Archive for April, 2010

Fluoride for politicians

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

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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Whytehouse Graphics

 

Dangers of fluoride: Letters-to-the-editor

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Image result for flag of Germany public domainGermany:

“Generally, in Germany fluoridation of drinking water is forbidden. The relevant German law allows exceptions to the fluoridation ban on application. The argumentation of the Federal Ministry of Health against a general permission of fluoridation of drinking water is the problematic nature of compuls[ory] medication.”

SOURCE: Gerda Hankel-Khan, Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany, September 16, 1999 (from fluoridealert.com)

By Spencer D Gear

The following are letters that I have sent to various newspapers on the fluoride issue. I have knowledge that some have not been published.

 

Letters to the editor: Fraser Coast Chronicle

7th December 2007

Letters to the Editor,

Fraser Coast Chronicle

Dear Editor,

Dictatorship is alive and well in Qld. with forced Council amalgamations and now forced fluoride in the water.

The scientific research shows the negative effects of fluoride on the brain, bones, thyroid, kidneys, links with cancer, birth defects and fluorosis.

See <http://www.slweb.org/bibliography.html>

Dr. Hardy Limeback, Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry
University of Toronto, Canada, moved from supporting fluoride to one officially opposed since 1999 because of new evidence showing the lack of effectiveness of fluoride in water.

Some recent studies by eminent researchers strongly suggest that fluoride works best by direct action on the surface of the teeth through toothpaste, or gels used in dental treatments.

I urge your readers to study the evidence. It shows potential serious harm from long-term fluoride ingestion.

This imposition of fluoride on us is very undemocratic, especially when fluoride tablets are freely available from Councils.

Yours sincerely,

S. Gear

Hervey Bay, Qld.

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Letters to the Editor, Brisbane Sunday Mail

(sent online, 30 Nov 08).[1]

I hope that the Queensland Green Party will follow the Greens in the UK in their opposition to fluoridated water. I ask that the Greens refuse to give preferences to any party that supports water fluoridation.

Leading Green Party commentator on fluoridation in the UK, John Spottiswoode, wrote: “The case for fluoride has been far from made. Claims about the effectiveness of fluoride simply do not stand up to close scrutiny and there is growing evidence pointing towards fluoride causing bone problems, arthritic-like symptoms, brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, hypothyroidism, as well as identified links to cancer and other diseases.”

He went on to say that “fluoride is a class 2 poison, it is extremely biochemically reactive in the body and only marginally less poisonous than arsenic. It also makes bones more brittle and has led to a marked increase in dental fluorosis (fluoride poisoning), affecting up to 48% of people in fluoridated areas. You should look in the mirror.”

Anna Bligh’s going against Peter Beattie’s decision and now to force fluoride in Queensland’s water flies in the face of this scientific evidence and the practice of democracy.

S. Gear, Hervey Bay


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Letters to the Editor, Sunraysia Daily (Mildura)

Letters to the editor,

Sunraysia Daily

news@sunraysiadaily.com.au

28 November 2009

Dear editor,

I’ve been reading the debate in your paper over fluoride.

Government officials in Quebec City, Canada, in 2008 voted to remove fluoride from its water supply. Why?

The over-consumption of fluoride has been associated with increased risks of disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland. This is as reported in the Scientific American, January 2008 article, “Second thoughts about fluoride.”

There are not many countries left in the world that are resorting to fluoridating more of their populations. There are only 8 of them that have over 50% of the population fluoridated. They are the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Israel, Singapore, Colombia & Malaysia.

Dr. Hardy Limeback, Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, Canada, moved from supporting fluoride to one officially opposed since 1999 because of new evidence showing the lack of effectiveness of fluoride in water.

Some recent studies by eminent researchers strongly suggest that fluoride works best by direct action on the surface of the teeth through toothpaste, or gels used in dental treatments.

I urge your readers to study the evidence. It shows potential serious harm from long-term fluoride ingestion.

This imposition of fluoride on us by governments also is very undemocratic. Fluoride tablets are available for those who want to make a free choice to swallow this toxin called fluoride.

Yours sincerely,

Spencer Gear

Hervey Bay, Qld.

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Letters to the Editor: Swan Hill Guardian

Letters to the editor
The Guardian
Swan Hill

28 November 2009
Dear Editor,
So the Victorian Health Department says it will be going ahead with the introduction of fluoride to water supplies in Swan Hill.

Fluoridated water is a health hazard for the following reasons.

It’s impossible to provide medication (fluoride toxin) consistently through drinking water.  People drink water at different rates.

The margin of error between a therapeutic dose and negative health effects is small. We already are getting too much fluoride through the soil, food and water.

Fluoride has been demonstrated to be a carcinogen (having a cancer link).  Fluorosis is a bone disease impacting the teeth and it is caused by fluoride.

The efficacy in using fluoride to prevent tooth decay has not been shown.  In addition, it’s an expensive exercise for any Council or government to fluoridate.  The scientific case for fluoridation is highly questionable.
Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, PhD, DDS, is Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  He’s no dummy when it comes to dentistry and knowledge of the negative effects of fluoride.  Read his article online, “Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water.” His opposition since 1999 is based on the scientific evidence.

Vancouver, Canada, does not have fluoridated water, but has a lower rate of dental decay than Toronto, Canada, which has had fluoridated water for 40 years. Dr. Limeback’s reasons provide some evidence.  Previously he was a leading promoter of fluoride in Canada — but no more!!  Yet the city of Toronto’s online statement is that “fluoride is added to treated water to reduce the risk of dental cavities.”

Dr. Limeback told the Toronto Star in 1999, “Parents should keep fluoride away from children under three.”  Yet the Victorian government wants to force fluoridate Swan Hill’s water.

Tooth decay is preventable through other resources.  We can do something now about preventing cancer, hip fracture and osteoporosis associated with fluoride use.  Don’t fluoridate!
Sincerely,
Spencer Gear
Hervey Bay, Qld.

Notes:

[1] http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/comment/complete [30 November 2008].

Copyright © 2010 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 9 October 2015.

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Stop the Rotten Spin on Fluoride! How a city tries to propagandize a people about fluoride

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010


(Photographs of dental fluorosis by Dr Hardy Limeback, Dr Iain Pretty, et al, fluoridealert.org)

By Spencer D Gear

During July and August 2004, the Bundaberg, News-Mail (Qld., Australia) ran a series of short features titled, “Stop the Rot,” which presented only one side of the fluoride debate – support fluoride being added to the local water supply.  Throughout this article, I’ll quote from a number of “Stop the Rot” articles.  Not one article in “Stop the Rot” series took an anti-fluoride perspective.

Let’s examine this issue and the Bundaberg situation.

A.   Civic leaders & media must favour it. 

The Australian Dental Association of Queensland Vice-President, Mike Foley, in advocating the addition of fluoride to a city’s water supply, claimed that “you would only get it through if the civic leaders and the media were in favour.” [1]

To date the local newspaper, the Bundaberg News-Mail, has been true to form in following Mike Foley’s advice that fluoride would only be supported if “the media were in favour.”  This has been some of the News-Mail‘s approach that I have observed:

1.  Bias is the name of the game.  Only present one side of the fluoride debate.

As indicated above, in July-August 2004, the News-Mail published a series of pro-fluoride articles, “Stop the Rot.”  I wrote this letter to the News-Mail, published on August 12 2004, p.6, “Biting into fluoride issue”:

A recent letter referred to “anti-fluoridation ratbags.” and I sent this letter to the editor of  the Bundaberg News-Mail:

Roy Theodore [a retired editor of the News-Mail] (News-Mail July 31) calls us “flat-earth anti-fluoridationists.”

These are name-calling logical fallacies that make rational discussions about any subject impossible.

I emailed one of these “ratbags”, Dr Hardy Limeback, Associate Professor and Head of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada to ask why he had moved from pro-fluoride to anti-fluoride in 1999.

His response was: “I am still opposed to water fluoridation. The letter I wrote in 2001 [available on the Fluoride Action Network website at: http://www.fluoridealert.org/ remains essentially my view today except that I have collected even more studies to add to the list of peer-reviewed scientific studies that point to problems associated with long-term fluoride ingestion.”

When I supplied him with some of the snippets of information from the News-Mail’s “Stop the Rot” one-sided series, he wrote, “Furthermore, using toddlers with early childhood dental decay as the ‘poster children’ for severe dental decay is not only deceptive, but it is immoral.”

These public health officials are trying to use sympathy and fear tactics to win over people to the side of the proponents of fluoridation.

I think it is about time the News-Mail “stopped the rot” of printing essentially a one-sided editorial view of fluoride.

                SPENCER GEAR

                Bundaberg

Editor’s note: All anti-fluoridation letters sent by readers of the News-Mail have been published by the paper in an effort to keep the debate balanced.  The News-Mail is calling for local governments to take the issue to the ratepayers in the shire, not to put fluoride in the water supply.

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While the News-Mail editor on this occasion stated that “all anti-fluoridation letters sent by readers . . . have been published by the paper in an effort to keep the debate balanced,” the following article will challenge the view that “effort to keep the debate balanced” has continued to be promoted by the News-Mail.

