Roger just recently brought this initiative to my attention. I had heard the idea bandied about, but did not know that it was a formal initiative. As a scientist, and also as a responsible citizen of this country, I think it’s important that we know where the presidential candidates stand on various scientific and technological policies.
From their website:
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.
We have noticed that science and technology lie at the center of a very large number of the policy issues facing our nation and the world – issues that profoundly affect our national and economic security as science and technology continue to transform our lives. No matter one’s political stripe, these issues pose important pragmatic policy challenges.
We believe these scientific and technological policy challenges can bring out the best in the entrepreneurial American spirit. America can be a leader in finding cures for our worst diseases, inventing the best alternative energy sources, and graduating the most scientifically literate children in the world – or we can concede these economic and humanitarian benefits to other countries.
We believe a debate on these issues would be the ideal opportunity for America and the candidates to explore our national priorities on the issues, and it is hard to imagine any candidate not wishing to be involved in such an occasion.