As we get closer to that time in the election season where we hope we see debates between Congressional candidates, it is worth asking whether those moderating those debates will seek out concrete, science-based answers. A myriad of issues facing our nation concern themselves directly with science, from energy policy to education to food and water policies. the ScienceDebate 2012 site lists a number of other issues that bear directly on objective science.
Neither does this mean an open invitation to bash Maggie Brooks over the head with questions about rape and abortion[1. But, hey! It if happens, it happens]. There is no particular reason why the former Chair of the House Rules Committee should not be able to answer a straight-forward question about her view of the government’s role in driving innovative research and how that affects her district. Voting for our President is important. But sending a representative to Washington who is clear on our scientific priorities and will vote that way is at least as important.
But don’t let national politicians be the only ones who get queried on these important science issues. Considering the primacy of fracking in our state government debates, we should probably as Ted O’Brien or Sean Hanna their positions on fracking, what they support and what they do not. And most importantly: why.
A representative that can’t articulate an intelligent answer for why the support a position is probably doing so for the benefit of a donor or a perceived constituency, not because they understand the issue. That bodes poorly for their ability to adapt to emerging information on the scientific issues of our time. That’s not someone I want in office, how about you?