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Science Debate 2008

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the good-luck-with-that dept.

United States 322

bhmit1 writes "BusinessWeek is reporting about Science Debate 2008, an attempt to put the scientific issues front and center in the US Presidential race. After 12,000 scientists signed on in support of the idea of a debate focused on science, no campaign has replied to an invitation to such a debate. The article notes that only one candidate has said much about science issues in the campaign, and that some who are running are sufficiently anti-science as to deny evolution. There is a link to a comparison of the candidates' positions on issues informed by science. (Yes, Ron Paul is included.)"

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How ironic (5, Funny)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361710)

After 12,0000 scientists
Science first, English (punctuation) second, eh?

Re:How ironic (2, Funny)

erick99 (743982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361722)

I think that when it is written that way it is pronounced "twelve ten thousand" instead of the old-fashioned and admittedly crude "one hundred twenty thousand." I wonder why a spell checker couldn't be made to look for a misplaced comma in a number?

Re:How ironic (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361744)

I wonder why a spell checker couldn't be made to look for a misplaced comma in a number?

I wonder why a so-called "editor" can't be bothered to read through a summary before hitting the "approve" button.

Re:How ironic (2, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361778)

I read through the summary and totally missed it. Some people are better proofreaders than others. I care more about the 'editors' ability to pick decent stories than their ability to proofread nitpicky details like that. It should be corrected, sure. It might be that there's an extra 0, not a misplaced comma. It's ambiguous as it stands. But it's not that bad and the article is interesting.

Re:How ironic (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362036)

I read through the summary and totally missed it. Some people are better proofreaders than others. I care more about the 'editors' ability to pick decent stories than their ability to proofread nitpicky details like that.

You'll find that those two (the ability to choose good stories, and the ability to pay attention to detail) are strongly correlated, since they both come from a more general desire to "get it right."

I realize it's popular to bash such a criticism on the basis that it's too "nitpicky" since this goes a long way towards excusing one's own inability or unwillingness to pay attention to details, but being an editor is detail work. The editor knows that before they apply for the job. Additionally, the mistake was made with a quantity; it was not just a misspelled word or a less-than-ideal use of grammar. Whether "12,0000" was intended to mean "12,000" or "120,000" or neither does impact the degree of support shown by said scientists.

This is just a poor job of editing. It's not very useful to dismiss valid criticism when that criticism did not occur in a vacuum. Rather than look at the reaction to a cause, look to the cause itself if you don't like the chain of events that followed.

That's why you need to RTFA (2, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362194)

It might be that there's an extra 0, not a misplaced comma

The article mentions several times the number 12,000, that is "twelve thousand", the submission has an extra zero, not a misplaced comma.

Re:That's why you need to RTFA (1)

causality (777677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362306)

I strongly agree that, for a variety of reasons, there is no substitute for a little RTFA. Having said that ...

This is a separate issue from whether the Slashdot editor correctly represented what was in the article. That I can check other sources and cross-reference information to avoid believing an incorrect figure does not suddenly make that figure correct.

Bear in mind, these are experienced editors who earn a living doing what they do. This isn't an amateur "best effort" site. There is nothing wrong with expecting quality from them and (politely) pointing out when it is not delivered.

Re:How ironic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22361760)

i think this applies here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsNFhYgIXrg [youtube.com]

Re:How ironic (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361786)

In some countries the comma is to separate decimals, so that should be read here as 12.0000. Wonder if this were 12.00001 whos 0.00001 of a scientist? The one that denied evolution, maybe?

Re:How ironic (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362568)

Nah, they're just counting einsteins isolated neocortex that Jeff Hawkins has plugged in to futuramish head jar somewhere to design his neural models.

Scientists just arent the same without the lobes.

Re:How ironic (2, Funny)

jberryman (1175517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361964)

Don't be so pedantic, those zeros aren't even significant.

Re:How ironic (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362162)

Those who believe in evolution are the only ones who have monkey brains.

Re:How ironic (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362470)

Erm, wouldn't that mean, at least according to the Genesis account of humans appearing, creationist's heads are filled with dust?

Next time, do a quick 'can this be turned around on me' check before you troll.

Maybe it was someone Japanese? (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362494)

The Japanese divide numbers into four order of magnitude groups like that.

Of course, I think it's more likely that someone added an extra 0 to the end of that figure.

Science (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361716)

What if science is God Applied?

OR

What if science is a not?

Re:Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22361860)

What if God is a logical fallacy?

OR

What if you don't post while drunk?

"The Republican War on Science"? (5, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361762)

linked up with Chapman and two other proponents, journalist Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science

Something makes me think, this will not be an entirely objective undertaking...

Soon to be a major documentary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22361858)

The Republican War on Science is a book by Chris C. Mooney, an American journalist who focuses on the politics of science policy. In the book, Mooney discusses the Republican party's stance on science, and in particular that of the George W. Bush administration, with regard to issues such as climate change, the evolution-creation controversy, bioethics, alternative medicine, pollution, separation of church and state, and the government funding of education, research, and environmental protection. The book presents evidence supporting Mooney's contention that the administration regularly distorts or suppresses scientific research to further its own political aims.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame) has optioned the rights for the book to create another documentary film.
From the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry on that book.

You might think that this invalidates the work the guy does. But from reading that paragraph, I can't say I would disagree with his stance. It might not be an "all out war" but I would see it as the equivalent as irreparable damages through negligence. That in the title probably wouldn't sell as many copies though :-)

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361870)

When a political party takes consistently anti-science attitudes, there is no lack of objectivity in pointing that out.

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362188)

When a political party takes consistently anti-science attitudes, there is no lack of objectivity in pointing that out.

