in the article provide this information.

clip_image004 I don’t understand how over a million have downloaded the app while ‘the Government hasn’t yet released the app’s source code and new legislation governing its use has yet to be shared. But that hasn’t stopped researchers from digging into both the technical and legal implications of this unprecedented bit of software’.

clip_image005[4] ‘The Digital Transformation Agency did not respond to detailed questions about how it will work’.

clip_image005[4] ‘We also need to know if the data the app collects will be treated in a centralised or decentralised way, said Vanessa Teague, cryptographer and chief executive of Thinking Cybersecurity’.
‘In Dr Teague’s view [cryptographer and chief executive of Thinking Cybersecurity], this model raises problems of both reliability and privacy’.

How do you download the COVIDSafe app and will it drain your ... (Image courtesy abc.net.au/news)

clip_image005[4]‘Before rolling out technology built for a pandemic, we need to know if and when it would be “switched off”. Technology that records who we’ve been physically near, even if that information is encrypted, raises serious implications, and may be tempting to use in other contexts like terrorism cases. “This has to be absolutely limited,” said Kimberlee Weatherall, technology law professor at the University of Sydney. “It has to have sunsets, and some real-time limits”‘.

clip_image005[4]‘Will your employer force you to use the app?’

There are other reasons in this article recommending against downloading this app yet. I encourage you to read this ABC News Science article to gain a contrary view by other experts, instead of cherry picking some experts on your side.

Another link that expresses concerns about the app is:

clip_image002[1]Tracing the challenges of COVIDSafe (Why GitHub?)

The opposition includes:

clip_image007  ‘The Australian app instead downloads a new UniqueID only every two hours. It has no batch capacity, so if it cannot reconnect to the Internet within two hours it simply keeps using the same UniqueID. This has serious privacy implications that are not adequately addressed in the PIA [Private Impact Assessment]’.

clip_image007[1]  ‘This does not frankly describe the opportunity for the national data store to check, regularly, whether a particular individual has the app up and running’.

clip_image007[2]  ‘It greatly increases the opportunities for third-party tracking’.

clip_image007[3]  ‘Like TraceTogether, there are still serious privacy problems if we consider the central authority to be an adversary. That authority, whether Amazon, the Australian government or whoever accesses the server, can

  • recognise all your encryptedIDs if they are heard on Bluetooth devices as you go,
  • recognise them on your phone if it acquires it, and
  • learn your contacts if you test positive.

These are probably still the most serious privacy concerns for some COVIDSafe users. None of this has changed since TraceTogether.

Note: I have not included the experts who support COVIDSafe as my friend was aware of them. I’m not cherry picking by leaving those sources out, but sharing a perspective from the professionals that is opposed to his view.

3.2 Red Herring Fallacy

My friend stated:

Certainly, the Chinese government and other totalitarian regimes will use this new app (they already have their own version up and running in China) to exercise population control in the same way that they already do with the internet and all manner of gadgets.  But this doesn’t mean that the app itself is evil.  This is important.  If you were to be consistent in not using systems, equipment or approaches taken by the totalitarian regimes, then you would not use the internet, security cameras to all manner of things.  But you do use these things, and benefit from them.

When you bring into our conversation issues such as the app in China and it is not evil. Then you bring in an agenda of getting rid of the Internet and all manner of gadgets because the Chinese use them. It is a Red Herring because …

  • I opposed acceptance of COVIDSafe and gave my reasons.
  • Then you introduced another argument of how the Chinese government exercises population control and that would mean I should not use the internet and all manner of gadgets.
  • Then you abandoned my evidence for why I won’t support COVIDSafe.

It is fallacious reasoning and we won’t progress in discussions when you do this.

You say your view is: ‘If there’s anything we can do to reduce the risk of the spread of this virus, then we should do it’. That’s pragmatism as a world view, but without a careful analysis of the pros and cons of the app.

I shared your information with Paul and one point he made was: It is not ‘a neutral piece of technology like the Internet or security cameras or whatever.  It was created with the sole purpose of tracking people, and that makes it something that’s 1) more likely to be abused, and 2) easier to abuse’.

4. Breaches of data have happened before.

Could this happen with the COVIDSafe app?

A prominent university professor has quit after the health department pressured her university to stop her speaking out about the Medicare and PBS history of over 2.5 million Australians being re-identifiable online due to a government bungle.

In 2016, Vanessa Teague, a cryptographer from the University of Melbourne, and two of her colleagues reported on a dataset, published on an open government data website by the federal government, of 2.5 million Australians’ Medicare and PBS payment history dating back to 1984 that had supposedly been de-identified so people were anonymous.

Teague and her colleagues reported that the dataset had several samples where people were able to be identified breach (The Guardian Australia Edition, 8 March 2020).

5. Conclusion

There are too many ifs and buts about the privacy and security of this app. There are professionals in the field who consider it is safe enough. Others oppose this view and give their reasons.

Until better information is available to guarantee the security and privacy concerns of COVIDSafe, I will not recommend its downloading on any mobile phone.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 April 2020.

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Total depravity

Image result for clipart Total Depravity

(image courtesy David Cox)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

The term, ‘total depravity’, gets people squirming as they think of all people being put into this wicked, sinful, immoral and evil class. The language used, ‘total depravity’, is enough to scare people away from considering Christianity.

Most Christians I know wouldn’t use the term when sharing Christ with unbelievers. I don’t use it in evangelism but speak of ‘we are all sinners’ who have missed the mark of God’s standard. Most people can get a handle on that type of language.

Isn’t it over the top to think that non-Christians and people of other religions are totally bad? How is it possible to say that about Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Corrie ten Boom, and those who work to relieve the poverty and deprivation of children through Compassion International?

What did it mean to Reformers such as Martin Luther, Jacob Arminius, and John Calvin?

1. Martin Luther on total depravity

In The Bondage of the Will (1976), he replied to the Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (The Netherlands), The Freedom of the Will which Luther called the ‘Diatribe on Free-Will’ (1976:13).

1.1 Who was Erasmus?

Erasmus was a Dutch philosopher and Christian scholar (AD 1466-1536) who translated the New Testament into Greek. His publications included ‘the Novum Instrumentum consisting of the Greek text and Erasmus’ own Latin translation of the New Testament’.[1]Textus Receptus was published by Desiderius Erasmus in his 1516 edition of the Greek New Testament: Novum Instrumentum omne’.

This is the New Testament base for the New Testaments by William Tyndale, the Bishops Bible, the Geneva Bible and the King James Bible. Although none of Erasmus’s manuscripts was older than the 10th century, it essentially agreed with the others. Erasmus made the Greek NT available to scholars across Western Europe.

It was a monumental feat and one for which the Dutch priest should be given much credit. While Erasmus Himself was not thinking in terms of Bible translations for the masses, the new Protestant movement certainly was, and this Greek text became a vital tool to that end (Wayne 2018).

1.2 Debate over Erasmus’s diatribe

Image result for image total depravity

(image courtesy Peace Apostolic Ministries)

Luther wrote insensitively to Erasmus:

For if man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?…

Responding to Erasmus, he said that throughout Erasmus’s treatment he forgot that “that ‘free-will’ can do nothing without grace, and you prove that ‘free-will’ can do all things without grace! Your inferences and analogies [fail]. “For if man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?” (1957:149)

Luther went on to drive home the point: “Let all the ‘free-will’ in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength” (1957:202).

It seemed that Luther caught out Erasmus when Luther said that he would not want ‘free will’ nor anything eels be left in his own hands to enable him after salvation.

This is ‘not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground; but because even were there no dangers, I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success’.

He stated ‘that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him (1957:313-314).

Therefore, Luther confessed that total depravity meant there was no such thing as free-will and God had taken his salvation out of the control of his free will. Human beings cannot will to do good before God and are left in their sin – unless God intervenes.

This strict view of total depravity is similar to that of Calvin.

