Bioethics Blogs

Presidential Candidates on Science

ScienceDebate.org was launched in 2007 with a goal of promoting a Presidential debate entirely on scientific topics. That hasn’t happened yet, but the organization, which includes a broad selection of establishment figures and is co-organized by the National Academies, AAAS, and the Council on Competitiveness, is still trying.

Meanwhile, they set a perhaps more realistic goal of agreeing on 20 science-related questions and getting written answers from the candidates. The answers from Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jill Stein are now online. Libertarian Gary Johnson has not yet responded.

Here’s what you get from the candidates for each question (illustrated with extracts from responses to the opioid problem):

  • From Clinton, three or four paragraphs that read as though they were drafted by a competent policy analyst and edited, or at least approved, by the candidate.
    • Sample:  “We must work with medical doctors and nurses across the country to treat this issue on the ground, from how patients are accessing these medications to how we are supporting them in recovery.”
  • From Trump, one paragraph that might have been extemporized by himself and then translated into a form of English.
    • Sample: “As this is a national problem that costs America billions of dollars in productivity, we should apply the resources necessary to mitigate this problem.”
  • From Stein, short paragraphs (often several) that frequently make a lot of utopian sense.
    • Sample: “We will end the ‘war on drugs’ and redirect funds presently budgeted for the ‘war on drugs’ toward expanded research, education, counseling and treatment.”

The Center for Genetics and Society’s core concerns about human biotechnologies are not explicitly covered.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.