Saturday, September 6, 2008

ScienceDebate 2008

I also promised to get back to more science and technology policy issues this fall. ScienceDebate 2008 is a grassroots effort with the goal of hosting a presidential debate that focuses on science issues, which are traditionally ignored in most elections. Prominent scholars, community leaders, and legislators, including Tim Walz, signed on to support the debate. Unfortunately, neither candidate was willing to schedule an actual joint appearance, but both candidates have committed to sending written responses to 14 questions. Barack Obama's are here.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

Science is a major problem and opportunity … so which candidate will actually address it.

Let’s congratulate Obama for responding … which at least shows that he is willing to put his positions on the record.
McCain has two problems …
(1) some of his positions are in opposition to the Republican base and
(2) he has a history.
He doesn’t want #1 to know about #2 .

Take for example, in 2003 McCain wrote encouraging the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. "As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over oceans, and maritime and ocean navigation, I believe ratification of this important Convention would help strengthen our national security, promote the free and unimpeded flow of inter-national trade and commerce, and protect our vital natural resources. Its ratification would enable the United States to regain its leadership role in promoting the rule of law for the oceans and encouraging respect for traditional navigational freedoms."
A strong endorsement but the Bush Administration has opposed it … so what’s McCain to do … well in October 2007, he said “I'd like to make some changes to it. I think that we need a Law of the Sea. I think it's important, but I have not frankly looked too carefully at the latest situation as it is, but it would be nice if we had some of the provisions in it. But I do worry a lot about American sovereignty aspects of it, so I would probably vote against it in its present form."
Flip-flop or intimidation by Bush and various lobbying groups ?

The real problem that we should have with McCain is who will be in a McCain Administration. The Palin pick illustrates a willingness to go with his gut. I have a fear of more Michael Browns and Monica Goodlings being put in positions of authority and responsibility. I liked the question of regarding “Freedom” for scientists to publish their findings without White House interference.
Incidentally, on last week’s Meet the Press, Pawlenty was asked about Palin’s support for teaching Creationism and he responded that in Minnesota the decision is made at the local level. Frankly, I think that is bad policy. IF the state has standards that they test for, would a district that teaches Creationism in addition to Evolution, be investing the appropriate amount of time to teach both theories ? Are the teachers “qualified” to teach both theories?

I noted that you acknowledged that Congressman Walz supported this "Debate" ... and I believe that Jim Ramstad also supported it ... but how would Dr. Davis respond ?