2. Calvinism and total depravity

The Calvinistic Synod of Dordt concluded concerning the corruption of human beings:

Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto (The Canons of Dordt, Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof, Article 3).

2.1 John Calvin’s view

John Calvin wrote that concisely in expressing his view:

… our nature is not only destitute of all good, but is so fertile in all evils that it cannot remain inactive. Those who have called it concupiscence have used an expression not improper, if it were only added, which is far from being conceded by most persons, that everything in man, the understanding and will, the soul and body, is polluted and engrossed by this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that man is of himself nothing else but concupiscence. (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. I, Bk. II, Chap. 1, Para. 8; J Allen transl.)

‘Concupiscence’ is an antiquated word that means ‘strong sexual desire; lust’ (lexico.com 2020. s.v. concupiscence) and ‘ardent, usually sensuous, longing’ (dictionary.com 2020. s.v. concupiscence’). It came into middle English via the old French and late Latin.

2.2 Summary of Reformation doctrine of total depravity

‘The Reformational doctrine of total depravity seen especially in Calvin can be stated summarily in these sentences:

1. Sin is the responsible choice of man to violate God’s law.
2. Sin is a depravity of the whole nature of man.
3. Sin conveys guilt before God for man’s personal and Adam’s representational sin.
4. Sin is the actively developed apostasy of man against God.
5. Sin is a full warrant for eternal punishment’ (Gregory n.d.).

3. Reformed Arminian: Total depravity

I accept a traditional Reformed Arminian approach to total depravity. Reformed Arminian is the theology of Jacob Arminius. It is not that of Wesleyan Arminianism or Semi-Pelagian Arminianism.

This means that because of the Fall into sin, no human beings are able to save themselves. Sinners are ‘dead in sin’.[2]

My understanding of total depravity or total inability is parallel with that of Jacob Arminius. Before the Fall into sin, human beings were ‘good’ in their ability to love and do the works of God.
Before the Fall, human beings were created in the image of God (
Gen 1:26-27). According to Gen 2:17, before the Fall human beings hd the ability to choose good from evil. After the Fall, for believers, they have ‘put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Col 3:10 NIV).

3.1 Dead in sins

Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV) are critical verses in understanding Total Depravity:

‘As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient’.

What does it mean to be ‘dead in sins’?

They were spiritually dead in their former lives and this was their lifestyle (present participle – continual action). We note in Eph 1:7 the plurals, ‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace’ (NIV). Every trespass/sin (missing the mark) demonstrated this deadness.

?Does it mean that unbelievers cannot respond to God’s offer of salvation? We know this is not the case because of the content of Titus 2:11 (NIV). Do sinners have a total inability to respond to the offer of salvation without God’s unconditional election and irresistible grace?? See my article: How to interpret ‘appeared’ in Titus 2:11

?We know that Adam ad Eve, after they had sinned, could still hear the voice of God (Gen 3:8-19 NIV). Therefore, Total Depravity does not cut one off from hearing the voice of God. It is a demonstration of what has happened within human beings.?

3.2 The crunch time

The crunch is this, described as total depravity, and it is that sinful human beings cannot do what is good towards God. That’s because the free will has not only been ‘wounded, maimed, made infirm, bent, and weakened’ but also it is ‘imprisoned, destroyed, and lost’.

Its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace’. For Christ has said, “Without me you can do nothing.”?

St. Augustine, after having diligently meditated upon each word in this passage, speaks thus: “Christ does not say, without me ye can do but Little; neither does He say, without me ye can do any Arduous Thing, nor without me ye can do it with difficulty. But he says, without me ye can do Nothing! Nor does he say, without me ye cannot complete any thing; but without me ye can do Nothing.” That this may be made more manifestly to appear, we will separately consider the mind, the affections or will, and the capability, as contra-distinguished from them, as well as the life itself of an unregenerate man’ (Arminius 1977:525-526).?

But the great and good news is that God has provided a way to deal with this ‘dead in sin’ situation: ‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people’ (Titus 2:11 NIV). This is the enabling grace of God available ‘to all people’ for the offering of salvation.

I believe in Total Depravity because it is a Bible teaching. It refers to comprehensive inability to do God’s good because of sins and transgressions.

3.3 Let’s explain this further

The Reformed Arminian perspective is that human beings in the beginning were created in the image of God. Adam & Eve fell from this sinless state through willful disobedience, leaving the whole human race in a state of total depravity.[3]
This means they were sinful, separated from God and sentenced to God’s condemnation (Rom 3:23; Eph 2:1-3). Total depravity does not mean that human beings are as bad as bad could be. But it means every part of a human being – body, soul/spirit, heart, and mind – has been infected with sin.

All human beings have a sinful nature with a natural desire/inclination to sin. So, all human beings are fundamentally corrupt throughout their entire beings (Jer 17:9; Gen 6:5; Matt 19:17; Luke 11:13).

All people are spiritually dead in their sins (Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13) and as a result are slaves to sin (Rom 6:17-20). Could anything be clearer than the Apostle Paul’s statement, ‘For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature [flesh]. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out’ (Rom 7:13 NIV).

Paul further explains the nature of total depravity: “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one’” (Rom 3:10-12; cf. Rom 1:18-32; Eph 4:17-22).

So in their natural states, people are hostile to God and they cannot submit to his Law or please him – they are totally depraved (Rom 8:7-8).

4. What it looks like in the community

As I prepared this article today, I came across this headline from yesterday’s, The Sydney Morning Herald:

All over the world, patients are lying about virus: GP’

This was a headline in an Australian newspaper (online)

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(image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)[4]

Journalist Madonna King explained:

But for each good act, we’ve also seen how the fear of this disease, which is only beginning, can bring out the worst of human behaviour.

Today, that behaviour is being seen in our GP surgeries, where staff are being abused, ridiculed and told lies.

It’s that latter behaviour – where patients are lying to receptions and nurses, denying they have travelled overseas or have had contact with other COVID-19 cases, in order to see a doctor – that is particularly worrying….

Dr Glynn Kelly: ‘”They are lying. And it’s happening all over Australia,’’ he says. Some patients were filling out COVID-19 forms denying overseas travel or contact with other infected people, so they could get into see a doctor – and then would confess (King 2020).

We may well conclude that this lying is a manifestation of the environment since we are experiencing a pandemic of Coronavirus. We are tempted to place the blame on the environment from childhood to adulthood, i.e. it’s learned behaviour.

This is why we need God’s word on total depravity. Jeremiah 17:9 is but one example of the core problem: ‘The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (NLT)

Doctors are finding out how depraved a person’s inner being is – in their consulting rooms.

5. A biblical perspective

The sinfulness of all human beings, as a result of the guilt inflicted on us by Adam’s first sin is that righteousness cannot be found in us (Rom 3:10; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24).

Instead, the whole of human nature is corrupted (i.e. total depravity or original sin). See: Ps 51:5; John 3:6; Rom 3:18; 8:7-8, and Eph. 2:3.

Although the context deals with the prediction of Noah’s world-wide flood, Gen 6:5 (NET) summarises well the human condition: ‘But the LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time’.

clip_image003A Sistine Chapel fresco depicts the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden for their sin of eating from the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Image courtesy Wikipedia).

Sadly, that is the condition of all people without Christ.

After the Flood, the Lord still described human beings this way: ‘The inclination of their minds is evil from childhood’ (Gen 8:21 NET).

Could Isaiah be clearer? ‘All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf,
and our iniquities carry us away like the wind’ (Isa 64:6 HCSB).

‘It might be more accurate to say that we are totally unable to be righteous’ (Stack Exchange 2015).

The New Testament view is that all human beings are in a fallen state and are dead in sin (Eph 2:1-2). We are slaves to sin (John 8:34) and all unbelievers are ‘darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts’ (Eph 4:18 HCSB).