2.  Censor opposing views

I have had personal examples of the way the Bundaberg News-Mail censored letters so that the truth about the dangers of fluoride was not presented as it should have been.  These are the details:

a.  This letter was not published

While the News-Mail was publishing its pro-fluoride series of articles, “Stop the Rot,”  I sent the following letter to the paper that was not published:

Why I am against fluoride added to drinking water, 23rd July 2004

Letters to the Editor,
The News-Mail

Dear Editor,

May Bundaberg’s civic leaders consider these facts before taking away our civil liberties by putting fluoride in our water supply (N-M, July 23, p. 3).

One of the world’s leading centres for the manufacture of medical, chemical, and drug supplies (a centre of pharmacology) stopped fluoridation of its water supply in 2003 after 41 years of fluoride.  The Canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, withdrew fluoride for the same reasons that Bundaberg 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 [statement by Rudolf Ziegelbecker & Konradin Kreuzer]. [1a]

For those who want to use fluoride, tablets are available from the Bundaberg City Council.  This toxin should not be forced on people in a democracy.

Dr. Charles G. Heyd, Past President of the American Medical Association, said: “I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs.  Fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long-range basis.  Any attempt to use water this way is deplorable.”

Please keep Bundaberg’s water clear of this unnecessary toxic drug — for health sake.

Yours sincerely,
Spencer Gear
Bundaberg

P.S.  Editor: If you are interested, I am available to write an article opposing fluoride with some of these emphases: Fluoridated water is a hazard to health because:

3d-silver-star It’s impossible to provide medication consistently through drinking water;

3d-silver-star The margin of error between a therapeutic dose and deleterious health effects is small;

3d-silver-star We already are getting too much fluoride through the soil, food and water;

3d-silver-star Fluoride has been demonstrated to be a carcinogen (cancer link);

3d-silver-star Fluorosis is a bone disease caused by fluoride;

3d-silver-star The efficacy in preventing tooth decay has not been shown;

3d-silver-star It’s an expensive exercise for any Council to fluoridate;

3d-silver-star The scientific case for fluoridation is flawed;

3d-silver-star Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, PhD, DDS, is Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  He’s no dummy when it comes to dentistry.  Read his article, “Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water.” [1b] Vancouver, Canada, does not have a fluoridated water supply, but has a lower rate of dental decay than Toronto, Canada, which has had fluoridation for 36 years. Dr. Limeback’s reasons provide some evidence.  Previously he was a leading promoter of fluoride in Canada — but no more!!

3d-silver-star Tooth decay is preventable through other resources.  We can do something now about preventing cancer, hip fracture and osteoporosis associated with fluoride use.  Don’t fluoridate!

The United Nations (UNICEF) states: “But more and more scientists are now seriously questioning the benefits of fluoride, even in small amounts.” [1c]

Recently, Dr. Hardy Limeback, Canada’s foremost promoter of fluoridation, head of Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto and President of the Canadian Association of Dental Research, 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.” [1d]

Dr. Hardy Limeback, biochemist and Professor of Dentistry, University of Toronto, former consultant to the Canadian Dental Association. “Children under three should never use fluoridated toothpaste. Or drink fluoridated water. And baby formula must never be made up using Toronto tap water. Never. In fluoridated areas, people should never use fluoride supplements. We tried to get them banned for children but (the dentists) wouldn’t even look at the evidence we presented.” [1e]

Not only was the letter not published, but the editor of the NewsMail did not take up my offer to write articles to provide an alternate anti-fluoride view.  To demonstrate the NewsMail‘s biased view, I submit the following information.

b.  “Fluoride debated” (my anti-fluoride letter) 

On March 7, 2005, p. 6, the News-Mail published my letter:

Where is the scientific evidence that proves “20% of Bundaberg’s smiles had 80% disease” (Dr Michael Foley, Australian Dental Association, NM [ie NewsMail] 17/02/05, page 3)?

Dr Mark Diesendorf, University of New South Wales, states: “Contrary to the false impression created by some health and dental authorities, there is no scientific evidence supporting the notion that fluoride at a daily dose of several milligrams per day is a nutrient—indeed, there (are) many communities around the world with much lower fluoride intakes who have excellent teeth.

“Those who provide http://www.fluoridealert.org/medications have a duty to inform patients of the risks and benefits of the medications” (Chemistry in Australia journal, Jan/Feb 2005, “Toxic chemicals: the case against fluoride”).

Dr. Foley claimed that Bundaberg’s alleged higher incidence of dental disease “comes down to other states having fluoridated water”.

Let us check the facts from the Child Dental Health Survey.

In 1997, the decay for primary teeth, five to six-year-olds in Queensland (5% fluoridated), was less than that for Victoria which had extensive fluoridation.

In 1998 decay in permanent teeth of 12-year-olds in Queensland was less than in Tasmania which had extensive fluoridation.

Fluoride supporters, Jason Armfield and John Spencer, in an article published in the journal Community Dentistry Oral Epidemiology (vol. 32, pp. 283-96, 2004) found no statistically significant benefit for permanent teeth through fluoridation in South Australia.

We know there are topic benefits (applied outside of the teeth), but the benefits of ingesting fluoride must be questioned.

For those who want to ingest fluoride, the Bundaberg City Council provides fluoride tablets on request.

SPENCER GEAR, Bundaberg

Surprise!  Surprise!  Dr. Michael Foley, now President, Australian Dental Association, came back with a letter-to-the-editor to try to refute my claims:

c.  “Fluoride clarification” (Michael Foley’s letter)

On 15 March 2005, p. 6, this letter was published in the Bundaberg News-Mail:

In arguing against fluoridation (NM 7/3/05), Spencer Gear has completely misunderstood the Spencer and Armfield study he cites.
The quote: “no statistically significant benefit for fluoridation in South Australia” is Mr Gear’s alone, and appears nowhere in the study.

Spencer and Armfield actually stated that “Numerous studies in the last two decades and recent reviews provide support for the positive health consequences of the consumption of fluoridated water”.

This should come as no surprise as more than 100 of the world’s leading health and scientific authorities have strongly endorsed water fluoridation as being both safe and effective in combating tooth decay.  And fluoride tablets are not the answer, as  they only help the small number of children who are taking them.

Fluoridated water is far more effective, much cheaper, and strengthens everyone’s teeth from the very young to the very old.

Queensland’s tooth decay epidemic is a disgrace, and one for which the costs to the community are massive.

DR MICHAEL FOLEY, President, Australian Dental Association

How do I respond to such a scathing letter against my statements on the Spencer and Armfield research?  I believe that I had correctly represented the views of these Australian researches.  Dr. Foley did not think so.  I sent an email copy of Dr. Foley’s letter to Dr. Paul Connett a noted scientist who has concluded that fluoride in the water supply is not good for teeth decay prevention.  This was:

d.  Dr. Connett’s reply to the News-Mail letters

Dr. Connett wrote;

Letters-to-the-Editor (NewsMail: editorial@news-mail.com.au)

March 16, 2005.

Dr. Michael Foley in his letter of March 15 disputes Spencer Gear’s claim that Armfield and Spencer “found no statistically significant benefit for permanent teeth through fluoridation in South Australia.”

But in challenging Gear, Foley cites these authors talking about what other studies have shown not their own. He quotes Armfield and Spencer as saying:

“Numerous studies in the last two decades and recent reviews provide support for the positive health consequences of the consumption of fluoridated water.”
But this is what Armfield and Spencer actually say about their own findings in the abstract of their paper:
“The effect of consumption of nonpublic water on permanent caries experience was not significant.”

So Spencer Gear was right, and Dr. Michael Foley was wrong.

But it is not just in the details that Michael Foley is wrong, the whole sweep of his claims about fluoridation are off the mark. For example he claims that “more than 100 of the world’s leading health and scientific authorities have strongly endorsed water fluoridation as being both safe and effective” but he fails to point out that only 9 countries in the world have more than 50% of the population drinking fluoridated water.  If fluoridation is such a good idea why isn’t it practiced in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,  France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden or Switzerland? And why are their teeth just as good as those countries which practice fluoridation?

It is largely the English speaking world that has succumbed to this silly American idea. Unfortunately, once the US Public Health Service endorsed the practice in 1950 (before one single trial had been completed) many of the health and scientific “authorities” Foley cites, fell into line, because they receive their funding from this source.  Too many dentists swallow the second hand assertions of “authorities” on this matter, rather than read the primary literature.

But I am glad that Dr. Foley is speaking out. I have visited Australia three times since 2002 and on each occasion I have challenged representatives of the Australian Dental Association in four states to debate this issue with me in public and to date they have all refused. Now that Dr. Michael Foley has declared his hand perhaps he will take me on during my next visit. If he will then perhaps he will let your readers know, otherwise I recommend that they take his views with a piece of salt (and make that sodium chloride not sodium fluoride)!

Dr. Paul Connett,
Professor of Chemistry,
St. Lawrence University,
Canton, NY 13617.
1- 315-379-9200
paul@fluoridealert.org

Surprise!  Surprise!  The Bundaberg News-Mail did not publish Dr. Connett’s letter.  But this is the newspaper that stated on August 12, 2004, following one of my letters:  “Editor’s note: All anti-fluoridation letters sent by readers of the News-Mail have been published by the paper in an effort to keep the debate balanced.  The News-Mail is calling for local governments to take the issue to the ratepayers in the shire, not to put fluoride in the water supply.”

