No danger of my ever underestimating or denigrating Pauling. The principle of maximum overlap is as beautiful as the laws of motion.
Having said that, Pauling was not senile (in the sense of being demented), when he began his vitamin C campaign. And I believe that he sincerely believed it was an effective Tx for both cancer and the common cold. Remember, his campaign went far beyond vitamin C for cancer – it was also the supposed cure for the common cold. I do think it likely that the cognitive decline of aging played a major role in his poor judgment in this area. Pauling wrote lucidly and extensively about vitamin C; the problem was that he was mistaken. Similarly, Newton spent the bulk of his intellectual life on utter nonsense. Genius is no guarantee of correctness.