Question of the Week – 9/21/16

Sep 20, 2016

The U.S. presidential debates will begin on Monday, September 26. If you could have the moderator ask any question of the candidates, what would it be?


Our favorite answer wins a copy of A Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins (no repeat winners).

And please don’t forget to send in your submissions for Question of the Week! You can suggest a question by emailing us at QotW@www.richarddawkins.net. Please remember this is for “Question of the Week” suggestions only, and answers to the Question of the Week should be submitted through the comments section on the Question of the Week page  Thank you!

51 comments on “Question of the Week – 9/21/16

  • Why did not both of you insist on including Gary Johnson in the debates, and what are you going to do to protect my constitutional rights against the continual impingement by the religious?



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  • How will you make the US school system a catalyst for students imagination, innovation, curiosity, and scientific opportunity to discover the unknowns of our universe and the unknowns of ourselves… how will you help us be the innovation nation we all long to be?



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  • This question is for both candidates. The scientific community agrees mankind is having an effect on the rapidly changing climate. Droughts, floods, and other extreme weather anomalies change the way people live sometimes forcing mass migrations like we saw during Katrina. What do you think the best route is for not only complying with the agreement made in Paris but also to stem the effects of rising sea levels for coastal communities, droughts in farming communities, and floods in rural communities?



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  • Candidates

    While we have committed to giving 38 Billion dollars to Israel in foreign aid, they continue to increase settlements in the Palestinian territories and are, as Nelson Mandela and other human rights activists claim, creating an apartheid, what can be done to hold them to the expectations of the international community and to agreements that they have signed onto themselves? The behavior of Israel has a huge affect on everyone.



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  • There is no question that could prompt an answer by either candidate that will tell us anything that we don’t already know. No debate question/answer will change anyone’s mind about who to vote for at this point. This debate and any that follow will be a complete waste of time for the voting public.

    The only thing that will change (some) voters’ minds at this point is a criminal indictment.



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  • My first set of questions are for Mr. Trump: what is your source for saying Hillary Clinton started the rumor that Obama was not born in America? That is one of many, many shameless lies that you and your disgusting surrogates have told. If you cannot provide evidence will you admit that your disregard for the truth is Hitlerian, that you are a sick money-grubbing, self aggrandizing brute, and then quit this race? Then tell me why you won’t release your taxes, asshole; and where is the letter from the IRS sating that you’re being audited? And why do you deny global warming? And you have no plan for dealing with terrorism, do you? “Getting tough” is no plan. What would you have done to prevent the recent attack in New York? Why do you want to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act? The Wells Fargo scandal would not have been exposed were it not for these reforms. Why do you want to lower taxes by four trillion for the top one percent in this country? Your running mate said – and I quote – lower taxes benefit everyone. Elaborate on that. Donald Trump, you said at a campaign rally Monday that it’s – and I quote – sad that the suspect in the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey will receive medical attention and legal representation. The Constitution, Mr. Trump, you sick fuck, guarantees due process under the law and legal representation if the suspect cannot afford it. Would you have let him bleed to death on the street? You have a half hour to reply and if you start deflecting and going off about your opponent instead of addressing each question directly, I’m going to shut you up. Now go ahead. —America is listening – and we have, as you know, our great fact-checking team with us. This is something new… Mr. Trump, you may proceed.



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  • Mrs/Mr candidate, if you had solid evidence suggesting that your polling figures would markedly increase if you just dropped “… god bless you and god bless the US of A” at the end of every single speech you give, would you do it?



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  • 18
    fadeordraw says:

    Given the USA manufacturing of arms, along with France, Germany and Russia, for money making with, for example, the ongoing Syrian civil war, and the USA ongoing reinforcement of economic expansion based upon population growth and the consequential impact on the planet’s climate, how are you going to influence the USA mind-set to address such issues?



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  • 22
    Pinball1970 says:

    @19
    Thanks, laurie.
    I liked yours too (#11). Amazing how ignorant people are about what’s really going on over there, isn’t it?

    Us Brits regard it as a little bit of a circus to be honest.

    As a kid I saw Ronald Regan’s speech about Nancy for campaign speech (not sure if it was for the presidency or nomination) and it was the most laughable, nauseating, vacuous, irrelevant piece of political drivel I had ever seen.

    Is that What American politics is? Movie star speeches about WAGS?