Disagreeing with a scientist is not "anti-science" in itself. One may claim, that Republicans disagree with disproportionally many scientists, and that that is the evidence of contempt for science itself. However, that argument falls apart, when one realizes, that the vast majority of scientists work for the government and need government subsidies to do their work (and support their lifestyles). This provides them with a strong bias (for the scrupulous) and an even stronger incentive (for the less scrupulous) to support the political party, which stands for more intensive "wealth redistribution" (Democrats) and, consequently, to attack its opponents (Republicans).

The debate on climate, for example, still rages on, so I'll give you an example from an earlier era.

For decades the fans of Socialism/Communism among historians were dismissing "rumors" of Soviet atrocities as unsubstantiated attacks on the country of "workers and peasants". This was, in fact, the dominant opinion among professional historians (most of them were also government-paid)... Assistance by (Soviet-duped and/or Soviet-sponsored) journalists [wikipedia.org] did not help either. Boy, did this "intellectuals" have a stinking rotten egg on their collective mugs, when the Soviet archives were (briefly) opened up to researchers in the early 1990ies, and the extents of Soviet crimes turned out to exceed, what even the most vicious "right wing" accusers have suspected!

Were those "right-wingers" anti-science? I don't think so... Were they called that on occasion by exasperated professional historians, pinko-journalists, and actual communists [wikipedia.org] ? Of course!

So, please, excuse me, if I'm skeptical of a scientist's opinion, when I'm implored to just believe him/her... They have "cried wolf" in the past.

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362234)

You're aware that there's a major difference between a HISTORIAN and a SCIENTIST, right? Actually, from your little rant I wouldn't be surprised if you weren't aware of the difference.

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362284)

You're aware that there's a major difference between a HISTORIAN and a SCIENTIST, right?

History is no less a science than, say, bio-ethics, and much more of a science than "separation of church and state". Yet the book "The Republican War on Science" [wikipedia.org] attacks Republicans for its stance on just that, among other things:

Mooney discusses the Republican party's stance on science, and in particular that of the George W. Bush administration, with regard to issues such as climate change, the evolution-creation controversy, bioethics, alternative medicine, pollution, separation of church and state

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (4, Insightful)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362452)

History can use science to add to the body of historical knowledge; archaeology is a good example. History itself is not a science and neither is bio-ethics. Bio-ethics is a branch of ethics (philosophy) that applies to actions of people as they deal with biological studies and practices.

You are right to analogize the current science reporting with 50's reporting on communist regimes, but history isn't science. Most events examined by historians are given numerous incompatible explanations, and evidence is reported in a very selective fashion. Although there are many controversies in science, most hypotheses are fairly well resolved in a few decades. No phlogiston here!

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362598)

History itself is not a science and neither is bio-ethics.

None of the disciplines listed by Chris C. Mooney as attacked by Republicans qualify as "science" under your standard. Yet he accuses the party of waging the war on science (and a number of Slashdot-participants agree).

That his accusations reveal severe bias against Republican candidates, was the point of my posting, which started this thread.

Social or physical sciences? (1, Redundant)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362312)

You have a valid point on science being a consensus thing, but one should be careful to differentiate between historians and physicists.


No one can do research on history unless one has access to documents, and these are too often carefully guarded by governments. OTOH, a phenomenon such as the absorption of infrared waves by carbon dioxide can be performed in any physics lab.


Global warming and the Holodom are entirely different things, disagreeing about the magnitude of historical facts may be a matter of opinion, but disagreeing about the magnitude of easily measurable physical facts is a matter of stupidity.

Re:Social or physical sciences? (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362404)

You have a valid point on science being a consensus thing, but one should be careful to differentiate between historians and physicists.
Yes, but Republicans aren't generally accused of being anti-Physics. When the "anti-science" accusation is made, it's generally referring to the "softer" sciences, like biology or, these days, climatology.

It's also due to the stereotype of Republicans being religious zealots who refuse to believe in evolution. And while these types of people are doubtless more common amongst republicans than amongst democrats, it's hardly a fair accusation against the party as a whole.

Re:Social or physical sciences? (1, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362426)

Global warming and the Holodom are entirely different things, disagreeing about the magnitude of historical facts may be a matter of opinion, but disagreeing about the magnitude of easily measurable physical facts is a matter of stupidity.

It follows very quickly from the theory of global warming (more specifically from the human responsibility for it), that the industrialized countries have to go through large pains and expenses to alter their behavior and lose some of their competitive advantage in the process. Inside those countries, "the rich" are also made to undertake the most changes to their lifestyles. It is not beyond reasonable to suspect, some of those conclusions are produced with "social justice" and similar crappy theories in mind... Facts? Yes, those are objective in themselves (unless fabricated), but their compilations usually aren't — a skillful omission here and there and you are good...

easily measurable physical facts

They are easy to measure, but hard to interpret. Physics does not (yet?) have all the answers. The Earth has undergone drastic changes in climate and otherwise long before humans even existed and some when we did exist, but were unable to affect the planet in a noticeable way. There is no proof, we are responsible for the warming weather today. Whether that is true or not, the debate has long ago gone political...

Re:"The Republican War on Science"? (2, Insightful)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362886)

Saying the [insert party name here] Party is carrying out a "War on Science" is not being objective. It's being sensationalist in an attempt to sell books. An "anti-science" attitude is most often translated as "didn't vote the way I wanted them to". Objectivity would demand the author point that out, as opposed to sensationalism. Both Republicans and Democrats spend assloads of money on science, just on the projects they each prefer.

And much of the spending choices are independent of party. For example, fusion research funding tracks not political party, but the price of oil. The Republicans are generally pro-nuclear research, the Democrats are generally opposed to it. Objectivity demands you point that out instead of saying the Republicans are "at war with science" because they choose nuclear over solar.

