Folks: In the further interest of promoting a presidential debate on science, there’s a joint op-ed in the LA Times today by Lawrence Krauss (one of our top ringleaders) and myself. [It felt really cool, incidentally, to wake up this morning and find my op-ed in my own hometown paper; I haven’t had that feeling since, like, 2003 when I was writing with some regularity for the Washington Post.]
I think the argument that I’m making with Krauss will not be a surprising one, but let me quote a few choice paragraphs:
And, in fact, it’s not going too far to say that science in its broadest sense — by which we mean scientific thinking — is crucial in every area of policymaking. Science requires a willingness to reject conclusions once they’re shown to be in error, and it demands that all the data be considered, not just that which agrees with a priori opinions. A president capable of assessing scientific issues by weighing competing positions, and evaluating the evidence supporting them, could be expected to carry the same mode of reasoning over into other policy arenas where it’s equally crucial.
That’s why we need to hear from all of the candidates about where they stand on specific science-related issues, on U.S. competitiveness and, finally, on the broad role of science in the policymaking process. Our next president needn’t be a memorizer of facts, but he or she most definitely should understand how to critically analyze data and should embrace a broad empiricism in national and world affairs.
The whole op-ed is here.