    After that you had Clintons affair, George Bush Sr and Jr and the inert Obama.

    Also let us not forget our brush with Palin? How close did we come?

    Now we have the caricatures or caricatures in Trump, yes it is hard to take seriously.

    The debates tend to be wooden scripted lots of sound bites no substance.

    Lots of big parties USA hats and ticker tape…..for the election of the most powerful person on the planet.

    There may be some policies in there but they tend to get missed



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  • 23
    bonnie2 says:

    @ #13 – dualist

    Rapiers at dawn ; )

    Unless the wind changes drastically, policing / protesting topic will be at the forefront of debate, I reckon.



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  • @pinball #22

    For reasons that still baffle me, Reagan is still largely deified in this country. My father’s mantra when he was elected was, “the rich get richer…” This was evident when one of the very first programs Reagan cut was Death Benefits for Dependent Children. My mother died when I was 12 and my father, who lost his business due to her enormous medical expenses (Obamacare would have been very beneficial back then) received these benefits for me/us. And they were needed as we were very close to poverty due to the mountains of debt from her care and my father having to get menial work after losing his business. We were on food stamps and the small stipend from the death benefit – $75 per month if my memory serves – was very useful. And literally months after Carter left office the benefits were cut in the first wave of government spending cuts. I saw firsthand the way rich politicians care about those less fortunate than them. But this was merely mean spirited political maneuvering. What Reagan was really known for was all the he didn’t know. He was clearly one our most ill informed and incurious presidents, even giving W a run for his money.

    Historian William Leuchtenburg chronicled the ignorance of Reagan in his recent book, “The American President”:

    ‘No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed. At presidential news conferences, especially in his first year, Ronald Reagan embarrassed himself. On one occasion, asked why he advocated putting missiles in vulnerable places, he responded, his face registering bewilderment, “I don’t know but what maybe you haven’t gotten into the area that I’m going to turn over to the secretary of defense.”

    In addition, he documented:

    “You could walk through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts,” a California legislator said, “and not get your ankles wet.”



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  • Steven007 #24
    Sep 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

    ‘No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed. At presidential news conferences, especially in his first year, Ronald Reagan embarrassed himself.

    There is a theory that Republicans are so devoid of candidates with any intellectual capability, that they have at times, had to resort to using actors, who understood nothing, but could memorise and confidently present scripts written for them!

    “Are you presidential material? – or just acting the part?”



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  • Observing that Mr.Trump can’t seem to answer any question honestly, a well thought out question would be wasted on him. While I consider Ms. Clinton far more intellectually honest, she can’t seem to get out of her endless loop of platitudes. Therefore, no question for her either. So… based upon my observations of human progress for the last 50 years or so, we would be better off had we “nuked it out” with the Soviets during the cold war. The planet’s best and brightest, most likely would have survived to build a better world than the one we appear doomed to live in today.

    I recall seeing a rather grotesque film in a college genetics class that illustrates what happens when a species becomes over populated. Essentially that species overcame its lack of natural predators by becoming a predator unto itself. They self-devoured. Given that we live in a world equipped to support about 2 billion humans, one can understand, pretty easily (in my opinion) what is happening as we go beyond 7-1/2 billion. Everyone is shooting. Call it a self-destructive death wish that has triggered because there are just too damned many of us.
    And we accelerate this process by putting people who want to burn the world down into power. I call that evolution.



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  • Pinball,

    Britain supported Reagan, both Bushes, and would get along fine with Trump; they’ve supported all of our worst policies. Britain is our bitch –and isn’t doing so hot right now either.



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  • My questions are slightly different.

    To what bygone era does the phrase “Make America great again” refer? Is this the time of slavery? Segregation? The Vietnam war? The counter culture of the sixties?

    How does building a wall along the Mexican border, and closing borders to Muslims, relate to those lines on the plaque in that symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty:

    Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I
    lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Has the role of President become the protector of vested interest, rather than the custodian of a land of opportunity? For example isn’t climate change denial handing a major opportunity to other nations, like China?
    Science and technology are the proven drivers of economic growth. Deny science and you turn your back on economic growth.



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  • Tax exemptions for religious groups and organizations in the U.S. are costing taxpayers billions of dollars on a yearly basis. Do you think this is fair for the rest of the population and if not, what do you suggest should be done?



