Imagine a presidential debate focused solely on issues of science and technology as they relate to medicine, international competitiveness, terrorism, public health, embryonic stem cell research, bioethics of genotyping and other molecular diagnostics, research policy/funding and job creation, or minimization of health disparities, among others.
Science Debate 2008 is a grassroots initiative spearheaded by a growing number of scientists and other concerned citizens. The signatories to our “Call for a Presidential Debate on Science & Technology” include Nobel laureates and other leading scientists, presidents of universities, congresspersons of both major political parties, business leaders, religious leaders, former presidential science advisors, the editors of America’s major science journals, writers, and the current and several past presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many others.
And now count me among the many others – in fact, take a gander at this tremendous list of science bloggers, known as the Blogger Coalition.
The impact of science and technology is not just for scientists and researchers. This point seems so obvious but science too often takes a backseat to the marital issues and religious affiliations of presidential candidates. The press is so taken by endorsements from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey but probably wouldn’t wink an eye if Harold Varmus supported a candidate.
We have seen what happens when science and technology is brushed aside by a presidential administration, or worse, how scientific facts have been distorted to push agendas and industry-favoring policies. The US cannot afford another eight years of scientific ignorance. Regardless of whether the next president is a Republican or Democrat, the country needs a leader who understands science and technology and seeks the expertise of those knowledgeable enough to advise the administration on scientific issues that have broad impact on Americans and the rest of the world.
One of the best ways to learn about the stance of candidates and compare and contrast the importance they place on science is to hear it from the horses’ mouths.
That’s why we are registering our support for A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science & Technology. Stay tuned here and elsewhere on ScienceBlogs, especially Sheril Kirschenbaum and Chris Mooney at The Intersection.