Science privatization (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361772)

Which candidate is the most in favor of science privatization? In other words, they see no need for the government to fund programs through taxation when the private organizations are capable of seeing where public demand exists and filling that demand through scientific research. While I'm a huge fan of NASA and space exploration, I believe the space station in particular has been a huge waste of money. Almost no scientific research is done. Has anything besides the Tempurpedic Sleep System (certified by the Space Foundation!) come out of these billions of dollars of people's money?

Re:Science privatization (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361862)

You have a very narrow view of research. Almost all research that is done on government funding is invisible to you, the layman. They are fundamental topics that will see applications only YEARS down the road from now. The trick with private research funding is that they ensure only short-term success, since being investment-based that's all they can be.

Not to mention that private funding will always focus on the topics that will lead to business-applicable technologies soonest, as opposed to general research that will open up entirely new segments of science altogether, which is a long term benefit.

Government research support is absolutely critical. My brother is a researcher in the field of evolutionary genetics, something that few private companies will think about funding. But the knowledge is important, and in time has led to real advancements in our knowledge and our technology.

So please, keep up government scientific funding, it's the only competitive advantage the USA has ever had, and the only hope it has of maintaining its supremacy as a superpower.

Re:Science privatization (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361942)

Yep. Basic research will almost NEVER be done by private industry, simply due to the fact that any benefits that come about due to it tend to be long-term, if there are any benefits at all. The purpose is purely to expand knowledge without knowing if and how that knowledge can be used. Private industry has no desire to do research simply to expand our understanding of the world--they only want knowledge that can be monetized quickly. It seems that most people that argue that government shouldn't fund research don't understand the distinction between basic research and applied research.

Re:Science privatization (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362252)

"Private industry has no desire to do research simply to expand our understanding of the world--they only want knowledge that can be monetized quickly."

And this is a very narrow view of the private industry. Growth and expansion of opportunity come through innovation, so while businesses are likely to keep most of their money internal to continue supporting the demand, they will want to supply some amount to fundamental research that can lead to new approaches capable of sweeping the market in the future. The work done at AT&T Bell Labs, for example, made computers possible and companies like AT&T and IBM have profited greatly from this.

Re:Science privatization (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362314)

And where is AT&T Labs now? Xerox PARC? Businesses believed it before, but it would seem they no longer do. Also, think outside of the world of computer technology - our research is a bargain compared to fields like genetics and biology.

Not to mention even when we invented the transistor, we already could see applications for it - after all, it's immediately obvious that we can replace vacuum tubes and make a better computer. Computer research ALWAYS has a short-term application, it's easy to justify funding.

As opposed to the guys who discovered DNA. If you went up to a private company and told them you wanted millions of dollars so you can poke around inside a cell and figure out what's inside... I doubt you'd get much of the funding you wanted. But it's unquestionable that the discovery of DNA has led to real and HUGE leaps in medical technology.

Re:Science privatization (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362798)

Look, you have governments in Europe, Japan and China pouring significant amounts of money into basic research. As it is there is a great deal of concern about the US beginning to fall behind. For now that shortfall is being made up by importing researchers, but to basically cut off a major part of competitive scientific research to fulfill some ill-informed Libertarian ideal and allow competing countries to finally pass the US by will truly represent the decline of the US as a major power.

This is why I think Libertarians are among the most historically ignorant people to be found. For a rather good example of how diminished state funding can lead to decline, look what happened in Rome. Virtually all the great public works projects, all the engineering innovations and the like were made early on. BY Constantine's time, Rome's technical abilities had fallen to the point where craftsmen would actually have to loot older monuments.

Private industry needs returns on investments that can be measured in years. There's nothing wrong with that, people want to make money on their investment. Basic research, however, is absolutely critical to long-term scientific advancement. Those big, expensive particle accelerators that open up the secrets of the universe will never be built by private industry, because there's almost zero chance of any meaningful financially-rewarding application. And yet, in the timeline of decades or perhaps even centuries, basic physics research may open up technologies we can't really imagine now.

Unless you turn it all over to the private sector, in which case it won't be Americans landing on Alpha Centauri or getting instantaneously transported from the Moon to Mars. Americans will be the people cleaning the ashtrays and vacuuming the floors.

To very loosely paraphrase Asimov, never let your ideology prevent you from doing what's right.

Re:Science privatization (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362166)

"Not to mention that private funding will always focus on the topics that will lead to business-applicable technologies soonest, as opposed to general research that will open up entirely new segments of science altogether, which is a long term benefit."

Are you saying that fundamental research would never lead to a technology capable of sweeping the market, or that businesses are so short-sighted as to never realize that as a possibility?

"But the knowledge is important, and in time has led to real advancements in our knowledge and our technology."

Are you also suggesting businesses have no interest in genetics? Is it that private funding is not available, or that government funding is so easily available as to give private industry no reason to offer funding for fundamental research?

Re:Science privatization (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362238)

Are you saying that fundamental research would never lead to a technology capable of sweeping the market, or that businesses are so short-sighted as to never realize that as a possibility?

Businesses are run by investors, who are traditionally quite short sighted. There is a definite disconnect between funding long-term research and where the money comes from - short to mid-term investors. You need a stakeholder who has a vested interest in seeing long term (and we're talking LOOOOONG term, decades) advancement.

Not to mention that everyone wants in on the hottest new things. Biotech is already funded disproportionately to other valid biological research because it's "sexy", and the in thing. Take away government funding and this problem will worsen. Investors all want the maximum return on the dollar, which means risk-averse research funding, and focusing on what will most likely turn a profit the quickest.

Are you also suggesting businesses have no interest in genetics? Is it that private funding is not available, or that government funding is so easily available as to give private industry no reason to offer funding for fundamental research?

No, businesses have a great interest in genetics... so long as they see an application for it. But so much of what we do at the basic research level has NO CONCEIVABLE APPLICATIONS until decades later, when we solve another piece of the puzzle and suddenly the two pieces click to make something useful for us.

