This is a policy debate. It is not intended to be a science quiz. Nor are we interested in state-level battles such as the evolution versus creationism/ID debate. Our goal is to find out how aware candidates are of America's major science and technology problems and opportunities, and how they propose to offer the kind of visionary leadership and policy solutions that will tackle those challenges and ensure America's place as the most scientifically and technologically advanced nation on earth. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are such a leader.
It's telling that they needed to reassure candidates that it's not a quiz, because when Science Debate first came on the scene it was clear that many of the people pushing for it wanted a quiz. There was gloating in comment boards about the chance to make fun of candidates who don't believe in evolution or don't understand science. (Not that those are excusable -- thank the gods that Mike Huckabee doesn't have a chance of winning.)
There are important science and tech policy issues to discuss, but I'm still skeptical of the need for a separate debate on this. (Previous post: Do we need a presidential debate on science?)
There have been several recent articles on the story:
- New Scientist Short Sharp Science blog
- Wired (where the commenters definitely don't get the quiz vs. debate distinction, and the techno-libertarians are upset Ron Paul wasn't invited).
- Nature expresses skepticism: Nature's The Great Beyond blog, Nature editorial.
- The New York Times addresses the quiz vs. debate problem as well.
- Biopolitical Times points to Nature's doubts and has some good quotes.
- There's some interesting discussion (and confusion) in comments at the blog of Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, two of the organizers: The Intersection.