Call for a Science Debate between Presidential Candidates on April 18


The good folks over at ScienceDebate 2008 have issued a letter of invitation to the remaining presidential candidates to participate in a science policy debate on April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, four days before the Pennsylvania primary. To wit:

Science and technology are responsible for half our nation's growth in GDP over the last half century, and have changed every aspect of our lives, our economy, our health, and our environment.

The next president of the United States will face unprecedented scientific and technological policy challenges and opportunities, three classes of which poll at the top of voter concerns: the economy and economic competitiveness; healthcare; and the environment. Candidates should have ideas about what kinds of policies will best address these issues, and should inform the voters of their views.

The debate may include such policy issues as: American economic competitiveness and support for scientific research; policy approaches to climate change; clean energy; the healthcare crisis; science education and technology in schools; scientific integrity; GM agriculture; transportation infrastructure; immigration; the genome; data privacy; intellectual property; pandemic diseases; the health of the oceans; water resources; stem cells; conservation and species loss; population; the space program, and others.

This is a policy debate.  It is not intended to be a science quiz. Nor are we interested in state-level battles such as the evolution versus creationism/ID debate.  Our goal is to find out how aware candidates are of America's major science and technology problems and opportunities, and how they propose to offer the kind of visionary leadership and policy solutions that will tackle those challenges and ensure America's place as the most scientifically and technologically advanced nation on earth.  This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are such a leader.

The ScienceDebate organizers say that the debate will be held even if only one candidate shows up.

This is a great idea.

Whole ScienceDebate 2008 letter of invitation here