Do not forget that much of the world we live in is a direct product of government funded research - research that at the time was thought useless, and done only for the sake of increasing the sum of human knowledge. These kinds of things have a tendency to come back to us decades later as useful technologies.

Re:Science privatization (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362516)

keep up government scientific funding, it's the only competitive advantage the USA has ever had
You must be joking. By your reasoning, countries that have only government scientific funding must be superior to countries with mixed funding. The Soviet Union must have come out on top because of government funding of science.

Oh wait...

Re:Science privatization (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362710)

Your comparison might make some sense if the only variable which changed between the US and the Soviet Union had been the funding of research. In reality, there are so many variables involved that, well, your comparison is useless.

And if you think that science under the Soviet Union languished, you are wrong.

Re:Science privatization (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362834)

The USSR did a helluva lot of research. Some of the best physicists were produced by the Soviets, even if the ultimate justification was building bigger bombs.

I don't think anyone says that all research should be publicly funded, but to dismiss the overarching importance of basic research, or to pretend that the private sector would ever pick up the ball in areas such as biology, physics, archaeology, anthropology and so forth is absolutely naive.

Re:Science privatization (1)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362690)

The Internet itself came out of a publicly funded government initiative. It's an interesting case, as it's obviously incredibly useful to businesses, so it's worth pondering why the private sector didn't 'get there first' (although I'm sure it would have eventually). (Hmm ... OTOH, it's almost one of those useless 'what if' questions, as one could argue that if government had lower taxes instead of doing that research, companies would have had more money for R&D, and might have been able to come up with it even earlier.) But the Internet isn't something useful internally to a company on its own, so there may be less incentive for a single company to fund something like that; it's a bit like roads in that it's only useful once lots of people have access. I can imagine if a company had funded the R&D for the Internet, they would've probably tried to make the protocols proprietary and/or try get licensing fees for every instance of use.

Re:Science privatization (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362742)

A large chunk of the computer revolution can be attributed to NASA's need to miniaturize onboard systems for Apollo. Materials like Teflon come out of the space industry. NASA has been responsible, directly or indirectly for an enormous number of technical innovations. So while the space program is costly, there is a tangible payback to the taxpayer.

Obama and patents (5, Interesting)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361828)

At least one sane guy there, reading about Obama:

Reforming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Seems like that one is the geek choice.

Re:Obama and patents (4, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361910)

Except, like almost everything he says, it's empty and has nothing behind it. What does "reform" mean? I get it, he wants change, but what does that entail, what does he want? Saying you want to "change something" without saying how is pointless.

Clinton wants

Speed development, testing, and deployment of next-generation launch and crew exploration vehicles to replace the aging Space Shuttle
That sounds pretty geeky!

Too bad Kucinich is out, he supported

Kucinich has proposed several technical initiatives in the areas of renewable energy, pollution control, and open source software and media.
Maybe he's got a /. account?

Actually, both Richardson (D) and Thompson (R) seem to be the geekiest, they both want to spur kids to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math! Richardson even had numbers to back his proposal up!

Re:Obama and patents (2, Insightful)

armada (553343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362350)

I, for one, will not really be paying much attention to campaign blurbs but rather to past record. What good is it to agree with 90% of what a candidate says if you are 78% sure he is just telling you what you want to hear? As far as Obama being a geek choice. You might want to check out Barackspace [youtube.com]

My geek vote goes to Uncle Ron [youtube.com]

Re:Obama and patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362380)

Clinton wants "Speed development, testing, and deployment of next-generation launch and crew exploration vehicles to replace the aging Space Shuttle" - That sounds pretty geeky!
NASA announced that the space shuttle is being retired in 2010 and quickly being replaced with new technology. Is 2010 too far away for her or something? Or is she going to wait until 2010 and take credit for NASA's years of hard work? Even if she wasn't lying out her ass about going out of her way to speed up the process, how would this imperceptibly small change help me at all? I care a lot more about the broken patent system.

Except, like almost everything he says, it's empty and has nothing behind it.
Hillary Clinton basically just took a positive aspect of Obama - that he is an excellent public speaker - and perverted it by suggesting that it's the *only* thing he's good at. And the worst part is that people like you STILL blindly believe her lies instead of spending a few minutes actually researching his positions and plans. Wake up, people! Do your research!

What does "reform" mean?
How about check his website? Or is actually researching candidate's positions too much for you? http://www.barackobama.com/issues/technology/ [barackobama.com]

The guy was a former law professor, so there's a pretty good chance he knows a thing or two about patents.

Re:Obama and patents (4, Informative)

FTL (112112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361982)

Obama has been very clear about support for major increases in science and technology:
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/14/barack-obamas-google-friendly-technology-platform/ [techcrunch.com]
But the media hardly mentions it; focusing instead on Hillary's tear.

Re:Obama and patents (2, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362534)

But the media hardly mentions it; focusing instead on Hillary's tear.

Don't worry, the press is fair and balanced - if she or Obama farts, they'll talk about that, too.

Re:Obama and patents (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362286)

What does he mean by reform though? Simply agreeing that the patent system needs an overhaul isn't enough, we want to know exactly what he wants to do with it.

Re:Obama and patents (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362384)

Actually, I think that Romney's specific patent reform proposal (as on Dennis Crouch's Patently-O blog [patentlyo.com] ) was the best. He wanted to put people with a clue in charge of the USPTO and appoint judges with a clue to the Federal Circuit. That would go a LONG way to cleaning up the patent system. I really didn't care much for Romney until I read that (and I'm a practicing Mormon). I was actually planning to vote for him in the Texas primaries March 4, but now that he's dropped out, I'm thinking I may go with the Democratic primary and vote for Obama. His "reform" is much more vague, but he seems to be smart and genuine, which is more than I can say for McCain, Clinton or Huckabee.

