Jul. 27, 2012

Breaking the Silence about Science on the Campaign Trail

by Leslie Taylor

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In an election, the candidates are asked to share their views on everything from their favorite historical figure to their choice of underwear. But why do we hear so little about their views on scientific topics? Why isn’t science a campaign issue?
Last week, ScienceDebate released its list of 14 of the most important science questions facing the nation, based on submissions from thousands of scientists, engineers, and concerned citizens. Shawn Lawrence Otto, the group's organizer, says they've asked the Obama and Romney campaigns to address the questions by mid August.
The thought-provoking questions range from What policies will best ensure that America remains a world leader in innovation? to What actions would you support to enforce vaccinations in the interest of public health, and in what circumstances should exemptions be allowed?
A couple months ago we asked you what you would most like to ask the presidential candidates about science. What do you think about the final list of questions? Did your question make the list?

In May, Science Friday spoke with Shawn Lawrence Otto about how a presidential science debate can help voters decide if a candidate is up for the job. Listen below:


About Leslie Taylor

Leslie is the online editor at Workboat.com and NationalFisherman.com. She has a background in oceanography and is passionate about getting non-scientists and young people to realize how cool science can be. She is also Science Friday's former web editor.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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