Tags: Pew | Survey | Religious | Human Engineering | Technology

Pew: More Religious Less Likely to Support Human Engineering

Pew: More Religious Less Likely to Support Human Engineering
(Photo credit Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 July 2016 10:08 AM

Recently developed gene-editing technology is maturing rapidly, but most people are wary of "improving" human beings, especially if they're religious, The Washington Post reports.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey of 4,685 people, two-thirds are concerned about advancements like gene-editing, brain-implanted computer chips that could help with concentration and information processing, and synthetic blood which could make people faster, stronger, and have more stamina.

More religious people are the least likely to view gene-editing technology as acceptable for treating human beings, while atheists and agnostics are most likely to favor such techniques.

Less than half of Protestants and Catholics would want gene-editing used to reduce the risk of disease in infants, compared with three-quarters of atheists and two-thirds of agnostics.

The non-religious are more likely to have positive views of gene editing than the religious. David Masci, a senior writer and editor at Pew, said he wasn't "terribly surprised" by the results.

"I think that's one of those things where you don't realize the religious effect it has on you personally until it affects you personally," a 40-year-old Hispanic Christian man from Arizona told the Post. "It's easy to say no, that's OK, that's OK, until it's you and then you have to deal with it, you have to sleep at night."

Others, including the religious, don't object to the technology.

"I think God has given a doctor the talents to fix us . . . I think he has given these people the talents to do so. I don't think it is the doctors or medical gurus [trying] to play God," said a 44-year-old white Protestant from Birmingham, Alabama.

"It's just enhancing what we already have. It doesn't imply that it's changing how we think," said a 46-year-old white evangelical Christian woman from Atlanta. "Really, what's the difference between [a brain chip] and taking a bunch of vitamins that improve our memory?"

Scientists in China are currently gearing up for the first human trials of gene-editing technology known as CRISPR, according to Fusion.

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Recently developed gene-editing technology is maturing rapidly, but most people are wary of improving human beings, especially if they're religious, The Washington Post reports.
Pew, Survey, Religious, Human Engineering, Technology
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2016-08-27
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 10:08 AM
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