ABC has just put out this news, like it’s, you know, a good thing:
Ratings Report: ABC News Programming
ABC News-National Constitution Center-WPVI-TV’s Democratic Presidential Debate
ABC News’ Debate Is Most-Watched of 2008 Presidential Cycle
10.7 Million Total Viewers Tune In to Democratic Debate
Program Outperforms Previous Debate Viewing High by Double Digits Among Total Viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54
On the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal today, Nobel Prize winners David Baltimore and Ahmed Zewail remind us of a debate that won’t be happening tomorrow in Philadelphia. All three of the presidential contenders turned down the opportunity to participate in Science Debate 2008, which would have been an opportunity to give voters a chance to learn more about how these would-be Presidents would approach the environment, health, technology and medicine. As Baltimore and Zewail write, the stakes could hardly be higher:
America cannot simply assume its lead in science will continue. In recent years the science community has been starved of the resources it needs. Young, new, energetic scientists are the seed corn of nearly all new scientific development. However, our schools, laboratories and granting agencies all, in one way or another, discourage launching a career in the sciences. There are few grants to live on; and both schools and laboratories have long since lost the sense of joy we remember from our younger days. Science can be exciting and attractive. But convincing bright students to become scientists requires a lot more than we are now providing.
Nor is it something we should automatically assume will be a priority of the next White House, they argue:
We need a president who moves science back into the White House. Today we do not have a presidential science adviser and there is no office of science in the White House.
Our government needs to treat science honestly. When the world’s scientists flag global warming as a threat to our way of life, it is a warning that should be taken seriously. Stewardship of the planet is our responsibility. No one else is going to do it for us.
But, hey, at least we know why Barack Obama doesn’t wear a flag pin in his lapel…