Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Science Debate 2012

I think we can safely bet that we are not likely to see a live, televised science debate between Obama and Romney on CNN (or, even less likely Fox News) this year. The candidates would expose themselves and their agendas, to a field in which real facts and established theories cannot be spun into a political "newspeak", in which all political figures are so well versed.

However, it's still great to see that both of this years presidential candidates have answered questions posed by an independent, on-line initiative started four years ago, called ScienceDebate.org

While, getting answers in a written form is not as revealing as a candidate's live "performance", the answers from both Obama and Romney, do give us a general feel of where they come from and where they want to lead us in the future.

Not surprisingly, at first glance, Obama wins over Romney in this field. I say "not surprisingly", because for many, many years, the Republican Party and most of its candidates at all political levels, have presented an incredible ineptitude for science, reason and critical thinking. They are known for embracing all kinds of unscientific thinking from promoting creationism and intelligent design in our schools, to fighting and denying every environmental issue, including, most recently, global warming.

And, Mitt Romney does not disappoint again... While his running mate, Paul Ryan, is a known global warming denialist, Romney articulates the same view (granted, he does some dancing around, to make himself look a bit less dumb):
I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences. However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk — and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community.
"Lack of scientific consensus?", yes, if you count some loony scientists, mostly not even in the field of climate research. That debate has been closed, at least in the scientific circles and the time is to look for solutions.

In general, the answers from the Obama campaign seem to be a bit more focused and to the point. Romney, on the other hand, has a lot of lofty ideas, with very little essence (create a "Reagan Economic Zone"? Who will join?).

However, it's still good to see those two sets of answers side by side, compare them and analyze them, which, at the end, helps all of us in making our minds in November.

As Thomas Jefferson said (which is wisely pointed by the ScienceDebate.org):
"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."
UPDATE 09/06/2012:
A summary from Slate: Romney Out-Debates Obama

Yes, out-debates... true, but is there a real essence there? I'm not so sure.