Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Debate

While I am on the subject of debates, I want to call everyone's attention to the effort to establish a Science Debate 2008. What started as an idea between two writers has blossomed into a full fledged, well-organized effort. One of them is Michael Chapman, Great Grandson of Charles Darwin.

The list of signatories to this effort now includes:
  • 14 Nobel Laureates
  • 10 University Presidents (Duke, Princeton, Stanford, Cal-Poly SLO, Cal State Monterey Bay, Carnegie Mellon, Washington, Humboldt State, San Jose State, Cal State San Bernardino)
  • 8 Members of Congress (CA's Sam Farr (D-CA 17) included)
The CoChairs of this effort are now Congressmen Vern Ehlers (R- MI) and Rush Holt (D-NJ). Both are trained scientists. The press release that announced the new CoChairs made clear the rationale.
“When you think about it, nearly every major challenge the next President will face has a science or technological component,” said Lawrence M. Krauss, an astrophysicist at Case Western Reserve University and a member of the ScienceDebate2008 steering committee. “We owe it to the next generation to address these challenges responsibly.”
As we sit though our own Presidential Debates, maybe we should ask ourselves how our candidate would represent this party were they invited to be part of Science Debate 2008. I am challenging the committee to include the Green Candidate just as I am challenging our candidates to be prepared.

The feedback that I have from Science Debate 2008 is:
We have not as yet made a determination about venue or who will or will not be invited to any debate; however FEC guidelines suggest we base the invitation on objective, published criteria.

At this point in time, we are working to broaden support for the concept. Naming the two physicists in congress, who also happen to be respective members of the two major parties, signals a non-partisan approach, not an attempt to be exclusive of other voices.
In that response, it is easy to construe that the criteria will be set to preclude other parties. I emphasized their choice of the word "non-partisan" to indicate that it was not "bi-partisan." We can always hope.

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