Science Query for the Presidential Candidates
I wonder when will the public start demanding scientific literacy among their governing officials, including presidential candidates. We were not a country founded on religious beliefs yet it floods our country’s interest for some odd reason. Would it be too much to ask these people have at least a basic, well-rounded sense of the scientific method, much like we require the same level of expertise from our doctors, scientists, teachers, etc.?.
Here’s a nice article via SciAm that reiterates a similar concern:
“As you may already be aware from my previous posts, The Guardian U.S. and NYU’s Studio 20 journalism lab have teamed up to push a project called The Citizens’ Agenda into the media discourse surrounding the U.S. presidential 2012 election. The idea: find out what you–the citizens–want the candidates to be discussing over the next four months – usually meaning questions of substance about policy rather than horserace and gotcha questions so pervasive in mainstream media.”
The nature of politics is such that science is irrevocably caught up in it. If we are to not just maintain a level of scientific dominance but expand it, then our head policy makers need to openly support and embrace scientific evidence on certain topics. Climate effects are visible the world over, the US has a number of states trying to teach creationism instead of evolution, and our education system is rejecting the proper remedies that, as a scientific leader, we need. I don’t expect to see many/most of these questions answered by either candidate, but we can always hope! More than that, if we can push to show that scientific reasoning and data has a place in our important government policy-making, that makes it all the more likely that it will be so!