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Late last year, a handful of individuals spawned an idea, calling for a presidential debate on science in the United States. They started a website and called it Science Debate 2008, and received a vocal response.
For much of the last ~9 months since then, it seemed that the candidates from both parties were intent on ignoring such a call (or at least that was my cynical impression). It almost seems that one requisite for political advancement is to pander to opponents of scientifically-sound public health, science education, climate change mitigation, energy, environmental protection, and research policies. Even the Democratic candidates do so.
But lo and behold!, Barack Obama has responded to 14 ScienceDebate questions. And his answers are even halfway decent!
What do Obama's responses tell us about him and his support of scientifically-sound policies? Well, not necessarily that he is personally good on science – but he does apparently know how to hire decent scientific advisers, and listen to them. That is huge.
Specifically, when asked about scientific integrity, he affirms that he will:
Not bad. But check the rest of Obama's answers out… and also be sure to ask John McCain why he won't take the same test.