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Should an American prez know a thing or two about science?

Posted on the February 11th, 2008

Finally, this rather timely question may be making its way to center stage. At least it will if ScienceDebate2008 happens on April 18, as proposed. The debate, to be held in Philadelphia, is the idea of a citizens’ initiative group led by science writer Chris Mooney.

Here’s a excerpt from the group’s press release about the invitation it just sent out to Democratic and Republican Party candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee and John McCain:

“This is about the future of America,” said Shawn Lawrence Otto, one of the debate organizers. “Most of the major policy challenges the next president will face, from climate chance to jobs and economic competitiveness to healthcare to the health of the oceans, center on science and technology. Where is the next transistor economy going to come from? Is there going to be action to address climate change? Do we need a Marshall plan for science in America? What about peak oil? Why are our school children falling behind other countries in math and science, and what should be done about it? We are trying to elevate these important policy issues in the national dialogue. We want voters to have a chance to assess candidates’ in terms of their visionary leadership on these big issues and others like them. It’s not a science quiz, it’s about policy. We’re talking about the health of your family, the health of the economy, and the health of the planet. What are the solutions? We hope the candidates for president will want to explore these issues more thoroughly with the American people.”

Created in 2007, the ScienceDebate2008 initiative has some big name endorsements and partnerships. They include 97 major universities and other organizations, “dozens of Nobel laureates,” and several highranking past and present government officials, according to the press release. Intel chief Craig Barrett has also signed on in support, they say.

The list of co-sponsors of the debate include the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

Organizers of the debate are asking those who want to see this debate happen to help out by calling the various candidates’ campaigns, and by writing letters to the editors of local newspapers.

You can follow the action of how it’s all turning out on The Intersection where Mooney blogs.

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