Re: BIOTECH: Public Attitudes

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sun, 2 Mar 1997 12:59:13 -0800 (PST)

> >I stumbled into the AOL "current events" area and discovered that the service
> >was conducting a member poll on attitudes toward human cloning. The
> >following was the tally of votes as of early this morning:
> >
> >> Out of 10012 total responses:
> >> 5599 people (56%) picked: Ban it.
> >> 2086 people (21%) picked: Don't ban it.
> >> 2326 people (23%) picked: For medical research only.
> I believe a major TV show (Nightline?) did a poll of the more general
> public, and found something like 90% for banning human cloning.

I'd bet a week's pay that these polls make no attempt to ensure
that the pollees have any idea what cloning actually /is/. If
one actually took the time to explain the details, and then took
a poll among those who knew the facts, I'm sure the result would
be quite different.

Indeed, a medical case a couple of years ago came up where a child
needed a bone marrow transplant, so his parents went so far as to
reverse a vasectomy, have a new child, and give their older child
a bone marrow transplant from the new one. Their chance of the new
child being a match wasn't very good; if the new child had been a
clone, it would have been 100%. There were certainly those who
objected to what these parents were doing, but most were supportive.
If this situation arises again, and the parents want to have their
new child be the older child's twin, I think the public would be
generally supportive of that as well--and would still be against
"cloning" if you asked, because they don't know what they're saying.