Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Religious Beliefs and Public Attitudes Toward Nanotechnology in Europe and the United States

Scheufelel, Dietram A.

Journal Information:
Nature Nanotechnology
Vol. 4, Num. 2


These authors surveyed the American and British public to determine what role religious feelings play in coming to terms with nanotechnology. Their findings held that the American public, overall more religious than the British, had a correspondingly more negative viewpoint of nanotechnologys moral implications. The authors see that people tend to understand phenomena through certain filters, and that the religious filter is not only a powerful influence but one that serves to decry anything unnatural or ungodly. In most cases, national affluence leads to a general secularization of society, which in turn leads the public to support innovative programs like nanotechnology irrespective of the involved moral and ethical questions. In the case of the United States, however, behavioural indicators of religiosity have changed little since the 1950s. They conclude that cultural and social values inform the decisions and perceptions of society, and that religiosity is one of the most important factors therein.