How About a Science Debate?

ScienceDebate is ramping up efforts to host a live presidential debate on science policy in 2016. Their goal is to get candidates on the record on issues such as human health, climate change, space exploration and more.

Over 42K supporters — including lawmakers, Nobel laureates, over 100 university presidents, and many organizations — have signed the petition so far.

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  • tetelou

    Great idea.

  • littlejohn

    The GOP will ignore it.

    • And won’t that be telling when they don’t show up en masse. Bring it.

    • No they won’t. Some of them will protest that some of the discussion is simply blasphemous, and the rest will produce their own pseudo-scientists and complain that the debate is ignoring them.

    • embo66

      If the notion develops enough steam . . . they will try to ignore it. Then many may even refuse to participate.

      But even that could (or should) backfire on them, as Americans watch a debate between science-knowledgeable Democratic candidates positing possible solutions to growing water shortages, FEMA challenges, issues with homeowner’s insurance and the location of future housing; the health of bees; factory farming and antibiotic resistance . . .

  • … ahem. Fuck. Yes. This is brilliant, and long overdue.

  • How about we stop conflating issues here, the GOP has a science problem. Because they are paid to ignore knowledge see Jindal (Rhodes scholar).

    • APV

      Santorum asked Pope Francis to stay away from science.

      Here is what he said 2 days ago “The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is … theology and morality. When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, I think the church is probably not as forceful and credible.”

      Here is an excellent point from the article: “Republicans want religious leaders to influence public debates, except on climate change, unless the religious leaders agree with Republicans. Similarly, politicizing science is wrong, unless Republicans are doing it in the most unscientific ways possible.”

      • APV in Sept. Pope Francis will say mass for about 1 million believers on the Mall. This is after he addresses congress about faith and forgiveness.
        Santorum best tread very lightly.

        • APV

          He is also going to address the Congress. I am sure it will be like the SOTU speech when Republicans will just sit and not clap when Pope talks about helping the poor, and climate change ahead of the UN meet in Paris.

          • KurtBusiek

            Will someone shout “You lie!” again?

            Because that would be awesome.

          • Unsphexish

            “You’re fallible!”

      • zappa24

        Actually, the best point from the article was where it mentions that Pope Francis has a graduate degree in science. So, Santorum told a scientist (who just happens to be the Pope) to “leave the science to scientists”.

  • moderatesunite

    awesome idea, I am fully in support

  • Wynstone

    Some people just can’t abide any science talk that contradicts the mythos of their faith even though they scoff at the mythos of faiths not their own. These people vote. That’s what makes a science debate among candidates tricky. Any acknowledgement of fact can be twisted into bashing of Christiantity.

  • FreedomFries

    Republicans claim – we are not scientists.

    Scientists response – we are not republicans.

    • politicsjunkie

      Well played.

  • Lynda Groom

    What a interesting idea. We could put the best and brightest up against the winners of ‘Are You Smarter than a Five Year Old.’ I’d put my money on the kids.

  • You can add your name if you support the idea at

  • SimsLS

    How about not. Science is one thing I don’t want debated by idiots.

  • chibeardan

    Signed and added the question:
    If you were confronted with clear scientific evidence that conflicted with your core beliefs would you be willing to adjust your thinking; or would you continue to hold on to your core beliefs no matter what?

    • AKRebel

      I still remember the quote from the Dalai Lama that said something to the effect that “if science ever proves Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism needs to adjust and change”.

    • FreedomFries

      In a moment of candor one republican responded: “I will never adjust my thinking. I will search for the few discredited scientists who support my belief. I will then aggressively raise doubt and question about the “alleged evidence”.”

    • Trajan8

      My question was:
      With the scientific community having the same level of consensus that human activity is causing climate change as they do that cigarettes cause lung cancer, shouldn’t the government’s policies be based on that consensus for the former as they are for the latter?
      (awkwardly worded, but gets the point across)

  • oldhandatthis

    Even if the RNC resists the idea of a science debate, it’s possible that several candidates excluded from the political debates might be interested in a chance to participate in a televised debate.

    • APV

      If RNC excludes candidates from debates, DNC should offer to include them in the Democratic debates. If they refuse, they will be seen as chicken. If they accept, then ratings will go up.

      • oldhandatthis

        I up voted you for the outside of the box thinking!

  • If only this were possible. It’s been something we’ve been trying to see happen for at least three election cycles now.

  • mfa123

    “Republican candidates refused to participate, blasting science as a well-known left wing conspiracy to discredit long-held traditions”

  • Matthew Chapman

    As one of the founders of I would urge everyone to sign the call at The time is right – all it requires is enough people insisting on it!

  • richo123

    Since global warming science and evolutionary science are denied by large sections of the GOP base, I don’t see this happening unfortunately.

    The GOP like to set the ground rules and science is not part of their plan.

  • matmanjohn

    Trouble is not one candidate is a scientist and whatever they say would be used for gotcha moments. Would turn into grandstanding about political correctness.

    • Because the earth is 5000 years old? They are not discussing dark energy or string theory. C’mon man big oil is dictating this science discussion.

  • In response to some to of the comments – ScienceDebate is not interested in quizzing candidates on science. We want to hear what their policies would be on a variety of science topics if elected. These issues affect everyone, no matter what party we’re affiliated with. They are not “science” challenges, they are humanity’s challenges.

    • Young lady, this blog is not the problem. Have you tried to post on Red State?
      NOAA, NASA, and CDC to name just 3 government agencies use great detailed science. You have pretty much 100% support here , maam.

  • montag

    Republican candidates can’t even spell the word ‘science’. How can they possibly debate it?

  • Red Phillips

    Am I dreaming? Talk about a this-is-just-too-good-to-pass-up event for democrats. Any (and I do mean ANY) republican vying for the nomination would just as well take THIS to a science debate. It would be far less painful.

  • RMAN56

    After all is said and done, Sen.Bernie Sanders has the best idea. Science be damned let the Dems and the Repubs debate each other.