Why Science is a Non-Issue in the Election?

David Gergen, Michael Lubell and Shawn Otto had a very important conversation with Ira Flatow on this week’s Science Friday about why the science debate project is critical to the country.  The discussion focused on science in the presidential debates, and looked at why asking the candidates about science is so low on the list of priorities.

David Gergen wonders why science is put in the back seat, especially at the White House.  As Gergen points out, we have leading scientist in the White House , Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, but we never see him. Although President Obama has hosted an annual White House Science Fair, there isn’t a proactive discussion of science policy.  Gergen asks why the White House hasn’t featured him on TV and on Sunday morning shows.  As he points out, the public does have an appetite for science, and curiosity.

People are interested in science, but science is not really part of the national dialog.  Gergen suggests that we need leadership from the President, and from scientists, and science organizations to make science part on national dialog.

Shawn Otto believes leadership takes vision, and perhaps Science Debate is on the right track.  Using surveys and polls of the public, and encouraging politicians to talk about science is an important step to take.   Scientists and science educators need to be political, be willing to discuss and debate science publicly.

Here is a link to this Science Friday discussion.

Science Friday: Why Science is a Non-Issue in the Election…Again

About Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a writer, a former high school teacher, and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University.