PAULING, SZENT-GYORGYI, VITAMIN C AND ME

Richard Kondo rkondo at ephys.ucla.edu
Wed May 8 11:37:27 EST 1996


John E. Kuslich wrote:
> 
> Scott Russell wrote:
> >
> > In article <318E9B47.285B at indirect.com>,
> >    "John E. Kuslich" <johnk at indirect.com> wrote:
> > >Bert Gold wrote:
> > >> <<<<SNIP>>>
> > >
> > >> And yet, this week, fully 18 years after the memorable talk by
> > >> Szent-Gyorgyi which I just described, the Vitamin C RDA for men
> > >> has been adjusted three-fold upward.
> > >>
> > >> It makes me wonder at the brazen inefficiency of the research
> > >> 'establishment'...
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Bert Gold
> > >> San Francisco
> > >>
> > >> References
> > >
> > ><<<further SNIP>>
> > >
> > >Just look at research on "Cold Fusion", "Global Warming", and "The Ozone
> > >Hole" for further examples of the poor quality of some recent so-called
> > >scientific research.
> > >
> > >Chaos theory eliminated any hope of long term weather prediction, and
> > >yet we still have "researchers" at major universities doing computer
> > >simulation of weather.
> > >
> > >Modern science has gone "politically correct"; look at the reaction to
> > >that book entitled "The Bell Curve".  It was widely renounced by many
> > >so-called scientists who never took the time to read it!!!
> > >
> > >Oh well...
> > >
> > >John E. Kuslich
> >
> > Now wait a minute.
> >
> > (1) None of the topics in the first paragraph have been eliminated as
> > possibilities, the first two are just not supported by sufficient evidence to
> > warrant the conclusions that were made.
> 
> I think you effectively illustrate attitudes that lead us to accept conclusions of and act upon
>  "junk " science.  I believe that if you examine the case for all three of the topics
> mentioned, you will be led to the inescapable conclusion that "Junk" science is alive and well.
>  Some of these nutty ideas only gain popular acceptance because of the tendency for the liberal
> media to publicize them - they fit well into the environmentalist agenda.

	Theories such as 'global warming' and the 'ozone hole' do not 
fall in the same category as 'cold fusion'.  Science is driven by 
hypotheses and theories, and the history of science is replete with the 
rise and fall of many theories.

	There is ongoing debate about the merits of the ones you 
mention, in which many scientists support the ideas and some do not.  
Obviously, you do not agree with the conclusions, but you present no 
data to buttress your point.  You just summarily dismiss the theories 
and the atmospheric studies regarding them as 'junk' science. 

> "Possibilities" don't necessarily merit action which will cause serious economic dislocations.
> The "Carbon Tax" comes to mind.

	Sounds as if you have a political agenda as well.


> >   (2) That weather is ultimately unpredictable does not mean that extending
> > forecasts is not useful.  Chaos theory indicated that predicting the behavior
> > of self-iterating systems using incomplete data can be expected to be
> > unsuccessful over the course of a certain amount of time.
> >
> 
> You misstate my point.
> 
> Chaos theory indicates quite convincingly that there are severe limits on the ability of
> computers to make long term weather predictions because we simply 1) can never model the
> physical weather interactions adequately, 2) we can never have enough knowledge of initial
> condidtions to put into our model to get long term results.  We might as well put research
> money into perpetual motion.  That was my point.

	Attempting to predict the weather in Fargo, North Dakota at any 
particular time is entirely different from making estimations about 
changes in the average global temperature and other parameters.  
Different differential equations are involved in these two 
probelms.  Chaos theory is relevant in the first problem, not the 
second.

	And, are you suggesting that all the work being done to 
increase the speed of computers for simulations of air flow over a 
wing, nuclear explosions, dynamics of molecules, (the list goes on) is 
a waste of money and time?

Finally,

	While I share Dr. Gold's concern regarding how decisions are 
made regarding science grant dollars (my future in science depends in 
part on it), I do not believe that the example he cites, sufficiently 
supports the idea of 'brazen inefficiency' in science which might be 
easily remedied.  The history of science is erratic - some ideas find 
acceptance easily and rapidly and are eventually found to be wrong, as 
some ideas are accepted slowly - supported only by a few people working 
alone (how long did it take for the notion that proton gradients across 
the mitochondrial membrane drive ATP synthesis to be accepted, many 
years in the wilderness did Mitchell work).  Human factors such as 
'politics', 'who is a friend of who,' etc.  undoubtedly, affect what 
ideas are accepted and pursued, but I doubt that the 'system' can be 
anything more than tweaked with regards its efficiency in the pursuit 
of the 'truth'.  The problem, as I see it, is that there appears to be 
many more scientists chasing fewer dollars.  However, this is not the 
same problem as scientific efficiency.

Richard Kondo
Cardiovascular Research Lab
UCLA

	<snip>



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