This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Science Has No Place in Politics

Science Has No Place in Politics - Comments

eh-theist's Avatar Comment 1 by eh-theist

This is absolutely sad. I remember watching the discussion with Richard and Lawrence regarding the ScienceDebate.

Unfortunately it was widely expected that they would not attend. Politics is not about knowing something, it is about pulling the wool over someone's eyes. It isn't hard to see why neither of these candidates accepted.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 10:23:00 UTC | #225154

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 2 by Thomas Byrne

I guess science isn't sexy enough.
It doesn't sell.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 10:24:00 UTC | #225155

DKPetersen's Avatar Comment 3 by DKPetersen

Truly sad, yet not surprising.

Perhaps they fear having a scientific debate would force them to come out of their shell of generalizations, something at which politicians are naturally afraid.

Also, they wouldn't want to display just how much scientific insight they truly regard as factual, lest they upset the religious voters.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 10:40:00 UTC | #225171

VanYoungman's Avatar Comment 4 by VanYoungman

For grave spinners, Carl Sagan has probably picked up the nick-name "PinWheel".

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 10:45:00 UTC | #225174

Ascaphus's Avatar Comment 5 by Ascaphus

I think the general public really likes the "we make our own reality" alternative. Science is so... Deterministic! So, the next president will be chosen on the strength of his appeal to irrationality.

:(

Matt

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 10:55:00 UTC | #225184

nattyadams's Avatar Comment 6 by nattyadams

I've worked as a volunteer with ScienceDebate2008 for over a year and rest assured that the effort isn't over yet.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 11:03:00 UTC | #225192

fsm1965's Avatar Comment 7 by fsm1965

It's a shame that "folksy charm" is prized over intelligence...

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 11:45:00 UTC | #225213

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 8 by rod-the-farmer

Maybe we start asking the media to ask the question "Why have you not accepted the invitation to the Science Debate ? You accepted the invitation from this Warren fellow. Is religion more important than science ?"

Have the Press Gallery ask President Bush "Why do you think none of the candidates have accepted the invitation to the Science Debate?" That should get tongues wagging, given the unpredictability of his response.

Maybe we ask the people who get called asking for support for their candidate, to tell the telemarketers, "I won't vote for your candidate because he is afraid of the Science Debate"

A few letters to the editor of your local paper can help raise the consciousness of the general public. Maybe Jay Leno can ask that question. Anyone know him well enough to ask him ?

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 11:54:00 UTC | #225218

rengdahl's Avatar Comment 9 by rengdahl

Don't blame the politicians for trying to get elected.

The religious community has organized itself in such a way as to be indispensable to American politicians. If the scientific community were organized as a significant voting bloc, we'd have our debate.

ScienceDebate2008 was (is) a great first step. Let's see it continue, grow and become a movement that neutralizes religious influence and eventually dominates politics.

This is on our shoulders, not theirs.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 11:57:00 UTC | #225219

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 10 by DalaiDrivel

I imagine the primary reason is thaty science is viewed as antagonistic to religion.

Which it is, but the religious still benefit from it everyday.

One thinks to credit the Amish, for while still being so, are the least hypocritical...

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:32:00 UTC | #225262

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 11 by NewEnglandBob

8. Comment #237945 by rod-the-farmer

Have the Press Gallery ask President Bush "Why do you think none of the candidates have accepted the invitation to the Science Debate?" That should get tongues wagging, given the unpredictability of his response.


Bush's answer would be "I don't know what Psy-ants are debating about"

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:36:00 UTC | #225268

squinky's Avatar Comment 12 by squinky

You guys are dreaming. There are a tiny handful of scientific issues that a presidential candidate could possible address. Global warming and alternative energy are safe but beyond that is a minefield so vast that no sane political figure will venture there. Think, what are some scientific burning questions:
1) stem cells, reproductive technology, and early human life--can't ever go there!
2) Condoms, Plan B, abortion, HPV vaccination, pregnancy prevention, family planning--can't ever ever go there!
3) Separation of Church and State, the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers--can't really go there because most Americans think this country is a Christian nation.
4) American scientific education and competitiveness--maybe but politicians like to talk about early childhood education (no child left behind). It's so important, see, and college is well--optional. Besides, we import a lot of our scientifically trained people from overseas so where is the urgent need for home grown scientific literacy really?
5) Evolution--Don't alienate the religious right, you'll lose the election.

Presidential candidates (Gore excepted) don't know shit about science and would look dumber than a 5th grader which reflects most Americans scientific literacy.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:41:00 UTC | #225273

D'Arcy's Avatar Comment 13 by D'Arcy

The reason you probably haven't heard about the Science Debate is that it didn't happen. None of the candidates accepted. They found time for other public forums, including the Faith Forum, and a "Compassion Forum," but when it came to science â€" the very engine that drives America's technology â€" the candidates were conspicuously silent.


Presumably the candidates were advised that there weren't going to be enough votes in it for them. When you're courting the Christian vote in the USA, it probably doesn't help to say that you accept evolution, or even the big bang idea.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:47:00 UTC | #225277

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 14 by Border Collie

I think that I'd like to see a science 'debate' or discussion also. I'm afraid, however, that it would rapidly descend into some sort of sick, uncomfortable, dark comedy with the candidates equivocating, squirming, snickering, trying not to be the 'nerd' who knows the answer, discounting science, etc. The moderator would have to be very strong. And, of course, they'd each be allowed a science 'advisor' with them. A 'botched' science debate, botched from an ignoramous voter perspective, could absolutely kill a candidacy.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:47:00 UTC | #225278

textnotspeech's Avatar Comment 15 by textnotspeech

Don't blame the politicians for trying to get elected.

