Daily Archives: January 30, 2013

NASA global temperature trends…a lesson in “How to deceive with statistics?”

Here is the latest graph of the “average” global temperature trends from 4 agencies making such calculations. Since all of these agencies are working with essentially the same data set, we would expect general agreement of their results. It is what it is, implying an increase in temperature that has leveled off over the prior 17 years….but that is not the primary problem. An “average” value for the planet is not a meaningful number, or at least not a useful number for water suppliers. The variability of the data is “hidden” in the calculated average value, which only reveals a central tendency of the data set. An “average” is a concept—an abstraction. We do not experience “averages” or central tendencies. “Averages” are not actual physical global temperatures and may not exist anywhere on the planet. For any particular geographical area or region, the measured temperature variability is what really matters, not a abstract calculation of a planetary average. In addition, the graph is truncated at 1880….Does that mean there was no temperature before then? Of course not. There is ample evidence suggesting much higher temperatures prior to 1880 in the absence of high CO2 levels. CO2 certainly will have some impact on atmospheric temperatures but to argue that increasing global average temperatures is mostly due to man using fossil fuels as the cause of this particular increasing temperature trend is a stretch too far, at least for those who think realistically about the science. And of course, “nature” also uses fossil fuels….as they can burn in the natural course of events. And lastly, the impression is given that because the graphs of analyzed measured data below are close, we should believe theoretical model projections from “scientists” about the future.  This, of course, is silly. Theoretical models used to hindcast the past and forecast the future must stand on their own. Climate modeling is fraught with “disagreement” since none of the models are very good.

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Westmoreland (PA) customers getting fluoride out of their water

Westmoreland authority board members made the decision not to add fluoride more than three decades ago, Kerr said. They will follow that policy unless forced by law to add fluoride….

Bob Stiles. “Westmoreland customers getting fluoride out of their water” Tribune-Review (Greensburg, PA) 1/22/2013

How precaution was abandoned with regard to fluoride….

Here is a illustrative article from the 1950s……In the early days, caution was the advice and judgement of responsible scientists regarding addition of flouride to water. In fact, some of the same concerns raised below, in 1952, remain today. Caution (e.g., precautionary principle) was certainly justified then, as now.

In time, some dentists turned advocates convinced nonprofit associations (e.g., AMA) to support fluoride addition. These are top-down driven organizations, and once they take a position, others will go along….to get alone. These circular endorsements (we support it because they do) of various nonprofit and political advocacy groups pushed through the barriers and some cities began adding fluoride. This along with results of the guinea pig (children) trials in several cities, were used to argue for water fluoridation, and the prevailing presumption changed. The presumption of necessary precaution changed to the presumption of safety, even though addition of fluoride to tap water cannot be “proven” harmless or safe. The presumption of safety has remained for many years in the dental community and the CDC, and even though studies may raise health concerns, these interest groups will continue to presume fluoride in drinking water is safe and good unless proven otherwise. What ever study is done to raise health concerns about fluoride, the institutional supporters will raise some argument to explain it away as to why it is not true or relevant, and such minds have become closed to any criticisms of fluoride addition. This reflects the power of presumption and an closed mind (perhaps for political reasons), especially by government institutions and professions that have tied  an issue to its own identity (like dentists believing they are doing good by promoting water fluoridation) as an advocacy cause. Not much science remains, unless the conclusion supports the presumed outcome of safety….(hence, only name calling of fluoride opponents remains….)

Howard V. Smith. Fluoride Controversy. Education Digest; Apr1952, Vol. 17 Issue 8, p54.

The article reports on the controversy regarding the safety of fluoridation of water in the United States. Howard V. Smith, a University of Arizona chemist and co-discoverer of the role which fluorine plays in dental health, opposes to the fluoridation of water supplies until more is known about the effect. According to Smith, scientists do not know what safe fluoride concentrations in each climatic zone should be. In addition, individual reactions to fluorine and differences in the amount of water consumed as a result of an occupation have a bearing on the amount of fluorine which can safely be taken in. Smith claims that the safest procedure for reducing caries is to paint children’s teeth with fluoride and that should be done under the school’s supervision. Meanwhile, the American Medical Association issued a statement about the issue.