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Ah.. it has been a LONG time since I have written a philosopher post. You can find the series I was writing over here. 🙂 Today we are briefly looking at Francis Bacon and learning a touch more about him.
Did you know that Knowledge is Power?
It is! (at least according to Francis Bacon).
Francis Bacon lived from 1561 to 1626, he was a brilliant man. I was unable to find out if he was a true man of faith, his statements could lean both ways, and his choices in living leave room for doubt. He was a strong proponent from separating faith from science. He lived in a time when if the church didn’t agree with a scientific advance it would act against further research. He was a strong proponent of empiricism and the scientific method. Bacon has been called the Father of Empiricism.
His basis premise
Scientific knowledge builds upon itself. It advances steadily and cumulatively, discovering new laws and making new inventions possible. It then enables people to do things that otherwise could not be done, therefore knowledge is power. Much of his struggle was to push against the traditions of thinking that we all hold. We need to push past old thinking, formulate new thoughts and then prove them to be real.
Mr. Bacon always put an emphasis practical thinking and work. Of being able to prove an idea rather than just thinking it might be true. He advocated separating science from religion in order to let science advance more quickly to help people needing it, rather than needing to vet ideas through religious teachings.
He never saw the mind as a blank slate, but more of a mind with knowledge written on it that had to be overwritten for progress to be made. So we have to write over what he calls “the Idols”.
These Idols are
1. Idols of the Tribe – human nature leads to false concepts which leads to distorted reflections.
2. Idols of the Cave – the doctrines which are dear to the individual without knowing if they are true.
3. Idols of the Marketplace – human communication and semantics and how words change
4. Idols of the Theatre – Ideas taught by other philosophies which create fictional worlds.
ALL these idols create problems with people fooling themselves all the time. The scientist needs to battle against all these idols in order to gain true knowledge of the world.
As I sit here pondering Francis Bacon and his idols I have to wonder… is he so far off the truth? The truth is .. sin changes us in ways that we don’t even fully comprehend because we grow up in a world filled with it. As Christians we have fight against our natural tendencies to live the way God would want us to, kinda like how Mr. Bacon saw scientists needing to fight against their preconceived notions in order to arrive at a proper scientific result. To be mindful of their culture, word usage, doctrines and philosophical outlooks. They needed to learn to keep an open mind and to rewrite how they thought. So to we have to do the same eh? Not just in science, but in lives of faith.
Mr. Bacon only applied this to the field of science and not to a persons whole and didn’t really take God into account (other than to dismiss him from the field of scientific inquiry).
Divergence from Truth
Francis Bacon strongly believed the science needed to be separated from religion in order to make quicker advances. I question whether this approach is truly effective. I know it’s one that many ascribe to, that science needs to stand on it’s own. I just wonder if it limits. For instance, many scientists fully embrace evolutionary theory as fact and often base their opinions around it. It’s not really a religion…but it’s a tenet highly held to. Should that premise then also be tested and removed from consideration? If it was, would scientific advancement increase then? If religion needs to be removed, perhaps theories should be as well. Just thinking, you may have your own thoughts. Does taking faith out of the equation truly limit advancement in science?
Want to test your thinking and learn to seek after truth? Check out my printable.