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Fluoride and the Future: Population Level Cognitive Enhancement

Health Secretary Alan Johnson wants to fluoride to be added to England’s water supplies to tackle tooth decay.

He wants health authorities to compel water companies to add the chemical.

Fluoridation of the water is an example of human enhancement. Tooth decay is a part of the human condition but we now have the ability to prevent it through a safe, cheap, easy intervention – adding fluoride to the water. Many parts of the civilized world have been employing this strategy for decades with dramatic success. England is now debating whether to fully embrace this simple enhancement technology.

Fluoridation is the tip of the enhancement iceberg. Science is progressing fast to develop safe and effective cognitive enhancers, drugs which will improve our mental abilities. For years, people have used crude enhancers, usually to promote wakefulness, like nicotine, caffeine and amphetamines. A new generation of more effective enhancers is emerging modafenil, ritalin, Adderral and ampakines and the piracetam family of memory improvers. Students and professionals are using these to gain a competitive edge, just as athletes are doping in sport.

But once highly safe and effective cognitive enhancers are developed – as they almost surely will be – the question will arise whether they should be added to the water, like fluoride, or our cereals, like folate.

It seems likely that widespread population level cognitive enhancement will be irresistible. Studies based on removing lead, which reduces cognitive ability, from the water and paint, have estimated that a 3 point IQ increase would lead to:

Poverty rate                       -25%

Males in jail                       -25%

High school dropouts           -28%

Parentless children             -20%

Welfare recipiency             -18%

Out-of-wedlock births         -15%

The US military already employs modafenil and Ritalin for its pilots in Iraq, to improve their performance. It has a vigorous programme of developing and testing human enhancers. One spokesperson recently said:

"The world contains approximately 4.2 billion people over the age of twenty.  Even a small enhancement of cognitive capacity in these individuals would probably have an impact on the world economy rivaling that of the internet."

Fluoridation may not merely be about tooth decay. It may be about the future of humanity and the drive to be better. Current enhancers are not suitable for population level distribution. But drugs to improve working memory and other select aspects of cognition may be. We may not just want whiter teeth, but to be smarter. A government which refuse to enhance its population might well be effectively disabling it. What government would refuse its citizens access to the internet?

Further resources:

ENHANCE Project website

Savulescu, J. (2006). Genetic Interventions and the Ethics of Enhancement of Human Beings. The Oxford Handbook on Bioethics. B. Steinbock. Oxford,  Oxford University Press: pp. 516-535

More downloadable resources from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics

Minister Orders Fluoride to Be Added to Water, Times Online

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13 Comment on this post

  1. Actually studies show that fluoride is linked to lowered IQ and brain damage. Further,Modern science shows that adding fluoride chemicals into the drinking water to reduce tooth decay is ineffective, harmful to health and a waste of money.

    for more info:

    New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.

    Fluoridation News Releases

    Tooth Decay Crises in Fluoridated Areas

    Fluoride Action Network http://www.FluorideAction.Net

    Fluoride Journal http://www.FluorideResearch.Org

  2. The Fluoridation of Water debate is nothing new as this rather dated article highlights. I would make these points 1. The power of the Industrial Chemical interests to force their products (DDT, Agent Orange, Thalidomide, Tamiflu, Sliced Bread) and 2. Water supplies are pretty contaminated with everything from e.coli to hormones from the use of the contraceptive pill to old bicycles :). Perhaps the Hippies had it right with after all, the idea of using LSD in the water supply for the well being of humanity…..

  3. 23 Studies that link fluoride (at levels present in city water) to decreased IQ:

    “There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” – Aldous Huxley

  4. this guy is enemy of the people and a friend to the NWO. Floride is used to control the population. They don’t care about your baby’s teeth and if you think they do, you’re a fool.

  5. The only enemy we have in life is ourselves. Problems cannot be solved through drug enhancements or pointing fingers. Much like a bottle of aspirin or Advil will claim that if you need to take pain medication for longer than (x) period, then you should see a doctor because there is probably something wrong with you. Putting drugs in our water to hope that less people commit suicide or become “less aggressive” is nothing more than masking the issue at hand. Why are people becoming aggressive or why are they wanting to commit suicide? The issue that you have, which is well documented, is that the human body builds what the “scientific community” and the “more learned people” like to call: tolerance levels. As well, we might want to think about why someone might want to commit suicide or why this someone is overly aggressive as opposed to just blanketing the entire population…I think there was a phrase used in the medical community that goes something like: “Treat the problem not the symptom”.

