I just received this update from the ScienceDebate 2008 team:
...after declining our invitation to debate science in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton yesterday agreed to attend "The Compassion Forum," a forum of "wide-ranging and probing discussions of policies related to moral issues." CNN will serve as the exclusive broadcaster of the "presidential-candidate forum on faith, values and other current issues" at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pa., April 13 at 8 p.m. You can read more here.
Perhaps among the moral issues discussed should be whether they have a moral obligation to more fully engage on science issues, since the future viability of the planet may hang in the balance, for starters. Is there a larger moral imperative? How about the future economic health of the United States and the prosperity of its families? Science & engineering have driven half our economic growth since WWII, yet but 2010 if trends hold 90% of all scientists and engineers will live in Asia. Then there are the moral questions surrounding the health of our families with stem cell research, genomics, health insurance policy, and medical research. There's biodiversity loss and the health of the oceans and the morality of balancing destruction of species against human needs and expenses, there's population and development and clean energy research, there's food supply and GMO crops and educating children to compete in the new global economy and securing competitive jobs. Science issues are moral issues.
I would encourage you to write letters to the editor, emails to the campaigns, and blog postings pointing this out. And if you can, support our ongoing effort to turn this country around.
I second these comments - I find it incredibly disturbing that the candidates are more than happy to debate their relative positions on fairy tales, yet refuse to engage the public in meaningful debate on the future of the country's pre-eminent position in science and technology, which will be critical as we move deeper into the new century.