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. Should the United States fund a "War on Aging "?

    Slowly but surely scientists,and doctors are beginning to understand why people inevitably age and die. Slowly but surely, progress is occurring in the field of life extension. Much work remains to be done but in a country that declares,"life" as the first inalienable right in its Constitution, pursuit of indefinite life extension should be a national priority!

    1,383 votes
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      131 comments  ·  Health  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    • 436 votes
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        13 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      • How important is universal science education to the future of American success in the world market?

        The late astronomer Carl Sagan said, "We have built a society dependent on science and technology, but are structuring our educational system so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a recipe for disaster". Do you agree, or disagree, and why?

        413 votes
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          3 comments  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        • Will you insure there is an increase in scientific funding durning your term as President and not pass the buck to future generations?

          Science is an investment in the future, our future. The idea that we can't afford to double funding at NASA and the NSF is ridiculous. We must insure that we maintain our competitiveness on a scientific level, because if we don't we'll eventually be left behind. Let us not forget that our modern world is built upon such scientific understandings. Our technological world for example is entirely a result of our past understanding of quantum physics. The space program has also had many benefits to our economy and culturally.

          Foremost, its one thing to say you're for science and keeping…

          385 votes
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            3 comments  ·  Competitiveness  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
          • What should be the role of the scientific consensus on any given topic in determining policy?

            Some say that the scientific consensus provides the best available information on the state of knowledge on an issue while others say that the scientific consensus is a meaningless concept. How important to you is it to make policy decisions based on scientific consensus?

            371 votes
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              0 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
            • With the overwhelming body of evidence for both evolution and climate change, why do you still not believe that both are true?

              What then does it take for you to believe in a scientific theory? We all know that Romney and Santorum will tell you that they do believe in some scientific theories. So we need to know which ones, and why they do believe in them.

              356 votes
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                12 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              • How will you balance scientific information with politics and personal beliefs in your decision-making?

                12. Scientific Integrity. Many government scientists report political interference in their job. Is it acceptable for elected officials to hold back or alter scientific reports if they conflict with their own views, and how will you balance scientific information with politics and personal beliefs in your decision-making?

                349 votes
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                  1 comment  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                • How will you deal with the anti-science movements in legislatures?

                  There are anti-science bills introduced and reintroduced every year, wasting time, money, and people's energy just to avoid pushing education back to the dark ages.

                  331 votes
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                    15 comments  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                  • What role do you think the federal government should play in preparing K-12 students for the science and technology driven 21st Century?

                    4. Education. A comparison of 15-year-olds in 30 wealthy nations found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 17th, while average U.S. math scores ranked 24th. What role do you think the federal government should play in preparing K-12 students for the science and technology driven 21st Century?

                    294 votes
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                      1 comment  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                    • 287 votes
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                        6 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • What organization(s) or individual(s) is/are your primary source(s) for scientific information?

                        Science has been increasingly under attack from a number of members of congress in recent years. Do you believe legislative decisions should be based on sound science or political ideology?

                        286 votes
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                          2 comments  ·  Scientific Integrity  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                        • What policies would you support to meet demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

                          3. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. What policies would you support to meet demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

                          274 votes
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                            1 comment  ·  Energy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                          • 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 old is the Earth?

                              If they can't correctly answer this then they are incapable of accepting basic realities or are unable to accept that better information leads to better decisions. After all if you tell a creationist that the oceans are acidifying faster than they have in the last 300 my why do they care? They think the Earth is only 6,000 years old so to them it's just more "wrong" science.

                              245 votes
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                                6 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                              • What priority would you give to investment in basic research in upcoming budgets?

                                13. Research. For many years, Congress has recognized the importance of science and engineering research to realizing our national goals. Given that the next Congress will likely face spending constraints, what priority would you give to investment in basic research in upcoming budgets?

                                234 votes
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                                  0 comments  ·  Research Funding  ·  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 →
                                  • 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 →
                                    • How do you know what's true?

                                      I want to know what epistemology the candidates subscribe to. When a candidate says that he knows something, or states a fact, I'd like to have a general idea about how he knows those things. Was it a voice in his head, a gut feeling, a reasoned position, or what?

                                      216 votes
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                                        3 comments  ·  Science Literacy  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • What will you do to prepare the US for the rising sea level and the acidification of the ocean?

                                        Measurement shows that the sea level is rising and that the ocean is becoming more acidic, leading to major changes in coastal communities and the availability of ocean products. What will you do?

                                        216 votes
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                                          0 comments  ·  Oceans  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        • 212 votes
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                                            3 comments  ·  Education  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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