By 16 March 2005, it had changed its view and had censored Dr. Connett’s correction of Dr. Foley’s erroneous views.  I provided two follow-up letters to the News-Mail supporting Dr. Connett’s evidence, but neither letter was published, thus confirming this newspaper’s position of not allowing continuing “balanced” debate on this subject.

B.   World Health Organisation [WHO], government & professional bodies support water fluoridation. 

The Queensland government supports fluoridation:  “I support the extension of water fluoridation wherever it receives the endorsement of the local community. . .  It has received the endorsement of the World Health Organisation, government and professional bodies in many countries including Australia. [2]  Health council chairman and former mayor of the Kolan Shire Council [near Bundaberg, Qld.], Viv Chase, “said his personal view was there was a strong case in favour of fluoridation.” [3]  Dentist, Dr. Michael Foley of Brisbane stated, “According to the World Health Organisation, fluoridation of water supplies significantly improves dental health, and where possible, is the most effective public health measure for the prevention of dental decay.” [4]

Let’s investigate:

1. World Health Organization (WHO) and Fluoride

The WHO’s published view is:

Despite great improvements in the oral health of populations across the world, problems still persist particularly among poor and disadvantaged groups in both developed and developing countries. According to the World Oral Health Report 2003, dental caries remains a major public health problem in most industrialized countries, affecting 60–90% of schoolchildren and the vast majority of adults. Although it appears that dental caries is less common and less severe in developing countries of Africa, it is anticipated that the incidence of caries will increase in several countries of that continent, due to changing living conditions and dietary habits, and inadequate exposure to fluorides. Research on the oral health effects of fluoride started around 100 years ago; the focus has been on the link between water and fluorides and dental caries and fluorosis, topical fluoride applications, fluoride toothpastes, and salt and milk fluoridation. Most recently, efforts have been made to summarize the extensive database through systematic reviews. Such reviews concluded that water fluoridation and use of fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses significantly reduce the prevalence of dental caries. WHO recommends for public health that every effort must be made to develop affordable fluoridated toothpastes for use in developing countries. Water fluoridation, where technically feasible and culturally acceptable, has substantial advantages in public health; alternatively, fluoridation of salt and milk fluoridation schemes may be considered for prevention of dental caries (World Health Organization 2005).

We can therefore conclude that the WHO’s position is pro-fluoride.  But what about governments?

2. Governments and fluoride

This is a mixed bag.  Locally, a representative from the Kolan Shire Council, near Bundaberg, Qld., mayor Viv Chase, supports fluoridation (see above).

a.  Brisbane’s Lord Mayor & fluoridation

There had been a report in the Brisbane Courier-Mail (19 July 2004) of a new “bid to put fluoride in [Brisbane’s] water” (Griffith 2004).  In The Australian newspaper, 24 February 2005, the heading was, “Beattie [Qld. Premier] to demand fluoride in water” (Parnell 2005).  In this article it was reported:

Mr Beattie indicated he was more likely to support financial incentives being provided to councils.

“There are very strong arguments in favour of fluoridation and we’d be delighted to see councils do it, but it is a council responsibility at the moment,” Mr Beattie told The Australian.
The Local Government Association of Queensland, however, wants the state to take control. It estimated the cost of statewide water fluoridation to be $80 million, regardless of who made the decisions.
Queensland Health has put forward a figure of $13 million upfront and at least $3.8 million in annual maintenance costs, but maintains the benefits would far outweigh the costs. The issue has already been raised in budget committee and Labor caucus meetings.

Former Brisbane Labor lord mayor Jim Soorley opposed fluoridation, but the incumbent, Liberal Campbell Newman, has been more open to the idea  (Parnell 2005).  However, in December 2004, the Labor Party in Queensland was divided over this issue:

The Queensland government is split over whether to add fluoride to the state’s water supply.  he issue has pitted Premier Peter Beattie against his health minister after Mr Beattie ruled out taking charge of fluoridation.  Mr Beattie killed off any likelihood of blanket fluoride protection in the state’s water supply on Tuesday, saying local councils held the decision-making power for using fluoride.
However, the announcement has pitted him against Health Minister, Gordon Nuttall, who has strongly advocated the introduction of statewide fluoridation to address childhood dental disease (National Nine News 2004).

On 24 February 2005, I sent this email to Lord Mayor Campbell Newman of Brisbane to check out his position:

Good Evening Lord Mayor,

I saw your news item about fluoride on tonight’s [24 Feb. 2005] Channel 7 news, wanting the State Government to impose fluoridation on Queenslanders.

It just about caused me to choke on my chicken wrap as I ate dinner and watched Rod & Kay.

Channel 7 rushed to a spokesman for the Australian Dental Association (ADA) to give the ADA one-eyed pro-fluoride push.  Why didn’t they get the balanced facts?  These are just to whet your appetite for the truth and nothing but the truth about fluoride:

1.         Why don’t you check out some of the scientific information AGAINST fluoride, from dental specialists such as Dr. Hardy Limeback?  He’s no Johnny come lately when it comes to dental research, being the Associate Professor and Head, Preventive Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  Take a read of his article, “Why I am now officially opposed to adding fluoride to drinking water” available at: http://www.fluoridealert.org/limeback.htm.   He gives the “new evidence for lack of effectiveness of fluoridation in modern times.”

2.         Dr. Mark Diesendorf, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney, has his article, “Toxic chemicals: the case against fluoride,” [4a] in the January/February 2005 issue of Chemistry in Australia journal, also available online at: [http://www.raci.org.au/chemaust/] .  Since fluoride in the water supply is used as a treatment for people, no matter what redefinition people try, it is still a medication. Dr. Diesendorf   states that, “Contrary to the false impression created by some health and dental authorities, there is no scientific evidence supporting the notion that fluoride at a daily dose of several milligrams per day is a nutrient – indeed, there [are] many communities around the world with much lower fluoride intakes who have excellent teeth. Those who provide medications have a duty to inform ‘patients’ of the risks and benefits of the medications.”

Dr. Diesendorf states that “people are being misled by pro-fluoridationists  that: (1) The ingestion of 1 ppm fluoridated water is highly effective in reducing dental caries (when the mechanism of action is redominantly topical), and (2) Ingestion of 1 ppm fluoride is safe for everyone.”

3.         “New York — April 30, 2003 –Over forty years of water fluoridation failed to reduce tooth decay in Basel, Switzerland, where children’s cavity rates increased from 1996 – 2001, according to a Swiss Government Report.

Basel, the only Swiss city adding fluoride to water supplies, halted fluoridation on April 9, 2003, on the advice of their governmental Health and Social Commission.

“Europe’s cavity rates declined despite being 98% fluoridation-free. The UK and Spain remain fluoridated at 10% and 3%, respectively. Ireland is 73% fluoridated, where 12-year-olds have more cavities than 12-year-olds in four non-fluoridated European countries and the U.K.

“Twenty years ago Levittown, New York, stopped 29 years of water fluoridation. Neighboring New York City’s daily newspaper, “The N.Y. Daily News” predicted Levittowner’s teeth would rot. However, many studies show cavity rates improve when fluoridation ends” (available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/1154.html).

I call upon you to turn to those who give us the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to fluoride.  And there is plenty of BAD news about adding fluoride to our water supply.

Yours sincerely,
Spencer Gear,
Bundaberg

(I have children who live in Brisbane.)

P.S.  Dr. Limeback has two doctorates, one in dental science.  He’s no dill.   Why don’t you contact him for an interview on why we should not add fluoride to Brisbane’s  (and Queendland’s) water supplies?  Here are his contact details:

Dr. Hardy Limeback, BSc, PhD, DDS
Associate Professor and Head,
Preventive Dentistry
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, M5G-1G6
Fax (416) 979-4936
Tel(416) 979-4929
E-mail: hardy.limeback@utoronto.ca

Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell Newman, sent me this email reply:

12 March 2005

Mr Spencer Gear
[he included my email address]

From Campbell Newman
Lord Mayor, Brisbane
Email: LORD.MAYOR@brisbane.qld.gov.au

Dear Mr Gear

I refer to your email of 24 February 2005 regarding your concerns about fluoridation of Brisbane’s public water supply.

As you may be aware, following the recommendation of a Lord Mayoral Taskforce on Fluoridation in 1997, Brisbane City Council decided that Brisbane’s water supply should not be fluoridated. During the course of the Taskforce, Council invited a number of experts on both sides of the issue to put forward their case, including Dr Mark Diesendorf referred to in your email.

Council’s decision was based on a number of factors, including concerns about health effects and the impact of a lifetime consumption of fluoridated water. Council was also concerned about the absence of Australian-based research that had been recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

I have made my own position clear that I would not support water fluoridation for Brisbane unless a sound and coherent case can be made that convinces the community that their health concerns are unfounded.

Thank you for the Internet references that you have provided. We have added them to our already extensive library on fluoridation.

Yours sincerely
Campbell Newman
LORD MAYOR
Ref: 238919

It’s interesting that The Australian newspaper of 24 February 2005 reported that “Liberal Campbell Newman,has been more open to the idea [of fluoridating Brisbane’s water supply], yet Newman wrote to me on 12 March 2005 declaring his position that “I would not support water fluoridation for Brisbane unless a sound and coherent case can be made that convinces the community that their health concerns are unfounded.”  I await the “sound and coherent case” in support of fluoridation to convince me and the community.  To date, the evidence against fluoridation is too substantive for me.  Why would the governments of Europe be overwhelmingly against fluoridation?

b.  The governments of Europe

According to the Fluoride Action Network, “98% of western Europe has rejected water fluoridation. This includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the majority of the United Kingdom (90%)” (Fluoride Action Network 2002).

