Archive for February 12th, 2008

US science debate 2008

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Sheril Kirschenbaum and Chris Mooney of the blog the intersection and coorganizers and committee members of science debate, which is

A concerned citizens initiative now cosponsored by the AAAS, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, and signed by over 100 leading American universities and other organizations.

announced yesterday the official invitation date and location (see also NY times article) of the sciencedebate 2008.

The initiative invited the US american presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Barack Obama to join in for a debate on science & economy.

From the science debate website:

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.

The science debate is a great initiative and I hope that they will get all candidates to discuss the future of (US) science and in particular its societal role, although I fear a bit that given the current republican policy on budget cuts in science the candidates John McCain and Mike Huckabee may prefer to stay away. ??? (I hope not!)

In 3 earlier blog posts (please see first here -together with the comment section then here and then here) I tried to explain that “the increasing need for accurate scientific and economic information in political decision making” could be partially met by an organisatorial framework which comes from the global science community. I envisioned an university organized internet platform (which I called “consciencement”) . On this platform scientific questions could be globally discussed by experts and could be put under science poll in order to provide a definite (however not final, and possibly ranked) “science answer” to certain questions, so that politicians would have an orientation on “the” scientific opinion about an issue.

There is an interesting conference called Science in the 21st Century coming up this year in which questions of science, society and the exchange and management of information will be discussed. Among others (from the conference website):

Information exchange and management, the scientific community, and the society as a whole can be thought of as a triangle of relationships, the mutual interactions in which are becoming increasingly important.

The conference is organized by Michael Nielsen who is writing a book on the future of science but who also proved to be an expert in quantum information theory (blog) and Sabine Hossenfelder at the Perimeter Institute in Canada, who is a theoretical physicist, who is in particular interested in black holes.

Sabine Hossenfelder actually commented on my proposition of the internet platform.

via Asymptotia