DISCLAIMER (Yes, I really do have to say this): I am a patent attorney, but I don't represent you. This post is just my personal opinion, and is not endorsed by Jackson Walker LLP, its partners, or its agents. This post should not be relied on by anyone for any reason whatsoever.

Re:Obama and patents (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362768)

At least one sane guy there, reading about Obama:
>Reforming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Seems like that one is the geek choice.


Sadly, not really.

The "reform" described on Barack's site [barackobama.com] is as far as I can tell an exact rehash of Microsoft's proposal to "reform" patents.

If a court isn't going to uphold a patent, yeah sure everyone is in favor of it not being issued as a patent or making it quicker and cheaper to get it tossed out. That's swell. However that really has little connection to the "geek" issue with patents, that being that the courts are upholding bad patents on non-inventions. Microsoft's version of "patent reform", and as far as I can tell Barack's version of "patent reform", is to make bad patents on non-inventions "less vulnerable to court challenge". Making a broken system continue to produce broken results.... more cheaply and more efficiently.

If *any* candidate has said anything actually addressing the patentability issue, I'd be thrilled to see it. But it's probably far to obscure of an issue for any of them to have addressed it.

-

Common Man (4, Interesting)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361840)

I've been part of their mailing list for a while, and now that some major groups have joined the effort, it's good to see it finally getting some press. Hopefully this will explode, it's just too bad it didn't come to head early enough for most of the primaries.

Whether anyone wants to admit or realize it, scientific issues are exceptionally at the heart of most of the current debates. The article points out some cases, such as the "evidence" for Iraq, that would never have passed a scientific board of inquisitors. Stem cells and evolution are the obvious, but science plays a major role in the abortion and gay rights debate (assuming people think instead of react). Threats of terrorist attacks and various influenza worries are right alongside global warming and environmental concerns as being hugely public issues that basically come down to scientific discussion and knowledge. That some people have the gall to dispute all of evolution or climate change is a sign of a serious and, IMO, disgusting ignorance on the part of the American population. Scientific innovation is also at the heart almost everything we care about: social issues, healthcare, military innovation, prevention of disease, education - it's about time we got our public interested.

Then again, as the SD08 guys point out, we need the leaders to acknowledge this as well. I need only point to xkcd [xkcd.com] to make the point.

Re:Common Man (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361990)

This reminds me of a picture [nataliedee.com] I found when using StumbleUpon . It still amazes me that people take the right to vote for granted and will just click a "All Republican" Button or only choose them based on race or gender or political party even if they don't believe in what they stand for.

Sort of offtopic but StumbleUpon is amazing and IMHO is the most addictive thing in all of human history.

Re:Common Man (2, Insightful)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362576)

I hate to say this, but what does science have to do with the abortion debate?

Is there any way that you can scientifically say that "Bill is a human; Mary is not, and her death is of no consequence"? I know the Nazis tried, but I didn't think their science stood the test of repeatability. Though heaven knows that there are enough crazed people to have tried.

Which does draw me to another point... that Naziism tried to justify extermination of humans based upon pseudo scientific and pseudo economic values, and the abortion industry does the same. So arguably abortion should be a prime topic if ever there is a "Nazi debate", but I doubt that you'd get any respondants for such an offered debate either. Those who favored Nazi principles still would not want to be associated with the name.

So... I just don't get it. How would it be a topic in a scientific debate?

It's all about the funding (2, Insightful)

grant murray (698896) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361842)

If I were president I would swap the defence budget and NASA's budget.

Good luck with that! (1)

linumax (910946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362242)

There's so much interest invested in defense industry that you won't have a chance of becoming president by having such a plan.
On the other hand, I suppose DoD funds a lot of scientific research/projects, maybe most of the time not for the purpose of saving lives, but still some good stuff come out of it, eg. the Internet.

Re:It's all about the funding (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362388)

If I were president I would swap the defence budget and NASA's budget.
Yeah, right, with one stroke of the pen (in your pants) you would throw away the best military the world has ever known. What complete idiocy.

How about we make the NASA and DoD budgets one and the same?

Ditch the idea of a civilian space agency.

Fold NASA into DARPA!

Re:It's all about the funding (1)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362406)

What exactly do you think throwing money at NASA will do? Last time that was tried, we sent some men to the moon to plant a flag and play golf. I'd rather see a policy that actually encourages space exploration, not one that encourages Boeing and Lockheed to create overpriced gizmos for PR stunts.

Yah, Mon! (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362680)

How about just swap a fraction of it?

Great! (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362844)

So the troops will have $16000 dollar toilet seats?

I guess a shuttle could be packed with explosives and made into a huge ICBM.

12,0000 - that's like - erm - a LOT! (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361902)

Pity there were no mathematicians on board.

A mystery revealed (4, Informative)

shma (863063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361922)

The summary mentions that only one candidate has spoken about science issues during the campaign, without mentioning who it is. I'm sure you'll be as surprised as I was:

"It's hard to get 12,000 scientists to agree on anything," says Alan Leschner, chief of AAAS and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "But science is the biggest issue facing modern society, and we are concerned that only one candidate--Hillary Clinton--has so far devoted any energy to science."

Re:A mystery revealed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362960)

Congratulations, your post has changed at least one vote from Obama to Clinton in the Tuesday's Virginia primary :)

Tragically... (3, Funny)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22361924)

Over the years our use of the term "evolution" became so vague that I'm not even sure what it means to say that someone "denies evolution" **sniff*sigh**

Re:Tragically... (2, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362454)

Insightfull? Evolution is a well refined scientific theory, and it is articulated well enough in the literature to be critically tested.

The word evolution -when referring to the Theory of Evolution- is extremely specific. While deniers try to muddy the water, in scientific circles, it's definition is anything but vague.

If you question theory, good for you, but you better have data. If you deny evolution, you probably don't care about data, or about the scientific process at all.