The above evidence indicates that some governments support the addition of fluoride to the water supply, but there’s a swag of them that do not.

c.  What about the USA?

It has been stated that “in about 60% of 2000 referenda held in the U.S. since 1950, fluoridation has been voted down.”  For a list of  USA “communities which have rejected fluoridation since 1990” see: http://www.fluoridealert.org/communities.htm.  For an indication of the “Fluoridation Status” of the various states of the USA from the years1992-2002, see: http://www2.cdc.gov/nohss/FluoridationV.asp.

3.  Professional bodies support water fluoridation. 

The Australian Dental Association supports the introduction of fluoride to the water supply.  Its policy on “Community Oral Health Promotion” of fluoride is that the use of fluorides in dentistry is one of the most important ways of preventing dental caries and has the support of all peak public health and dental authorities. International bodies such as the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the World Health Organisation [WHO] and the US Surgeon General actively promote water fluoridation. The CDC placed water fluoridation in the top ten public health  achievements of the 20th Century. Similarly, scientific bodies in Australia,  recognised public health groups and professional organisations support water fluoridation. Community water fluoridation continues to be the most cost-effective, equitable and safe means to provide protection from tooth decay and has been successfully utilised in Australia for over 50 years. The effect of water fluoridation is predominantly topical, with some systemic influence in children. (Australian Dental Association 2004).

For a list of the professional associations in support of water fluoridation, see The American Dental Association (2005).  These include:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
  • American Dietetic Association
  • American Heart Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American School Health Association
  • American Society for Nutritional Sciences/American Society for Clinical Nutrition
  • American Water Works Association
  • Australian Dental Association
  • British Fluoridation Society
  • British Medical Journal
  • Canadian Dental Association
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Division of Oral Health
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/MMWR

What is the situation in Europe where most of the countries are opposed to fluoridation?

C.   Young children’s teeth removed through decay.

“Bundaberg children as young as four were having all their teeth removed because of shocking decay.” [5]

D.   All the information for an informed decision. 

“Our role is to ensure people have all the information so that they can make an informed decision.” [6]

E.   Fluoride is not poisonous:

“Fluoride at the level recommended for fluoridation is totally safe.” [7]

F.   Water fluoridation better than fluoride tablets. 

Fluoride tablets are not as effective as “water fluoridation for the majority of the population.  Fluoride works mainly by a topic effect, washing over the teeth and becoming incorporated in saliva.” [8] Bundaberg dentist, Harry Akers: “Fluoride tablets were not an effective substitute for fluoridating the water supply.” [9] “Tablets, toothpaste and fluoride treatments from dentists are neither as effective nor as efficient as water fluoridation.” [10]

G.   Fluoride is a health issue.

Bundaberg dentist, Harry Akers, states that “all other Australian states legislatively regard fluoridation as a health issue but in Queensland it’s a local authority issue.” [11]  I agree with my personal dentist, Mr. Harry Akers, that fluoride is a “health issue.”  But what’s the evidence, either positive or negative, from the research on fluoride in the water supply?

My Response:

Dr. Robert K. Ferrie is a practising physician with an MD (doctor of medicine).  What’s his view on the “health issue” of fluoridation?

I am a physician practicing in Alton [Ontario, Canada] and my wife is a medical science writer and publisher of books on health and environment.  We attended the May 6th [2004] meeting and presented our objections to fluoridation.   The currently available international scientific literature shows beyond any doubt that fluoridation is ineffective as a preventive measure against tooth decay and seriously harmful to the immune system and it is a known carcinogen at even minute levels.   We urged an open discussion of all the available information, especially also to the residents of  Bolton  , so that legally mandatory informed consent is observed (Ferrie 2004).

Dr. Ferrie quoted the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) views on fluoride:

Dr. Charles Gorden Heyd, the AMA’s past president [1936-1937, died 1970], recently said, “I am appalled at the prospect of using water as a vehicle for drugs; fluoride is a corrosive poison that will produce serious effects on a long-term basis.”  The current position of the AMA is that the safety of fluoride, at any dilution, cannot be proven (Ferrie, 2004).

Dr. Ferrie goes on to quote the Ontario Government’s (Canada) Lockyer Report of 1999 came to the following cautious conclusions:

Ontario Government’s 1999 commissioned Locker Report was not mentioned at all either.   That report came to the following cautious conclusions:

“The magnitude of the effect…  is often not statistically significant, and may not be of clinical significance… Canadian studies do not provide systematic evidence that water fluoridation is effective in reducing decay in contemporary child populations.  The few studies of communities where fluoridation was withdrawn do not suggest significant increases in dental caries as a result.” (Page 4) “ The main limitations of current research on the effectiveness of water fluoridation are its exclusion of adults and elderly and failure to consider quality of life outcomes.  Since water fluoridation is a total population strategy, its benefits to the population as a whole need to be documented.”(Page 62) [in Ferrie 2004, emphasis in original].

There is an opposing view.  The City of Mountain View, California, commenced fluoridation of its water supply in 2001 and in its “Fluoride Fact Sheet,” it stated:

The following organizations endorse water fluoridation as an important public health measure reducing tooth decay:

The American Dental Association (ADA) endorsed fluoridation in 1950, and reaffirmed its endorsement in 1997.

The American Medical Association (AMA) endorsed fluoridation in 1976, and reaffirmed its endorsement in 1982.

As part of its “Healthy People 2000” project, the United States CDC set a goal of providing fluoridated water to 75 percent of the American people by 2010.

The State Department of Health Services has approved Mountain View’s fluoridation program. . .

Fluoride is a safe, effective way to prevent tooth decay and is endorsed by numerous professional health care and governmental organizations. Increasing the amount of fluoride in the water to the “optimal level” should not change the water’s taste, smell or appearance (City of Mountain View 2001).

H.  Water fluoridation is good for all people. 

“Water fluoridation, because it predominantly works through a topical effect, benefits all of the population who have their own teeth.” [12]

My Response:


Dr Arvid Carlsson, Nobel Laureate in medicine in the year 2000, disagrees that water fluoridation benefits all people.  In an article for the Journal of the Swedish Medical Association he opposed adding fluoride to drinking water, stating that

in this situation a poison [fluoride] should deliberately be distributed throughout our environment in enormous quantities represents an ill-considered action, especially as this is a poison which, through industrialization, will probably find its way in increasing quantities into our environment. Water fluoridation also goes against leading principles of pharmacotherapy, which is progressing from a stereotyped medication – of the type 1 tablet 3 times a day – to a much more individualized therapy as regards both dosage and selection of drugs. The addition of drugs to the drinking water means exactly the opposite of an individualized therapy. Not only in that the dose cannot be adapted to individual requirements. It is, in addition, based on a completely irrelevant factor, namely consumption of drinking water, which varies greatly between individuals and is, moreover, very poorly surveyed (Carlsson 1978).

Dr. Carlsson continues:

Judging from current Scandinavian studies – no marked reduction in caries can be expected; one cannot, in fact, be sure that there will be any completely positive effect. Secondly, there is the danger of adverse effects in some individuals, among other things in the form of enamel damage, an increased tendency to caries and other symptoms of ailments, together with disruptions to the development of the growing individual. There is, if not definite proof, sound reason for doubt relating to such negative effects of water fluoridation (Carlsson 1978).

I.   Children under age 8 benefit most. 

“While children under eight benefit most because fluoride strengthens their growing teeth, everyone benefits because fluoride in saliva kills bacteria. . .  Bundaberg children aged six have twice the Australian average number of decayed, missing and filled teeth.” [13]

J.   Water fluoridation is not costly. 

In Bundaberg, “it would cost about 80 cents per person per year for water fluoridation.  In return it would save the average person about $50 in dental costs.” [14]

K.   Water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to reduce tooth decay.

“All major reviews of water fluoridation have concluded that it is the most cost effective means of reducing dental decay.” [15]  “Water fluoridation is recognised safest, most cost-effective and equitable intervention available to reduce dental decay.” [16]  Bundaberg dental surgeon, D. D. Hoffman stated that fluoridated water “is safe, cheap and effective.” [17]  “There has never been a better time to introduce water fluoridation to this community. . .  Fluoride is the cornerstone of any preventive dental treatment and fluoridated water is the most effective way to dose the low levels required to benefit the entire community.” [18]

L.   Water fluoridation chemicals are not dangerous.

“This issue has been looked at many times by many groups, the latest being the UK Medical Research Council in 2002 which found no evidence of any health effects.” [19]

M.   Fluoridated water & immediate effects. 

Mike Charles, “Bundaberg residents are likely to notice the effects of drinking fluoridated water immediately. . .  Fluoridate water would start to reverse tooth decay as soon as people took a sip.” [20]

It’s interesting that that is not the case in Ireland:

A GROUP of more than 100 dentists have demanded an end to fluoridation of tap water over cancer fears.
Their action came yesterday following a study by the Harvard School of Dental Health which found an increased cancer risk in children.
The research has already led to the Environmental Working Group, a Washington research organisation, calling for the US government to list fluoride as a carcinogen.  In Ireland public water supplies have been fluoridated by law since the 1960s and we remain one of the few countries in Europe still adding the chemical.

