Hereford Times Article - 26/11/2020

Published on: 26th November 2020

Bishop Richard

Many years ago, I remember someone justifying smoking as harmless because an uncle had smoked 60 a day all his life and lived into his 90’s.The science tells a different story.If on average smoking kills you, that means that some are unaffected whilst others will die much sooner.That is how science works, it predicts on the balance of probabilities.If you smoke, on average, you are going to die much sooner than someone who does not, even though some smokers will live a long time.

It is good to bear that in mind when reading some of the articles doing the rounds on social media about vaccination.You know the sort of thing – vaccines delayed while they put computer chips in them so the illuminati can track us! Some of the stuff you could not make up.Except someone has made it up, and its doing the rounds and people believe it.

Just because something has been shared thousands of times on, social media does not make it true.Conspiracy theories about general elections in the USA are a case in point. This might seem harmless, but it is not.When COVID vaccines are freely available, if enough people do believe the ant-vax stuff, there will not be enough people vaccinated to get herd immunity and we will be stuck in the crisis for a lot longer.It is no exaggeration that unscientific anti-vax will lead to people dying.

Some of you might be thinking it is no place for a Bishop in the Church of England (who should just stick to private spiritual stuff) to talk about science and proof when he deals mostly in the world of faith. You might be surprised that Christian faith stands or falls on certain things actually having happened.Even St. Paul recognised that when he said that if Jesus had not been raised from the dead then faith is futile.Faith strays into the world of science and the desirability of proof when we say things like that. I was educated as a scientist and that sort of evidence is important to me.

Back to vaccination - There are moral questions we want to ask about how some of them have been produced and rightly so. However, if this information is made available and those moral questions are answered then if and when I’m offered a shot of the vaccine, all I want to know is does it work and is there reliable scientific evidence to show that it’s safe. If so, sign me up!


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