    Pointing fingers at people as well does not solve the issue and can inspire results that otherwise could be considered “not expected”. I think there is this silly law about every action has an equal or greater reaction? There are mounds psychological studies on both animals and humans where amplified responses to both good and bad stimulus are common knowledge. So, pointing the finger at someone for looking into a possibility is not the solution either.

    Tolerance levels are based on how the body responds to specific foreign substances that could be considered, for all intents and purposes, “poisons and/or toxins”. Any drug that is not naturally produced by the body can be viewed this way, and as such the body will become “tolerant” of this foreign substance. If you put drugs in the water supply that are to “prevent violence and suicides”, then the problem does not come from the positive short term effects. Much like that of morphine, a drug that is designed to mask a problem the body (both mental and physical) can lead to both a dependence as well as a tolerance threshold when used over time.

    If you start off with something like lithium and/or fluoride for the means of trying to reduce aggressive and/or suicidal responses from a population, the initial outcome will be the desired results as both of these drugs have been known to have this effect. However, the younger generation’s (i.e. ages from 1 week to 8 years of age) tolerance level will quickly develop and far exceed that of the older generation’s tolerance levels, and as such you will consistently have to increase the dosages over time. Not only this, but the initial issue with the sociological problems will not get addressed as the population will not let you know that they are truly discontent with what is currently happening. To further exacerbate this issue, if there ever comes a time (say during some form of national emergency or the like) where you cannot deploy said drugs into the water supply, well then you have an entire population that has had their “problems” masked via the means of drugs…and when you take said drugs away from said population they will no longer have that drug to “help keep them passive”. The end result would be similar to a drug addict coming down off of a relatively addictive (mentally) drug, and as such you will get much worse reactions from the given population during a time where you need the population to have a much higher tolerance for “bad situations” that could invoke suicidal or violent reactions.

    Exploration of such ideas is a good thing as long as the entire story is researched and thought about. Over-reacting to someone who is looking into such possibilities does not help the issue as human nature dictates that upon alienating ideas and/or principles it will only come back twice as strong. Neutral and subjective analysis of someone’s ideas as well as mutual discussion and debate over such topics, while respecting both points of view, is one of several passive approaches to handling issues where someone might not have done their entire research and/or might be biased based on a misinterpretation of sociological agreement upon what is right and wrong both from a scientific and social perspective.

    The final thoughts about this would be to the likeness of a person standing in the way of a hammer that keeps hitting them in the knee. Eventually the knee will start to bruise and become painful. You can chose to help move the person out of the way of the hammer or you can just pump them full of pain killers so they don’t feel the pain. However, if you never take care of the hammer and one day run out of pain medication…you will most definitely have a much larger issue to handle.

    Treat the problem not the symptom…it is always the best policy. If people are becoming more and more aggressive, maybe it is time to look at our own sociological structure and the changes that have been made to this structure over the past several decades to determine if there is anything we have done, as a society, to make someone not want to live and/or to become angry/upset.

    You will always have the cases where genetics or trauma induced through some form of experience (physical and/or emotional) that will incite such behavior. The right path typically is not always the “easiest” path to take, but we all know this from the age old story “The Tortoise and the Hare”.

  6. We live in a world that over-values intellectual intelligence while we are just beginning to understand the need for emotional intelligence with some way to go before there’s a general acceptance of spiritual intelligence. Lacking the last two, it’s easy to imagine that we have the rational capability to comprehend the complexity of life and health and can intervene by adding poisons to our water. Better, surely, to keep our energies ‘unenhanced’ by artificial means and clear to connect with greater consciousness? To open the path to wisdom.

  7. I searched for drugging water supply type articles because my water randomly tasted like it was drugged or flouridated or something, it tasted soapy.

    Apparently 6 other people on the same day did too, or at least 6 others COMMENTED on the same day. Interesting.

  8. Well, make that more than 6 people now that my internet is working correctly and my comment was posted late.

    Is this coincidence or is there more people with funny tasting water? 😛

  9. I few days ago I noticed that my water was kinda bubbly like alka-seltzer. I’m not sure if it was the same day, I don’t drink the stuff, but I remember a soapy smell. The first thing that came to mind was that they were probably cleaning the lines.

  10. Fluoride has been proven to lower the IQ (see and also to cause: brown spots on teeth, dental caries, arthritis, damage to kidneys, pineal gland and thyroid. Symptoms are similar to ‘common’ ailments ie: gout, carpal tunnel syndrome, frequent urination and thyroid, and cognitive issues.

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