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Scientific truth has historically emerged from the battlefield of conflicting ideas. But in a new and worrying twist, it is now being guaranteed by governments’ “objective” ranking of scientists, journals, or universities. In Italy, the governmental agency running academic research assessment programs provides a vivid example of this growing phenomenon of state-affirmed pseudo-science. Detailing an in vivo experiment in Italy, this article uncovers the un-scholarly practices at the root of this development, and the dangerous implications for both science and democracy.