Reason, rhetoric, and logic are all tools that in the hands of the wrong person can be used to advance repulsive or sublime objectives. In other words, the ethical qualities and perspicacity of those who use them determine the worth of tools of persuasion.
Science is often distinguished from those tools of influence by those who see it as open, honest, cooperative, thorough and fair in ways that the persuasive arts can never be. But the huge public relations industry and the scientific experts who that industry cultivates and deploys form and shape science in a manner sharply distinguished from the pristine version of science that is a commonplace in the introductory chapters of science textbooks.
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber’s Trust Us, We’re Experts documents the extent to which private wealth is able to manipulate the public by spin-doctoring the expertise of scientists, many of them disgustingly eager to cash in on their credentials on behalf of whoever offers the best payoff.
You can keep an eye on the PR industry’s creative redesign of information at the website of the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch.
In short, science has the capability of providing the most successful of rhetorical methods on behalf of information distortion—the expert’s rhetoric of non-rhetoric. “We do not have a prospective or a point of view; we provide unvarnished truth.”