Science Debate 2008

There is a coalition, Science debate 2008, that has tried and tried to get US presidential candidates to discuss their views on science. Obama has declined, Clinton has been non-committal, and McCain non-responsive. Meanwhile, Clinton and Obama will attend "The Compassion Forum", a forum of "wide-ranging and probing discussions of policies related to moral issues." CNN will serve as the exclusive broadcaster of the "presidential-candidate forum on faith, values and other current issues" at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pa., April 13 at 8 p.m. You can read more here.

Is there not more of a moral responsibility to pursue disease cures, environmental protections, and methods that promote global wellness? Pretty soon, our prayers will be directed at how the amazing science in Asia can rescue us.


psiloiordinary said...

Welcome back Tom.

Your question reminds me of the comment by one of the school board members behind ID leading up to the Kitzmiller trial saying that 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross and so someone should stand up for him now and the more recent quote by Mike the Mad Biologist that every two minutes someone dies of a bacterial ad he stands up for them.

We just had a large who ha about the embryology bill over here.

In that debate it seems to me that the rights of 14 day old lumps of cells were weighed against people with terrible diseases.

The reason why the cells win? Not sure, it's not spelled out in the bible. It is not usually open to questioning, rational inquiry or challenge though. Because it is based on faith it is given a free pass from rational debate.

- - -

As usual I have highlighted the two sides rather than done anything to bring them together ;-)

What do the rest of you think?



psiloiordinary said...

oopps - "bacterial infection and he stands up for them"

Cliff Martin said...

It's good to have you posting again, Tom!

Well, the entire presidential race thus far has lacked substance, hasn't it. We know so little about Obama other than he likes tea and the Rolling Stones better than coffee or the Beatles. So learning something about their worldview (whether faith related or not) seems like it would be useful. Are you suggesting otherwise?

Tom said...

I do think knowing a potential leader's faith is somewhat important because it speaks to guiding forces in their lives that may impact the way they govern.

This was prominent in the 2000 election, too. Lieberman commented then that we have "Freedom of religion not freedom from religion." and this Gallup poll indicates that us atheists don't really stand a chance of getting elected. Again, I suppose it is this association that religion=morality and if you don't have religion then you can't have morals.

In presidential candidates, the argument goes something like, "If the leader of the free world does not draw on a higher power for guidance, then the president, and not God, is the highest power. However, if he answers to God, then all would be much safer and purer than having the buck stop at some human."


George Bush follows the bumper sticker "Who would Jesus bomb?"

I do not believe that president Bush is trying to realize Armageddon, but I can see where some Jesus-freaks-as-president would. I can also see where religion can be used as a form of patriotism. Gotta leave "God" in the pledge of allegiance, for example.

So, yes, I want to know a candidate's religious views, but only to help make a judgment about how comfortable I am with the way he/she might use religion while governing. Unlike most Americans, I'm scared of too much religion.

To get back on topic, I have to believe Obama and Clinton have similar personal moral standards. They do not need to inform us on these things that pretty much all of us share (even us atheists). It's yet more fluff. Meanwhile, our scientific and technological edge is sliding away while there are so many health issues to conquer and technological advances that could be made. It would be much more profound to hear how candidates want to make us healthier, safer, and richer through an investment in science and technology. I don't want to hear from a candidate that he is seeking guidance from God. I want to hear that he's betting on our own innovation.

PhillyChief said...

It was the faith forum but now it's the compassion forum. They've cleverly added some token non-christians to the group, but no secularists. Isn't a forum billed as the "compassion forum, whose opening statement promises "wide-ranging and probing discussions of policies related to moral issues" but has no secular presence essentially saying morality requires religion?

7K said...

I have to believe Obama and Clinton have similar personal moral standards.

The Democrats, as I understand it, are competing now for the religious voters. Also, there is an evangelical revolt brewing that is abandoning some of the right-wing dogma that has been accumulating on them like barnacles over the years: new attitudes to abortion, evolution, and the ecosystem. If not true lefties, these folks are more like hybrids. The Democrats may pull some of their votes next year.

Hillary has a well-developed concept of faith: a highly intelligent approach. America is on the verge of a health care crisis and she is the queen of national health care. What do you think, Psi, do we need a more British system o'er here?

Obama's religion is, of course, under scrutiny because his pastor is so, well, inventive. I doubt the black constituency in America cares all that much. They probably resonate with Rev. Wright. The good Reverend seems to percolate with some of the bitterness of blacks in his generation. I've heard rumors that if Obama loses the nomination, riots are in the offing and, if he wins, assassination will come. We've come a long way baby.

Isn't McCain a democrat with a hawkish slant? Is he perhaps closer to atheism than the others? Isn't he kind of lassez-faire about religion? But the game is get the votes and appeal to God in the process, letting the religious know they are welcome in the political fray.

Good to see you all back and none the worse for wear. Sympathy for Tom in his recent difficulties. You all have good blogs, but this seems to be the light bulb that draws the moths (hope that wasn't a bad metaphor).

Tom said...

You all have good blogs, but this seems to be the light bulb that draws the moths (hope that wasn't a bad metaphor).

No, it was a great compliment! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Tom, You are obviously intellegent. Young earth creationism is an attempt to fit science into a narrow interpretation of scripture. It doesn't work. I would point you toward Hugh Ross and his book "The Genesis Question". I don't know if I agree fully with his arguements, but he certainly gives pause for thought. Check it out!

Tom said...

Thanks for coming by, Anonymous.

I got this quote from the first editorial review: In his latest work, he demonstrates that Genesis 1-11, a series of chapters that many biblical critics contend are stories that can't be verified historically or scientifically, contains some of the strongest evidence of the Bible's supernatural accuracy. He asserts that if the miracles of creation and the flood in Genesis can be validated, this will indicate the reality of scientifically non-testable miracles like the Virgin Birth and the resurrection of Lazarus. Ross argues that a literal reading of these early chapters in Genesis accords perfectly with the established scientific record.

The bold marks are mine to indicate where I find extremely oxymoronic jargon. Part of his stance is that Adam and Eve were not from 6000 years ago, but instead from 24,000 years ago. That doesn't really help the YEC stance much. I don't think I'll be reading this one too soon, but thanks for the suggestion.