Okay: In the further further interest of promoting a presidential debate on science, Sheril and our ScienceDebate2008 ringleader, Matthew Chapman, have now published a great piece on HuffingtonPost announcing and elaborating on the idea.
Larry Krauss and I, in the LA Times, pretty much made the case (not very hard to make) for why the candidates ought to debate science and technology policy. But Chapman-Kirshenbaum go further, seeking to clear up some misconceptions about precisely what we are proposing:
Our idea, which is already flourishing in the blogosphere, has generated great enthusiasm, but also received some initial criticisms. One of these is the suggestion that the candidates simply are not equipped to talk about science. We disagree. The candidates do not need a degree in economics in order to talk about the economy, nor do they require one in science in order to discuss science.
We are not proposing a pop quiz or an argument, but rather, we are suggesting an illuminating debate. The electorate should have the opportunity to hear the candidates discuss their policy positions on our many scientific and technological challenges, what their ethical positions are in relation to them, and what their aspirations are.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that too many people are laboring under the misconception that we are calling for some type of science quiz. But some are, and it’s important to emphasize that we consider that pretty pointless. The idea is not to establish that a particular candidate knows a particular fact at a particular time–but rather, to show that candidate has a grasp of the importance of science to decision-making and the economy.
In any event, it seems that the ScienceDebate2008 idea is really inspiring people. Bora tallies 100 blog posts on it now, and our Facebook group just past 1,000 members…grassroots, netroots, whatever, this idea has a future.