16 August 2008

The Not-So-Great Debate

Anyone remember this?
A Who's Who of America's top scientists are launching a quixotic last-minute effort this week to force presidential candidates to detail the role science would play in their administrations -- a question they say is key to the future of the country, if not the world.
What? Presidential candidates debating and discussing science? The very science(s) that affect our daily lives in vital ways--medically, environmentally, technologically? That's madness! That was in December, '07.
"Right now we have a confluence of issues facing candidates: embryonic stem cell research, global warming, science and technology education, biotechnology and energy policy -- it's just becoming an avalanche," says Lawrence Krauss, a physics professor at Case Western University, and author of the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek. "I think at some level, you have to get some insight into what the candidates know, or what they're willing to learn."
Made sense, didn't it? Of course, that debate never materialized, not during the primaries and obviously not now. In fact, this is what we're getting instead.

Whose side is God on? Although that probably won’t be determined tonight, we will see Barack Obama and John McCain on stage together for the first time this political season. Brought together by the best-selling author and pastor of the fourth largest church in the U.S., pastor Rick Warren will talk to both candidates tonight for about an hour each.

That's right. The first debate, taking place tonight, between the Presidential nominees will be about faith and it will be moderated by Rick Warren, pastor of the Evangelical mega-church, Saddleback, and author of The Purpose Driven Life.

Apparently, a pretend supernatural being and 'his' ancient dogmatic writings dictating morality is more important than real science regarding embryonic stem cell research, global warming, science and technology education, biotechnology and energy policy. Did you throw up a little? I did. This is the country we're living in, folks.

Here's the best part, though. Ready? Do you know how this debate came about?

How did this event get put together? Warren just called them on his cell phone.

Isn't that rich? Somehow I don't think the Secular Coalition for America's Lori Lipman-Brown has Obama or McCain on speed dial, nor the good folks at Atheist Alliance International, or American Atheists, or the American Humanist Association, or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, or...well, you get the picture. I suspect calls from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for the science debate went unanswered, or outright rejected. But a pastor of a mega-church can give ring to our Presidential candidates and the next thing you know, we the people get to know even more about the candidates' faith, when, in fact, we should know little to nothing about it. It's not supposed to matter, remember?

I was going to watch this, but I just can't bring myself to do it. If some of you other atheist bloggers have stronger stomachs, good luck to you. I just can't watch. I know I need to vote in November and I don't need one more reason to throw my hands up in disgust and walk away from the whole thing. First the DNC interfaith service debacle and now this. Just...make it...stop.


  1. Good post. I couldn't bring myself to watch it either. Requests for a science debate are ignored, but the candidates will gladly drop everything to grovel before the delusional. So sad.

  2. Obama spent his time defending himself as a good, god-fearing American, wooing the middle of the road Xians while convincing the leftists know he's not a lunatic. McCain's performance was as expected.

    Once again we're down to gay marriage, abortion, religion and "family values" as the big election issues.

    Last week, sitting in a coffee shop, I overheard a woman say she wasn't sure about voting Obama because "she heard he was a muslim". I could have asked her how she felt about Obama's energy plans or foreign policies but I had the impression she would have stared blankly at me.

    People like that (I know there's more out there) have made this election and a large chunk of the US population mentally dead to me.

    As an amusing social experiment I've come up with my own equally ridiculous excuse for not backing McCain. A while back he said he rarely, if ever, uses the internet and he has to have staffers check his email for him. Personally, I don't want someone that can't use common modern technology being the leader of ANYTHING, much less the figurehead of America. It's total rubbish but no more so then using religion as a voting guide. I've only been able to bring it up one in conversation but it did prove a nice segue into questioning people on why they think godliness is so important.