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

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


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.

MeSH terms

  • Faith Healing / methods
  • Faith Healing / standards*
  • Faith Healing / trends
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic* / methods
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic* / standards
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic* / trends
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Science / methods
  • Science / standards*
  • Science / trends