Contest: If you could ask a single science question at the real presidential debate

What would it be?

I am so disappointed in the much hyped Science Debate 2008. As I said before, I read the questions before the answers and found them to be really lame. And the answers to these overly general and often unsciency questions were predictably uninteresting. The candidates support science! Yay! But did anyone really learn anything about their policies we didn’t already know?

The real problem is that these questions were clearly not answered by the candidates – but rather by some scientifically literate advisor. And so we don’t get to answer what to me is really are the most important questions:

1) Do they understand science? Not in the textbook sense, but rather in the sense that they understand how it works and the ways that their policies actually can encourage/discourage science and scientists.

2) Do they believe in science and will they believe the things that scientists tell them?

I don’t think there’s any way to answer these questions by reading their science advisors’ online answers. The only way to do it is to ask a pointed question about science to the candidates at one of their debates.

So, with a bit over a week to go – if you could pose ONE science question to Obama and McCain at a debate, what would it be? Send me your suggestions.

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