6. Conclusion

Human beings are wretches before God. ‘We can’t think, will, nor do anything good in and of [ourselves].[5] We are unable do anything that merits favor from God and we cannot do anything to save ourselves from the judgment and condemnation of God that we deserve for our sin’.

We cannot even believe the gospel on our own (John 6:44). If anyone is to be saved, God must take the initiative’ (see F.A.C.T.S. of Salvation: T).

All human nature is corrupt – total inability to respond to God unless he draws us to Himself.

7. Works consulted

Gregory, T M n.d. Presbyterian doctrine of total depravity (online). Available at: https://www.the-highway.com/depravity_Gregory.html (Accessed 20 March 2020).

King, M 2020. The Sydney Morning Herald (online). All over the world, patients are lying about virus: GP, 19 March. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/all-over-the-world-patients-are-lying-about-virus-gp-20200319-p54bob.html (Accessed 20 March 2020).

Luther, M 1957. The Bondage of the Will, J I Packer & O R Johnston (eds). Old Tappan NJ: Revell.

Stack Exchange 2015. What is the biblical basis for total depravity? (online), 24 February. Available at: https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/27/what-is-the-biblical-basis-for-total-depravity (Accessed 17 March 2020).

Wayne, L 2018. CARM (online). What is the Textus Receptus? Available at: https://carm.org/KJVO/what-is-the-tr (Accessed 19 March 2020).

8.  Notes

[1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy n.d. Desiderius Erasmus (1468?—1536). Available at: https://www.iep.utm.edu/erasmus/ (Accessed 19 March 2020).

[2] This was my post to Christianforums.net 2020. T.U.L.I.P., OzSpen#16. Available at: https://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/t-u-l-i-p.81940/#post-1551578 (Accessed 16 March 2020).

[3] Ibid., OzSpen#31.

[4] Available at: https://phil.cdc.gov/Details.aspx?pid=23313 (Accessed 20 March 2020).

[5] The original said, ‘themselves’.

Copyright © 2020 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 20 March 2020.

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Diet Coke, Stroke and Dementia

By Spencer D Gear PhD

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My friend Alan phoned me as he was watching the news on TV and saw the promotion for the upcoming story on Channel 9 news, Brisbane Qld. This dealt with the supposed link between diet drinks, stroke and dementia. I turned onto Channel 9 and waited for the item to come on. That item ended by stating that further research was needed.

That was also the information provided in an article in The Sun (UK). The emphasis was repeated that more research was needed. ‘But after accounting for all lifestyle factors, the researchers found the link to dementia was statistically insignificant’ in this British report (McDermott 2017).

The lead researcher of this study, Matthew Pase, said, ‘It’s important to note that the absolute risk for any one person who drinks diet pop is low. Of the 2,888 participants the study followed, there were only 97 cases of stroke and 81 cases of dementia’. The study warned: ‘That will need to be explored further in other studies…. We need more studies to confirm whether the association is true and causal or whether the association is caused by something else’ (CTVNews.ca Staff 2017).

What’s the truth in The Sun (UK’s) headline?

Coca killer ‘Just ONE Diet Coke or Pepsi Max a day can ‘TRIPLE the risk of a deadly stroke’ and dementia, researchers claim’[1]

This Australian news item stated:

Drinking at least one artificially sweetened drink every day has been associated with a three times greater risk of having a stroke or developing dementia, according to a US study.

The researchers of the Boston University study, published in medical journal Stroke, caution that the findings only show an association, but say there is a need for further investigation (The Australian, 22 April 2017).[2]

clip_image003Do you remember a few years ago there was a lot of commotion about the supposed link between aspartame (artificial sweetener) and cancer? After further research, the American Cancer Society reported:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the use of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners in the United States. In 2007, the FDA stated:

Considering results from the large number of studies on aspartame’s safety, including five previously conducted negative chronic carcinogenicity studies, a recently reported large epidemiology study with negative associations between the use of aspartame and the occurrence of tumors, and negative findings from a series of three transgenic mouse assays, FDA finds no reason to alter its previous conclusion that aspartame is safe as a general purpose sweetener in food (U.S. Food & Drug Administration 2007).

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assesses the safety of sweeteners such as aspartame in the European Union. According to a 2009 report from its Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food:

Overall, the Panel concluded, on the basis of all the evidence currently available … that there is no indication of any genotoxic or carcinogenic potential of aspartame and that there is no reason to revise the previously established ADI for aspartame of 40 mg/kg [body weight].

Though research into a possible link between aspartame and cancer continues, these agencies agree that studies done so far have not found such a link (American Cancer Society, Aspartame).

clip_image004I consider it is way too early to claim a link between diet drinks, strokes and dementia. There is much more of a possibility that I will get dementia from the deep anaesthesia I have been through in my 5 heart surgeries triggering a predisposition to dementia:

“We don’t think that anesthesia and surgery actually cause Alzheimer’s or cause dementia,” he adds. “We think that it interacts with individual vulnerabilities where if you’re already predisposed to getting something like this, this speeds it up.” Scientists are working on ways to identify populations that might be more susceptible to dementia via biomarkers and other tests, and eventually hope to use that information to make surgery safer for them (Scientific American, October 23, 2014).

If the research was certain of the link between aspartame, stroke and dementia, I’d be off diet Coke and Pepsi Max immediately. At this point, it’s more suitable for mass media hype to get our attention – as with Aspartame years ago. That’s how I see it and I drink about 3-4 cans per week.

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Country music legend, Loretta Lynn (pictured here at left on her 1965 album, Blue Kentucky Girl. At age 85 in 2017, she suffered a stroke (but is expected to make a full recovery). The second photograph is Loretta performing at age 82.

Works consulted

CTVNews.ca Staff 2017. Two new studies suggest links between soft drinks, dementia and stroke (online). CTV News, 20 April. Available at: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/two-new-studies-suggest-links-between-soft-drinks-dementia-and-stroke-1.3377659 (Accessed 29 November 2017).

McDermott, N 2017. Coca killer: Just ONE Diet Coke or Pepsi Max a day can ‘TRIPLE the risk of a deadly stroke’ and dementia, researchers claim (online), The Sun (UK), 20 April. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/3376748/diet-coke-pepsi-max-deadly-stroke-and-dementia/ (Accessed 29 November 2017).

U.S. Food & Drug Administration 2007. FDA Statement on European Aspartame Study (online), 20 April. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm208580.htm (Accessed 29 November 2017).


Notes

[1] McDermott (2017).

[2] When I originally accessed this article online, it was available for open access, but on 29 November 2017 it is available only to subscribers of The Australian.

 

Copyright © 2017 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 November 2017.

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Old wives’ tale, artificial sweeteners and cancer

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(courtesy Wikipedia and Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

I have had people visit with my wife and me and when we took a cold can of diet Coke from the refrigerator for my consumption, the person would say something like: ‘Surely you are not drinking that stuff with artificial sweeteners. It’s dangerous’. Then a discussion pursued about the link between aspartame (and other artificial sweeteners) and cancer.

Then there are online statements such as, ‘Aspartame: By Far the Most Dangerous Substance Added to Most Foods Today’.

There’s a fair amount of information sweeping around the Internet and in personal conversation about how it has been shown that if one uses artificial sweeteners there is a risk of getting cancer.

Is it fact or fiction that consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to developing cancer? Could it be classified as an old wives’ tale, which is ‘a belief, usually superstitious or erroneous, passed on by word of mouth as a piece of traditional wisdom’? (The free dictionary)

Is it true?

Risk Factor

public domain

You might be interested in this article from the National Cancer Institute, ‘Artificial sweeteners and cancer‘. One of its conclusions about research in this area is contrary to popular opinion: ‘There is no clear evidence that the artificial sweeteners available commercially in the United States are associated with cancer risk in humans’. Why don’t you read this summary of research to demonstrate this fact.
For other versions of this research, see:

Conclusion

That information should put the cat amongst the pigeons or lay some falsehoods to rest.

