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Making Science a Presidential Priority

Science Debate 2008 wants to put scientific issues front and center in the Presidential race by hosting a debate among candidates

When most of the Republican candidates for President proclaimed that they did not believe in evolution during a debate last year, astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss was one of many who were aghast. The Case Western University professor and best-selling author was even more upset when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee shrugged off concerns, saying that he was running for President, not writing a middle-school curriculum. "How could being scientifically illiterate be perfectly acceptable?" Krauss asks. "No one would accept a candidate who, say, denied the Holocaust."

Instead of just fuming, Krauss seized on an idea then being proposed by screenwriter/director Matthew Chapman to stage a Presidential campaign debate focused on science. He linked up with Chapman and two other proponents, journalist Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, and screenwriter Shawn Lawrence Otto. In December, the group launched an effort to elevate the visibility of science in the Presidential race, starting an organization called Science Debate 2008.