The audience at the presidential town hall meeting at Hofstra University tonight has an incredible opportunity to ask important questions that have not been asked or answered, ones that will, more than any other set of questions, determine the future.
So DON'T ASK THE SAME QUESTIONS AS EVERYONE ELSE HAS. You know the answers and so do we. Instead, why not look at the important issues facing the candidates that NO ONE has asked during any of the televised debates?
ScienceDebate.org has asked the candidates to respond to the 14 MOST IMPORTANT SCIENCE QUESTIONS. These were developed by its 40,000 mainly scientist members. Both candidates have answered, but another step remains: a dissection of their answers. The 14 Questions deal with the future health and wealth of Americans, and the future health and wealth of the rest of the planet. What is happening in the Middle East, though critical, pales into insignificance compared to the short and long term consequences of climate change, the damage being done to our oceans by pollution and overfishing, or the possible horrors of pandemics or deliberate biological attacks, not to mention the geopolitical and human consequences of a potential worldwide shortage of fresh water.
Even if you are interested solely in your economic health, you should know that 50% of the growth of the American economy in the last 50 years came from science. How can we maintain this when a recent comparison of 15-year-olds in 65 countries found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 23rd, while average math scores had fallen to 31st? How much money, you might ask the candidates, are you willing to put into improving this? How much money are you willing to put into scientific research to compete with other countries that do not hesitate to involve government in innovation?
There are other questions you can study -- some of you will, after all, be students -- at http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/ So, if you get the chance tonight, and you actually want to make a difference not just to life in American but in the rest of the world (and for a very long time), don't ask the usual dull questions about, say, employment. Instead tie the question to the jobs that were created by that 50% growth in the economy thanks to science and that might or might not be created by a government-led scientific renaissance which might or might not include more help for students... If you want to talk about the Middle East, why not do it by asking how much money each candidate is willing to invest in alternative energy research, the only long-term solution not just to U.S. energy independence but to the health of future generations?
Do not be fooled into thinking science is a subject only for experts. If you visit http://www.sciencedebate.org/debate12/ for ten minutes you will find what interests you and see that it is your right and duty as a voter to ask the questions that will above all else change your future for the better or worse.
Everything in life has a scientific component. Virtually none of the questions asked by moderators have contained a scientific component. Be a hero: ask these questions for your country and the world!