Too bad to be true?

A kerfuffle broke out in various quarters of the internet over a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was conducted early in the USA’s rollout of COVID vaccinations and aimed to gather data on the potential danger of mRNA vaccines to pregnant women. Somewhere along the way, a claim was made that the study found miscarriages occurring in 82% of pregnancies. LifeSite News, a website trusted by many Mad Christians to bring true information about vaccines and abortion also reported this sensational headline.

Rev. Fisk thought something smelled funky, requesting fact-checking by the Us-the-Chill brain trust— they did not disappoint. Bill, a resident number-cruncher summarizes as follows:

“Here’s what we’re given:

  1. Researchers publish study in NEJM that claims (and here I’ll quote directly) ‘Preliminary findings did not show obvious safety signals among pregnant persons (sic) who received mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.’
  2. Claims circulated that said the researchers were failing to acknowledge that their own numbers reveal that 82% of those receiving the vaccine had a miscarriage. Further claims are that MSM won’t cover it because it doesn’t fit the narrative. Etc. “

Bill also suggested that the study’s design is a little confusing to the non-statistically minded, but concluded: “This particular study does not sway me one way or the other. I cannot, based on this study alone, claim the vaccine to be low risk, nor can I claim it to be high risk. Not enough information.”

It is sad to see LifeSite publish this news, when a little digging might have given them pause, and yet it shows that you can never check your brain at the door when assessing news today. The fact-checkers have not been without their biases, but in this instance, PolitiFact (yes, the one Facebook relies on for its “Truth-O-Meter”) made a fairly good summary of the situation. LifeSite has since pulled their article on the study, stating that it needs reviewing.

There is a quip, attributed to Mark Twain, about lies being able to travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. The amount of information presented to us every day is one thing, but the speed of a Twitter feed turnover is akin to a digital autobahn. Whether half-truths and lies start with an Instagram post, a conservative news outlet, or a government agency, we need to take time to assess them. 

If something fits our narrative too cleanly, it is wise to be a little suspicious. Those without hope in the world cling to any information that endorses their worldview. Being on the “right side of history” is the self-justifying project of the modern man and morsels of half-truth are tasty – for a time. But Mad Christians do not need the world to fit into neat categories, because we know whose world it is. God’s trustworthy word says it best, “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.” ~Proverbs 14