Kids ask US presidential candidates to debate science

Shawn Otto is a science writer and chair of

Susanlyn Singroy thinks the candidates for US president should be debating science. The eighth-grader argues that the candidates are talking about money, religion and immigration, but rarely mentioning the science challenges impacting her future. Singroy says,

If they talk about the big science issues, maybe they’ll actually do something about them.

Her point is well taken. The Republican and Democratic candidates for president both held debates just days after the Paris climate summit, yet the debate moderators didn’t ask a single question about climate science—remarkable considering that climate change has emerged as a major global science, economic, environmental, tech, civil infrastructure, and foreign policy challenge. US journalists have similarly avoided asking the candidates about other major science, health, tech, and environmental issues.

So Susan, who wants to be a scientist, decided to volunteer with other kids to create what may be the most memorable political ad you’ll see all year:

I’m chair of, the volunteer-run nonprofit that produced the ad. We’re working with Susanlyn and other kids elevate these issues in the US political dialogue, because they disproportionately affect the next generation. 

Candidates for president attend debates dedicated to economics and foreign policy, but science issues now have an equal or greater impact. Voters—and their kids—deserve a nationally televised discussion dedicated to science, health, tech and the environment.

The public seems to agree. and Research!America, a nonprofit that advocates for medical research, recently commissioned a national poll. We found that 87% of likely voters think the candidates for president ought to be well versed on science issues. 91% of Democrats, 88% of Republicans and 78% of Independents also said the presidential candidates should participate in a debate to discuss key science-based challenges facing the US.

What would such a debate look like? The possibilities for questions are fascinating, and could fill hours of discussion. Here’s a small sample:

Click here to read the rest

Posted by Guest Author on Thursday, 14 January, 2016

Creative Commons License The Skeptical Science website by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.