Time for a Real Presidential Debate on Science
To put it bluntly, the debate to date around issues of science in the presidential race has been tepid, if not virtually non-existent. The good people at Grist made a valiant effort to bring the candidates together for a presidential forum on climate change and energy policy; though it provided a lively discussion, it only managed to scare up 3 candidates - all Democrats (Kucinich, Edwards and Clinton).
Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, curators of The Intersection, are taking a stab at organizing the mother of all science debates with their recently announced Sciencedebate 2008. They are calling for nothing less than a comprehensive public debate involving all the candidates that will tackle the complex issues of "The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy".They have already secured the support of a dizzying number of Nobel laureates, science journalists, politicians and other scientists - including the likes of Donald Kennedy, the editor-in-chief of Science; Wolfgang Ketterle, Professor of Physics at MIT who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2001; and Bill Nye, the "Science Guy" (see the full list here).
Not even considering climate change, there are many critical issues that will be coming to the fore over the next few years that the next president will need to understand and be ready to address; it is therefore essential that a sound science policy - something that has been woefully absent from the current administration - become a centerpiece of the next president's agenda.