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Support for Animal Rights as a Function of Belief in Evolution, Religious Fundamentalism, and Religious Denomination

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The present study examined the relationship among religious denomination, fundamentalism, belief about human origins, gender, and support for animal rights. Eighty-two college undergraduates filled out a set of 3 questionnaires: The Religious Fundamentalism Scale (Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 2004), beliefs about human origins (creationism, intelligent design, or evolution), and the Animal Rights Scale (Wuensch, Jenkins, & Poteat, 2002). Because conservative Protestants and fundamentalists adhere to religious doctrine that espouses a discontinuity between humans and other species, the study predicted they would have lower support for animal rights. Further, proponents of evolution—who tend to view species as interconnected—would advocate animal rights more so than creationists and believers of intelligent design theory. Results supported the hypotheses. A multiple regression analysis revealed that the religious variables and gender were significant in predicting support for animal rights.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401; 2: Department of Psychology, Grand Valley State University, 2139 AuSable Hall, Allendale, MI 49401; 3: RDepartment of Psychology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401


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