Gene editing is a topic that has remained highly controversial for a long time. It generally revolves around changing the genetic make-up of embryos for a number of reasons. The three most prominent uses of CRISPR technology include treating congenital conditions, reducing the chances of developing certain diseases later in life and improving the intelligence of babies before they are born. Many people have varying opinions of the various uses of gene editing. The conservatives frown deeply on it while scientists applaud it. Here is what various groups of people, and especially Christians, think about gene editing:
Most people generally approve of gene editing for treating congenital conditions, which are generally conditions that develop at birth. In a Pew research, 72% of Americans had no problem with using gene editing to treat congenital conditions. However, the highly religious, who according to the Pew research are people who attend a church service at least once a week, pray daily and consider religion important in their lives, don’t approve of using gene editing to treat congenital diseases. In fact, only 57% of the highly religious approve of this.
Gene Editing for Reducing the Risk of Developing Diseases Later in Life
Fewer people approve of gene editing in order to prevent the risk of developing diseases later in life. According to the survey, only 60% of the general American population approve of this, while only 50% of the highly religious agree with it.
Gene Editing to Improve Intelligence
Very few people think it is good to use gene editing to enhance intelligence. 80% of Americans frown upon it while 94% of the highly religious are against it.
White evangelicals and Black Protestants also strongly disagree with using CRISPR to improve intelligence, but are relatively supportive of using it to reduce the chances of developing disease later in life.
What Evangelicals Think of Gene Editing
Researchers found out that being an evangelical or not had little impact on whether or not one would agree with gene editing. However, 52% of highly committed evangelicals approved of gene editing, while 65% of the moderately committed saw no problem with using it to treat congenital diseases. The percentages dropped with prevention of disease later in life. Only 40% of the highly religious approved of this, while 52% of the moderately committed agreed. Using gene editing to improve intellect was heavily frowned upon, with only 5% of the highly committed agreeing with and only 14% of the moderately committed approving of it.
Testing on Human Embryos
Before gene editing can be implemented, there is need to test it on human embryos to find out if it is successful. This did not sit well with most people. A research conducted in 2018 shows that 65% of Americans don’t approve of this, while 88% of White evangelicals and 72% of Black Protestants frown on it.
Research shows that independent of religious affiliation, most women frown upon genetic engineering for whichever reason. Additionally, people predict that there will be varying consequences of gene editing, ranging from using the technology in morally unacceptable ways to unforeseen health effects to even increase in inequality. There are some who however think it to be a good thing which will help eradicate birth defects in 50 years.