Dr Don McAuley of the Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation (IDOF) said the US research shows that boys drinking fluoridated water from the age of five to ten will experience a greater risk of osteosarcoma bone cancer when they are older.

Another study comparing figures between the Republic of Ireland (fluoridated) and Northern Ireland (unfluoridated) also found a 40pc rise in bone cancer levels. In 1996, Northern Ireland refused to dose drinking water with chemical fluoride when 25 out of 26 councils voted against water fluoridation because of concerns over fluoride health damage (Hogan 2005).

N.   Most dentists support fluoride. 

Mr. Charles “said 98% of Queensland dentists were in favour of councils fluoridating water and Queensland health was urging the community to consider the benefits.” [21]

My Response:

That may be the case, but there is an increasing number of dentists who are objecting, based on the evidence.  As indicated above, “A group of more than 100 [Irish] dentists have demanded an end to fluoridation of tap water over cancer fears” (Hogan 2005).

O.  Many studies show fluoride reduces cavities. 

“Many studies have concluded fluoridation can reduce cavities by 15% to 40%.” [22] “We only have to look at the amount of tooth decay in Queenslanders and it defies logic, to me as an individual, why we have not had fluoride in our water for years.” [23]

P.  All water contains some fluoride. 

“All water supplies have some fluoride.  In the Bundaberg area it is about 0.1 parts per million of water.  Health authorities recommend one part per million to benefit teeth without staining.” [24]

Q.  Unfluoridated areas with more teeth decay. 

“A 1992-1994 study found that children in unfluoridated Brisbane had higher cavities than in fluoridated Townsville.” [25] A Bargara dentist asks parents, “Was your child born in New South Wales or Victoria?  You can tell this because their children [as opposed to children in Queensland] have no cavities and the enamel of their teeth has no defects.  Their teeth are so much better that you can tell they come from a fluoridated area. . .  It’s a choice between fluoridation or dental infection, possible dental abscess, root canal therapy or surgical extractions.” [26]

R.  Legs will fall off & brown teeth. 

“Antifluoridationists will claim that your legs will fall off and we will all end up with brown teeth if we fluoridate water.” [27]

S.  How bad teeth look in North America & Europe.

“Have you also noticed how bad the teeth look on the 300 million North Americans and the (roughly) 200 million Europeans that drink fluoridated water?” [28]

T.  If you don’t like fluoride, go & buy a water filter! 

“If you do not like fluoride go and buy a water filter and let the rest of us who like adding (about) one kilogram of fluoride to a thousand tons of water is infinitely safer than having a severe dental infection requiring a week of several very strong anti-biotics, several x-rays, and some uncomfortable or painful surgical procedure.” [29]  “Let the antifluoridationists drink bottled water.” [30]

U.  Fear tactics. 

See Lincoln Harris above. [31]  Scare tactics of anti-fluoridationists.  “Once the anti-fluoridation people get in there with their scare tactics people just play safe and say ‘no'” says Mike Foley. [32]

V.  All major health bodies support fluoridation. 

“All the major health bodies support fluoridation.” [33]

W.  Logical fallacies & fluoride. 

Feature writer and former editor of the Bundaberg News-Mail, Roy Theodore, claims that “the anti-fluoridation lobby was responding with so much alarming and emotional claptrap that the subject was a certain vote loser,” and those who oppose water fluoridation are “the flat-earth anti-fluoridationists . . . the flat-earthers.” [34]  Dental surgeon, J. P. J. Davidson wrote of “the anti-fluoridation ratbags.” [35]

My Response:

This claim, said this way, stymies discussions because it uses an ad hominem logical fallacy.  A what?  What is a logical fallacy? “A fallacy is an invalid form of argument, an instance of incorrect reasoning” (The Philosophical Society 2005). These are known as fallacies because they present arguments that my mislead a person into accepting a false conclusion.  Sometimes these are used so frequently that they are accepted as a common method in discussion.  Others make honest mistakes by using them, while at other times people make these deliberate actions that stifle logical discussion and may influence people to make decisions based on false premises.

The logical fallacy known as argumentum ad hominem (“argument against the person”) is commonly used these days.  It attacks the person and not the argument that the person is making. The Philosophical Society states that it is a fallacy in which someone argues against a position or claim by assailing the proponent of it. The truth or falsehood of a position doesn’t depend on who does (or doesn’t) espouse it. e.g. “You can’t trust Jones’ theory of electromagnetic particles because he’s a communist.” (The theory is good or bad because it comports (or doesn’t comport) with certain facts and evidence, not because the man propounding it holds a political affiliation (The Philosophical Society 2005).

So when these writers attack people who oppose fluoride by calling them “flat-earthers” and “ratbags” they are attacking the person by name-calling and not dealing with the issues of why these people oppose the addition of fluoride to drinking water.

Using the argumentum ad hominem, the arguments against fluoride are not treated on their merits.  In any debate or discussion, statements for or against a position ought to stand or fall on the basis of their own qualities.  The personal qualities of the person affirming or denying a position should not come into the question.  In this case, what are the strengths of the arguments for or against fluoridation.

Strictly speaking, the merits of  fluoride or anti-fluoride argument stand or fall on the content of the argument, not the personal characteristics of the presenter.  This ad hominem argument does not state the scientific or logical reasons for rejecting fluoridation.  It doesn’t provide the evidence to refute the anti-fluoride position, but attacks the persons, calling them “flat-earthers” or “ratbags.”  This insults the person rather than providing the evidence in support of one’s position.

We should be quick to halt or withdraw from discussions if the person is being attacked instead of a reasoned argument being presented.  It is impossible to have a logical discussion with somebody who engages in the use of argumentum ad hominem.

X.  Harmful if too much drunk. 

Back in the 1950s, Dr. George Christianson, a Brisbane oral surgeon, said that “it could be harmful . . . if you drank a bathful of water every day.” [36]

 

 

Endnotes:

1.  “Stop the Rot” series, “Fear campaigns to hit fluoridation,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 26, 2004, p. 5.

1a. These details are from, “Fluoridation demise in Switzerland: Fluoridation stopped after 41 years experimenting on the people,” The Australian Fluoridation News, May-June 2003, p. 1.

1b.  Available from,  http://www.fluoridealert.org/limeback.htm [23rd July 2004]

1c. “UNICEF’s Position on Water Fluoridation,” available from: http://www.nofluoride.com/Unicef_fluor.htm [23rd July 2004].

1d.  Barry Forbes, Mesa, AZ Tribune, cited in Linda Chae, “Fluoride,” available from: http://www.lindachae.com/fluoridenews.htm [23rd July 2004].

1e.  Cited in “Fluoride is a Corrosive Poison,” available from: http://www.apfn.org/apfn/poison.htm [23rd July 2004].  See more at, “Fluoridation in Calgary,” available from: http://www.fluoridation.com/news.htm#Toronto%20Star [23rd July 2004].

2.  Gordon Nuttall MP, Health Minister (Qld.), Member for Sandgate, letter to the editor, “Nuttall bites into issue,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 6.

3.  “Stop the Rot” series, “Fluoridation put on the agenda,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 30, 2004, p. 5.

4.  Dentist, Dr. Michael Foley, Brisbane, letter to the editor, “Sad story on teeth,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 16.

4a.  The article by Dr. Mark Diesendorf is actually titled, ‘Sustainable development and toxic chemicals: The case of fluoride’, available from: http://www.raci.org.au/chemaust/docs/pdf/2005/CiAJan-Feb2005p14.pdf [2 July 2005].

5.  “Fear campaigns to hit fluoridation,” reference above.

6.  “Stop the Rot” series: Dr. Mike Charles, Queensland Health Oral Health Wide-Bay Burnett director, “Answers to fluoride fears,” Bundaberg News-Mail, August 14, 2004, p. 13.

7.  Ibid.

8.  Ibid.

9.  “Stop the Rot” series, “Fluoride should be a local health issue,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 24, 2004, p. 4.

10.  Specialist orthodontist, Phil Saxby, letter to the editor, “Action on fluoride,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 6.

11.  “Fluoride should be a local health issue,” reference above.

12.  “Answers to fluoride fears,” p. 13.

13.  “Stop the Rot” series, “Fluoride: some facts,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 28, 2994, p. 9.

14.  “Answers to fluoride fears.”

15.  Ibid.

16.  Gordon Nuttall MP.  See reference above.

17.  D. D. Hoffman, Dental Surgeon, Bundaberg, letter to the editor, “Budget stretch,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 17.

18.  Paul Stockham, dentist, Burnett Dental Centre (Bundaberg), Letter to the editor, “Push for fluoride,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 16.

19.  “Answers to fluoride fears.”

20.  “Stop the Rot” series, “Fluoride’s benefits to start working for teeth,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 27, 2004, p. 3.

21.  Ibid.

22.  “Stop the Rot” series, “Fluoride: some facts,” Bundaberg News-Mail July 28, 2004, p. 9.

23.  Gordon Nuttall MP, Qld. Health Minister, reference above.

24.  “Fluoride’s benefits to start working for teeth,” reference above.

25.  Ibid.

26.  Letter to the editor, Lincoln Harris (BDSc), Bargara, “Fluoride the answer,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 6.