Re:Tragically... (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362638)

"If you question theory, good for you, but you better have data. If you deny evolution, you probably don't care about data, or about the scientific process at all."

That is a very interesting set of statements. On one hand, you seem to be glad someone is doing some "free thinking" in the area of origins, but on the other hand you seem to be unwililng to really listen to data. Basically, from your statement, I would surmise that if I actually said "I deny evolution," you would immediately do several mental categorizations of me:

  1. He is probably a religious idiot.
  2. He doesn't care about data, or about true science, because it's common fact that evolution is universally supported by all data.
  3. Therefore, his data is all going to be pretty much bogus anyway.

So, then, I've been written off before I've begun. Interestingly, this is my experience. Yes, I'm religious; yes, I deny evolution in the general use of the term; yes, I care about data and the scientific process; and yes, I am, in fact, somewhat intelligent and can use big words.

And, for the record, "evolution" or even "theory of evolution" is very vague. Scientists don't agree on it universally - because there is a huge amount of data, and it doesn't all agree, and it doesn't even all fit into even the general Darwinian idea of origins. Example of fuzziness on the term "evolution:" does that mean pure atheistic evolution, including a theory like the Big Bang? Does it mean Darwin's theory of evolution, the current theory of evolution, or the theory of evolution back in the 1950's? Is it referring to biogenesis?

According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : "In biology, evolution is a change in the inherited traits of a population from one generation to the next." Well, with this definition, I'd partially agree. It's obvious that genetic mutations do get carried on to the next generations; however, exactly how far these genetic mutations can go is what is debated. This is why the terms macro and micro have been applied to the theory of inherited characteristics.

so. The word "evolution" is extremely specific? I really don't think so.

[This post will be a test: will this post be modded based on my religion or on the post's logical and argumentative quality/content!]

Re:Tragically... (2, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362842)

The only people "debating" evolution as a whole are religious zealots like you. Meanwhile, scientists work at refining the details, which involves actual debate. They do NOT refer to "macro" and "micro" evolution; those terms were invented by anti-science religious types, and have zero scientific credibility or applicability.

So yeah, biological evolution is extremely specific, and you are clearly not qualified to argue otherwise.

Re:Tragically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362958)

So, then, I've been written off before I've begun.

And rightfully so, since there's nothing in your post that is new or any different from thousands of other delusional posts from creationists. You're just spouting FUD in an attempt to discredit something you don't care to understand.

Re:Tragically... (0, Troll)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362730)

So are you talking macro or micro evolution? They are entirely separate things. While I believe in micro-evolution (small changes in a species) which most certainly can be proven by science, I think macro-evolution (you know the kind that says we evolved from something else) is bunk and it most definitely cannot be (and hasn't been) proven by science.

So what do you mean by evolution and what does the submitter mean by evolution and what do the candidates mean by evolution? It isn't straight forward and cut and dry.

Re:Tragically... (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362814)

So are you talking macro or micro evolution? They are entirely separate things. While I believe in micro-evolution (small changes in a species) which most certainly can be proven by science, I think macro-evolution (you know the kind that says we evolved from something else) is bunk and it most definitely cannot be (and hasn't been) proven by science.
So are you talking about macro or micro counting? They are entirely seperate things. While I believe in micro-counting (1, 2, 3, 4) which anyone can do, I think macro-counting (1 to a million) is bunk and is has never been done before.

NOT insightful! MOD DOWN! (1, Flamebait)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362586)

our use of the term "evolution" became so vague

Then you really need to study science. LOTS of science. Let that Bible of yours aside for a while and pick a whole lot of science books. Start at the beginning, and keep going, until you find that the word "evolution" is not vague at all.


Well, OTOH, your post makes perfect sense if you put it like this:

Over the years our use of the term "God" became so vague that I'm not even sure what it means to say that someone "denies God"**sniff*sigh**

It's not unscientific to reject evolution. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22361926)

It's unscientific to do so based on faith instead of systematic and repeatable observations which contradict the theory of evolution. Instead of asking them if they reject evolution, ask them why they reject or accept evolution.

Re:It's not unscientific to reject evolution. (1)

NeoOokami (528323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362134)

This is ultimately true, though it's rather difficult to dig up things that contradict the theory of evolution that aren't based on what are basically lies heavily employed by people afraid of the implications otherwise for their faith. Pretty much every criticism I've heard from a creationist is easily refuted with a quick fact check. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't accept questions of course, but it certainly merits taking them with a grain of salt. Most of these people unfortunately just hear an argument or bit of evidence that contradicts mainstream scientific theory and latch onto it for dear life without even checking to see if there's anything behind it at all.

Free Trade debate? (0)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362050)

How about a debate over "free trade"? The math used for free-traders is flawed because they underweigh factors such as risk, equality of distribution, and instability. It is an under-reported issue.
     

Not just Ron paul included, Mike Gravel too (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362072)

Am I the only one who realised with surprise after looking at TFA that Mike Gravel was still running?

I mean, why??

Re:Not just Ron paul included, Mike Gravel too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362640)

Yes, indeed, why is the best candidate still in the race?

Why in Hell's unholy name is the uncompromisingly anti-war Gravel still running?

Why is this candidate who actually stands up for civil liberties still imagining he could be Presidential?

Why is this guy who helped end the draft, this guy who exposed widespread government corruption by helping leak the Pentagon Papers, this guy who isn't in the pocket of corporate donors... why the heck is he even visible to the American public?

Well, at least from that last question we can gain some reassurance; he's not really visible at all. We can't let someone get too much airtime when he always makes Obama and Clinton look like deceptive hypocrites. Heck, if we did, we might end up with a sane and honest President. An honest President, can you imagine? That would be the worst thing to happen to the world since Gandhi.

Re:Not just Ron paul included, Mike Gravel too (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362936)

Yes, indeed, why is the best candidate still in the race?

