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Through the initiatives of citizens – and voters – who take a keen interest in science and technology and governmental policies directed toward these, a proposal for a presidential candidates’ debate on issues of science and technology is now on the table. The background for this initiative may be found at The Intersection here on Science Blogs: Call for a Presidential Science Debate. SciBlings Chris and Sheril, along with Matthew Chapman, Lawrence Krauss and many others have teamed together to sound the clarion call for genuine responses from the candidates. Krauss has written an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal outlining why this debate is critical. In Dr. President (highly recommended by the Refuge with 5 pant-hoots out of 5), Chris Mooney articulates the failed legacy of the current administration’s policies toward science and technology and the impending need to repair the damage incurred. As Chris states so well, we need a “reality based president.” The proposed debates have the potential to contribute to such a selection in a big way.

Business Week asked the candidates about their views on innovation; the candidates’ responses may be found here. These are no more than canned sound-bytes. A robust debate is needed one considering what is at stake.

Republican, Independent, Democrat or Libertarian, voters must be aware of the candidates’ positions on science and technology. These are complex issues which deserve far more than token bits sent off to a business magazine. A presidential hopeful who has supported isolation of HIV positive individuals, underscores the need for careful scrutiny of the candidates’ positions.

Here is the statement of purpose from Science Debate 2008 initiative:

A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.

A number of luminaries from the spheres of science and government support this initiative, among them Shirley Tilghman, the president of the local cow college, and Rush Holt, the representative of my congressional district (12th-NJ). A bunch of us Science Bloggers, here and elsewhere, support the measure. Here’s hoping you, our readers, will support it, too. Brachiate your way on over to the Science Debate 2008 site (click on the graphic above or below) and just say YES!



  1. #1 Warren
    December 11, 2007

    This could be an entertaining platform for a drinking contest. Every time any candidate gets anything wrong, you … oh wait, that’s a recipe for alcohol poisoning.

  2. #2 Bill from Dover
    December 11, 2007
  3. #3 Doc Bushwell
    December 11, 2007

    Bill – Yikes! Thanks for the heads up. I deleted the egregious extra commas. It works now.

    Warren – Heh. My thinking was in the line of a future Simpsons episode: the candidates drawn as Groeningesque characters, some whining “Science is haaaaaaard” a la Malibu Stacy, others grousing about the Poindexter fest, and with Professor Frink (glavhin!) as the moderator. Then a drinking game.

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