The National Cancer Institute in the USA concluded:

Questions about artificial sweeteners and cancer arose when early studies showed that cyclamate in combination with saccharin caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals. However, results from subsequent carcinogenicity studies (studies that examine whether a substance can cause cancer) of these sweeteners have not provided clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans. Similarly, studies of other FDA-approved sweeteners have not demonstrated clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans.

So the conclusion that consumption of artificial sweeteners is linked to cancer is a fable. It is nothing more than an old wives’ tale.

3d Cancer Cure Crossword On...

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Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 October 2015.

Circumcision and masturbation

Customs of Central Asians. Circumcision. Photograph shows a group of men seated on the ground near a small boy who is being circumcised. Album print. Illus. in: Turkestanskii al’bom, chast’ etnograficheskaia, 1871-1872, part 2, vol. 1, pl. 71. Batga [sic] buri translated from Persian as circumcision. Photo credit: Unknown – Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons

By Spencer D Gear

I read Macro Torres’ article with interest, ‘When, how & why do we continue to let this happen‘ (online), Prevent Disease, Oct 25, 2011. In this article, Torres stated:

Circumcision is one that still baffles many. When was it that men (and women) decided it was ok to actually start cutting the skin of babies’ and young boys’ penises in an attempt to curb masturbation? Again, why was there always such an interest in curbing masturbation and why resort to such barbaric rituals in an effort to reduce this natural instinct in boys? Why does it still continue today when there is absolutely no accepted and established scientific evidence for any benefits?

This article has many excellent points to make about what is happening to our environment, but it has one major flaw and that has to do with the origin and nature of circumcision. The origin of circumcision had nothing to do with cutting skin off babies’ and young boys’ penises in an attempt to curb masturbation.

This writer shows a gross lack of knowledge about how circumcision began in the Jewish nation in calling them ‘barbaric rituals’. There is a brief overview of the origin of Jewish circumcision in the BBC article, “The circumcision ceremony: Judaism and circumcision“. The BBC article rightly stated, ‘According to the Torah (Genesis 17:9-14), Abraham was commanded by God to circumcise himself, all male members of his household, his descendants and slaves in an everlasting covenant”. For the Jews, this was God’s command to them re circumcision as a sign of an everlasting covenant he made with them:

9And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant” (Genesis 17:9-14 ESV).

As a non-Jew, but a committed Christian, I can assure you from 65 years as a circumcised male that it has not had the effect of curbing masturbation.

Torres states that ‘there is absolutely no accepted and established scientific evidence for any benefits’. Really? NO EVIDENCE? Let’s check out the evidence.

Please observe some of the health benefits of circumcision. See the article, ‘Circumcision: Medical Pros and Cons’. This article stated:

“Recently, however, several large studies revealed a 60% decrease in HIV transmission in circumcised males compared to uncircumcised males”.

Professor Brian Morris provides this evidence-based appraisal of circumcision. Here is the summary:

Circumcision of males represents a “surgical vaccine” against a wide variety of infections, adverse medical conditions and potentially fatal diseases over their lifetime, and also protects their sexual partners. In experienced hands, this common, inexpensive procedure is very safe, and can be pain-free. Although it can be performed at any age, the ideal time is infancy. The benefits vastly outweigh risks.

The public health benefits are enormous, and include protection from urinary tract infections, that are common over the lifetime, inferior genital hygiene, smegma, sexually transmitted HIV, oncogenic types of human papillomavirus, genital herpes, syphilis and chancroid, penile cancer, and possibly prostate cancer, phimosis, paraphimosis, thrush, and inflammatory skin conditions such as balanitis and balanoposthitis. In women circumcision of the male partner provides substantial protection from cervical cancer, genital herpes,  bacterial vaginosis (formerly termed “gardnerella”), possibly Chlamydia (that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy), and other infections.

Circumcision has socio-sexual benefits and reduces sexual problems with age and diabetes. It has no adverse effect on penile sensitivity, erectile function, or sensation during sexual arousal and is reported to enhance the sexual experience for men. Most women prefer the circumcised penis for appearance, hygiene, lower infection risk and sexual activity. At least half of all uncircumcised males will develop one or more problems over their lifetime caused by their foreskin, and many will suffer and die as a result. The benefits exceed the risks by over 100 to 1, and if fatalities are taken into account in men and their sexual partners the benefit is orders of magnitude higher than this. Given the convincing epidemiological evidence and biological support, routine circumcision should be highly recommended by all health professionals.

See Professor Morris’s articles:

Who is Professor Brian J Morris?

Professor of Molecular Medical Science
Physiology, School of Medical Sciences
Bosch Institute

F13 – Anderson Stuart Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

It is not unusual to have secular people object to a quote from Genesis, calling it myth and that it can not be believed as fact. Here I mention Abraham from Genesis 17:9-14. Is Abraham a real historical person? Is Genesis a reliable historical source? I’m not a specialist in this area, so I rely on those who know this field well. I refer to two who know their product:

  • Professor Emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Liverpool (UK), Dr. K. A. Kitchen (2003) and
  • Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (USA), Dr. Walter C. Kaiser Jr (2001).

Here I present their views based on a study of history and a study of the Old Testament.

Professor Kitchen, based on his research, has answered these kinds of questions in his 500 pages of research:

Whether or not the existing Old Testament writings were composed (and their contents originated) entirely within the brief and late period of circa 400-200 B.C., or whether or not their contents are pure fiction, unrelated to the world of the Near East in circa 2000-400 B.C.

To pursue such questions, the only practical method of inquiry was to go back to those ancient times and compare the data in the Hebrew Bible with what we have from its putative world. Merely theorizing in one’s head can achieve nothing. Looking back, we do have some definite results. On the independent evidence from antiquity itself, we may safely deliver a firm “No” to both questions as posed above. Namely, the Old Testament books and their contents did not exclusively originate as late as 400-200 B.C.; and they are by no means pure fiction – in fact, there is very little proven fiction in them overall.

What can be said of historical reliability? Here our answer – on the evidence available – is more positive. The periods most in the glare of contemporary documents – the divided monarchy and the exile and return – show a very high level of direct correlation (where adequate data exist) and of reliability. That fact should be graciously accepted by all, regardless of personal starting point, and with the firm conclusion of alien, hence irrelevant, modern “agendas”….. The primeval protohistory embodies early popular tradition going very far back, and is set in an early format. Thus we have a consistent level of good, fact-based correlations right through from circa 2000 B.C. (with earlier roots) down to 400 B.C. In terms of general reliability … the Old Testament comes out remarkably well, so long as its writings and writers are treated fairly and evenhandedly, in line with independent data, open to all (Kitchen 2003:499-500).

Professor Kaiser stated:

The claims for the historical accuracy of the patriarchs, despite the rich archaeological finds in the middle of the twentieth century, have not found smooth sailing in this twentieth century ever since Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) declared around the turn of the century that “no historical knowledge” of the patriarchs could be obtained from Genesis, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were a mere “glorified mirage” projected backward into Hebrew history. However, from the 1940s to the 1960s a successful challenge was made to Wellhausen’s estimates of the historical worth of the patriarchs. Two scholars set the stories of the three ancient worthies into the background of the ancient Near East: William Foxwell Albright (1891-1971) and Cyrus Herzl Gordon (1908-2001)….

W. F. Albright, Cryus H. Gordon, and Ephraim A. Speiser mounted an impressive number of parallels between the patriarchal stories and second millennium laws and social customs. The effect was so strong that the evidence seemed to support the essential historicity of the narratives found in Genesis 12-50. A consensus did occur in identifying many of the poems in the Pentateuch as being very early, such as Genesis 49, Exodus 15; Numbers 23-24; and Deuteronomy 33.

Given this mounting evidence, Roland de Vauz declared “that these traditions have a firm historical basis,” while John Bright concluded, “We can assert with full confidence that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were actual historical individuals”….

