Tag Archives: Science Debate 2008

The debate we need to have, but won’t.

(cross posted from California Greening.)

A wide group of science advocates attempted to stage a presidential debate this week in Philadelphia. The subject would have been science and the manner by which science would be used to inform public policy in the administrations of a President Clinton, a President McCain or a President Obama. Since these three candidates for office would have had to deal with substantive matters, of course the all declined to participate.

One reaction ended up in the Wall Street Journal today, where I really did not expect it. The OpEd, penned by Nobel Laureates and Cal Tech faculty members David Baltimore and Ahmed Zewail. Baltimore is President Emeritus of Cal Tech.

Apparently the top contenders for our nation’s highest elective office have better things to do than explain to the public their views on securing America’s future.

Instead we have had we had Democrat Obama complaining about the lack of substance in the debate that did take place.  

Last night we set a new record. It took us 45 minutes . . . before we heard about health care. Forty-five minutes before we heard about Iraq. Forty-five minutes before we heard about jobs. That’s how Washington is.

I don’t feel any sympathy for Obama. He had a choice. He could have accepted a debate that would have been focused on substance and he chose not to participate. That’s how Washington is.

We are still waiting for the change that will happen.

Science Debate 2008

I have asked my Congressman, Jerry McNerney, to sign on as supporting A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology.

Cross posted from The Progressive Connection  

Taking from the “sponsors” web page, the following rationale.

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we, the undersigned, call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Medicine and Health, and Science and Technology Policy. Science Debate 2008.

So far, 3 university presidents have endorsed this effort (Washington, Princeton, Duke) as well as 13 Nobel Laureates and 8 Congress Critters of both parties.

Unfortunately the only California Congressman to do so has been Sam Farr.

If we are going to have any technological solution to the problems that face us, we need leadership that knows what science is all about, that understands what it can do and, of equal importance, what it can not do.  McNerney has that knowledge if he has the will to use it.  

As for others… it is an open question.  I would not hold Pelosi’s support of a renewable fuel standard in the recent energy bill as being based on science.  It was more than likely based on being able to pick up a few Democratic votes in the traditionally red states.