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J Negat Results Biomed. 2009 Jun 10;8:7. doi: 10.1186/1477-5751-8-7.

Divine intervention? A Cochrane review on intercessory prayer gone beyond science and reason.

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  • 1Dept 3343, The Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


We discuss in this commentary a recent Cochrane review of 10 randomised trials aimed at testing the religious belief that praying to a god can help those who are prayed for. The review concluded that the available studies merit additional research. However, the review presented a scientifically unsound mixture of theological and scientific arguments, and two of the included trials that had a large impact on the findings had problems that were not described in the review. The review fails to live up to the high standards required for Cochrane reviews.

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