Science & the White House
The leading science journal Nature has posed several science questions to the American presidential candidates. Senator Obama answered in writing; senator McCain did not reply.
This question is of extreme importance…
Nature: Do you believe that evolution by means of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the variety and complexity of life on Earth? Should intelligent design, or some derivative thereof, be taught in science class in public schools?
Obama: I believe in evolution, and I support the strong consensus of the scientific community that evolution is scientifically validated. I do not believe it is helpful to our students to cloud discussions of science with non-scientific theories like intelligent design that are not subject to experimental scrutiny.
(McCain said last year, in a Republican primary debate: “I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.” In 2005, he told the Arizona Daily Star that he thought “all points of view” should be available to students studying the origins of humanity. But the next year a Colorado paper reported him saying that such viewpoints should not be taught in science class.)
Obama’s answer – and McCain’s silence – speak to a most imporant attribute: Respect for evidence. The White House should not be occupied by someone who disrespects evidence.