Virtual Science Debate

As you might have guessed from yesterday’s tease, the folks at ScienceDebate 2008 have now managed to get answers from the McCain campaign (to go with Obama’s froma few weeks ago). Which means that while you may never see them answering science questions on a stage together, you can put them head-to-head on the Web, and see which you like better.

Of course, the key question regarding McCain’s answers is “How long does it take him to mention elements of his biography?” The answer: There are 186 words before you get to:

I am uniquely qualified to lead our nation during this technological revolution. While in the Navy, I depended upon the technologies and information provided by our nation’s scientists and engineers with during each mission.

At least the word “prisoner” does not appear in the text. Though, I admit, it would’ve livened things up nicely had he said “During the five years I spent in a North Vietnamese prison, I often wished I had been a better student of science, so that I could’ve designed and built an Iron Man suit…”

8 thoughts on “Virtual Science Debate

  1. At least the word “prisoner” does not appear in the text. Though, I admit, it would’ve livened things up nicely had he said “During the five years I spent in a North Vietnamese prison, I often wished I had been a better student of science, so that I could’ve designed and built an Iron Man suit…”

    While I still wouldn’t vote for him had he said that, I’d actually have a little respect for him.

  2. Dear concerned citizens of America and Mass Media of the U.S.A.

    As a concerned registered independent voter, forensic psychiatrist, disabled American I made my decision to vote after taking into consideration following joint tickets attributes and characteristics.

    1. Has the ticket shown adequate calmness, coolness, and connectedness’s under pressure to lead our nation [Presidential Temperament]?

    2. Has the ticket shown sustained sound “Judgment and Caliber”?

    3. Has the ticket shown adequate understanding of depth and degree to address the crucial challenges in their their purpose, policies, and positions [ Honesty, integrity and sincerity]?

    4. Has the ticket sufficient “understanding and knowledge” of inside Washington workings [Experience]”?

    5. Has the ticket reservoir resilience, wisdom, and vigor to address the present and future f our beloved “Great-grand Nation”?

    6. Has the ticket enough joint foreign policy experience and exposure based on ” Values, Virtues, Vastness, and ” [American moral soul]”?

    7. Has their campaign talk, slogans, ads, plans, and programs based on facts and are they free of fear, fiction, frivolous labels, unfair attacks, negativity, and impulsively? [No “imminent danger to national
    security and safety”].

    8. Has the ticket genuinely kept on message of country first and politics last and avoided copying [Message change”]?

    9.Has the ticket message stayed away from Culture divide and war[ Disaster prevention ]?

    10. Has the ticket resisted being surrounded, supported and surrogate’s by divisiveness, distortion’s, and destructive characters, [ Real patriotism VS shiftiness and shameless parrot-ism]?

    I have personally and professionally concluded that OBAMA-BIDEN ticket will lift and inspire our greatgrand nation back to its greatness within and restore our global standing with the use of maximum, firm
    international diplomacy and minimal force if and when indicated {” Peace thru Strenght “}.

    Yours sincerely,

    COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret] MD.
    Forensic psychiatrist, Disabled American Veteran and Iraq
    Freedom team. Grass roots California leader per Senator McCain’s mailings.

  3. Wait, what? He used technology 40 years ago, so he’s “uniquely qualified” to lead technological development over the guy who had a regular podcast for his constituents even when he was an Illinois State Senator?

    Someone should send McCain an email telling him how absurd that is.

  4. I made wordles for each of them from their answers… I didn’t do any tweaking of the words that came out.

    Besides “science” and “research” which came out tops for both of them, note the following most used words:

    McCain: “space” “technology” “must” “ensure” and “scientific”
    Obama: “STEM” “technology” “education” “energy” “health” and “support”

  5. I think its pretty obvious McCain’s science advisor read Griffin’s “leaked” email, which is surprisingly good?

    “Commit to funding the NASA Constellation program to ensure it has the resources it needs to begin a new era of human space exploration.

    “Review and explore all options to ensure U.S. access to space by minimizing the gap between the termination of the Space Shuttle and the availability of its replacement vehicle;

  6. I’m relieved to read that John McCain states he is “uniquely qualified to lead our nation during this technological revolution” by virtue of his use of radar and short-wave radios, not to mention how surprised I was to find out that under his guiding hand, mobile phones and Wi-Fi became available. Thankfully he didn’t say he invented them.

    Beyond his cheeky political hyperbole though, Senator McCain’s answers betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the government’s role in science and technology. His view starts primarily at the point of commercialization, with very little time, effort or apparent thought given to the many years of work that goes into research prior to that step. It is exactly at these early stages where government funding is most efficiently deployed. These early years require sustained support–without which, we would have very little to commercialize. It is this support that has been horribly lacking through the latter part of the Bush administration and McCain’s answers indicate a dangerous continuation of that policy. The Bush administration’s decisions over the last 5 years to overlook this type of research has done much to restrict the science and technology pipeline of its greatest assets—its junior members and data that will, with the help of entrepreneurs and industry, go into commercial products. This policy must be changed if we are to move forward and regain our momentum.

    Moreover, McCain’s suggestion that significant savings can be found by imposing greater “fiscal responsibility by improving the scientific and engineering management within the federal government” is simply mystifying. Our federal science and technology funding agencies and research centers are some of the most efficient and transparent in the world and it is very disingenuous for the candidate to suggest our problems emanate from any direction other than from his own policy source–the Bush administration.

    Lastly, and perhaps least important, is that Senator McCain appears slightly out of date—biotechnology is not precisely a “new and emerging” field. It contributes and has contributed for some time to significant economic activity. It can, however, be mismanaged like any other sector of the economy. We need a president that respects science and understands how it contributes to our countries prosperity and well being.

  7. I don’t see McCain so much as a MacGyver type who would use pine cone landmines to escape from his cell so much as I see him as a guy who would get electrocuted trying to hotwire the knob.

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