December 3, 2013

Silliness on both sides in the Waikato fluoride stoush

The anti-fluoride Fluoride Action Network has accused the Waikato Times of reversing the results of an online poll that asked whether people supported the council’s move to defer re-fluoridating the city’s water supply until a High Court legal challenge  is decided.

What the Waikato Times did or didn’t do is immaterial. Folks, the paper ran a self-selecting online poll, which makes its results utterly meaningless.

The best poll we have on this is October’s non-binding referendum. It showed that nearly 70% of Hamilton voters favoured water fluoridation.

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Julie Middleton is an Auckland journalist with a keen interest in the way the media uses/abuses data. She happens to be married to a statistician. See all posts by Julie Middleton »

Comments

  • avatar
    James Reeves

    The world has learned the truth that fluoridation is ineffective for teeth and dangerous to health, so only 5% of the world and only 3% of Europe fluoridate their drinking water. To see why, Google “Fluoride dangers” and read a few of the 800,000 articles.

    Medical professionals should be ashamed to support such a crude and unethical practice which results in cancer, thyroid & pineal gland damage, broken hips from brittle bones, lowered IQ, kidney disease, arthritis and other serious health problems.
    See “Dangerous Health Effects” at http://www.fluoridealert.org/issues/health/.

    10 months ago Reply

    • avatar
      Luke Oldfield

      Ahh yes anti-intellectualism… Why bother with medical professionals and peer review when you can rely on google!

      10 months ago Reply

  • avatar
    Logan Nickles

    How is being told lies meaningless? Polls often influence people on how to vote – a lot of people won’t vote if they think the fight is already lost.

    10 months ago Reply

  • avatar
    Trevor Crosbie

    12 thousand voted against – 24 thousand voted for – 60 thousand didn’t vote.
    statistically that results in only I in 4 supporting added fluoride. Hardly a mandate to overturn the outcome of the recent Tribunal or in fact do anything.

    10 months ago Reply

    • avatar
      Luke Oldfield

      A tribunal stacked with anti-fluoride campaigners from around Australasia? Please.

      The tribunal represented less than 1% of Hamilton voters, many of whom were not even aware is was happening. The referendum provided a statistical mandate 30x greater than any well respected scientific polling with a clear 70/30 majority.

      The behavior or FFNZ supporters in attempting to invalidate the will of the people will only harden the resolve of the majority who trust science over wacky ideology and conspiracy.

      10 months ago Reply

  • avatar
    Christine Cave

    Dear Julie
    The referendum is just as meaningless as the Waikato Times poll.
    Waikato University conducted a survey and found that anti- fluoridationists were much better informed on the subject that pro-fluoridationists. What would be really silly now is to take notice of the opinions of a group of uninformed people.
    Regards
    Christine

    10 months ago Reply

  • avatar
    Donald Ellis

    Julie

    Why is a self-selecting offline poll better than a self-selecting online poll?

    Hasn’t anyone done a proper RSS-based survey?

    10 months ago Reply

    • avatar
      Luke Oldfield

      Because one allows participation from anywhere in a non scientific manner… the other measures the mood of the electorate and is limited to those within it.

      Hence the striking difference.

      10 months ago Reply

  • avatar
    Hemi Hill

    Julie Middleton, you assert here that the dishonesty of the Waikato Times, when it was caught red handed in deception “doesn’t matter”.

    You are basically saying who needs truth in journalism?

    10 months ago Reply

    • avatar
      Julie Middleton

      Statschat is all about statistical truth in journalism, and so was my post. The Waikato Times’ self-selecting poll is unrepresentative, so cannot be used to make a claim about anything. By anyone.

      10 months ago Reply

      • avatar
        Hemi Hill

        That isn’t the point. Deception occurred, in journalism, and you dismiss this deception because of an unrelated assertion that the poll was not representative. I agree it wasn’t representative, but I also see the fraud = deception to gain an advantage.
        Take another look.

        10 months ago Reply

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