Science Questions for the Candidates

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ScienceDebate.org is an organization that, for years now, has been pushing to get the candidates running for President of the United States to engage in a debate over science policy, just as they debate foreign policy, or economic policy, etc.

And, ScienceDebate.org has had some success. Some of the candidates, at the primary level, have engaged in such a debate, and at the national level, some of the candidates have contributed written answers to citizen-generated questions about science policy.

And now, they’ve done it again.

The four main candidates (two actual main candidates and two “third party” candidates) were provided with several science policy related questions. Three of the candidates have provided answers.

The entire project is to be found HERE. There are 20 questions.

I’m still going through them. If you have comments on any, please post them, I’d love to hear what you think.

Personally, I think Trump’s answer on climate change was probably written by Bjorn Lomborg. Or, cribbed form something he wrote.

(I suppose someone should be running these answers through a plagiarism checker???)

Gary Johnson apparently has nothing to say about science policy. That makes sense. He’s a Libertarian, and Libertarians don’t believe in science policy.

Jill Stein gave an interesting answer on Vaccines.

Trump wants to stop the inflow of opioids into the United States. He may not have understood the question.

The word “wall” does not appear among the answers, though Immigration is asked about.

Interesting answers on space as well.

Go look. Report back!

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7 thoughts on “Science Questions for the Candidates

  1. The first few answers were one of the more coherent things that’s come out of the Trump campaign. Rather close to the Republican party line, in fact, and surprisingly coherent for him. He deteriorated towards the end of the page, though.

    Stein, however, really is pretty ignorant. A very nice person I’m sure, but one who doesn’t know anything about science.

    Why, oh why, can we not get a politician to run on an environmental platform who actually has a clue how to protect the environment?

  2. I’d say Trump’s answers are quite in line with the modern republican view: fundamental science isn’t important, perhaps some emphasis should be put on battling certain diseases and ensuring water quality and availability (but no promises, and certainly no plan to do it for non-whites), government environmental policies and agencies are bad and need to go away, and climate science doesn’t matter. Never mind the fact that the EPA has led the charge in fighting for clean water, and the diseases he says might need to dealt with are made stronger by climate change. His responses could be worse, but not by much.

    Johnson? ” Libertarians don’t believe in science policy.” The only policy people like him have is “I got mine. Fuck everyone else.”

    And Stein? We knew she was a loon when she danced with the vaccine deniers and pushed the dangers of wifi in the classroom. Her latest dalliance with the 9/11 truthers should mark her off the list for any position above ditch digger.

  3. Young CC Prof: Stein, however, really is pretty ignorant. A very nice person I’m sure, but one who doesn’t know anything about science.

    She shares those qualities with another former physician, Dr. Helen Caldicott.

  4. I think Stein’s answers were generally better than I expected.

    She frequently tossed in stuff that most will see as not related to the questions. However, in some cases, there may be a relationship, but she did not make the case.

  5. Trump’s* answer to Q10, about clean water, is creditable. I put this down to his current concern about getting votes in Michigan. Contrast that answer with those for Q4 (preserving biodiversity) and Q8 (education) where his emphasis is on market solutions. I read his answer to Q4 as implying policies the occupiers of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge would approve of.

    He also emphasizes market solutions in Q3 (energy), Q12 (food), and Q14 (regulations). Market solutions have a place here, but so does federal government regulation. His answers smack of Rothbardianism, which is totally unsuitable.

    * It’s impossible to know, of course, whether Trump really wrote these answers.

  6. None of the candidates wrote any of the answers. They were written by the staff with varying degrees of involvement by the candidates. Which is fairly normal.

    But, I’m betting dollars to donuts that the Climate Change answer by Trump was either written by Bjorn Lomborg, or copied almost exactly from something Lomborg wrote, because this is exactly his song and dance.

  7. “I put this down to his current concern about getting votes in Michigan.”

    Possibly, but his entire history of interaction with the people in Flint is bizarre. There is his most recent visit to a church, where his account of what happened is as opposite to what the video of the same appearance shows it’s astounding. There is his first visit when, at every turn, he placed responsibility for the Flint water issue on the “Democrats in charge” when that was an entirely Rick Snyder and cronies issue.

    Neither appearance gave him a gain in friends in that region.

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