That raises an important question: How easy is it for malicious actors to distort the public perception of science? Today we get an answer thanks to the work of James Owen Weatherall at the University of California, Irvine, and a few pals who have created a computer model of the way scientific consensus forms and how this influences the opinion of policy makers. The team studied how easily these views can be distorted and determined that today it is straightforward to distort the perception of science with techniques that are even more subtle than those used by the tobacco industry. 

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