More than one in ten men say they would clone themselves if they could, according to a new survey.
The survey was conducted as part of a larger research project on the relationship between religion and science, particularly on the topic of eternal life.
As part of the research, undertaken by UK religious think tank Theos and the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, and the University of Cambridge, thousands of adults were given a series of statements and asked in how much they agreed with each.
Statements included, “I would like to live forever if scientists were able to conceive it” and “I would like to be cryogenically frozen after I die so I can be resurrected centuries later.”
Respondent information, such as whether or not they agreed, to what extent, their gender, and how religious they considered themselves, was taken into consideration.
One of the questions, in particular, read, “I’d like to clone myself if I could.” Cloning, according to the researchers, presents a form of scientific immortality. The results showed that most people weren’t open to the idea, but men were significantly more open to it than women. Eleven percent of men agreed with the statement, compared to only 4% of women.
Furthermore, the survey showed that religious factors such as religious affiliation and attendance at services did not have a significant effect on people’s responses, nor did their level of science education – although people who were more confident in their scientific knowledge were more likely to want to clone themselves than people who weren’t.
And the other questions? In terms of eternal life, the study showed that most people either disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement, at 24% and 36%, respectively. Again, men were more likely than women to want to try to live forever, at 25% versus 12%.
Religion played a role in this, with the survey showing that the more people participated in religious practices, the less likely they were to want to live forever by scientific means.
When it comes to cryogenic freezing, the vast majority of people, 72%, said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with it. Again, men were more likely to want to do this than women, and people who were not religious were slightly more likely to consider this option than people who were.
Overall, the report concluded that the idea of scientific immortality, however unrealistic, “is not particularly appealing” at present.
Nick Spencer, Principal Investigator at Theos, said in a press release: “People used to claim that religion had its origins in the human desire for immortality. But our study shows that immortality – at least the idea of living forever on earth as we are – isn’t really appealing to most people.”
The online survey was conducted by YouGov between May and June last year and involved 5,153 UK adults randomly selected from a core sample. The results were published this month.