The Top Science Questions Facing America: 2012 Edition

The suggestion portion of the process is now closed. We are now in phase two: taking your submissions under advisement and working with a panel of representatives from leading U.S. science organizations to consolidate ideas and craft the top science questions facing America in 2012.

What are the top science questions the candidates for president should answer? We’re not interested in quizzing candidates on the particulars of cell mitosis or the third digit of pi. We want to know their positions on the big science and engineering policy questions that affect all our lives. The questions we will consider most successful will probe the candidates on the broad, important issues of our day around science in an insightful and fair way.

A top science question the candidates for president should answer is:

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  1. How much longer are we going to stand for ID/creation nonsense to challenge evolution in public schools?

    How much longer are we going to stand for ID/creation nonsense to challenge evolution in public schools?

    249 votes
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      3 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    • How is science different from other ways of knowing? How do you integrate scientific findings into your policy making?

      What standards of evaluation separate science from other ways of knowing, such as the humanities, social sciences, or religion? How do you rank these different ways of knowing when making policy decisions?

      35 votes
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        0 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      • 22 votes
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          1 comment  ·  Climate  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        • Will you support the ratification of the UN Law of the Sea, specifically in support of Article 76?

          The US Senate has not yet ratified this Treaty despite support from President Bush and President Obama. The accession of territory, both in the Pacific and in the Arctic Oceans, will result in substantial new opportunities for science and business, and is supported by the Pentagon and industry interests. The Global Security Institute has published a paper, in 2004, that links opposition to claims of UN meddling in United States' affairs.

          38 votes
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            0 comments  ·  Oceans  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
          • Will you sign the American Science Pledge?

            The American Science Pledge asks candidates for elected office to commit to basing public policy decisions on the knowledge produced by science, which may be informed but not superseded by economic interests and their values. Will you sign the American Science Pledge?

            220 votes
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              2 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
            • What evidence would actually convince you, if it surfaced, that mitigating global warming must be a top priority?

              One candidate denies the reality of global warming, the other agrees it's important but not top priority. I want them to specify what would have to happen or what would they have to find out that would make them realize it is top priority. If no amount of evidence would do it, then they need to admit this, because that would mean that they place short term political gain over even the most enormous tragedy.

              222 votes
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                2 comments  ·  Climate  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              • 15 votes
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                  0 comments  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                • As a secular country, do you think it was a mistake for the phrase "under god" to have been put on our currency?

                  The increase in religious ideas in the 50's gave rise to the placement of this phrase on US currency, but some argue it is a violation of the principles of the founding of this country as a strictly secular nation that takes no sides with regard to "Gods".

                  38 votes
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                    0 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                  • Should a public figure be held accountable if he or she misleads the public on issues of established scientific knowledge?

                    Candidates for office are often accused of misconstruing the validity of scientific issues, such as the credibility of climate change research, in order to gain popularity with certain sections of the electorate. Should there be consequences for a public figure who delibrately spreads misinformation about established scientific issues?

                    11 votes
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                      0 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                    • Why is the USA not paying attention to advanced organic waste to energy systems using methane production and algae such as ORB IOWEBS?

                      Integrated Organic Waste to Energy Biofuels Systems are vastly superior as energy production, organic waste disposal and fertilizer and irrigation water production systems and could produce trillions of dollars of clean energy from existing organic wastes without competition with food sources or generating pollution. Such systems have worked well in Germany and elsewhere for 60 years.

                      Why is it that we in American do not have such systems when some of the best research in the technologies that make them more efficient has been done in the USA by private companies and universities?

                      Why is it that there is public…

                      6 votes
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                        0 comments  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • How important is science in establishing standards for regulations versus what numbers industry leaders provide?

                        When regulations are written should information gathered and reviewed by neutral scientists trump data provided by industries about to be regulated?

                        30 votes
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                          0 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                        • How can we ensure that short term economic gain does not precipitate eventual global health and environmental disaster?

                          All politicians must balance economic considerations against scientific realities. Politics are by necessity short term, while the scientific consequences may seem very removed from the day to day pressure of politics. How can government, as contrasted with politics, ensure the long-term good of the nation?

                          157 votes
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                            0 comments  ·  Economics  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                          • What are your plans to promote R&D within the U.S.?

                            Even President Obama, who says he supports science and R&D, has requested a flat NIH budget for the coming year. What policies do you envision to help spur R&D without any additional funding being provided from the federal government? In your response, please consider the fact that the private industry has never been one to supply much support for basic science and/or applied research without a justifiable profit margin on the horizon and to essentially rely on an increase in effort from that sector is not a viable option for keeping the U.S. competitive in a global economy.

                            173 votes
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                              2 comments  ·  Research Funding  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            • 174 votes
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                                4 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                              • 23 votes
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                                  2 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                • Can you explain how hormonal birth control works?

                                  This question tests the candidates understanding of human biology and reproduction.

                                  24 votes
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                                    0 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                  • What will your presidency commit to doing to ensure that students who train in STEM fields will find emploment upon graduation?

                                    There is a major push in the K-12 community to promote STEM careers. Many young men and women are preparing for a future in STEM careers. The nation must ensure there will be employment opportunities for our future generation that commits to STEM Careers in the still unpredictable economic environment.

                                    30 votes
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                                      0 comments  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                    • Should the precautionary principle guide policy, especially in the case of the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in agriculture ?

                                      In the US, GMOs are now routinely used in agriculture and distributed to consumers (or fed to cattle used for meat consumption, e.g.) in a non-transparent way, whereas their use has been banned in some European countries, out of the precautionary principle, since their envionmental and long term effects on people's health are not well known.

                                      31 votes
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                                        1 comment  ·  Environment  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • Will you support a program of STEM teacher professional development at our nation's universities and medical schools?

                                        The more than 250,000 professional scientists and health care personnel who staff our nation’s superbly equipped research laboratories at more than 500 U.S. universities, colleges, and medical schools have a vested interest in helping STEM teachers raise student interest and achievement in STEM disciplines. They are more than willing to host teachers in their laboratories. I propose a federally supported investment in STEM teacher professional development programs at these institutions modeled on highly successful programs already in place at Columbia, Rockefeller, and Stanford Universities (see Science 326:440-442, 2009). These programs provide paid fellowships that enable science teachers to engage hands-on…

                                        6 votes
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                                          0 comments  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        • What will you do to change us to the simple metric system of measurement?

                                          Only three countries are still in the dark ages of measurements and still do not use the simple metric system. They are the LIberia, Myanmar, and the USA. What is being done to change this?

                                          144 votes
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                                            4 comments  ·  Competitiveness  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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