Weaponized doubt

In the age of lightning-fast technological development, our relationship with science is warping. Access to human knowledge as democratized like never before. At our fingertips are pictures of a black hole and genetic testing services pinpointing our ancestry to specific regions or even certain villages. At the same time,  once-fringe anti-science movements are coming to the center, challenging the legitimacy of scientific discovery. 

Almost a decade ago, the U.S. National Academy of Scientists wrote a letter condemning “political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular. All citizens should understand some basic scientific facts. There is always some uncertainty associated with scientific conclusions; science never absolutely proves anything.” 

As populism sweeps the globe, hostility towards scientists, climate campaigners and experts continues. 

The scientific establishment has become vulnerable to a wave of anti-reason. Donald Trump’s administration has attacked science more than 100 times since 2016, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The government has buried its own studies exposing the effects of climate change and has withdrawn funding for conservation programs. Scientists, researchers, and engineers are forced to protest on the streets in the name of science

In the years since that letter was written, scientific research has been distorted, amplified, and weaponized into a tool to confuse, control, and suppress further discovery. 

Coda Story is investigating how science is being undermined every day by shadowy interests. We’re looking at who they are, how they operate, and who is funding them. Our coverage will also examine how their influence affects all of us. 

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