Waiting for the candidates to reveal all of their positions on particular scientific paradigms is getting to be a bit of a fan dance. We hear a little bit here about how climate scientists are all in it to make a quick buck, then a little bit there about how evolution is just one of those ideas like iambic pentameter or Manifest Destiny. I can’t stand the suspense: what science will get put in its place next? It’s time for a new standard in Presidential campaigns: a comprehensive position briefing on the candidate’s views of relevant scientific knowledge.
Here’s a suggestion for what the standard briefing document should look like.
Does the candidate believe in…atomic theory?
Relevance to voters: Need to know if a possible President will treat our atomic arsenal as imaginary, as a material manifestation of the wrath of the Old Testament God, or as a confirmed scientific reality.
Does the candidate believe in…weather forecasting?
Relevance to voters: If all climate scientists are in it for a quick buck, presumably all weather forecasting is suspect. Need to know if possible President will disregard satellite pictures of hurricanes forming in the Atlantic and regard all weather events as a manifestation of Providence.
Does the candidate believe in…the germ theory of disease?
Relevance to voters: anti-evolution candidates presumably don’t really believe in the germ theory of disease and can be expected to shut down the Centers for Disease Control, direct the FDA to allow antibiotics to be freely manufactured and sold because what the heck they’re no different than herbal supplements, and cease all funding for disease-related health research. Also the possible President might be able to cut health care costs by refusing to pay for soap in hospitals and medical facilities. Who needs it?
Does the candidate believe in…gravity and heliocentrism?
Relevance to voters: Possible President may choose not to fly on Air Force One as planes should not exist, and will therefore be slower to visit parts of the country and the world away from Washington. Presumably would have no interest in monitoring for near-Earth asteroids, planetary probes, solar flares and other astronomical phenomenon connected to mere theories of gravity and heliocentrism.
Does the candidate believe in…Boyle’s Law and other gas laws?
Relevance to voters: Candidates who do not believe that there are formula that can describe the relationship between pressure and volume of gases might not believe that guns exist and function, since gas laws are an important part of how guns actually work. Not believing that guns exist might be a stealth form of gun control.
I’m sure folks can think of other things the public needs to know.