ScienceDebate2008 now has, by my count, more than 80 bloggers in our coalition. And honestly, I’m very much afraid that some bloggers seeking to join up may have slipped through the cracks or not been added yet.
And that’s just one indication that we have generated a seismic online discussion of the need for a presidential debate on science in the current campaign cycle. Bora, who invaluably tracks such things, tallies well over 100 posts on the subject since Monday. This is, like, bigger than the famous framing debate. No wonder our ScienceDebate2008 Facebook group has been joined by more than 1,200 people. [Kinda scary–now we’re going to have to tell them all to do something….]
So what now? Well, we gave bloggers early notice, but the ScienceDebate2008 campaign has now been officially announced in commentaries by myself and Lawrence Krauss in the Los Angeles Times, by Sheril and Matthew Chapman on Huffington Post, and by another of our collaborators, House of Sand and Fog screenwriter Shawn Lawrence Otto, at Salon.com.
As I stressed yesterday and will stress again, the Huffington item is particularly important, because it begins to address some misconceptions that have cropped up about this idea. In particular, this is not some pop quiz that we’re talking about for the candidates. We don’t want to see how many facts they can recite. No: we want to see how they think about science policy in its broadest and most resonant sense. And that’s what we must continue to push for.
ScienceDebate2008 has hit the ground running, and our next step organizationally will be to formally contact the campaigns and party committees to request debate participation. But in the meantime, I hope some of the links above will help keep this dialogue alive.
And there’s a bit more to say. In particular, we need to answer those who claim this debate can’t happen, it’s too late in the campaign season, it doesn’t benefit the campaigns, yada yada. On this front I really like what Mark Hoofnagle over at Denialist had to say. Mark convincingly answered the naysayers out there who are claiming that calling for this debate isn’t realistic. We all know it’s an uphill battle, to be sure–but that doesn’t make it impossible. If enough people want such a debate, if enough people come together demand it, it can become a reality.
Furthermore, if it’s late in the campaign season…well, that’s precisely the point, isn’t it? To me, the very fact that the campaigns have not been pressed nearly enough yet on science and technology policy makes it EVEN MORE NECESSARY that they be put on the record in this area.
In short, it’s precisely because the political hour grows late that we need a presidential science debate–before it grows any later.
And for now, I’ll leave you with that thought.