Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

We Live in Fearful Times

By Peter Bowditch

Campaigns against fluoridation, vaccination and wind farms prove that if people think something is bad for them they will react badly.

Peter Bowditch is a former President of Australian Skeptics Inc. (

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The forces of irrationality and nonscience are alive and well in Australia right now. A member of the South Australian Parliament is apparently trying to introduce legislation banning the chemical spraying of the population by the vapour trails behind high-flying jet aircraft. I’m not sure how this rates against the 1897 attempt by the Indiana legislature to pass a law allowing squaring of the circle (which coincidentally would have set the value of pi to be 3.2), but it would be fun watching the debate.

I’m reminded of the time someone told me that the NSW Parliament would have to legislate against any sea level rise due to global warming or they would risk a voter backlash from people with expensive, low-lying waterfront properties.

Queensland’s politicians aren’t quite as mad, but its state government has recently revoked the compulsory fluoridation of water and is now allowing individual local councils to decide whether they want fluoride in their water supplies. Fluoridation is up there with vaccination as an extremely cost-effective public health initiative, but it’s hard to counter stories about people being poisoned by fluoride, a toxic waste from the aluminium industry that was used by the Nazis to control the minds of concentration camp inmates.

It is useless pointing out that Queensland’s large aluminium extraction and refining industry...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.