Home Overview Press Room Blog Publications For Students about us
Search

About Public Opinion & Human Biotechnology


Observers often ask, "Where does the public stand on human biotechnology? How do people feel?"

These important questions present challenges for pollsters. Most of the technologies in question are new and often poorly understood. They engage deeply held values, but there is not yet a well-developed vocabulary for their deliberation.

Polls tend to show that public sentiment about human biotechnologies is strongly ambivalent. Most people value their potential to alleviate suffering, yet are apprehensive about the social consequences of some applications.

Views on human biotechnology are strongly shaped by cultural experiences. For example, in the United States, many people focus on the moral status of the embryo, mirroring the abortion debates of recent decades. In contrast, Germans are more likely to interpret powerful biotechnologies though their country's experience with the Holocaust.

One of the most consistent findings of opinion studies is that respondents' answers depend heavily on how questions are worded. For example, two separate surveys in the United States taken one month apart showed contradictory results: one found that 70% supported human embryonic stem cell research while the other found that 70% opposed it. Reading the questions reveals why: The study sponsored by a research advocacy group emphasized the potential for cures, whereas the one sponsored by opponents of abortion rights dwelled on destroying embryos. Thus, survey results must be carefully evaluated and put in an appropriate context.



A Paragraph in Slow Motion: Three-Person IVF in The New York Timesby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 10th, 2014A close look at the rhetoric used to justify experimental technologies, and particularly at the way reasonable objections are dismissed.
Science Joins Push to Screen Statistics in Papersby Richard Van NoordenNature NewsJuly 3rd, 2014The new policy follows efforts by other journals to bolster standards of data analysis.
Selling the Next False Hope? How Experimental IVF Techniques Could be Legalized Despite Increasing Evidence of Potential Harmby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 24th, 2014Contrary to official reports, new evidence shows that “3-person IVF” could pose serious risks to women and children. So why are we being told that it’s a “not unsafe” option?
Forensic Science Isn’t Scienceby Mark Joseph SternSlateJune 11th, 2014Far from an infallible science, forensics is a decades-long experiment in which undertrained lab workers jettison the scientific method in favor of speedy results that fit prosecutors’ hunches.
Do Genes Matter? Families Under the Microscopeby Petra NordqvistBioNewsJune 2nd, 2014How do genes and genetic relationships actually matter in the messy and complex world of everyday life? These questions were addressed at the event 'Do genes matter? Donor conception and family life.'
Scientists Hoping to Ease Interpretation of the DNA ‘Book of Life’by Carolyn Y. JohnsonThe Boston GlobeMay 19th, 2014The public tends to see DNA as holding almost-mystical power, but in reality, interpreting a healthy person’s DNA with the current tools and understanding of human genetics is tricky.
Your Genes Are Obsoleteby Michael WhitePacific StandardMay 2nd, 2014Giving a physical meaning to the concept of a gene was a triumph of 20th-century biology, but as it turns out, this scientific success hasn’t solved the problems we hoped it would.
Transcendence: See it for its Cultural Relevance, Not its Plot Lineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2014Transcendence won’t win you over with its dialogue or love scenes, but it’s a great springboard for pondering what quickly approaching developments in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine may actually mean for society.
Doubts Over Heart Stem-Cell Therapyby Alison AbbottNatureApril 29th, 2014An analysis of clinical studies that use adult stem cells to treat heart disease has raised questions about the value of a therapy that many consider inappropriately hyped.
Science’s Shameful Secretby Victoria ParsonsMediumApril 28th, 2014Scientific research drives society forwards. We pay for it with our taxes and it is the gateway for our tomorrows, but there are problems at every step in the way science verifies itself.
Displaying 1-10 of 215  
Next >> 
Last Page » 
« Show Complete List » 


ESPAÑOL | PORTUGUÊS | Русский

home | overview | blog | publications| about us | donate | newsletter | press room | privacy policy

CGS • 1936 University Ave, Suite 350, Berkeley, CA 94704 • • (p) 1.510.665.7760 • (F) 1.510.665.8760