A really intriguing question came up in an internal discussion at ScienceDebate.org this week: In a nationally televised presidential science debate, who would be the best moderator? Who has the media presence, debate chops, policy understanding and science literacy to lift America to a new standard? So we opened it up to your input, below.
Both Obama and McCain attended the Saddleback faith forum because, some say, it was an honor to be associated with Pastor Rick Warren among the mainstream grassroots faith communities.
But every major US policy challenge revolves wholly or partly around science, and a recent poll shows religious voters overwhelmingly want the candidates this year to debate science more than they do faith and values. Is there someone in America who poses a similar stature among those who care about the major science challenges facing the country -- from slipping science education scores to climate change and developing alternative energy to healthcare, genomics, nanotechnology, biosecurity, innovation and the economy of the future, national security, ocean health...
Both Obama and McCain answered our questions online in 2008, but in a nationally televised science debate, who would be the best moderator, a rock star with national respect, telegenic, broadly well known, articulate and fair? This person would not have to be a scientist, but would have to be science literate and keyed into the national policy dialogue -- and someone both candidates would accept. It's a tall order.
We posted the question at http://questions.sciencedebate.org and got some interesting suggestions. You can go there and post your own ideas, and vote the other ideas up or down.
Get Shawn Lawrence Otto's new book: Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America, Starred Kirkus Review; Starred Publishers Weekly review. Visit him at http://www.shawnotto.com. Like him on Facebook. Join ScienceDebate.org to get the presidential candidates to debate science.