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  • Q: Historically. America’s strength and wealth have been tied to its leadership in scientific research, education and innovation. Sadly, however, the U.S. has rapidly slipped as a world leader in science and technology due to steady and persistent interference by individuals and agencies promoting pseudo-science and faith based thinking in place of real science and research in the classroom. What would your administration do to keep this kind of interference out of our science classrooms and how would you support, promote and encourage the next generation of scientists to take up careers in the sciences?



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  • Describe thoroughly and discuss the significance of Artice II of the Constitution of the United States. (Do not explain to the candidates that this sets forth the functions of the President, unless they need a hint.)



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  • I would like to hear the moderator ask the candidates:

    In a percentage rate, how democratic would you call our society, considered by the elections and the options we get, and what arguments do support your answer?



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  • Bill, others—

    To what bygone era does the phrase “Make America great again” refer?

    Your questions – all good questions – will be wasted on this candidate.

    Good questions; but no matter what Trump says and no matter what he is asked his supporters will still support him. That’s the problem. The only hope is that more than fifty percent of those who vote are not his supporters.

    The fact that enough people seem to believe in a fantasized glorious past (“make America great again”) – and that we must build walls or ban religions to regain the glory – pushes us terrifyingly close to fascism’s door.

    I would like to hear the moderator ask the candidates…

    I’d like to see one of the Dawkins moderators grill him. “Mr. Trump, this is a violation of the terms of use… I mean the rules, and you have derailed this debate. And a good president must promote Reason and Science. You are a colossal troll in American life. You are banned from this election!”



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  • @ #34

    “Mr. Trump, this is a violation of the terms of use… I mean the rules, and you have derailed this debate. And a good president must promote Reason and Science. You are a colossal troll in American life. You are banned from this election!”

    “[Supporters of] Mr. Trump, this is a violation of the terms of use… I mean the rules [of good citizenship], and you have derailed this [election]. And a good [citizen] must promote [the candidate with the best grasp of] Reason and Science [(not to mention common decency)]. [When you fail at this] You are a colossal troll in American life. You are banned from this election!”

    A person like Trump can succeed in obtaining the Presidency only if the citizens of this nation allow it. The credit (blame) goes to the voters.



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  • 39
    Pinball1970 says:

    @22 “You could walk through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts,” a California legislator said, “and not get your ankles wet.”

    Great quote that.



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  • 40
    Pinball1970 says:

    @28
    Careful Dan we are no ones “bitch”- you will bring out the Celtic Anglo Saxon Roman tribesman in me.

    My (32nd) great Uncle was King Harold (the Hastings one)

    I did not support ANY of the right wing/republican presidents.

    I supported the 91 Gulf war.

    I was not exactly against the second but they should be on another thread if it comes up



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  • I think Blair was entirely Dubya’s bitch.

    I think Maggie and Ronnie were each other’s biches

    I supported ’91 Gulf War, too, and regretted its failure to finish the job.

    I marched against the Iraq war along with a million other’s, the UK’s biggest demonstration ever.

    But the Brits loved Obama unreservedly. It was like your dodgy uncle kicked the bottle, got a degree and a conscience and told jokes. The relief was profound



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  • My question would be “Given the large influence that religion has on today’s America, and the confliction it has with evolutionary sciences being taught in school, what is your stance on secularism for this matter, and how might it be applied to other areas adversely effected by the same religious pressures?”



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  • 45
    Pinball1970 says:

    @44 all in jest Dan

    We needed the USA during the great War and WW2 and everything stems from that.

    I dont think there is an issue with having global friends.



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  • My question would be: given the horrendous implosion of the Republican party in the last 8 years, what possible incentive would I have to endorse it in any way, up to and including my vote?

    I have never in my adult life voted a straight Democrat ticket, but that policy has ended this election.



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  • My question would be: As the president of one of the most powerful countries on the planet, what would you change in your foreign policy to remedy already existing and prevent in the future global migrant crises?



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  • Nikita prompts me to pose this question.

    Do you agree that prioritising national and international policies to help lift all folk out of poverty will be the most effective way to bring calm and stability to a conflicted world, in places nearing the edge of its resources, promote investment, and reduce war and mass migrations?



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  • Please explain your precise plan to resolve the so-called ‘religious freedom’ vs. civil rights question once and for all and put an end to this ‘legal’ discrimination and denial of civil rights.



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