I knew it! I knew that Gravel had to have hardcore supporters around here just like Ron Paul does! I was starting to look at Ron Paul like an anomaly, but now I know it all just has to do with being an underdog. Or maybe just being there. I guess everyone could have fans.

Science Position (3, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362148)

The only proper position for a presidential candidate to make on science is, "It's none of the government's business!" Once you make science the province of government, it becomes subjective and political. In centuries past we had royal courts funding alchemists who always said what the king wanted to hear. Today we have government departments funding researchers who always say what the politicians want. What's the difference?

Re:Science Position (2, Informative)

John3 (85454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362232)

If you're hoping a candidate is going to dismantle all government funded research then either you are dreaming or else I missed the sarcasm tag. What candidates might be able to say is they will adopt a more "hands off" approach to government funding decisions to avoid politics from affecting research funding decisions.

Re:Science Position (2, Informative)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362320)

As long as government funds science, then science will be political. No sarcasm intended, just the reality. This is not to deny that corporate or private funding of science would not be similary biased. It's like journalism, true 100% objectivity is not an option. As long as we insist that government pay the salaries of scientists, we need to recognize that science will be political.

Re:Science Position (2, Informative)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362582)

The government's primary responsibility is to protect its citizens. Much of this protection is provided by the military. To have effective military, advanced weapons are important. Although weapons are mostly built and designed by non-governmental organizations, there is value to some government-funded research and some government-performed research. Secrecy is one reason that some of this science should be done by the government, Dr. Teller's arguments not withstanding.

Re:Science Position (1)

NSIM (953498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362932)

Today we have government departments funding researchers who always say what the politicians want. What's the difference?

So why does Bush keep having to deny the global warming his scientists predicts? By contrast, research funded by the oil companies always seems to deny global warming, strange that, don't you think?

Pro-science can be bad too (3, Insightful)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362152)

Everyone talks about creationists trying to have the government force their views on society (e.g. teaching creationism in schools). I agree with that.

However, overly pro-science people can be just as bad. I'm just going to Godwin this right now: the Nazis killed a lot of people who had genetic imperfections (low IQ, susceptibility to some diseases) in order to improve the gene pool. If you go by a strictly scientific viewpoint, such actions are defensible. Eugenics programs are immoral, but they do improve the gene pool. It's safe to say the Holocaust would never have happened if Darwin and Mendel hadn't been born. This is why I don't want an overly pro-science candidate in office. Someone who believes the government should strictly adhere to scientific principles will ultimately attempt another Holocaust.

And then you have the fact that genetic determinism is an excuse for racism. Most modern racists are strong supporters of science, genetics, and evolution, as they claim it validates their immoral beliefs.

I don't want an anti-science creationist. I don't want a pro-science eugenicist. I want separation of science and state.

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (1)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362178)

Argh--I need to proofread more.

"I agree with that" in the first paragraph should be "I agree that those creationists shouldn't be in power".

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362270)

The ideas of social darwinism used by the Nazis were not founded in science. They
were not based on Darwins ideas and Darwin would have rolled over in his grave had
he heard of such perversion of his work. Pro-science != (killing Jews|killing
blacks|aryan supremacy).

The idea of evolution of species does not validate racism. In fact all races are the
same species. Should we kill people with genetic imperfections? That is not evolution
or natural selection, but artificial selection and simply immoral. I actually want to
see the candidates' position on Creationism and I did not see it in TFA. I know Ron Paul
has refused to answer the question on whether or not he believes in evolution or the
flying spagetti monster.

Long live the Pastafarian faith!

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362276)

It's safe to say the Holocaust would never have happened if Darwin and Mendel hadn't been born.


Fascinating how you could turn a horrible act of religious intolerance perpetrated by Christians [nobeliefs.com] primarily against Jews [wikipedia.org] into an anti-science rant.


It is also "safe to say" the Holocaust would never have happened if many other straw men hadn't been born, but it doesn't make you in any way right.

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (5, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362584)

If you go by a strictly scientific viewpoint, such [eugenics programs] are defensible.

Actually, those who use this argument show an extremely poor understanding of biological science. In general, genetic diversity is a good thing. By taking our ideas about what are "good" traits within our current environment and breeding selectively for those, we open ourselves to biological disaster when the environment changes. Not to mention that these traits are usually chosen for aesthetic, and not particularly biologically utilitarian, purposes. That religious moralists always trot out this chestnut as an argument that "we need religion" shows both their biological ignorance and their desire to "Godwin" the debate.

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362632)

Eugenics programs are immoral.
Forced eugenics programs are immoral. I see nothing wrong with a person refusing to procreate because he has an obvious genetic fault that would condemn his children to suffering.

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362684)

Because racism and persecution didn't exist until Darwin came along and opened his big mouth?

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362906)

It's safe to say the Holocaust would never have happened if Darwin and Mendel hadn't been born.


The idea of racial purity predates Darwin and Mendel by millennia, my friend. This comment of yours is asinine. What made the Holocaust possible was technology. I can well imagine if the Spaniards had had Zyklon-B in the 15th century, they would have got rid of the Jews that way, rather than forced conversion and exile.

It is, in fact, evolutionary biology and genetics which has made a lie of every single racist claim made in the last two or three centuries. The "races" that the Europeans saw are not even logical ways of dividing human populations, they're just simply artifacts of a mariner cultures skipping thousands of miles of intermediate populations.

Re:Pro-science can be bad too (1)

Ixot (915315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362968)

I don't want an anti-science creationist. I don't want a pro-science eugenicist.
While I am quite confident that most extreme creationists are also against science (since the Theory of Evolution is pretty much accepted as fact in the scientific community), I find it rather unlikely that most scientists are in fact latent antisemites.

