Scientists have a word for studying the post-truth world: agnotology

 and  in The Conversation: “But scientists have another word for “post-truth”. You might have heard of epistemology, or the study of knowledge. This field helps define what we know and why we know it. On the flip side of this is agnotology, or the study of ignorance. Agnotology is not often discussed, because studying the absence of something — in this case knowledge — is incredibly difficult.

Doubt is our product

Agnotology is more than the study of what we don’t know; it’s also the study of why we are not supposed to know it. One of its more important aspects is revealing how people, usually powerful ones, use ignorance as a strategic tool to hide or divert attention from societal problems in which they have a vested interest.

A perfect example is the tobacco industry’s dissemination of reports that continuously questioned the link between smoking and cancer. As one tobacco employee famously stated, “Doubt is our product.”

In a similar way, conservative think tanks such as The Heartland Institute work to discredit the science behind human-caused climate change.

Despite the fact that 97% of scientists support the anthropogenic causes of climate change, hired “experts” have been able to populate talk shows, news programmes, and the op-ed pages to suggest a lack of credible data or established consensus, even with evidence to the contrary.

These institutes generate pseudo-academic reports to counter scientific results. In this way, they are responsible for promoting ignorance….

Under agnotology 2.0, truth becomes a moot point. It is the sensation that counts. Public media leaders create an impact with whichever arguments they can muster based in whatever fictional data they can create…Donald Trump entering the White House is the pinnacle of agnotology 2.0. Washington Post journalist Fareed Zakaria has argued that in politics, what matters is no longer the economy but identity; we would like to suggest that the problem runs deeper than that.

The issue is not whether we should search for identity, for fame, or for sensational opinions and entertainment. The overarching issue is the fallen status of our collective search for truth, in its many forms. It is no longer a positive attribute to seek out truth, determine biases, evaluate facts, or share knowledge.

Under agnotology 2.0, scientific thinking itself is under attack. In a post-fact and post-truth era, we could very well become post-science….(More)”.