It must be acknowledged that there is no direct external evidence supporting the existence of any one of the three patriarchs. However, the data does exist to demonstrate the fact that they are correctly located in the Middle Bronze setting beginning approximately 2000 B.C…. An increasingly high degree of probability and corroborating evidence continues to mount up from the external evidence to such a point that the case for the genuineness of the patriarchal stories is strong indeed (Kaiser 2001:84-85, 96).

Let’s go back to the first two chapters of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. How do we know whether these two chapters are poetic, figurative, mythological or historical? See Kaiser Jr, et al (1996:89f), Hard Sayings of the Bible for a refutation of the mythological, poetic view and support for the language containing figures of speech in affirming its recording of actual events in the space-time world. Here are a few points made:

  1. Genesis 1 and 2 do not contain the mythic, poetical style of ancient Near Eastern stories. But, like much writing, it contains figures of speech, with God depicted with hands, nostrils, etc. Bullinger lists 150 examples in Genesis 1:1-11:32 of figures of speech used.
  2. It is an error to think that because figurative language is used in Genesis 1-3 that it is not a straightforward presentation of real events.
  3. The biblical account of creation does not demonstrate the forms and substance of myth as ‘nothing has been found in the biblical narrative of creation to tie it to the mythical ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies’ (Kaiser et al 1996:89).
  4. We can’t link Genesis 1-2 to a poetic form as the the Hebrew form of the verb is the same as that used in Hebrew narratives. There are other grammatical and syntactical forms in these 2 chapters that conform to literary genre and are not those used in poetry.
  5. Gen. 1-2 provides a closely reasoned narrative of events ‘in almost a dry didactic form’ with emphasis on ‘definition, naming, evaluating and a general ordering of events. As such the accounts have more in common with narrative prose than anything else’ (Kaiser et al 1996:89).
  6. Based on the available evidence from ancient history, we can rely on the Book of Genesis as a reliable historical document.
  7. While we cannot say that Gen. 1-2 is ‘historical’ in the ordinary sense that facts can be independently verified through other sources and witnesses, ‘it certainly appears to be claiming to record actual events in the stream of happenings in our kind of space-time world’ (Kaiser et al 1996:89).

We can conclude with Professor K.A. Kitchen that “the Old Testament comes out remarkably well, so long as its writings and writers are treated fairly and evenhandedly, in line with independent data, open to all” (Kitchen 2003:500).

Notes:

Kaiser Jr., Walter C.; Davids, Peter H.; Bruce, F. F. and Brauch, Manfred T. 1996. Hard sayings of the Bible. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Kaiser Jr., Walter C 2001. The Old Testament documents: Are they reliable & relevant? Downers Grove, Illinois /Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press.

Kitchen, K A 2003. On the reliability of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Copyright (c) 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 15 May 2018.

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Hazardous waste put in our water as fluoride

By Spencer D Gear

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How is it possible that something that is labelled as ‘hazardous waste’ for a rubbish tip is placed in our water supply for the populace to drink?

I was provoked to consider more on this issue when I read this article. Please take a read of this news item from the central western town of Cowra in NSW (Australia), ‘Council counts high cost of unlawful waste disposal[1] (Cowra Community Times, 7 June 2012). Here it reports how the Bourke Shire Council has been fined $10,000 and ordered to pay court costs of $14,000 for ‘unlawfully transporting and disposing of hazardous waste at its own waste depot’. In addition, it has been ordered to pay ‘clean-up costs and risk-assessment reports totalling more than $30,000’.

The Council admitted it was guilty.

What was this “hazardous waste”? What was it that was dumped by the Bourke Council for which it was fined? It was the very chemical that the Blyth Labor Government forced into Queensland’s water supplies –sodium fluoride. Yes, the fluoride that is in our water supply is a toxic poison. I have had to install a reverse osmosis machine under my kitchen sink to remove fluoride from my household water because of what the Blyth government did in forcing this toxin, hazardous waste, fluoride into our water supply.

By the way, not all in the Queensland Labor Party agreed with this decision. See, ‘Labor branch opposes fluoridation’.

It will save the new Newman LNP government millions of dollars if it is removed.

If you don’t believe me on the dangers of fluoride in our water supply, check out Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, PhD, DDS. He is no dummy when it comes to dentistry and understanding the effects of fluoride.  He is a practicing dentist, has two doctorates (biochemistry and dentistry) and is Associate Professor and Head of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  Since April of 1999, he has “publicly decried the addition of fluoride, especially hydrofluosilicic acid, to drinking water for the purpose of preventing tooth decay”.

He summarises his reasons in his article, “Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water”.

Why is it that about 98% of Europe does not put fluoride in the water supply?

Dr. Limeback has stated that there is now a better understanding of how fluoride prevents dental decay. What little benefit fluoridated water may still provide is derived primarily through application to the teeth orally, through brushing. Fluoride does not need to be swallowed to be effective. It is not an essential nutrient.

See the interview with Dr. William Hirzy of the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA about the bone cancer and rare liver cancer associated with fluoride digestion by rats and mice.

Dr Limeback noted in 2002, “Here in Toronto we’ve been fluoridating for 36 years. Yet Vancouver – which has never fluoridated – has a cavity rate lower than Toronto’s”.

Bourke Council has been fined for dumping the poisonous waste that we put into fluoridated water. What a paradox that we swallow it in water, but it is too toxic for the local waste dump.

To discover the dangers of sodium fluoride, you can Google ‘sodium fluoride + material safety data sheet‘ to find lots of information on the hazardous nature of sodium fluoride.

We should all spare a thought for the people of the Murrumba electorate and the rest of Queensland, whose water supplies have been dosed with Fluorodose: this is sodium fluoride that is put into public water-treatment tanks in 5 kg bags. The bags dissolve and the ‘lucky’ people of Queensland get to drink the dissolved bag as well as the poisonous fluoride – sodium fluoride that in the dump at Bourke NSW is considered hazardous waste.

This was an undemocratic decision forced on the people of Queensland by the Blyth government.

Appendix

Since articles come and go from newspapers on the www, here is the article as it appeared in the Cowra Community News:

Council counts high cost of unlawful waste disposal[2]

BOURKE Shire Council has been convicted and fined $10,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of $14,000 after pleading guilty to unlawfully transporting and disposing of hazardous waste at its own waste depot.

It’s also been ordered to foot clean-up costs and risk-assessment reports totalling more than $30,000.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) brought the prosecution in Bourke Local Court after it became aware that council staff transported between 400 and 600kg of sodium fluoride, a hazardous waste, to the Bourke waste depot from its water treatment plant.

The court was told the incident occurred in October 2010 and that the waste depot was not licensed to accept hazardous waste.

The court found that while no environmental harm occurred on this occasion, there was potential for environmental harm and the actions of council employees had been careless.

EPA acting chief environmental regulator, Mark Gifford, says the case highlights the need for councils, in particular, to be aware of their legal obligations.

“In this case the evidence showed that council staff had considered the hazardous nature of sodium fluoride, but ultimately reached incorrect conclusions about how it should be disposed of,” Mr Gifford says in a statement.

“Sodium fluoride is classified as hazardous waste under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.

“As such, the Bourke Shire Waste Depot is not able to accept this product.

“The fact that council’s staff were directed to transport the waste to council’s own waste depot is most concerning.

“The EPA received information that council had disposed of the sodium fluoride in the waste depot, launched an investigation and issued (the) council with a Clean-Up Notice.

“The Clean-Up Notice required (the) council to arrange for the sodium fluoride to be excavated and removed from the waste depot and transported to a hazardous waste facility.

“On top of the fine and costs order, (the) council has had to pay for clean-up costs and risk assessment reports totalling more than $30,000.” Mr Gifford says.

Notes:


[1] See the Appendix for a copy of the full article.

[2] Available at: http://cowracommunitynews.com/viewnews.php?log=succ&newsid=672&id=3 (Accessed 7 June 2012).