Most modern racists are strong supporters of science, genetics, and evolution, as they claim it validates their immoral beliefs.
Most modern racists will use anything to rationalize their beliefs. I doubt that even a substantial minority of them knows what they are talking about when using terms such as Darwinism or Evolution. I don't really need to mention that there are actually very little - if any - scientific reasons for racism, do I?

Eugenics programs are immoral, but they do improve the gene pool.
I doubt that, because even our moral values have emerged from some evolutionary process. Believe it or not: there is substantial evidence that our sense of what is good is actually very useful, both from the genetic perspective as well as considering the evolution of us as a species.

Someone who believes the government should strictly adhere to scientific principles will ultimately attempt another Holocaust.
Indeed, because science = antisemitism. Gotcha.

Let's hurry up and get to the point... (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362180)

Why no concern that some of the candidates are wholly ignorant on the latest information on the testability of String Theory?

Not merely are they unaware of a specialized area of study, no, not at all. They -reject all of science- by their stance! All of their policy decisions then, we can be thus assured, will not only reflect persistent ignorance of all scientific processes in all domains, but will actively hinder its pursuit in all cases.

Get real. You're concerned about "anti-evolution" solely and specifically because of the non-sequitur metaphysical inference you want to make, but know is too irrational for you to state directly.

Science is irrelevant (0, Offtopic)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362202)

If you cant even manage to secure your borders.

Re:Science is irrelevant (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362772)

What exactly does `secure [your] borders' mean? Has any country ever in history achieved it?

Re:Science is irrelevant (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362972)

No, of course no one has achieved it totally, but we can at least try. Building a wall/fence and shipping people back that are caught ( instead of making excuses for them ) would be a good start.

Once fundamentals like this are in the works, then 'nice' things for the future like science can be discussed. Our priorities are seriously out of whack here.

Scientific method? (2, Interesting)

John3 (85454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362264)

Wouldn't it be nice just to hear the candidate's position on the scientific method [wikipedia.org] ? I'd bet several of the candidates would be against the scientific method, and most everything else on those position statements is dependent on their belief in using observable and measurable data to form a hypothesis.

What do you mean by "Science"? (2, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362292)

A popular conception of what it means to be scientifically informed is to swallow the party line given to you by popular sources of so-called scientific knowledge. There is precious little involvement from the actual scientific method, no better than just accepting on faith everything the pope says. The fact is, many people feel mistreated and mislead by this nebulous thing we call "science" and made to feel stupid when they question the status quo. That's ironic because science should be all about questioning the status quo. But when I was a child, questioning evolution and asking for more support for it (I was a kid in high school; I had no clear definition of it) was not met with the knowledge I asked for but derision for so stupidly questioning the God-given truth handed down by our priestly scientists.

Skepticism should be the default position of everyone who studies science, even skepticism of those things that are very strongly established. Yes, it is often the case that someone who is questioning a position may question it less if they have more knowledge in the area. But no one can be an expert in all areas of science, and it should ALWAYS be okay to question what we're told. (ObSlashdot: If we here weren't the questioning sort, we'd all be using Windows instead of Linux.)

So I put it to you that, by taking a skeptical position, some of these anti-science people are in fact more faithful to the underpinnings of science than those people who arrogantly call themselves scientists.

To the masses, "science" (much like "politics" or "medicine") is defined purely in terms of the output of those people who practice it, and not by the principles those practitioners are supposed to follow. Scientists are often full of shit. Plus, most of the science that people are exposed to is the stuff they didn't pay attention to in high school and the stuff they watch on Discovery Channel, both of which are utter crap. So what do you expect people to think?

Oh, and one other thing. Don't think anything's going to be fixed by improving science education. Yes, the education is crap, but science can be unintuitive even when taught well. The solution is to fix the scientists and their massive egos.

No bias toward one party (1, Redundant)

tomhath (637240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362304)

FTA: He linked up with Chapman and two other proponents, journalist Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, and screenwriter Shawn Lawrence Otto.

Well, I see right there this will be an impartial "debate".

Reading the summaries of each candidate I also notice that the Democrat's summaries are roughly twice the length of the Republicans, and are formatted in a much easier to read, bullet-point style.

Nothing to see here...

Homeland security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22362628)

For example, she emphasizes U.S. financial support for infrastructure and education in unstable countries as a means for minimizing extremism.


It seems that Hillary realizes that you can't fix all problems with technology. She still doesn't get my support because I won't forgive her for Iraq and cluster bombs.

So far I haven't seen any of the candidates address the concerns about making it less miserable for scientists to visit the USofA. (Obama does mention H-1B visas.) People we need are taking jobs elsewhere and scientific conferences are going to other countries. One of the reasons we have done so well is that we have been able to get all the best scientists in the world to study and work here. In that light, Customs and Immigration seems to be determined to bork the economy.
http://www.scidev.net/Editorials/index.cfm?fuseaction=readEditorials&itemid=114&language=1 [scidev.net]

Why? (1)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362736)

and that some who are running are sufficiently anti-science as to deny evolution.
There are so many other scientific issues out there (alternate energy, genetic engineering, environmental protection, ect.), why is that inane creation-evolution pissing match always at the top of the list?

Stem cell research (2, Insightful)

garyok (218493) | more than 6 years ago | (#22362804)

I know this is going to be contentious but, possibly for the only time in my life, I have to say that I think Bush made the right decision banning Federal funding for stem cell research using foetal tissue. Abortion is a woman's right to choose as far as I'm concerned but the use of the discarded tissues is ethically questionable - I'd prefer the tissues were treated as remains rather than resources. Coercing scientists into discovering ways to convert a person's own tissue back into stem cells for treatment seems to be a more useful avenue of research in the long run than implanting foreign tissue.

Of course, if there are compelling arguments to be made for the use of foetal tissue, I wouldn't mind hearing them. But I'll be very skeptical about "it'd make stem cell research way easier". Sometimes human dignity has to outweigh purely scientific advancement or we're making only a very narrow form of progress.

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