Should We Add Lithium to Drinking Water? Big Think Devotes August to "Dangerous Ideas"

Big Think, the YouTube for intellectuals, is devoting the next 30 days to highlighting the most dangerous among ideas. Here's how the editors describe the theme:

Throughout the month of August, Big Think will introduce a different "dangerous idea" each day. Brace yourself: these ideas may at first seem shocking or counter-intuitive--but they are worth our attention, even if we end up rejecting them. Every idea in the series will be supported by contributions from leading experts, from the world's top theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, to prolific legal scholar Judge Richard Posner, to Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker, to linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky.


Today's dangerous idea is posed by bioethicist Jacob Appel who suggests that the government should supplement our drinking water with lithium, which some studies suggest might lower suicide rates. You can watch Appel pitch his dangerous idea below and read more about his proposal--along with the arguments against-- at Big Think's Dangerous Ideas blog.

What do readers think? My own feeling is that in a world of Glenn Beck conspiracy theories and widespread government distrust, that at least in the short term, the political dangers of the idea outweigh the possible public health benefits.

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