Scientists attending the opening of the first World Science Festival in New York City had harsh words for US politicians and the low priority they have given science in recent years. Critics chided the government's stagnant federal funding for research, and the views of some officials that intelligent design is a scientific alternative to evolution.
Somewhat surprisingly, even the 2008 presidential candidates seem reluctant to tackle the tough scientific issues facing our country. The Science Debate 2008 initiative, supported by the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and hundreds of universities (including Northwestern), has invited the Clinton, McCain, and Obama camps to an organized debate on issues of science and technology. Thus far, none of the candidates have agreed to participate.