Friday, September 26, 2008

Candidates on science and technology

The journal Nature published Barack Obama's answers to 18 science-related questions; John McCain's campaign declined to respond. Answers to additional questions (on topics including biosecurity, the nuclear weapons laboratories and US participation in international projects) can be found at Nature noted what McCain has said at other times on these topics.

On the topic of evolution, Obama said "I believe in evolution, and I support the strong consensus of the scientific community that evolution is scientifically validated. I do not believe it is helpful to our students to cloud discussions of science with non-scientific theories like intelligent design that are not subject to experimental scrutiny."

Nature reported that "McCain said last year, in a Republican primary debate: "I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also." In 2005, he told the Arizona Daily Star that he thought "all points of view" should be available to students studying the origins of humanity. But the next year a Colorado paper reported him saying that such viewpoints should not be taught in science class."

The candidates answered another set of questions prepared by ScienceDebate2008. Responses from McCain and Obama are presented side by side for comparison. They address water and energy among specifics on health care, space, and general questions on scientific intergrity, innovation, and funding.

This has to be the most intense focused scrutiny the scientific community has ever placed on presidential candidates. And the most attention offered by the candidates?

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