Sunday, February 17, 2008

Science Debate 2008

I think I mentioned SD08 once before here. If not, you should check it out here! It's a pretty exciting idea with a large and increasing proportion of the entire scientific community behind it, including the AAAS and the NAS. The "debate" in question is a Presidential one, in which the candidates will, if all goes well, expose before the whole world their sad ignorance of scientific and technological issues or possibly vindicate themselves if they are not, in fact, sadly ignorant. I'm looking at YOU when I say "sadly ignorant," Mr. Huckabee.

Anyway! There was a debate between members of the campaign staffs at this year's AAAS meeting in Boston on Saturday, which in itself is unremarkable; it's not like the candidates themselves attended. It is certainly a step in the right direction, no doubt, but what got me excited was the response from the staffers when they were asked during the debate if the candidates would be attending the real deal SciDeb2008. Clinton's guy was quite noncommittal and you could tell he was trying to find a way to say "In your dreams, nerds" without losing any votes; I am unsurprised. Obama's rep, however, was quite stoked about the prospect and said that they were seriously considering it. I mean, that's hardly a pledge, but surely it's a good sign.

I guess the Clinton camp's response shouldn't really come as a surprise. Highly educated people - and scientists by definition fall under that descriptor - have never really been one of her strong demographics during this campaign, so there's no reason to think that she'd waste effort trying to please them this late in the game. I suppose the fact that educated folks don't like her much says something in itself, though, doesn't it?

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