BUT FIRST A FEW NUMBERS:
85%: The percentage of likely voters who think presidential candidates should hold a debate on science. Republicans and Democrats equally in favor. (Harris Poll)
50%: According to a report by the NAS, science is responsible for 50% of the growth of the US economy since 1950.
22: Number of countries whose 15-year-olds outperform American kids in science.
2,975: Number of questions asked of presidential candidates by TV's top 5 journalists by January 2008.
6: Number of questions they asked about climate change.
2008: The year an organization called ScienceDebate.org was founded to try and get the presidential candidates to attend a debate devoted solely to science.
40,000: Number of current signatories to ScienceDebate.org.
28: Number of Nobel Prize winners who support Science Debate's call for a science debate.
108: Number of College and University Leaders supporting ScienceDebate.org's call for a presidential debate on science.
193: Number of major organizations supporting ScienceDebate.org, including the largest science association on earth, all the big science magazines, science TV shows, and all the major environmental and medical organizations. (Total membership of these signatory organizations estimated to be over 100 million.)
850 million: Number of unique impressions achieved online by ScienceDebate.org in 2008 and 2012 when it published Obama/McCain and Obama/Romney written responses to the 14 Most Important Science Questions developed by its membership.
1: ScienceDebate.org's call for a presidential debate on science is thought to be the largest science policy initiative ever. But Science Debate did not succeed in getting the candidates to attend an actual live debate, although it came close.
2016: The year the organization believes it will succeed in getting candidates to attend a live debate - if you help. The need for it has become so obvious, support for it has become so huge, it will be fun, and the culture has changed.
20 million: The number of "likes" received by the Facebook page, I Fucking Love Science. Started in 2012 by 23 year-old Elise Andrew, this and many other youth oriented pro-science movements have turned the insult, "nerd" into a badge of honor. Young voters know it is their future that's at stake.
135 million: The number of people worldwide who saw Neil deGrasse Tyson's TV reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. (45 million in America.)
Americans want this debate. College kids and their parents want this debate. People who are afraid of losing jobs because science and consequent innovation is at risk want this debate. People who are sick and are hoping for scientific breakthroughs want this debate. Citizens of the world want this debate. Even the pope, who will formally endorse the science behind climate change in an encyclical early in 2015, wants this debate.
It will be the most important debate in the history of modern America. The time to start working toward it is now. Done once, it will become an institution, first here and then across the planet. The idea that someone could become a world leader without discussing the world's most critical issues will soon seem as absurd to everyone as it already does to you.
Children will ask, "You mean there wasn't a presidential debate about science?!" And you, if you do the right thing, can say, "I know, it was incredible, but I changed it. I spread the word and I supported ScienceDebate.org with a tax deductible gift and went on supporting it until the debate happened."