The idea of holding a presidential candidates debate on the role of science in running the country was always a long shot. But those behind Science Debate 2008 must be crying in their coffees this morning with the news that Clinton and Obama have agreed to a CNN-televised forum a week from Sunday on -- wait for it -- "faith, values and other current issues."
I suppose if we're really lucky the moderators will buy Al Gore's argument that climate change is a moral issue, as is stell cell research, energy independence, the teaching of evolution.... But we all know that's not where this thing is going. It's organized by a group that never got the memo on the First Amendment and Jefferson's Wall: Faith in Public Life, which describes the forum as "a chance for Obama and Clinton to talk about how faith, scripture and public policy all come together."
The thing is, without McCain's participation (he's got a "scheduling conflict") I can't really see the point, even for those that do want to see the Ten Commandments adorn the wall of every courtroom.
Because for some reason Americans want the person who hears the most voices to be in charge of the world's largest nuclear arsenal...
If you look at the statistics page for that group its clear why they are more likely to be important for politicians compared to the tiny minority of the population seriously interested in science.
"The "religious left" is mobilized to vote: 69 percent voted in the 2004 presidential election, compared with 51 percent in 2000. By comparison, 69 percent of the Religious Right also voted in the 2004 presidential election.
The "religious left" accounted for 21 percent of Kerry's votes. Conversely, 26 percent of President George W. Bush's voters were members of the Religious Right."
As Sally Steenland explained at Science Progress, "More and more, it is impossible to talk in any meaningful way about urgent moral issues without acknowledging their scientific componentsjust as it is difficult to talk about science issues without including their moral aspects."