The Crisis of Expertise

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From Aeon: Experts have been wrong many times throughout history, from nutritional scientists’ claims that eggs might be lethal in the 1970s to the Nobel Prize-winning chemist’s claim that vitamin C was a wonder drug. While it is impossible to go through daily life without trusting experts to some extent, it is important for experts to be held accountable to the public for their mistakes.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. There were much more egregious things going on than Pauling. Why don’t they talk about the intentional suppression of nursing in favor of formula, the Thalidomide scandal, the denial that Benzedrine was addictive, then that Valium was addictive, then that Xanax was addictive, the denial that Tardive Dyskenisia was caused by antipsychotics, the denial of violence and suicidal behavior caused by SSRIS (known before it was ever on the market), the promotion of electronic fetal monitoring, which caused a huge increase in the Caesarian rate without any improvement in outcomes… I could go on.

    • Because they didn’t know the grief Linus Pauling took for publically adopting the notion that we’d function better if we maintained our ascorbate levels similar to those of animals, who, except for primates, guinea pigs and fruit bats, produce their own ascorbate internally at the rate of 3g to 1/2oz. per day, were they human-sized. He’d also chanced upon Hoffer and Osmond’s book, How to Live With Schizophrenia, which advocated using mega C as well as mega B3 in treating this syndrome, spending an entire night reading it all in one sitting.

      As well as hostile publicity, he also had to debate various “experts”, until he’d humiliated enough of them to scare away any more wannabe debate “champs”.