This article is from the In-Depth Report Election 2012: Grading Obama and Romney on Science

Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy

The United States faced down authoritarian governments on the left and right. Now it may be facing an even greater challenge from within

In an age when science influences every aspect of life—from the most private intimacies of sex and reproduction to the most public collective challenges of climate change and the economy—and in a time when democracy has become the dominant form of government on the planet, it is important that the voters push elected officials and candidates of all parties to explicitly state their views on the major science questions facing the nation. By elevating these issues in the public dialogue, U.S. citizens gain a fighting chance of learning whether those who would lead them have the education, wisdom and courage necessary to govern in a science-driven century and to preserve democracy for the next generation.


Why Are Americans So Ill-informed about Climate Change? Robin Lloyd in Scientific American. Published online February 23, 2011.

Straight Talk about Vaccination. Matthew F. Daley and Jason M. Glanz in Scientific American, Vol. 305, No. 3; pages 32-34; September 2011.

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America. Shawn Lawrence Otto. Rodale Books, 2011.

To learn more about the intersection of science and key election issues, as well as to read the answers from the presidential candidates and key congressional leaders, visit

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This article was originally published with the title "America's Science Problem."

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