A Science Quiz for the Candidates
Cross-posted at Huffington Post
In the days following the historic Paris climate summit, in which 195 countries for the first time agreed to begin limiting greenhouse gases, there were two presidential debates: one Democrat and one Republican. None of the journalists in either debate asked a single question about climate change.
This situation is all too common in US politics, where, by and large, both journalists and politicians believe the general public is as disinterested in science as they are. They think of it as an unorganized and somewhat quixotic special interest without much voting power.
Polling shows they are wrong. We live in an age when science impacts every aspect of every voter's life every day, and the public, for one, think the candidates ought to be debating these issues on the campaign trail.
Now a group of America's leading science organizations is banding together to push for just such a discussion, and they want to know what you think are the most important science questions to ask the candidates for president. They've set up a website where you can vote for the questions you think are most important, or submit one of your own.
Care about climate change? Vaccinations? GMOs? Science education? Research funding? Reproductive medicine? Stem cells? Zika virus? Scientific integrity? Intelligent design or climate denial in school textbooks? Attacks on science? Postdoc purgatory? Mental health research? The brain initiative? Space exploration? The sixth mass extinction? Nuclear weapons? Alternative energy? Universal healthcare? Drugs? Clean water?
These and a host of other issues are being explored as possible questions at http://questions.sciencedebate.org.
But you don't have much time. The groups will meet at the end of the month to begin to go through the submitted questions and make decisions.