By Benjamin Gohs
Despite the lack of an opponent from Carl VanDomelen’s pro-fluoride group Citizens United For Dental Health, the debate featuring anti-fluoride advocate Dr. Paul Connett Ph.D will go on.
Open to the general public, the debate is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 11, at the Boyne District Library’s community room.
“VanDomelen is quoted in your paper as saying that, ‘We feel that many of Dr. Connett’s arguments are often misleading and irrelevant.’ This is a pretty lame excuse,” stated Connett in an Oct. 1 written statement to the Boyne City Gazette. “Surely if that were the case I would be easy meat for him in open public debate. He could simply run down the list of where I have been misleading or irrelevant and I would be forced to reply. If I could not do so then he clearly would win the debate.”
Connett added, “Instead of doing this, VanDomelen attacks me from the safety of his one-sided monologue. This makes as big an impression on the open-minded as listening to one hand clapping.”
Connett is director of the Fluoride Action Network, and, according to CAFM, he has given more than 2,000 presentations in 49 states and 52 countries on the issue of waste management. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D in chemistry from Dartmouth College.
Connett is a retired professor of environmental chemistry and toxicology at St. Lawrence University who began researching water fluoridation in 1996.
He is the author of several books including co-authoring “The Case Against Fluoride, How Hazardous Waste Ended up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There.”
VanDomelen responded to Connett’s written statement with his own written statement provided to the Boyne City Gazette on Oct. 2.
“Mr. Connett’s claims about fluoridated water have been repeatedly disproven as wildly wrong and entirely false by medical doctors and literally hundreds of peer reviewed medical studies and research papers published by some of the world’s leading medical journals for decades,” VanDomelen stated. “He has a right to his opinion, but his opinion has been consistently proven wrong by 60 years of published medical studies and research. That fluoridated water systems are entirely safe and provide significant public health benefits to children and adults is now a scientific fact that is beyond any level of debate. Unfortunately, his ability to misrepresent the science, combined with his willingness to stand behind entirely false but controversial claims, continue to attract media attention simply because they are controversial.”
He added, “We choose not to appear with Mr. Connett in any public or media setting because to do so would give him and his discredited and disproven message a level of respect and credibility he does not deserve.”
The debate—hosted by the group Citizens Against Forced Medication—will be broadcast live by WMKT, 102.3 FM radio host Greg Marshall.
“We urge the citizens and voters of Boyne City to ignore this charlatan, and we urge the news media to bury or, better yet, totally ignore him,” VanDomelen stated. “To give Mr. Connett any space or time in any ‘news’ story only helps to perpetuate his bad science, myths, disproven and discredited claims.”
He added, “We urge Boyne City voters to vote ‘Yes’ on the Boyne City fluoridation proposal on Nov. 4.”
The general election will give Boyne City voters the chance to decide whether to reinstate the water fluoridation in Boyne City’s municipal water supply, which was discontinued by a 3-2 vote of the Boyne City Commission earlier this year.
“I hope VanDomelen will reconsider having a debate on Oct. 11 so that the citizens of Boyne City can judge whose arguments prevail when both parties are in the same room,” Connett stated… “I am afraid, for too long, the dental lobby has declared a victory in this debate without the discipline of actually defending it in a public forum with experts from the other side.
The debate format will be as follows, starting with the pro-fluoride position:
Each speaker will deliver a 15 minute power point presentation. Then, each speaker will give a seven-minute speech. Then, each speaker will have five minutes for questions and answers. Then, each speaker will deliver a four- minute speech.
Then, each speaker will have five minutes for questions and answers. Finally, each speaker will give a five-minute summation. Questions will then be taken from the audience.
Potential debaters and those looking for more information may e-mail email@example.com.