27.  Ibid.

28.  Ibid.

29.  Ibid.

30.  Specialist orthodontist, Phil Saxby, reference above.

31.  Dentist, Lincoln Harris, reference above.

32.  “Fear campaigns to hit fluoridation,” reference above.

33.  “Fluoride: some facts.”

34.  Roy Theodore, “Just for the Record” feature, “The buck-passing tragedy,” http://www.fluoridealert.org/Bundaberg News-Mail Weekender, July 31, 2003, p. 4.

35.  J. P. J. Davidson, Dental Surgeon, Bundaberg, letter to the editor, “Facts on fluoride,” Bundaberg News-Mail, July 29, 2004, p. 17.

36.  Roy Theodore, “Just for the Record” feature, “The wicked wordsmith,” Bundaberg News-Mail Weekender, August 14, 2004, p. 5.

Bibliography

American Dental Association 2005, ‘Oral Health Topics A–Z: Fluoride &  Fluoridation’, available from: http://www.ada.org/public/topics/fluoride/fluoride_links.asp [2 July 2005].  Australian Dental Association Inc. 2004, ‘Policy Statement: Community Oral Health Promotion Fluoride Use’, available from: http://www.ada.org.au/media/documents/Policies%20and%20Guidelines/April05/FluorideUse.pdf [2 July 2005].
Carlsson, A. 1978, “Current problems relating to the pharmacology and toxicology of fluorides’, Journal of the Swedish Medical Association, vol. 14, pp. 1388-1392, available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/carlsson.htm [14 August 2004].

City of Mountain View (California) 2001, ‘Fluoride fact sheet’, available from: www.mountainview.gov/citynews/fluoride_fact_sheet.htm [2 July 2005].

Ferrie MD, R. K. 2004, “Doctor comments on ‘Myths,'” Caledon Citizen [Ontario, Canada],  June 2, 2004, Available from: http://www.kospublishing.com/html/comments.html [2 July 2005].
Fluoride Action Network 2002, ‘Facts about Fluoridation’, March 2002, available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/fluoride-facts.htm [2 July 2005].

Griffith,  C. 2004, ‘Bid to put fluoride in water’, The Courier-Mail, 19 July 2004,  available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/1975.html [2 July 2005].

Hogan, T, “Dentists demand end to ‘Cancer Risk’ fluoride in water’, Irish Independent (14 June 2005), Available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/2288.html [2 July 2005].
National Nine News 2004, ‘Queensland spilt over fluoride issue’ (22 December 2004), available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/2139.html [2 July 2005].

Parnell S. 2005, ‘Beattie to demand fluoride in water’, The Australian (24 February 2005), available from: http://www.fluoridealert.org/news/2183.html [2 July 2005].

The Philosophical Society 2005, ‘Logical fallacies’, available from philosophical ociety.com at: http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Logical%20Fallacies.htm [22 June 2005].

World Health Organzation 2005, ‘Effective use of fluorides for the prevention of dental caries in the 21st century: the WHO approach’, available from: http://www.who.int/oral_health/media/en/orh_cdoe_319to321.pdf [2 July 2005].

 

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

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Anti-Fluoride Propaganda Blitzes

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010


(courtesy fluoridealert.org)

By Spencer D Gear

13 April 2006

The Editor

Fraser Coast Chronicle

Dear Editor,

In your editorial lambasting anti-fluoride people, you have done your best to try to close down rational dialogue in this debate. You label us as engaging in “bizarre . . . propaganda blitzes” with roots “in the extreme right” and we have “manufactured organised hysteria.”

Then you filter the evidence claiming that our lobbyists “captured the internet with lies.”

Let’s look at a few truthful facts. About 98% of Europe does not drink fluoridated water. The exceptions are 10% of the UK and 3% of Spain. Why have these countries ceased to force fluoride on their people? They have stopped or rejected outright water fluoridation as a health programme.

A recent Harvard University (hardly a dummy uni) research study, led by Dr. Elise Bassin, found that boys who drink water with levels of fluoride considered safe by federal USA guidelines are five times more likely to have a rare bone cancer (osteosarcoma) than boys who drink unfluoridated water. This research was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal, Cancer Causes and Control.

Ms. Editor, are you trying to tell us that these are lies?

If fluoride has any effect on the teeth, it is topical. It acts when it makes direct contact with the tooth.

Congratulations to the Maryborough City Council for considering the evidence and voting against introducing a fluoride toxin into the city’s water supply.

Yours sincerely,

Spencer Gear

Bundaberg

 

Copyright (c) 2013 Spencer D. Gear.  This document is free content.  You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the OpenContent License (OPL) version 1.0, or (at your option) any later version.  This document last updated at Date: 5 September 2013.

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A pre-millennial, post-tribulation end times understanding[1]

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Flying Feet

(image courtesy ChristArt)

By Spencer D Gear

There’s a lot of promotion in evangelical Christian circles of the dispensational pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture. On the popular level, this has been given lots of air-play in Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins’ Left Behind series (Tyndale House Publishers 1995) .  In fact, in the first Bible College I attended, this was the only view that was presented of eschatology. When I left college, I investigated other views and felt that I had been taught such a one-eyed understanding.

  1. These are nothing more than beginning thoughts on an understanding of end times from a pre-millennial, post-tribulation perspective, which is the view which I believe has the best scriptural support.
  2. I cannot find a Bible verse that tells specifically when the Rapture will happen. The Bible does not give specifics about the timing of the rapture.
  3. What is the Rapture? It is a part of the resurrection of the church. Those who have died prior to Christ’s second coming will be resurrected from the dead and raptured – taken up (I Thess. 4:12-18).
  4. At that resurrection, those believers who are still alive will be raptured with those who have died in Christ (1 Thess. 4:12-18).
  5. At the Second Coming, the dead in Christ and the living in Christ will be gathered in the air to meet Christ (1 Thess. 4:12-18). This gathering is called “the harvest” at “the close of the age” according to Matt. 13:39, which states, “The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels” (ESV).
  6. What does the Bible say about the time of the Resurrection and the Rapture? Matt. 24:21-31 states:

21For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

29Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (ESV).

So, immediately after the great tribulation the Son of Man will come in the clouds with a loud trumpet call and Christian believers – the elect of God will be gathered (this is Christ’s second coming).

7.  Mark 13:18-27 states:

18Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. 24“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (ESV)

These two accounts of the Resurrection and Rapture state very clearly that believers (the elect) will be gathered (raptured) at Christ’s second coming.

Does it state when the Resurrection of believers and the Rapture will happen? Yes it does. It will be after the great tribulation. But we have further evidence

8.  Second Thess. 2:1-4 further confirms when this will happen:

1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers [and sisters] 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God (ESV).

This event is often called the “abomination that causes desolation” as in Daniel 9:27. Daniel 11:31, 36 states:

31Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate…. 36“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done (ESV).

The Antichrist (1 John 2:18) will be revealed at the “abomination that makes desolate”, which will begin the Great Tribulation (see Revelation 17:1-13).

9.  There is direct evidence for the resurrection of believers at the start of the Millennium, according to Revelation 20:4, “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (ESV)

10.  Therefore, an instant, any moment Rapture of believers is not supported by these Scriptures. Instead, a great tribulation, an abomination must come first.

11.  A pre-tribulation Rapture is a recent innovation. See:

12.  In summary: The Bible states that the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the Rapture of the living in Christ will take place at Christ’s second coming, which will happen after the Great Tribulation. I can see no pre-tribulation rapture here.  But there is an affirmation for the post-tribulation rapture, a theological position that is called historic premillennialism.

See my other articles on this topic:

flamin-arrow-small Is the rapture of the church hogwash?

flamin-arrow-small What is the origin of the pre-tribulation rapture of Christians?

Recommended reading:

Robert Gundry 1973. The Church and the Tribulation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Robert Gundry 1997, First the Antichrist. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books.

George Eldon Ladd 1972. A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

George Eldon Ladd 1956. The Blessed Hope. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

R. Totten, “The church and the post-tribulation rapture“.

See also A Case for Historic Premillennialism.

 

clip_image001Notes


[1] With some help from: http://www.lastdaysmystery.info/the_post_tribulation_rapture.htm [Accessed 11 April 2010].

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 1 November 2016.

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Jesus is the Messiah! True or False?

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Is Jesus of Nazareth the Christ (Messiah/anointed one) as claimed in orthodox Christianity?

By Spencer D Gear

A.  Introduction

At Easter time in some Western countries, the mass media love to seek out historical Jesus’ experts who rattle the theological cage. “Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah,” is hardly an attention grabber for the populace! But this type of statement could get people involved in a discussion: “We have no way of knowing whether Jesus thought of himself as the Messiah or as the Son of God in some special sense” (Marcus Borg  1994:29). A headline for Borg’s challenge could be:

Jesus was no messiah.

Then add this problem: Who believes what the Bible says anyway? Even if the Bible supports orthodox Christianity’s view of Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, what’s the point of promoting this when the Bible is an unreliable document according to many? “Jesus’ burial by his friends was totally fictional and unhistorical”, wrote historical Jesus’ scholar, John Crossan (1994:160).

