By now, you must have heard that ScienceDebate 2008 had submitted a list of science and technology policy questions to our presidential candidates. So for, only Obama has answered them, while McCain has been silent (maybe he’s waiting for input from his creationist VP choice). Obama’s answers are pretty darned good, although we have to keep in mind that these are campaign promises, many of the proposals look rather expensive, and with the economy going as it is, implementation may be problematic. But the attitude is positive, at least.
Obama recognizes the problem that the US is a fading star in international science, and sees that the answer requires more investment in research and in science education. He sees that global warming is real, that the country must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that this is an economic opportunity…and a research opportunity. He sees that our national security benefits from technology. He has the right idea on the importance of genetics and stem cell research, and is going to lift the ban on creating new stem cell lines.
His answer on what he’s going to do to improve education contain many good ideas, too, including a specific education committee within the Office of Science and Technology Policy (which advises the president — we also need such an office for Congress).
I’ll give him a thumbs up on this one, with some reservations that maybe he’ll address later. In particular, I can’t help but notice that in all the general discussion about better science education, not once is a major stumbling block, evolution, mentioned. I hope this is just a small specific oversight in an admittedly general policy survey, and that there isn’t any aversion to the “e” word.
Now I really want to hear what the Republican answer to these questions might be. Perhaps after the convention this week McCain/Palin will get around to it?