It’s Time to Bring Science to the Fore of Political Discourse by Having Candidates Discuss It Publicly
If you want to see Obama and Romney devote time to addressing important questions about science and science policy in a publicly televised debate, you’re going to have to fight for it. Back in 2008, an independent citizens’ initiative, known simply as “ScienceDebate,” pushed to have 14 such questions addressed in a debate that would have been aired on PBS, but neither Barack Obama nor John McCain would agree to participate.
This year, ScienceDebate 2012 is trying again. After gathering suggestions from thousands of scientists, engineers and citizens , and working in cooperation with a long list of science and engineering organizations — including AAAS, The National Academies, Scientific American and others — the initiative has assembled a list of what it calls “The Top American Science Questions in 2012.”
The list, which you’ll find below, is comprehensive, penetrating and measured. They are precisely the kinds of questions that the future President of the United States should not only be required to address, but required to address in a public forum that affords an opportunity for discussion, debate and followup questions.
You can read more about the initiative, and sign a petition calling for the candidates’ participation in a debate devoted to science and scientific policy, over at ScienceDebate 2012.