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 28 October 2015.

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More Fluoride Spin

Dental fluorosis picture
Examples of dental fluorosis in 8- and 9-year old children who grew up in fluoridated Auckland, New Zealand

By Spencer D Gear

It is interesting to observe what one professional did to support the status quo in dentistry in promoting the addition of fluoride to a city’s water supply.  Take a read of this Australian dental professional’s letter to my local newspaper.

Dental President’s push for fluoride

This letter-to-the-editor appeared in the Bundaberg NewsMail (Queensland, Australia), Wednesday, October 26, 2005, p. 6.

False claims on fluoride
I was horrified to read the arguments against fluoridation recently printed in the NewsMail.

They falsely claimed or implied that water fluoridation caused a whole range of diseases and medical problems.

Would the World Health Organisation, US-based Centres for Disease Control, the UK Medical Research Council, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and more than 100 of the world’s leading health and
scientific authorities endorse water fluoridation if it cased (sic) health problems?

Of course not; the suggestion is ludicrous.

An independent 2002 cost benefit analysis showed that the state would save more than $1 billion over the next 30 years if Queensland’s larger towns were fluoridated.

That’s in 2002 dollars and takes into account all capital and ongoing costs.
Rather than costing money, water fluoridation has a massive cost benefit.

Why do we put up with the worst teeth in the country and the most expensive public dental system in the country?

Why are more than 140,000 Queenslanders (more than all the surgical and “secret” waiting lists combined) on public dental waiting lists?

Why do our pensioners and low income earners have to wait for years for a dental check up?

Every other state and territory fluoridated their drinking water decades ago and they have reaped the financial and health benefits ever since.

The Australian Dental Association and other health authorities look forward to working with state and local government bodies to implement what was recently described by the US Centres for Disease Control as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

DR MICHAEL FOLEY
President
Australian Dental Association
Queensland Branch

My response to the Bundaberg News-Mail

How does one respond to a dental professional who seems to have the dental status quo on his side?  After all, he wrote:  “Would the World Health Organisation, US-based Centres for Disease Control, the UK Medical Research Council, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and more than 100 of the world’s leading health and scientific authorities endorse water fluoridation if it cased (sic) health problems?”

Dear Editor,

Dr Michael Foley, as President of the Australian Dental Association (Qld.), is lauding the benefits, especially the cost  benefits, of adding a toxin (fluoride) to our water supply [2].  He quotes the authorities that he wants but ignores others.

He omitted telling us that 98% of Europe does not drink fluoridated water. Apart from 10% of the UK and 3% of Spain, virtually every European country has either ceased or rejected outright water fluoridation as a health program. [3]

Dr. Hardy Limeback is no dummy in dentistry, as head of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Canada, and was once an ardent supporter of the benefits of fluoride – but no more.

He says that “mass medicating” the public through the water supply is dangerous and unnecessary, stating that the benefits are “exaggerated” and there is growing evidence of the results of overexposure from fluoridated toothpaste and other sources.

He wrote, “On the risk side, so many people will end up with ruined teeth, fragile bones, acute sensitivities, thyroid problems and an increased risk for cancer, all in the name of preventive dentistry.”

He admits, “I am ashamed for my profession and can no longer take part in the charade.” [4]

Nobel Laureate in Medicine (2000), Dr. Arvid Carlson of Sweden wrote: “I am quite convinced that water fluoridation, in a not-too-distant future, will be consigned to medical history.” [5]

Why is it that The Harvard School of Dental Medicine announced in July 2005  that it would investigate the work  of one of its faculty members after an environmental watchdog group accused the professor of ignoring research conducted by one of his own students that linked fluoride to bone cancer in boys? [6]

But Dr. Foley is “horrified” about the anti-fluoride letters in the NewsMail and claims the link with diseases and medical problems is false.  Try telling that to the Harvard University dental researcher and the European countries that contradict Foley’s claims.
Sincerely,
Spencer Gear

P. S. A very abbreviated version of my letter was published.

Various levels of fluorosis (Fluoride Action Network)

My Response to the Fraser Coast Chronicle

I responded to a letter from Maryborough, Qld., medical practitioner, Dr. Cotton.  I am not aware that this letter was published.

19 April 2006

Dear Editor,

I applaud Dr. Cotton’s (Forum, 15 April 2006) call: “What we need is leadership on the issue [of fluoridation].”  But it must be truthful leadership about fluoride’s effects.

Dr. Hardy Limeback is no dummy in dentistry.  He’s Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, Canada.  He used to be a leading advocate for fluoride and pushed for it in Ontario.  Now he is opposed.

This is the leadership needed on the Fraser Coast.  A study at the University of Toronto confirmed Dr. Limeback’s worst fears.  “Residents of cities that fluoridate have double the fluoride in their hip bones vis-a-vis the balance of the population.  Worse, we discovered that fluoride is actually altering the basic architecture of human bones.”

Skeletal fluorosis is a severe condition that occurs when fluoride accumulates in bones, making them extremely weak and brittle.  What are the earliest symptoms?

According to Dr. Limeback, they are mottled and brittle teeth.  He said that in Canada they were now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than on treating cavities.  And that includes his own dental practice.

Dr. Limeback compares two Canadian cities.  “Here in Toronto we’ve been fluoridating for 36 years.  Yet Vancouver, which has never fluoridated, has a cavity rate lower than Toronto’s.”

This is the type of leadership needed!

Yours sincerely,
Spencer Gear
Bundaberg

It’s time that we got the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in the fluoride debate.

LINKS

1.    “Why I changed my mind about water fluoridation,” by John Colquhoun, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 41, 1, Autumn 1997, available from: http://www.fluoridation.com/colquhoun.htm (John Colquhoun was from the School of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand).

2.    Dr. Hardy Limeback, “Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water,” available from the Fluoride Action Network at:  http://www.fluoridealert.org/limeback.htm [14th August 2004].   Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, PhD, DDS, Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5G-1G6.  E-mail: hardy.limeback@utoronto.ca.

3.  I highly recommend the Fluoride Action Network and its range of articles, reports on scientific research, to provide information about the status of fluoride that you will not find in conventional medical or dental circles.

Notes

2.    Bundaberg NewsMail, 26 Oct., 2005, p. 6.
3.   “Why is the Media Finally Paying Attention to Fluoridation?” 14 March 2001, Canton, New York.  Fluoride Action Network,  available from PR-Archive.com at: http://public-utilities.pr-archive.com/en/pr42418.htm (Accessed 26 October 2005).
4.    Ken Macqueen, “Biting Back Against Fluoride: The long campaign against treated water is gaining new adherents,” Macleans, November 25, 2002, available from the Canadian Encyclopedia at: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0012369 (Accessed 26 October 2005).
5.    “Dr Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Laureate in Medicine (2000), Opposes Fluoridation,” Available from the Fluoride Action
Network at: http://www.fluoridealert.org/carlsson.htm (Accessed 14th August 2004).
6.    Brendan R. Linn, Crimson Staff Writer, “Dental School Begins Investigation of Prof: School probes accusations that Douglass misreported findings of cancer study Published on Friday, July 01, 2005, Harvard Crimson, Harvard University’s newspaper, Available from: http://www.thecrimson.com/today/article508199.html (Accessed 2 July 2005).

 

Copyright (c) 2013 Spencer D. Gear.  This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

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There are many scientific reasons to oppose fluoridation of Queensland’s water supply

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By Spencer D Gear

Yes, fluoride is more acutely toxic than lead. See HERE. See also, “Silicofluorides & Higher Blood Lead: Statement from Dr. Roger Masters”.

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Moderate/Severe Fluorosis
Photo by David Kennedy, DDS

On 7th February 2008, I wrote this letter to:

The Hon. Andrew McNamara MP,

Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation,

Member for Hervey Bay

Dear Mr. McNamara,

Thank you for your letter of 30th January 2008, presenting your government’s one-eyed perspective on fluoridation. Your letter was a template of your government’s way to provide only one side of the fluoride debate and censor the other negative information about fluoride.

