Voting on science” (The Progress – Points of View, March 12) raises two serious problems:
One: “Democracy is a wonderful thing… But it fails when applied to science.” An erroneous distinction is made here in that exercising democracy is equated with voting on each and every issue — a somewhat half-baked over-simplification. The acid test is that we must have recourse when our individual or collective choices are abrogated to the state. In this case we appear to have been left with none. Instead we learn that even City Hall had absolutely no voice on our behalf: provincial legislation would hold each member of City Council personally liable were they seen to have gone against the opinion of medical authorities. When it comes to health, we are moving more and more towards a totalitarian state.
Secondly: the assumption that it was science in this instance that trumped the “democracy” so-called, of Chilliwack residents. The entire basis of that editorial is built on that assumption, as no actual science was presented. It is precisely the failure to present the science — or have examination of the methods — that frustrates many, perhaps the majority of us. It is misleading to call FHA’s investigation in this case “science.” What we have seen at play in this story is “eminence-based medicine,” where opinions are relied upon from medical authorities rather than scientific research carefully examined. Paul Van Buynder was successfully challenged on the very same principle, in the case where his attempt to force nurses into mandatory vaccination was pushed back by the BC Nurses union. Again in that instance an opinion was pronounced, instead of conclusive research produced. (The international Cochrane Collaboration’s Alan Cassels points to the “cherry-picking” of data to extract the desired outcome, in this opinion-based practice: http://www.cochrane.org/news/blog/eminence-vs-evidence )
I have repeatedly challenged FHA to provide conclusive research proving chlorine is safe for long-term consumption – including at the town hall meeting, where Paul Van Buynder was ultimately silent on the question. Because he cannot provide it – conclusive credible research does not exist.
By the way: the 5,600+ signatures on our petition is equivalent to more than two million signatures weighing in on a Canadian issue.
A bit more than just a “vociferous group.”