The results are out at Science Debate 2008:
A new poll (charts, pdf, 3.1mb) shows that 85% of U.S. adults agree that the presidential candidates should participate in a debate on how science can be used to tackle America’s major challenges. The poll found no difference between Democrats and Republicans on this question. A majority (84%) also agree that scientific innovations are improving our standard of living.
The poll, commissioned by Research!America and ScienceDebate2008.com and conducted by Harris Interactive®, shows that 56% strongly agree and 29% somewhat agree that the presidential candidates should participate in a debate to discuss key problems facing the United States, such as health care, climate change and energy, and how science can help tackle them.
So here’s my initial thought: How can 15% of Americans oppose any debate by the presidential candidates on the relevance of science to solving key issues such as health care, climate change and energy? Who are these incredibly ignorant people? Americans have been shown to be incredibly ignorant. Maybe the 15% don’t know enough to know that they are ignorant? Don’t they realize that science has much to offer to analyzing these issues and potentially solving some of these problems? How can anyone be against having an open discussion on these issues?
I must admit, however, that in light of the bizarre questions forced on candidates during many previous “debates,” I am reluctant to watch any further “debates” on any topic. I wonder, then, whether the 15% are mainly anti-science or whether they are anti-debate . . .