Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology /
In the news, the other day, again! Yahoo reports that doctors argue that vitamins are a waste of money! At best! and may do harm at worst.
some AMA lobbyist shill
Doctors have been saying that ever since vitamin supplements gained a foothold in the economy. Believing the doctors is kin to believing that God will torture you for eternity unless you’ve paid Roman Catholic priests to perform God-controlling magic for you.
Linus Pauling, when I used his chemistry text at Columbia in 1956, was one of the greatest chemists of all history, greatest since Priestley, maybe the greatest ever. Decades ago he wrote a book reporting evidence that taking vitamin C reduced the incidence and the severity of the common cold. Doctors, MDs, are famous for their inability to cure the common cold; here was a doctor of a different kind, Ph.D., reporting a little hope.
And ever since I’ve watched the medical establishment align itself 100% in favor of helplessness before the cold, in favor of compromised health in which the fraternity of medical experts benefit.
Pauling was a great scientist, a real scientist. Some doctors have been too: very few: Walter Reed, for example. Pauling didn’t claim that his studies of vitamin C were definitive, or final; no: it’s popes and bishops and professors and politicians who make such claims. Read the book, see. I’ll repeat, paraphrasing of course, a couple of Pauling’s points. First I provide a word of my own background:
Vitamins are a “new” discovery. The medical profession, like the public, like the universities, have only shallow experience with them. Vitamins were first hailed as cures for pesky diseases: scurvy, for example: seamen went to sea, seamen got sick, the sailing empire failed to conquer quite the whole world over night. Ah, give the limeys a lime, sail on, sail on. So: bureaucracies like the Food and Drug Administration determined, using science to do so, the Minimal Daily Allowance for vitamin C. The human animal lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C, it must be taken in as a nutrient. Fine: trace amounts will keep you from getting scurvy.
Good. Excellent. Does that mean that a bit more wouldn’t be even better?
Don’t forget: one martini might be “just right”, two martinis might be “too many”, three martinis might be “not enough” …
- Pauling wanted, scientifically, to determine the optimal amount of vitamin C.
- Pauling was reporting research by another chemist, a doctor. That doctor wrote papers on his findings. That doctor submitted his papers to peer reviewed journals. One editor sat the doctor down, showed him a stack of medical magazines, stuff shoved into every doctor’s office. The editor showed the doctor the back cover ad, the inside front cover ad, the inside back cover ad, the full page full color middle page ad … Contac! Nyquil! And here this rube was trying to rock the boat? like Jesus telling the priests they were misrepresenting God with their animal sacrifice monopoly scams!
That’s not a one step process. One hotdog might keep you alive, two hotdogs might get you on the football team. Three hotdogs might help you win the Heisman trophy. Six hotdogs might make you too fat to function …
No, no, no: the medical profession did not want scientific news to reach the doctors: let along the public!
Now: notice: the Temple murdered Jesus: fine: two thousand years later, the Temple still places itself as intermediary between God and worshipper! The child can hear science only after it’s been managed by the AMA, by Harvard, by the CIA …
Civilization is structured so that new models of truth can reach the population only through the edicts of kings, priests, Temples, Churches … universities, schools … state-hired and supervised “teachers” … The price of a bandaid goes up and up … to infinity; while the health of the enslaved public goes down the toilet. O’Brien asks Winston how many fingers he’s holding up; Winston is now trained to answer, However many you say, Big Brother.
So delicious, I watched a Jim Jarmusch movie the other night, Limits of Control. Never mind whether it was good or bad, rational or irrational: there was a moment when some runner for some assassin sneered about “science”. A sneer! Right. No such thing, Baby: not in this kleptocracy.
Wait a minute, pk, you just wait a minute. What about Pauling?
Oh, Pauling was a scientist, and so was Einstein. (So is pk!)
And even the FBI lab could have a moment of truthfulness, a moment of clarity, a rational moment; but don’t close your eyes and rely on it. Scientists too, Pauling, Einstein, pk, can make mistakes, have lots of irrational moments. But the magician with the trick card deck’s basic purpose is to bamboozle: even though he may mix truths into his patter to do so.
Believe Walter Reed, provisionally, not because he’s a doctor, but because anyone can, for the moment, be a scientist. See that his evidence is good, his argument good. Now, provisionally, believe him.
studying yellow fever
Back to the top, intro incomplete:
Doctors are worrying! about your budget efficiency, your economy? Doctors! What will they say next?!
What’s the truthful, current dope on vitamins? I don’t know. I don’t have time to read everything: not and also resurrect my never-publicly-published,-then-censored writing.
Frank Lloyd Wright said to get well dressed every morning, then pay no further attention to your dress. I read Pauling on vitamins, decades after studying Pauling the double Nobel-winner. I’ve read enough: on that subject, till I learn otherwise, maybe the hard way, maybe by dying.
(pk, at 75?! Broke?! Persecuted?! Sabotaged!? So what?!)