Q: When we study the Bible, we are told to study for ourselves, and not to just take someone’s word for it. But regarding medical things people are being criticized and even ridiculed for examining it for themselves. Shouldn’t critical investigation be welcomed in medicine as well as biblical study?

Careful analytical thinking is important in every field of study. Use of ridicule is never appropriate. In doing careful analytical thinking it is important to use data that is clear and accurate, based on valid methods of research. In doing research on vaccines a system of double-blind investigation is used. Neither the person administering the shot nor the person receiving it knows if the real vaccine is being administered or if it is a placebo. This helps to prevent research bias. The results of these studies have demonstrated the efficacy of the vaccines being used against Covid-19.

In analyzing data presented against vaccination it is valuable to ask several questions:

  1. Was a study done testing the efficacy or danger of the vaccine or are claims made without supporting evidence?
  2. Was a double-blind method of research used in the study? Otherwise, bias can creep in.
  3. Are the claims based on testimonials? Such claims do not carry statistical significance since they are individual experiences, not data based in larger populations.
  4. Are the claims of dangerous chemicals or other harmful materials in the vaccines based actually on what they contain and what has been proven over time? Or are the claims simply based on the name of a component in the vaccine without supporting evidence?

Response by Tom Shepherd, PhD, DrPH, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Director, Greek Manuscript Research Center, Andrews University Seminary