Oreskes’ and Conway’s science is as poor as their historical expertise. To cite just one example, their book blames lung cancer from cigarette smoking on the radioactive oxygen-15 isotope. They cannot explain, of course, how O-15 gets into cigarettes, or how it is created. They seem to be unaware that its half-life is only 122 seconds. In other words, they have no clue about the science, and apparently, they assume that the burning of tobacco creates isotopes — a remarkable discovery worthy of alchemists.
Compare that with what Oreskes and Conway actually wrote:
After all, the natural environment was hardly carcinogen-free [Seitz] noted, and even “the oxygen in the air we breathe … plays a role in radiation-induced cancer”.98 (Oxygen, like most elements, has a radioactive version — oxygen 15 — although it is not naturally occurring.)99
It is impressive how many things Singer wrong in just one paragraph. Oreskes and Conway do not blame lung cancer on oxygen 15. They do not say that cigarettes contain oxygen 15, in fact stating that it is not naturally occurring. They do not say that burning tobacco creates oxygen 15. It’s likely that they are aware of the half-life of oxygen 15, since its given in the reference they give to show that oxygen 15 does not occur naturally.
I am a nonsmoker, find SHS to be an irritant and unpleasant, have certainly not been paid by Philip Morris and the tobacco lobby, and have never joined any of their front organizations.
This document suggests otherwise.
I just have to highlight this:
It is worth noting also that the World Health Organization, in a just-completed study reported in the British medical journal Lancet, gives a lung-cancer death rate (for US, Canada, and Cuba) of barely six hundred per year, only a fraction of the EPA number of U.S. deaths.
That’s the study that attributed 600,000 deaths to second-hand smoke in 2004. And Singer uses to try to argue against the evidence that second-hand smoke is harmful.
The US Surgeon General’s report is quite thorough and shows how Singer is cherry picking the evidence. You simply cannot trust anything Singer says.