Another historical Jesus’ expert says that the Gospels “can no longer be viewed as the trustworthy accounts of unique and stupendous historical events at the foundation of the Christian faith. The gospels must now be seen as the result of early Christian mythmaking” (Burton Mack 1993:10). A great newspaper heading for Mack’s view could be:

The mythical Bible: Fantasy at work

Is Jesus the Messiah? David Layman (2009) gave the crass answer, “Bloody unlikely”. Part of his reasoning was:

“The ecumenical creeds (Nicene, Apostles’, Athanasian) or Reformation confessions (Augsburg, Heidelberg, Westminster) nowhere declared belief in the messianic identity of Jesus to be an article of faith. Indeed when the Heidelberg Catechism had an opportunity to make the connection, it twice went out of its way to avoid it… ‘Why is he called CHRIST, that is, the ANOINTED ONE?’ It answered that Christ is ‘ordained by God the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit.’ Christ had a three-fold ministry, prophet, priest and king, but the kingly authority (where one would expect some interpretation of his messianic identity) was given a spiritualized explanation: Christ is ‘governing up by his Word and Spirit and defending and sustaining us in the redemption he has won for us'” (Layman 2009).

Is the absence of specific statements about the Messiah in these historic creeds and confessions a stumbling block to the affirmation of Jesus the Christ/Messiah in orthodox Christianity?

One of two main schools of Gnosticism that attacked orthodox Christian doctrines in the first couple of centuries of the Christian era was Cerinthianism, named after Cerinthus (ca A.D. 100), who, according to Irenaeus (Against Heresies 26.1), was educated in the wisdom of Egypt. It is reported that he taught in Asia Minor (Turkey) but no further details are known of his birth location. Some contend that he was a contemporary of the apostle John.

One of the beliefs of the heretical Cerinthians was that “the Christ” came upon Jesus at his baptism, granting him power for ministry but it departed before Christ’s crucifixion. It was only a man who died on the cross and rose again. This theology invalidates the need for Christ’s atoning work (Keathley III n.d.). A current headline for this heresy could be:

Jesus zapped for practical reasons.

Before we can examine the truth or otherwise of the orthodox Christian claim of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ/Messiah, we have to address one main issue: the reliability of the Bible as a document providing the truth about Jesus Christ.

B.  Myth or truth: How do we determine if the Bible is true or false historically?

Fortunately, others have done the hard yards for us. Craig Blomberg (1987) wrote that if we wanted to evaluate the historical accuracy of the Gospels, “we assume from the outset that its testimony is reliable and then to consider the force of various objections which might cause a person to change his or her mind”. However, he notes that much critical scholarship “inverts this process altogether by assuming the gospels to be unreliable” (246).

1. How do you prove any historical document to be reliable?

Four criteria are commonly used by historians (based on Blomberg 1987:247):

  1. “Multiple attestation or forms”. Is the report in more than one Gospel and is there independent testimony outside of the Bible?
  2. “Palestinian environment or language”. This examines how the Greek text is related to a literal translation of a Jewish original. Or, if events and teaching reflect concepts from first century Palestine, then there is no need to seek a Greek (Hellenistic) church for the origins of the document.
  3. “Dissimilarity”. This is an unusual criterion which examines the Gospel’s picture of Jesus and how it might differ from some ancient Jewish belief or differ from some things that were happening in early Christianity. “Because Jesus seemed to stand out so much from his contemporaries and because his first followers so easily deviated from his very demanding requirements, this criterion has appealed to many as the most helpful” (Blomberg 1987:247).
  4. “Coherence”. If material harmonizes with material from the other three criteria, it may be accepted as authentic and reliable.

When we apply these tests to the Bible, what do we find?

“The gospels may be accepted as trustworthy accounts of what Jesus did and said. One cannot hope to prove the accuracy of every detail on purely historical grounds alone; there is simply not enough data available for that. But as investigation proceeds, the evidence becomes sufficient for one to declare that what can be checked is accurate, so that it is entirely proper to believe that what cannot be checked is probably accurate as well” (Blomberg 1987:254)

If the Gospels are given the same close historical investigation as any other documents from history, the Gospels will be shown to be reliable documents.  It is to these trustworthy documents that we turn to find the evidence for Jesus of Nazareth’s claims to be the Christ/Messiah.

C.  The Bible’s teaching on Jesus the Messiah, the Christ

In everyday language, what are the meanings of Messiah and Christ? How are the terms used in the New Testament?

“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22 ESV).[1] This verse is in a section of John’s epistles that warns against antichrists who were challenging the church when John wrote this general letter to churches that were being threatened in Asia Minor (Turkey today) towards the end of the first century A.D.

In the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt. 16:13). Some said he was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or another one of the prophets. The bold “Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'” (Matt. 16:16).

At Jesus’ trial before his execution, he appeared before Caiaphas, the high priest, along with the scribes and elders. The chief priests and the whole Council were trying to uncover false testimony against Jesus to give them reason to execute him. Many false witnesses presented their evidence. The high priest asked for Jesus’ response. Matthew records, “But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, ‘I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven'” (Matt. 26:63-64). Jesus admitted that he Himself is “the Christ”.

When Jesus called his first disciples, Andrew told his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah (which means Christ)” (John 1:41).

The scene is Jesus at the well with the woman of Samaria who was there to draw some water and Jesus engaged her in conversation. “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he'” (John 4:25-26).

Again, Jesus admits to a female stranger that he is the Messiah, the Christ. This is an amazing situation because in the socio-cultural context of the first century Jewish and Greco-Roman world, men not only regarded women negatively but also held them responsible for most sin, especially for sexually temptation. Jesus did not see women this way when he chose to declare to a woman his Messiahship and that he is the Christ.

The circumstances involved the death of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, and Jesus’ raising him from the dead. The Jews tried to console Lazarus’s sisters, Martha and Mary, following Lazarus’s death. Jesus told the sisters and those who had gathered that Lazarus would rise again and that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and those who believe in him, even though they die, continue to live. After Jesus declared that death was not the end, Martha responded: ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world'” (John 11:27).

In the midst of devastating grief, Martha affirmed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Those Scriptures refer to various circumstances in which Jesus Himself and others support the view that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. What do these terms mean?

The Greek, christos, translated as “Christ” appears 531 times in the NT, based on the Nestle-Aland 26th edition of the Greek NT (Hurtado 1991:106). The description of Jesus as the “Christ” in the Gospels reflects the Jewish origins of Christianity. Jesus is portrayed as the Christ, the anointed One, the Messianic hope of Israel. But the scriptural references above also present the Christ, the Messiah, as the son of God (eg John 10:36), a phrase that “modern scholarship holds … is used of Jesus … as the Messianic king. But in John 5:18, 10:33, 36 the claim of sonship is clearly intended to denote deity” (Thiessen 1949:142).

Christos had no Greek cultural significance. It is from the ancient Jews that Christians obtain the meaning of “the Christ, the Messiah”. Christos is the NT equivalent of the Hebrew, mashiach, from which “Messiah” is derived, meaning anointed (with oil). For the Jews, the person anointed with oil often referred to somebody appointed to a special office such as king or priest as seen in passages such as Ex. 28:41 (Aaron & his sons); 1 Sam. 9:15-16; 10:1 (Saul); 1 Sam. 16:3, 12-13 (David); and 1 Chron. 29:22 (Zadok and Solomon). These passages indicate that these people were chosen by God and others, to perform a special mission.

Mashiach, in the OT, is used especially for the anointing of the Israelite kings (see 1 Sam. 24:6; 2 Sam. 1:14) but there is an application to God’s Messiah in Dan. 9:25-26:

“Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, aprince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed”.

This “anointed one”, according to the context in Dan. 9:24 will “bring in everlasting righteousness” or “bring in righteousness of ages”, a righteousness that contrasts with sin (Wood 1973:249). This anointed one could not follow in the steps of the Israelite leaders who historically had led the people into sin, then spiritual renewal, followed by a return to sin. This anointed one would bring in “everlasting righteousness”.

Leon Wood notes that the Hebrew terms “anointed one” and “prince” in Dan. 9:25-26 are “applied to various leaders in the Old Testament, but here they clearly refer to Christ. He is the supreme Messiah and Prince; no one else fits the chronology developed in the text” (1973:251).

There is a special application of “the Anointed” in Psalm 2:2, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed”. The phrase, “the kings of the earth”, is common one in the Psalms (see also Ps. 76:12; 138:4; 148:11) and refers to rulers of kingdoms that are separate from the kingdom of God.

Many commentators regard the entire second psalm as “typically Messianic”, and apply it to Jesus, while others want to deny this messianic connection.

We conclude that the NT use of the term, “Messiah”, in John 1:41 and 4:25 is associated with Old Testament usage and not simply a reference to the apocryphal Book of Enoch 48:10.

The Christian view of Jesus the Messiah (i.e. the Christ) focuses on the question asked of the disciples by Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 16: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (v. 13). Then he became specific to them: “But who do you say that I am?” (v. 15). Simon Peter’s response was, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Jesus’ answer was that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter but it was revealed by “my Father who is in heaven” (v. 17).

D.  Orthodox Christianity’s teaching on Jesus the Messiah, the Christ

“Orthodoxy is a myth” according to the liberal theologian and philosopher of religion, John Hick (1978:ix-x). To the contrary, the view adopted in this article is that orthodox Christianity refers to

“right belief, as opposed to heresy or heterodoxy. The term is not biblical; no secular or Christian writer uses it before the second century…. The word [orthodoxy] expresses the idea that certain statements accurately embody the revealed truth content of Christianity and are therefore in their own nature normative for the universal church” (Packer 1984:808).

