Keep Your Science Off My Body

It seems that when it comes to technology, scientists' views of "progress" can differ significantly from public opinion—at least when it comes to the development of advances designed to enhance human beings. For example, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, most people are less than comfortable with the idea of altering our genetic make-up or using science to improve humans’ abilities.

The survey addressed three ideas—each of which might be possible in the future, but is still a long way off—including modifying an infant's genes to prevent disease, improving an individual’s ability to think using a computer chip implanted in the brain, and increasing athletic performance by transfusing synthetic blood. Survey participants overwhelmingly passed on all three concepts, with many stating that they thought scientists would, "rush to offer each of the technologies before they had adequately tested or even understood them."

Religious beliefs played a role in people’s attitudes—those who classified themselves as "religious" were strongly against the concepts while about 80% of people who identified themselves as atheists or agnostics were more open to the ideas. Much of the concern stemmed from the thought that advances like these would be "unnatural."

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Sourced from: The New York Times, Building a Better Human With Science? The Public Says, No Thanks