31 August 2008

Obama Answers Top 14 Science Questions

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sciencedebate2008.com has come up with a list of 14 science policy questions for the candidates to answer, and Obama just provided his answers. Here are my notes, highlighting key points in case you don’t have time to read the whole thing:

    • More NSF fellowships
    • Double basic research budgets in next 10 years
    • reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050
    • expand federally funded energy research
    • increase efficiency in…pretty much everything
    • increase coordination of federal STEM programs and facilitate cooperation among states
    • more scholarships to encourage math and science grads to pursue teaching
    • increase DoD basic research
    • improve manufacturing base for defense technology
    • new vaccines and technology to identify and respond to bioterror
    • supports genetic non-discrimination
    • continued genetic modification of crops, but with better health and environmental tests
    • expand stem cell research, use embryos that will otherwise be destroyed
    • disagrees that alternate sources of stem cells make embryonic ones unnecessary
    • improve ocean stewardship
    • improve water efficiency
    • reach out to international partners and private sector to “amplify NASA’s reach”
    • re-establish National Aeronautics and Space Council
    • establish a Chief Technology Officer
    • strengthen the Presidents Council of Advisers on Science and Technology
    • guarantee government publication of scientific results will be undistorted by political appointees
    • more protection for “whistle blowers”
    • more affordable health care and require insurance companies to cover prevention, pre-existing conditions, and limit excessive charges
    • More effective participation of CDC, NIH and FDA in health research and health care

    It sounds like McCain has promised answers also, so I’ll let you know when those appear too and will provide a similar list of notes. Whatever your political views, it’s hard to deny that science is only getting more important, and these questions serve as a great way to see how the candidates feel about the top science-related issues. I really encourage you to read the full answers rather than just my quick notes.

    Update: Check out Cocktail Party physics for some more detailed and thoughtful comments on Obama, McCain and science policies.