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How fake science websites hijack our trust in experts to hinder the fight against the climate crisis

The deniers of the climate crisis can't get into scientific journals, so they try their luck using websites that pretend to be such journals. A communication researcher explains how to identify such sites

By  Isobel Clarke, Early Career Research Fellow, Lancaster University

Fake news - false news. Image: depositphotos.com
Fake news - false news. Image: depositphotos.com

The scientific method is rigorous. Claims and assumptions are supported by evidence. The peer review system is intended to ensure that the research is examined by experts before its publication, and whenever the researchers lack certainty, they will emphasize that "more research is needed" to reach the truth.

Unfortunately, fake science websites are learning to look just as careful to get their audience to believe in fringe, disproven and bogus theories. These sites seek to take advantage of Our trust in experts, and the methods we use to verify information, to lend authority to anti-scientific positions.

Some even link to fake science Published in what appear to be peer-reviewed journals, but are actually written by open-access publishers who will accept anything submitted, provided their fees are paid.

Studies show that the anti-science movement escalating and becoming global. in the survey My recent world, nearly 50% of respondents said they see false or misleading information online every day. More than half of those who shared such information did so because they thought it was true at the time.

Fake science masquerading as reliable and authoritative information is harder to spot. But by understanding the methods fake science sites use, we can adjust our verification techniques to ensure we don't fall for their scam.

Fake science sites use in hyperlinks extensive to facilitate the emergence of credibility. Hyperlinks act as markers visuals of credibility, and seemingly connect content to the source. The mere presence of a link can provide readers with a sense that a particular claim is verified and that the author has done the research.

Every surfer knows that checking each hyperlink to read and evaluate the cited information requires effort. For those unfamiliar with scientific principles, methodology and analytical techniques, it is even more demanding. For convenience, we often rely on the presence of a link or citation as proof that the information expressed is reliable.

Repeated posts also add to the appearance of credibility. Studies have found that almost any claim made by a scientist opposed to the mainstream, whether challenging the consensus on anthropogenic climate change or questioning the integrity of individual climate scientists, Immediately collected and shared via the climate change blogosphere.

This content is copied from one website to another until dozens of websites display the same information. The goal is not only to increase the visibility of the content, but also to ensure that the search engine result pages are populated with it Repetitive content.

Readers attempting to verify information using “lateral reading", or opening a series of tabs to read a selection of different articles, may come across several pages of results that seem to confirm what they read on one fake science website. around the world, 24% of people This authentication technique is used. Fake scientific articles also link to repetitive content, making it more likely that readers will see it as legitimate.

Many fake science websites never produce original articles. They reproduce anything that supports their position to make that position more prominent, hoping that internet users won't have time to realize that one article has been copied dozens of times.

creating doubt

Create Doubt is another common strategy used in many anti-science positions. Studies have shown that the tobacco industry used this strategy to question the links between smoking and cancer. The same strategy is used today to downplay the importance of the climate crisis.

Due to the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence for anthropogenic global warming, fake science websites avoid outright climate denial and instead criticize climate change fears as exaggerated and climate policies as extreme. The goal is not to invalidate the position but to foster doubt about the existence of climate change.


To this end, articles again create the illusion of scientific rigor by referring to a select body of evidence that often misinterpreted or not peer reviewed. Meanwhile, a study that confirms the severity of the climate crisis is labeled as "climate alarm" and dismissed as "obscene".

Spotting fake science

Fake science sites aggressively share their articles, encouraging Internet users to share themselves, so they are likely to show up on social media or in a search engine feed. They are easy to spot if you know what to look for.

First, check the hyperlinks used in the article. Fake science sites will direct you to sites that are not reliable, sites that are not relevant, or articles that are identical to the ones you are reading.

You can also copy and paste part of a suspicious article into a search engine to check how often it has been republished. Real science and research is republished on reputable sites, but fake science will be copied among a host of websites you've never heard of.

If you're still in doubt about the legitimacy of an article, visit a website dedicated to tracking misinformation and bias, such as mediabiasfactcheck.com, where you can check if the site you browsed is selling one that presents fake science.

After all, fake science websites can only appear credible. They hope that Internet users will not have the time or the skills to discover that what they are reading lacks scientific proof. With that in mind, digging a little deeper can help us uncover the embarrassing "science" from legitimate sources and experts.

For an article in The Conversation

6 תגובות

  1. The articles do not change anything for me in my personal perception of the existing, since I was a child I sensed the truth or the fake immediately, luckily!

