In Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes and Conway make a compelling point about a need for fair weight, as opposed to the historical equal weight approach of ideas within the media. The latter treats two ideas as though they have equal merit, to be debated on the same level. The former instead gives higher value to the idea which has been more thoroughly tested and demonstrated to be the most correct to the best of our knowledge.
In short, fair weight favours scientific confidence of ideas.
The reason why fair weight is more just is because it values data quality.
It is good news when one hears fair weighting being undertaken within policy discussions, as is occurring in Mount Isa on the topic of fluoridation.
Ms Haines, from the Queenslanders for Safe Water, Air and Food Inc has been disappointed to learn that her opinion is given no more time than any other member of the general public.
Professional health experts, such as Brisbane Dental Hospital director Doctor Michael Foley and Queensland Health water program director Doctor Greg Jackson, on the other hand, have been given more time, in other words fair hearing based upon their expertise in evaluating the quality of relevant data.
In the interest of sound policies to increase the health of the community, it always pays to give more attention to the experts, just as most of us would heed the advice of our GP over the wives tales of our grandmothers. Sure, we can be respectful of the voice of the latter, but who is more likely to understand the human body and spent their lives in dedication to the cause of medical health?
Mount Isa City Council has done the right thing here, which is a welcome change!