I could take up many of the points made in your letter and challenge them with scientific and logical information, but I don’t have the time because I work for a living. I will challenge one of your points: “There is no credible evidence to link water fluoridation with adverse health effects” (p. 3).

The very latest edition of Scientific American, January 2008, has an article by Dan Fagin, “Second Thoughts about Fluoride” (pp. 74-81) that challenges some of your government’s views.[1] Here is a dot point summary of some of the information from this article that contradicts your statement that there is no credible evidence to link use of fluoride in the water supply with adverse effects:

  • Researchers are intensifying their scrutiny of fluoride, which is added to most public water systems in the U.S. Some recent studies suggest that overconsumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland.
  • A 2006 report by a committee of the National Research Council recommended that the federal government [USA] lower its current limit for fluoride in drinking water because of health risks to both children and adults.
  • Most fluoridated water contains much less fluoride than the EPA limit, but the situation is worrisome because there is so much uncertainty over how much additional fluoride we ingest from food, beverages and dental products. What is more, the NRC panel noted that fluoride may also trigger more serious health problems, including bone cancer and damage to the brain and thyroid gland. Although these effects are still unproved, the panel argued that they deserve further study (p. 75).
  • TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING: Fluoride is in many foods, beverages and dental products. The ubiquity of the cavity-fighting chemical can result in overconsumption, particularly among young children (p. 75).
  • Scientific attitudes toward fluoridation may be starting to shift in the country where the practice began (p. 78).
  • But enamel fluorosis, except in the severest cases, has no health impact beyond lowered self-esteem: the tooth marks are unattractive and do not go away (although there are masking treatments). The much more important question is whether fluoride’s effects extend beyond altering the biochemistry of tooth enamel formation. Says longtime fluoride researcher Pamela DenBesten of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry: “We certainly can see that fluoride impacts the way proteins interact with mineralized tissue, so what effect is it having elsewhere at the cellular level? Fluoride is very powerful, and it needs to be treated respectfully” (p. 79).
  • Clashes over the possible neurological effects of fluoride have been just as intense. Phyllis Mullenix, then at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, set off a firestorm in the early 1990s when she reported that experiments on lab rats showed that sodium fluoride can accumulate in brain tissue and affect animal behavior. Prenatal exposures, she reported, correlated with hyperactivity in young rats, especially males, whereas exposures after birth had the opposite effect, turning female rats into what Mullenix later described as “couch potatoes.” Although her research was eventually published in Neurotoxicology and Teratology, it was attacked by other scientists who said that her methodology was flawed and that she had used unrealistically high dosages. Since then, however, a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ, and research has also suggested a possible mechanism: the formation of aluminum fluoride complexes—small inorganic molecules that mimic the structure of phosphates and thus influence enzyme activity in the brain. There is also some evidence that the silicofluorides used in water fluoridation may enhance the uptake of lead into the brain (p. 80).
  • The NRC committee concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid—the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism. Although researchers do not know how fluoride consumption can influence the thyroid, the effects appear to be strongly influenced by diet and genetics. Says John Doull, professor emeritus of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who chaired the NRC committee: “The thyroid changes do worry me. There are some things there that need to be explored” (p. 80).
  • “What the committee found is that we’ve gone with the status quo regarding fluoride for many years—for too long, really—and now we need to take a fresh look,” Doull says. “In the scientific community, people tend to think this is settled. I mean, when the U.S. surgeon general comes out and says this is one of the 10 greatest achievements of the 20th century, that’s a hard hurdle to get over.  But when we looked at the studies that have been done, we found that many of these questions are unsettled and we have much less information than we should, considering how long this [fluoridation] has been going on. I think that’s why fluoridation is still being challenged so many years after it began. In the face of ignorance, controversy is rampant” (pp. 80-81).
  • Opponents of fluoridation, meanwhile, have been emboldened by the NRC report. “What the committee did was very, very important, because it’s the first time a truly balanced panel has looked at this and raised important questions,” says Paul Connett, a chemistry professor at St. Lawrence University and the executive director of the Fluoride Action Network, one of the most active antifluoridation groups world-wide. “I absolutely believe it’s a scientific turning point because now everything’s on the table.  Fluoride is the most consumed drug in the U.S., and it’s time we talked about it” (p. 81).

The following are some of the points in your letter to me that could be challenged if I had the time:

1. “Fluoridation of our water supplies represents one of the Bligh Government’s most significant public health initiatives” (p. 1).

2. “Research has semonstrated that fluoridation – together with oral hygiene and good nutrition – can reduce tooth decay by up to 40%. We cannot ignore the extensive scientific evidence which shows that fluoridation is a safe and effective means of improving oral health” (p. 2)

3. “In June 2007, Australia’s highly respected National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released an extensive review about the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation” (p. 2)

4. “The decision is about responding to the very clear wishes of the majority of Queenslanders who support the fluoridation of public water supplies” (p. 2). [with 60-70% support of Queenslanders]

5. “The Government has long supported water fluoridation as a safe and effective means of combating tooth decay” (p. 2)

6. “Fluoridation of drinking water is not mass medication, but is simply adjusting the levels of a naturally-occurring compound to provide substantial health benefits” (p. 2).

7. “Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound found in water, plants, rocks, soil, air and food” (p. 2). Arsenic is also a “naturally-occurring compound” in some water supplies (see “Managing arsenic in water supplies“).

8. “There is no credible evidence to link water fluoridation with adverse health effects” (p. 3).

9. “While fluoride can cause a slight increase in dental fluorosis – a barely detectable condition which does not damage the teeth – there is no scientifically or medically documented cases involving adverse health effects in these states [of Australia that have fluoridated water]” (p. 3).

10. “Fluoride will only be added to our water supplies at low levels which are not toxic for humans or animals” (p. 3).

11. “I would also encourage you to explore the Australian Dental Association’s website at www.ada.org.au/OralHealth/finfront.aspx for further information on the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation as a means of promoting good oral health” (p. 3).

12. You recommend the US Centers for Disease control website “for further information on rigorous, peer reviewed scientific studies which have demonstrated fluoridation to be safe and effective” (p. 3).

13. “Reviews of peak health bodies around the world . . . have found there is no redible scientific evidence to link water fluoridation with allergies or other ill health effects wuch as cancer or asthma” (p. 3).

14. The Victorian Government’s Dept. of Human Services and the Cancer Council of Victoria “found no link between fluoride and bone cancer” (p. 3).

15. “While people of all ages benefit from drinking fluoride throughout their lives. . .” (p. 3)

16. “. . . a key prevention strategy such as water fluoridation . . .” (p. 4)

17. “The Government’s decision is not intended to disadvantage those opposed to fluoridation . . .” (p. 5).

That your government should choose to mass fluoridate Queensland when there is credible scientific evidence opposing your views, amazes me.

“In most European countries, where community water fluoridation has never been adopted, a substantial decline in caries [i.e tooth decay] prevalence has been reported in the last decades, with reductions in lifetime caries experience exceeding 75%.”[2]

Dr. Arvid Carlsson, Nobel laureate in medicine in the year 2000, wrote this about adding fluoride to the water supplies:

I am quite convinced that water fluoridation, in a not-too-distant future, will be consigned to medical history. . . The fact that in this situation a poison should deliberately be distributed throughout our environment in enormous quantities represents an ill-considered action. . . Water fluoridation also goes against leading principles of pharmacotherapy. . . The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy. . . The dose cannot be adapted to individual requirements.”[3]

I urge your government to become responsible, in light of the BRIEF challenges I have provided to your position to mass medicate Queenslanders with fluoride. Dr. Carlsson, who is no medical idiot, has clearly stated the case against your view that “fluoridation of drinking water is not mass medication” (p. 2 of your letter). Dr. Carlsson’s medical statement is: “The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy. . . The dose cannot be adapted to individual requirements.”[4]

Yours sincerely,

Spencer Gear,

Hervey Bay 4655

Notes

[1] This information is made available by the Fluoride Action Network at: http://www.fluoridealert.org/sc.am.jan.2008.html[cited 7 February 2008].

