4) Peer Review and The Scientific Method   Consider the following:

In 1970, a book entitled Vitamin C and the Common Cold was published.  It reported that taking regular doses of vitamin C helps prevent colds, and that taking vitamin C immediately after the onset of a cold reduces the duration of the cold.  Needless to say, vitamin C sales experienced a boost after this book was released.  The book’s author is Linus Pauling.  Dr. Pauling is the only person to ever receive Nobel Prizes in two different fields: He received a Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work with chemical bonds and he received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with regulating nuclear weapons testing.  When Dr. Pauling wrote this book, he analyzed other groups’ data regarding the effectiveness/non-effectiveness of vitamin C against the common cold.  The conclusions Dr. Pauling made after analyzing this data was the basis for his book, which then went straight to the general public.  Despite the book’s popularity (and despite Dr. Pauling’s background as a Nobel Prize winning scientist), many in the scientific community considered this book’s publication to be “bad” science.

Explain why Dr. Pauling’s book was considered to be bad science by those in the scientific community.

2 Answers

  • Ted K
    Lv 7
    4 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Pauling's Nobel Prizes are irrelevant here.  His book cited mostly anecdotal evidence, instead of randomized, placebo-controlled studies, which at the time he wrote his book, had not even been conducted.  Much of his "conclusions" were based on his own personal experience taking large doses of Vit. C.  He also claimed that mega-doses of Vit C would cure cancer.  So his book is little more than his own opinion.  And since books like that are not peer reviewed, there could be no critical evaluations of his claims by nutritional biochemists or physicians, ie. professionals who knew more about Vitamin C than he did.

    He was a great physical chemist, and he was famous, but since his book was not subjected to rigorous peer-review, it was seen as just another nutrition crackpot opinion piece. 

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    This is a biology question.

    Did you either read your textbook or did you Google "Linus Pauling" and "Vitamin C and the Common Cold"? to see what reviews had said?

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