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Religion and Human Cloning: An Exploratory Analysis of the First Available Opinion Data

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Abstract:

Human cloning has recently entered the public sphere as a contentious issue and religious groups have spoken out in opposition to these technologies. To date, there has been no research to specifically determine whether the laity agrees with the positions of the leadership or to more generally sort out the views of the religious public on the issue of cloning. In this article I examine two relatively unknown public opinion polls that included questions on both cloning and the religious identity, practices, and beliefs of the respondent. I find that evangelicals are more opposed to cloning than the rest of the public and are more likely to see cloning as a religious issue. I explore these relationships further with a survey from one denomination and find that it is not ignorance of science that results in opposition to cloning, but—at least for the evangelicals—a desire to keep religion and science distinct. I conclude with suggestions for how future researchers can build upon this first limited opinion data.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5906.t01-1-00151

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of California jhevans@ucsd.edu

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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