Russell's Blog

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Science Debate 2008

Posted by Russell on December 12, 2007 at 6:32 p.m.
There is a group that is putting together a presidential debate specifically focused on science. I think the idea is that it would come after the primaries, so it would be among nominated candidates. How cool would this be?
Moderator : Senator, on the issue of dark matter, you have...

Clinton : Read my lips: No. New. Particles.

Moderator : I see. Mr. Huckabee, what is your position on dark matter? Do you agree with the Senator's assertion that it is baryonic in nature?

Huckabee : No, no I do not. If it were baryonic, it would interact strongly with light, and we would be able to see it. Then it wouldn't be dark matter, would it? No, I believe that we are facing something new and terrible; an abomination to those of us who actually obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle. That is why I have a four-point-plan for eliminating the scourge of dark matter from the universe.

Clinton : This is exactly the sort of misplaced priorities that I've been talking about. How can we be talking about non-baryonic dark matter when we don't even know the properties of the Higgs? What if there is no Higgs boson, and the whole supersymmetric model goes out the window? What if the Higgs turns out to have a mass in the range of only a few TeV, and these non-baryonic particles aren't heavy enough to explain the non-observable mass in the universe? Or what if the Higgs is hundreds of TeV, and the supersymmetric particles are too rare? We don't have the answers to these questions. This whole business of non-baryonic dark matter is really putting the cart before the horse.

Furthermore, I really must object to my opponent's fermion-centric position. While it is indeed true that Americans are mostly made out of fermions, we would not be the same country without the patriotism and hard work of bosons. Who would mediate the electroweak force if it weren't for the photon? Who would bind together our nucleons without the meson? My opponent is, at this very moment, harboring gluons in every proton and neutron in his body.

Seriously, though, whoever wins the nominations, I would just love see this sort of debate.
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