  2. It's interesting that a site that claims to be a scientific site, albeit a popular scientific one, allows completely anti-scientific responses based on nothing

  3. Man's trap is his language of words, that's why man invented the language of numbers.
    In the language of numbers it is easier to distinguish between truth and falsehood, but it is not always possible to distinguish between truth and falsehood.
    Scientists say that all circles have a single number, which allows the transition between the length of the diameter and the length of the circumference.
    The single number idea is a lie (which has existed in education systems for thousands of years, but was not noticed)
    The scope experiment spotted this lie, but the education systems continue to teach this lie.

    https://youtu.be/u2vamaSj-mw

  4. One way is to take a completely legitimate popular scientific site influenced by grants from the "New Israel Fund" and similar organizations whose sources of funding end up being George Soros or the European Union, and finance it on the condition that it starts writing about these issues and promotes certain agendas. This can then be seen in a wave of articles in which the scientific language is abandoned in favor of journalistic sensationalism accompanied by loaded words such as "crisis" (climate) or even "denial" (climate) (a loaded phrase to compare them to Holocaust deniers), not to mention "criminal" (climate) and more The hand is tilted.

    The point is that science can be successful as long as it is not harnessed to one political agenda or another and then scream to the heavens that "we are the party of science", even though there is no evidence of this. That is why you can find the incredibly interesting discussion "when does life begin" in the context of the abortion laws in the USA, when the "enlightened" people reach ridiculous determinations on the question, so as not to reach cognitive dissonance in thinking that they might be killing living human beings - and what the consequences of this could be.

    For example, they also pushed us a preparation with experimental and incredibly new technology based on RNA, claiming that it is a "vaccine" (which is based on technology that is hundreds of years old, which in turn came from rural traditions of God knows how many years old) and that it is "scientific", claiming that anyone who opposes is a "corona denier" ” (Sound familiar to you?). Another scientific and medical thing is to take care and never do harm, but these values ​​flew out the window when it became clear that you could make a few billions.
    .
    So in the meantime the young generation is being scared to death by claiming that the world is going to be destroyed in 12 years and we will all die, and when you ask the scaremongers a bit you see that they are not really claiming that the end of the earth will come, and you also find that they have made a much worse scenario than the worst "extreme scenario" of Some climate scientists have their flagship scenario. In the meantime, they are acting in a horribly stupid manner on the subject of energy production, to the point that Europe is about to sink into a cold and frozen winter - one that will freeze to death several tens of thousands of poor or unlucky Europeans who will not have enough money or fuel to heat their homes. This is also how they destroy agriculture in the developed countries (something that is being done right now, in the Netherlands and Canada, and other countries are not far behind following the trend) by claiming to "stop the pollution" and condemning billions to starvation as early as 2023.

  5. Since we know the science website and believe that it tells us the scientific truth with complete confidence, then I allow myself to comment here, but only the truth.
    First of all, we must understand that fake news is a function of the scientific knowledge that exists at the time.

    Here came a collection of revelations of fake news that were published not long ago, around the year - 1500.
    These are "as if scientific" publications that were published and to our delight they were discovered in time and their poisonous effect was eliminated,
    Here are the examples:

    A. Giordano Bruno. Published fake news as if there is no divine singularity for our life here at the center of the universe on Earth, and the entire universe is full of Earths, and even...intelligent life. Fortunately for us, he was caught and executed for this act of heresy in the Holy of Holies.
    B. Copernicus: He too published his heliocentric nonsense, when it is enough to look up to see the proof of the holy geocentric universe, in which, all the stars of the sky revolve around our blessed earth.
    third. Kepler:- Claims that the planets revolve in elliptical orbits, God forbid, and not in divine perfect circles, in short, just heresy for the sake of it!

    So far, a clear science pick collection without a doubt!.
    Regarding a collection of current Pick News I will post in my next response.
    Please respond gently!
    Sabdarmish Yehuda

  6. The topic is definitely important, how can a person through the information channels that are available to him get a reasonable picture of reality,
    What are the mental tools one should be equipped with to examine the reliability of information in science and many other fields,
    Today we are exposed to a lot of scientific information from their earliest stages that have not even begun to be tested to proven science,
    The subject of climate science is particularly complex, a kind of huge chaotic puzzle that together gives some kind of trend with high probability
    In the present case there is a clear effect of human activity from the beginning of the industrial revolution on the atmosphere
    And from this a much more complex analysis of what are the future effects on the climate,
    On this complex picture there is a masking of economic considerations and political camping that it could be a perception
    For some people, the warming of the climate as a result of human actions is associated with the other camp, and so it is clear that they are not right, and even on the side that mostly supports the climate, there is sometimes a gliding from the scientific dimension, including quote after quote from sources that are not backed by science, something that actually harms the topic that they want to promote,
    Humanity's ability to deal well with complex issues also requires the ability of the individuals as a group to influence the decision makers and this should be imparted in education with the ability to examine articles related to science, economics, politics, etc.

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