We're not blaming them for trying to get elected. We're chastising them for not submitting to the scrutiny of the scientific community as they've done with other groups. I'm with rod-the-farmer, once again it's time for us to raise consciousness of the issue. Science is indispensable to politics, that's why we need to make sure they know what they're talking about when we discuss issues like Global Warming and Stem Cell Research. Better for all to agree on the rules of the game than to become the dominant "constituency". Could it be these candidates don't want to reveal their ignorance of science or their blatant disregard for it?

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:54:00 UTC | #225281

daveau's Avatar Comment 16 by daveau

The candidates would only lose by participating in a scientific debate. They wouldn't want to look stupid, of course, but they also would not want to appear to be too smart, because that would get them branded "elitist", which is the kiss of death.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 12:57:00 UTC | #225283

MGBOY's Avatar Comment 17 by MGBOY

Surely the reason none of the Politicians accepted is obvious. They don't want to be asked their opinion on creation. With one negative answer, they could piss off 50% of the voting American public.

Better to keep the lid on that one. It's only after one of them becomes president that we may get a better understanding of what they believe, but of course then it's too late.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 13:10:00 UTC | #225302

ridelo's Avatar Comment 18 by ridelo

After all, our energy and environmental problems can't be solved with hot air.

As a matter of fact with lots and lots of hot air you could solve the energy problem. And that would be very helpful to solve environmental problems...

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 13:24:00 UTC | #225314

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1

I can't blame them, I wouldn't want to be grilled by a bunch of Nobel laureates either.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 13:27:00 UTC | #225317

retrospy's Avatar Comment 20 by retrospy

If you can't get the presidents to debate science, why not have the debate between the candidate's science advisors? After all, there is a debate between vice presidents.

We all know the president is only as good as the information on hand. This could open up a whole new way to evaluate our candidates. You don't just evaluate the chief, you look at the whole team.

Don't give up on Science Debate 2008. Reinvent it!

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 13:28:00 UTC | #225318

dochmbi's Avatar Comment 21 by dochmbi

Nah we don't need science to solve any social or environmental problems. In fact, fundamentalist religion and war can solve all of our problems permanently. When we all kill each other in a holy war we will all be rewarded by God for our righteousness and go to paradise.
So there you have it, the ultimate problem solution.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 13:31:00 UTC | #225324

Red Foot Okie's Avatar Comment 22 by Red Foot Okie

I so want this debate to happen. Just to see how much (or little) the candidates know. Heck let them bring their science advisors. "Seconds" if you will, like old-school pisols at dawn.

Do they even have sciene advisors?

Is there a petition or something I can get on to show my support for this?

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 14:00:00 UTC | #225353

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 23 by DamnDirtyApe

Pandering to the popular will truely turn democracy into the tyranny of the majority.

If you want to see a prime example of that, Look at Turkey.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 14:06:00 UTC | #225363

apettway's Avatar Comment 24 by apettway

In the time it takes to write a response to an article on this site, one could write an e-mail to the campaigns or, better yet, a letter to the editor of your local paper. Pardon me for being so forward, but GET OFF YOUR ASS AND WRITE A LETTER!!!

(er..um...I guess most letters are written while seated) *shrug*

RedFootOkie,

The petition is at: http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 14:09:00 UTC | #225365

Quine's Avatar Comment 25 by Quine

<!-- Be sure tags are closed -->I fear that anyone winning a science debate would automatically drop in the polls.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 14:30:00 UTC | #225393

tmason1987's Avatar Comment 26 by tmason1987

It is disappointing but expected that political figures in the US would fail to show interest in a scientific debate.

Tony Benn once commented on the great ignorance in Economics of politicians in the UK, and that has (to some extent) been re-addressed. That is encouraging, as certain scientific ways of thinking are integral to economics, and you must be reasonably well trained in mathematics and statistics to gain an undergraduate degree in Economics. I don't know how this compares to the US?

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 15:07:00 UTC | #225412

Ohnhai's Avatar Comment 27 by Ohnhai

how is science not sexy??? just take the LHC, the biggest machine on earth and it makes mini black-holes for flips sake!! How much more awe and wonder do you need??

unfortunately with topics like Evolution education in schools and stem cell research these are too hot topics any politician wants to avoid like coming out as an atheist in the run up to an major election...

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 15:20:00 UTC | #225417

Koreman's Avatar Comment 28 by Koreman

Is the US becoming senile? I guess we'll see much more Olympics in Peking in the future then.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 15:29:00 UTC | #225424

Acardia's Avatar Comment 29 by Acardia

Maybe they were scared of Ron Paul, he's an MD.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 15:45:00 UTC | #225429

samratpathania's Avatar Comment 30 by samratpathania

It's a pity that most people consider only the Democratic and Republic nominations as viable presidential candidates. "Scientifically astute" americans will fret about how unscientific policy making is becoming and how the two main parties keep pandering to the religious and yet they will not look at viable alternatives.
People will continue complaining about the leading two candidates and yet will not put their weight behind third party presidential candidates like Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney (Green party). (Please don't present the spoiler argument, it is the pet argument of supposed "liberals" just like the religious have theirs)

Making sweeping statements like "Presidential candidates dont know shit" merely reflects a
lack of understanding of our options as American citizens.
If we want a scientific debate we must bring the right kind of people to those debates, people willing to discuss real issues , which I am afraid the "Demoblicans" are incapable of.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008 16:01:00 UTC | #225436