Most U.S. politicians running for and holding office seem rather oblivious to scientific evidence that could underpin (or cause them to reverse or modify) many of their decisions, policy suggestions, and justifications for bills submitted to the Congress — as well as their votes on those bills.
Well, somebody created a great web site on this subject and populated it with a few brief pages filled with useful information on science in politics.
The idea came from Shawn Otto in a TEDx speech he gave on “Why Not Have a US Presidential Science Debate?” To see it, go to sciencedebate.org and click on “WHY?” in the top command bar. Then watch and listen at least to the first few minutes of Shawn’s brief presentation.
If you don’t have time to watch the 12 minute TEDx talk, click on “DEBATE INFO.” Then you can go to this page to read a set of questions to be sent to the moderators of the next presidential election debate, in hope that at least one or a few of them will be asked of the candidates.
I did that and was given 10 votes I could assign to different questions in the list. You can do that too. Many of the questions are very good from an environmental standpoint.
At the heart of science is curiosity about the universe in which we live. This is the motivation from which science was born. Curiosity remains the driving motivation behind it today.
Because we are sentient and somewhat intelligent creatures, many of us follow our curiosities with further observation. As children we learned/evolved to explore our world, test our bodies, and learn how best to navigate our surroundings. This process, especially the curiosity part of it, was critical to the proper developments of our bodies, our neurons, our muscles, our coordination, and the learned abilities to walk, talk, and think clearly.
It’s one thing to say you believe generally in science, at least well-established principles and findings thereof. But how many people really take the trouble to listen when reputable scientists speak or write about fully developed and validated findings?
Something remarkable happened this year. Three thousand scientists and experts, including a number of Nobel Laureates, joined together last March and issued a warning about the planet and possible “catastrophic consequences” for global civilization. Their “State of the Planet Declaration” is not long, is readily available, and should be read by everyone who cares about the future of humans.
Robert Walker, President of the Population Institute has addressed this issue in an article on the subject for Huffington Post. It comes in the form of an Op-Ed on the subject from the Population Institute and the Population Media Center. In his Op-Ed, Walker writes of the derision and rhetorical attacks on the Royal Society, which sponsored the report.