December 11, 2007

Krauss joins top scientists in call for special presidential debate

Lawrence M. Krauss

Eleven Nobel laureates, two dozen other eminent scientists and the leaders of many of America's pre-eminent scientific organizations—including Case Western Reserve University—have joined a coalition of business leaders, writers and elected officials of both major political parties in a call for a science-based presidential debate in 2008.

The group, which calls itself ScienceDebate2008, said such a debate is critical. "Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth, we view this as a critical part of our presidential selection process," the group said in a prepared announcement.

"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 and a member of the ScienceDebate2008 Steering Committee. "We owe it to the next generation to address these challenges responsibly."

It just may be an idea whose time has come, said Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of Science magazine. "Climate change, the space station and stem cells are just a few of the many scientific issues that have become central in national policy. It's about time we hear from the candidates on science issues."

The group's signatory list is available online.

The group is in talks with several major organizations, according to Matthew Chapman, a writer and spokesperson for the steering committee, and at least one major presidential campaign has already indicated support for the idea. The debate location and venue have yet to be determined.

"The strangest thing about this debate is that it hasn't already happened," Chapman said. "It is so clearly essential."

"Matters of science and technology underpin every important issue affecting the future of the United States," said John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American, a member of the steering committee. "It's crucial for the nation's welfare that our next president be someone with an understanding of vital science, a willingness to listen to scientific counsel and a capacity for solid, critical thinking. A debate would be the ideal opportunity for the candidates to explore our national priorities on these issues."

For more information contact Lawrence Krauss, 216-368-4070 or 216-970-3496.

ScienceDebate2008 is an independent nonprofit organization not affiliated with Case Western Reserve University.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, December 11, 2007 09:28 AM | News Topics: Campaign, College of Arts and Sciences, Community Outreach, Faculty, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Public Policy/Politics, Science, Technology

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