Science Doesn't Back Press' Claim that Sheryl Crow's Tumor Wasn't Caused by a Brain Tumor
In an interview with Katie Couric, Singer Sheryl Crow claimed that her benign brain tumour found several months ago was the result of her constant cell phone use. Crow admitted no physicians had confirmed her claim.
An argument from fallacy is defined as assuming that if an argument for some conclusion is fallacious, then the conclusion itself is false. A large number of new stories claimed that physicians have stated there is no scientific evidence to support Ms. Crow’s claim. Therefore, the press concluded that science rejects Sheryl Crow’s claim. That’s an incorrect argument from fallacy.
What science has said all along is that in order to figure our whether cell phone usage causes cancer, long term studies that follow healthy people over several decades have to be conducted. If at the end of those studies, scientists find that initially healthy people who used cell phones were at greater risk for developing cancer then comparable healthy people who didn’t use cell phones, then scientists would conclude that cell phones cause cancer. Although such studies are ongoing, they haven’t been completed. Therefore, when asked, scientists respond by stating they don’t know if cell phones cause brain cancer. That is, they don’t know one way or the other.
Similarly, the press cited an eleven year study that has yet to find any evidence that cell phones are harmful as scientific evidence that suggests cell phone usage is not harmful. However, that time period is considered too short. The World Health Organization has reviewed the available evidence and believes that cell phones may be carcinogenic. However, bceause WHO is a scientific organization they won’t suggest that it’s the case until the the data is available. At the present time, the data is not available.
The press concluded that because scientists say no definitive studies have found that cell phone usage is dangerous, that suggests that cell phones are safe. That’s not the case. The case is that scientists don’t know, yet. Similarly, some of the press suggested that cell phones are not safe based on the WHO report. That idea is also premature. Therefore, it’s also premature to suggest that we know what the safe dose is for cell phone use. The above CNN video explains these issues.
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