As Packer explains, it is rooted in the biblical teaching that the Gospel has “specific factual and theological content” (1 Cor. 15:1-11; Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Tim. 6:3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4) and that there can be no fellowship between those who accept orthodoxy and those who pursue heterodoxy (see 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7-11). Orthodox Christian teaching had to be defended in the second century, precipitated by the threat of Gnosticism and other errors affecting the biblical understanding of the Trinity and Christology (Packer 1984:808).

1. Messiah in orthodox theology

Historically, what have been the statements from orthodox theologians and Bible teachers about Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One?

St. Jerome (A.D. 347-420) wrote in his commentary on Daniel 7:13,

“And behold, there came One with the clouds of heaven like unto the Son of man.” He who was described in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar as a rock cut without hands, which also grew to be a large mountain, and which smashed the earthenware, the iron, the bronze, the silver, and the gold is now introduced as the very person of the Son of man, so as to indicate in the case of the Son of God how He took upon Himself human flesh; according to the statement which we read in the Acts of the Apostles: ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up towards heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him going into heaven'(Acts 1:11)”.

Contemporary Reformed theologian, Wayne Grudem, affirms and expands Jerome’s explanation, writing that it is striking that the One who is described as a “son of man” who came “with the clouds of heaven” according to Dan. 7:13-14, refers to

“someone who had heavenly origin and who was given eternal rule over the whole world. The high priests did not miss the point of this passage when Jesus said, ‘Hereafter you will see the Son of man seated on the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven‘ (Matt. 26:46). The reference to Daniel 7:13-14 was unmistakable, and the high priest and his council knew that Jesus was claiming to be the eternal world ruler of heavenly origin spoken of in Daniel’s vision. Immediately they said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy…. He deserves death’ (Matt. 26:65-66)” (Grudem 1994:546, emphasis in original).

 

The Nicene Creed, representative of one of the most well used doctrinal summaries in Christianity, was developed at the first ecumenical Council of the church at Nicaea in A.D. 325. Part of the Nicene Creed declares this of Christ: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father” (creeds.net).

This creed was a promotion of sound doctrine, developed in response to the crises of the Arian controversy. Arius, a heretic from the Libyan region, taught the deity of Christ but his Christology was that God created Christ and there was a time when Christ did not exist. The Arian anti-Trinitarian doctrine was corrected in the statement of the Nicene Creed, although the words Messiah and anointed are not included. Pertinent to the content of this article, the Nicene Creed declares Jesus as the Christ (which is the meaning of Messiah), the only Son of God. It was not needed to affirm Him as “Messiah” as “Christ” covers that designation.

In his treatise, “On the Trinity”, St. Augustine of Hippo in the early fifth century referred to Acts 10:38 when he stated, “In the Acts of the Apostles it is more plainly written of Him [the Lord Jesus Christ], because God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Certainly not with visible oil but with the gift of grace…” (XV.26.46).

Martin Luther, in an anti-Semitic document, “On the Jews and their lies, 1543“, spoke of the Jews having no hope until “they are forced to confess that the Messiah has come, and that he is our Jesus”.

John Calvin, in his commentary on Luke 24:26, wrote, “There is no room to doubt that our Lord discoursed to them [the two on the road to Emmaus] about the office of Messiah, as it is described by the Prophets, that they might not take offense at his death”.

Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) affirmed the orthodox doctrine of Christ as Messiah:

“The word ‘Christ,’ denotes an anointed person, who is called … ‘the Messiah,’ by the Hebrews…. It is proper, that he who was eminently styled ‘the Messiah’ should be anointed with the Holy Spirit, indeed ‘above all his fellows,’ (or those who were partakers of the same blessings,) (Psalm xlv,7)” (Arminius 1977:549)

Another historical Protestant confession, The Westminster Confession of Faith‘s statement (ch. 7), “Of God’s covenant with man“, stated that this covenant

“was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foreshadowing Christ to come, Heb 8:1-10:39 Ro 4:11 Col 2:11,12 1Co 5:7 which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, 1Co 10:1-4 Heb 11:13 Joh 8:56 by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament”.

Alfred Edersheim‘s 1500 pages on The life and times of Jesus the Messiah (1971), first published in 1883, set forth the orthodox doctrine that “the Gospels be regarded as four different aspects in which the Evangelists viewed the historical Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfilment of the Divine promise of old, the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of man” (xi).

The Catholic Encyclopedia‘s article on “Messiah” promotes the orthodox doctrine on Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour:

“For those who, before the Christian dispensation, sought to interpret the ancient prophecies, some single aspect of the Messiah sufficed to fill the whole view. We, in the light of the Christian revelation, see realized and harmonized in Our Lord all the conflicting Messianic hopes, all the visions of the prophets. He is at once the Suffering Servant and the Davidic King, the Judge of mankind and its Saviour, true Son of Man and God with us. On Him is laid the iniquity of us all, and on Him, as God incarnate, rests the Spirit of Jahveh, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and the Fear of the Lord”.

In contemporary theology, the following are samples of orthodox Messianic statements regarding Jesus.

Reformed theologian, R. C. Sproul, explains that

“the title Christ is so often given to Jesus that people often mistake it for his last name. It is, however, not a name, but a title that refers to his position and work as Messiah. The term Christ comes from the Greek Christos, which is used to translate the Hebrew word for Messiah. Both Christ and Messiah mean ‘Anointed One'” (1992:103).

Arminian theologian, Henry C. Thiessen, in the mid twentieth-century wrote that the “son of man” name “is used prophetically of Christ in Dan. 7:13; cf. Matt. 16:28. That this name was regarded by the Jews as referring to the Messiah is evident from the fact that the high priest rent his garment when Christ applied this prophecy in Daniel to Himself (Matt. 26:64, 65) (Thiessen 1949:302).

Roman Catholic, Rev. Bertrand L. Conway, C.S.P, in his sermon, “Christ the true Messiah“, briefly expounded the Gospel passages that teach the orthodox doctrine of Christ, the Messiah. He “sketched the Gospel witness to the Messiahship of Jesus the Son of God. It is important for us to know it well, in view of the modern denial of the unbeliever, and the Jew”.

Orthodox Christian commentator, H. C. Leupold, regards Psalm 2 as a description of “the ultimate victory of the Lord’s anointed…. This psalm sets forth the basic truth concerning the Messiah and His kingdom” and gives due prominence to the Messianic truth, which looms large in the psalms” (1959:41). Leupold not only regards this psalm as “directly Messianic” but also “from beginning to end [it is] an out-and-out prophecy about the Christ” (42).

E.  Conclusion

There have been heterodox and orthodox promotions regarding Christ, the Messiah, throughout the history of the church. The contemporary denigration of the Messiah is keeping pace with historical statements that date back almost two millennia.

Nevertheless, the orthodox doctrine of the Messiah, from predictive prophecy in the Old Testament, New Testament declaration, and the teaching of orthodoxy throughout church history, has been that Jesus Christ, whose incarnation is associated with the city of Nazareth, is the Messiah, the Anointed One. The Christos (Christ) is the Messiah (based on the Hebrew understanding of mashiach) and he shed his blood for the sins of the world as a vicarious atonement on the Golgotha cross in Jerusalem in approximately A. D. 30.

F. Works consulted

Arminius, J. 1977. The writings of James Arminius, vol. 1. Translated from the Latin by J. Nichols. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

Blomberg, C. L. 1987. The historical reliability of the Gospels. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

Borg, M. J. 1994. Meeting Jesus again for the first time: The historical Jesus and the heart of contemporary faith. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Crossan, J. D. 1994. Jesus: A revolutionary biography. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Edersheim, A. 1971 (one vol. edn.). The life and times of Jesus the Messiah. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Grudem, W. 1994. Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Hick, J. (ed) 1978. The myth of God incarnate. London: SCM.

Hurtado, L. W. 1991. Christ, in Green, J. B; McKnight S. & Marshall I. H. (eds), Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, 106-117. Downers Grove, Illinois/Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press.

Keathley III, J. H. n.d. The supremacy of the person of Christ (Col. 1:15-18). bible.org, Paul’s letter to the Colossians: An exegetical and devotional commentary. Available at: http://bible.org/seriespage/supremacy-person-christ-col-115-18#P848_264818 [Accessed 1 April 2010].

Layman, D. 2009, Is Jesus the Messiah? First Things (Spengler blogs) 22 August. Available at: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/spengler/2009/08/22/is-jesus-the-messiah/ [Accessed 28 March 2010].

Leupold, H. C. 1959. Exposition of the Psalms. London: Evangelical Press.

Mack, B. L. 1993. The lost gospel: The book of Q & Christian origins. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Packer, J. I. 1984. Orthodoxy, in Elwell, W. A. (ed), Evangelical dictionary of theology, 808. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

Sproul, R. C. 1992. Essential truths of the Christian faith. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Thiessen, H. C. 1949. Introductory lectures in systematic theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Wood, L. 1973. A commentary on Daniel. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Notes:


[1] The Bible translation used is, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (ESV) 2001. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.

 

Copyright © 2010 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 6 August 2016.

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