[2] Pizzo G, et al. (2007). “Community water fluoridation and caries prevention: a critical review,” Clinical Oral Investigations 11(3):189-93.

[3] “Dr Arvid Carlsson, “Nobel Laureate in Medicine (2000), Opposes Fluoridation,” available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/carlsson.htm [cited 7 February 2008].

[4] Ibid.

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

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Fluoride for politicians

I sent the following letter to a would-be politician when I was living in Hervey Bay, Qld., Australia.

28 February 2009

Mr. Ted Sorensen

LNP Candidate for Hervey Bay [1]

Dear Mr. Sorensen

Please make forced water fluoridation an election issue.

I have a medical condition that requires extensive use of medications.  I do not need my medications screwed up by intrusion of an unprescribed toxic fluoride drug entering my body. Please keep Hervey Bay’s water clear of this unnecessary toxic drug — for our health’s sake.

Here are some of the issues:

In 2003, the Queensland government stated that “whilst recognising that the balance of the scientific argument favours the use of fluoride in the pursuit of oral health, it is a principle of ethical public health that mass, involuntary medication must never proceed without the express consent of the community. . . . Queensland Government supports the introduction of water fluoridation wherever it receives the consent of the community affected” (Queensland Government Position Statement on Water Fluoridation 2003).

So, the then Queensland Beattie government considered it unethical to provide “mass involuntary medication” through water fluoridation without the “consent of the community.” But what did the Bligh government do? Repudiating its own government statement in 2003, it implemented an unethical practice of forcing a toxic drug on all Queenslanders through water fluoridation – without the people’s consent.

I urge you to please oppose the introduction of fluoride into Queensland’s water supplies for the following reasons.

One of the world’s leading centres for the manufacture of medical, chemical, and drug supplies (Basel, Switzerland, a centre of pharmacology) stopped fluoridation of its water supply in 2003, after 41 years of fluoride.  Why did this centre refuse to use fluoride in the water supply? The Canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, withdrew fluoride for the same reasons that Queensland should not fluoridate its water supply.  The Swiss gave these reasons:

1.  The preventative effect of the fluoridation of drinking water could not be proved by any study.  When specialists do not succeed in producing definitive proof in 40 years, the issue has to be abandoned.

2.  In spite of the fluoridation of drinking water, caries (tooth decay) has been on the increase with children.

3.  The danger of fluorosis is played down; nobody talks about fluorosis of the bones.  The fluoridation of drinking water is particularly problematic in the case of young children and babies.

4.  Less than 1% of the fluoride in drinking water is actually used for “prevention of caries”, more than 99% of the fluoridated water is used for washing, cleaning, industrial production, etc. and thus only pollutes the environment, a very undesirable imbalance (this Basel statement by Rudolf Ziegelbecker & Konradin Kreuzer, from: http://www.woats.co.uk/pages_articles/nutrition_03.htm [cited 28 February 2009].

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Example of dental fluorosis caused by fluoride in the water.

For those who want to use fluoride, fluride tablets are available from the Regional Council.  This toxin should not be forced on people in a democracy. Otherwise it is violating my human rights.

Dr. Charles G. Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association (AMA), said: “Fluoride in municipal water or in pill form is a corrosive poison that will produce serious side effects on a long range basis. Any attempt to use fluoride this way is deplorable.” Also from the AMA: “The American Medical association is NOT prepared to state that no harm will be done to any person by ingesting fluoridated municipal water,” Dr. Flanagan, Director of Environmental Health, American Medical Association, April 2006.

I urge you to read this article: Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water,” by Dr. Hardy Limeback, Associate Professor of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. He has two doctorates, one in biochemistry and the other in dentistry.  He was a former ardent advocate of the fluoridation of water supplies.  In 1999, he changed his mind because of the weight of research evidence.  This is a conclusion by a considered expert in the field.

Dr. Hardy Limeback told his colleagues and students that he had unintentionally misled them.

“For the past 15 years, I had refused to study the toxicology information that is readily available to anyone.  Poisoning our children was the furthest thing from my mind”.  Among the findings that finally opened Dr. Limeback’s eyes was a recent study at the University of Toronto which confirmed that “Residents of cities that fluoridate have double the fluoride in their hip bones vis-a-vis the balance of the population.  Worse, we discovered that fluoride is actually altering the basic architecture of human bones”.  Skeletal fluorosis is a debilitating condition that occurs when fluoride accumulates in bones, making them extremely weak and brittle.  The earliest symptoms?  “Mottled and brittle teeth”, said Dr. Limeback.  “In Canada we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities.  That includes my own practice” [2].

Dr. Limeback was also a former consultant to the Canadian Dental Association. He said in an interview:

Children under three should never use fluoridated toothpaste,” he counseled. “Or drink fluoridated water. And baby formula must never be made up using Toronto tap water. Never.”

Why, I wondered? What could have caused such a powerful paradigm shift?

“It’s been building up for a couple of years,” Limeback told me during a recent telephone interview. “But certainly the crowning blow was the realization that we have been dumping contaminated fluoride into water reservoirs for half a century. The vast majority of all fluoride additives come from Tampa Bay, Florida smokestack scrubbers. The additives are a toxic byproduct of the super-phosphate fertilizer industry.”

“Tragically,” he continued, “that means we’re not just dumping toxic fluoride into our drinking water. We’re also exposing innocent, unsuspecting people to deadly elements of lead, arsenic and radium, all of them carcinogenic. Because of the cumulative properties of toxins, the detrimental effects on human health are catastrophic.”

A recent study at the University of Toronto confirmed Dr. Limeback’s worst fears. “Residents of cities that fluoridate have double the fluoride in their hip bones vis-a-vis the balance of the population. Worse, we discovered that fluoride is actually altering the basic architecture of human bones.”

Skeletal fluorosis is a debilitating condition that occurs when fluoride accumulates in bones, making them extremely weak and brittle. The earliest symptoms?

“Mottled and brittle teeth,” Dr. Limeback told me. “In Canada we are now spending more money treating dental fluorosis than we do treating cavities. That includes my own practice.”

One of the most obvious living experiments today, Dr. Limeback believes, is a proof-positive comparison between any two Canadian cities. “Here in Toronto we’ve been fluoridating for 36 years. Yet Vancouver – which has never fluoridated – has a cavity rate lower than Toronto’s.” And,he pointed out, cavity rates are low all across the industrialized world including Europe, which is 98% fluoride free. Low because of improved standards of living, less refined sugar, regular dental checkups, flossing and frequent brushing. Now less than 2 cavities per child Canada-wide, he said. “I don’t get it, Doc. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ran a puff piece all across America saying the stuff was better than sliced bread. What’s the story?” (available from: http://www.geocities.com/missionstmichael/FluorideLimeback.html [cited 28 February 2009].

The United Nations (UNICEF) states: “But more and more scientists are now seriously questioning the benefits of fluoride, even in small amounts” (available from, http://www.nofluoride.com/Unicef_fluor.htm ) [cited 28 February 2009].

I urge you to immediately make water fluoridation an election issue.

Please advise me what the LNP will be doing with fluoridation of our water supplies.

Yours sincerely,

Spencer Gear

Hervey Bay

Notes

[1] LNP is an acronym for a Queensland conservative political party, the Liberal National Party.

[2] (Barry Forbes, Mesa, AZ Tribune, cited in Linda Chae, “Fluoride,” available from: http://www.apfn.org/apfn/fluoride_expert.htm (Accessed 28 February 2009).

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear.  This document last updated at Date: 8 October 2015.

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