Youve heard about how the Russians have tried to spread fake news. It turns out that theyre also pushing fake science.

Researchers at Iowa State University have uncovered a massive propaganda campaign that seeks to manipulate the American publics perception of genetically modified organismsand Moscow is paying for it.

Shawn Dorius and Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, both of ISU, reached their conclusion after studying the contents of a pair of Russian-backed news websites: RT (formerly called Russia Today) and Sputnik.

One article, فمثلا, carried this provocative headline: GMO mosquitoes could be cause of Zika outbreak.

Thats blatantly false. Although scientists have discussed the possibility of breeding GMO mosquitoes to fight diseases, absolutely nothing links them to the spread of the Zika virus, which causes birth defects.

The purpose of Russias dishonesty is to make Americans question GMOs, even though regulatory agencies and scientific bodies all over the world have vouched for their safety.

Stirring the anti-GMOs pot would serve a great many of Russias political, اقتصادي, and military objectives, Dorius told the Des Moines Register, which broke the news about the ISU research.

(Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Weve actually known for a while that the Russians promote and spread misinformation about GMOs. العام الماضي, Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health documented this deviousness. في 2016, Maria Antonova described in the journal Foreign Policy how the Kremlin has discovered that pseudoscience fits its present ideological needs.

It appears to be part of a bigger plan. في يناير, the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence released a report that accused RT of concocting a scheme aimed at undermining viewers trust of U.S. democratic procedures. Last month, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential electionactions that the Russians have dubbed information warfare.

Science represents one of the fronts of Russias information war. Just as Russian websites have sought to increase political tensions in the United States, theyve also tried to cause Americans to doubt the value of vaccines and the wisdom of fracking.

GMOs are a favorite target, جدا. Although theyve become conventional tools of modern agriculture that help farmers grow more food on less land than ever before, theyre also poorly understood. Three years ago, the Pew Research Center showed that although 88 percent of scientists regard GMOs as safe to eat, only 37 percent of the public agreed. In no other areaglobal warming, nuclear power, offshore oil drillingwere the views of scientists and ordinary people so divergent.

The Russians weapon of choice in their high-tech info war is the old-fashioned lie. بعبارات أخرى, propaganda vs. علم.

The objective is simple. Russia wants to disrupt the United States in every way possible, from the faith we put in our political system to the trust we place in the sound science that supports our farmers, our food chain, and our very way of life.

This is the behavior of an enemy, not a friend.

Its also pathetic. Russia has a proud tradition of scientific achievement, including the physiologist Ivan Pavlov (famous for his dogs) and the nuclear scientist Andrei Sakharov (also known for his human-rights activism). How ironic that one of the vehicles for its fake-science lies is a website called Sputnik, named for the worlds first artificial satellite.

The launch of the real Sputnik in 1957, during the Cold War, startled Americansand sparked a campaign to surpass the advanced technologies of what was then the Soviet Union. Thanks in part to a large investment in public education at all levels, the United States hurtled past its rival (if it was ever truly behind). Our most conspicuous success occurred in the Space Race of the 1960s: Americans walked on the moon, but the Soviets never made it there.

اليوم, the United States continues to lead the world in science and technology as well as in personal and political freedom. Instead of trying to catch up, ومع ذلك, Russia wants to bring us downand its strategy involves lying about everything from our elections to our food.