Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bacon's argument against science.

In Sir Francis Bacons “The New Atlantis” he goes a bout critiquing the scientific community and the ways Science was used in his time. He believed that scientists were elitist who thought that they were better than the common man. He describes them as coming down from the “order of society sometimes called Salomon’s House and sometimes called the College of the Six Days of Work” every 12 years to bless the people with the new scientific facts that they believed were ok to be released to the public. He believed that the scientists of his time were more closely related to the powerful clergy of the time as opposed to the common man, and he backs this up by describing there lavish clothes and lifestyles of the scientist at that time.

Bacon criticizes the scientists by saying that there should be a moral limit on scientific endeavors. He belived that there was a limited amount of space in society for science, and if too much was given to the people than they would end up losing a lot of the cultural and moral values that had been passed on to them. Bacon believed in a “balance” between to two and he argued to have science brought back down to a normal level. In Salomon's House, where the elite of Bacon's scientific community would decide which inventions to publish and which to hide. This was a way to protect people and society from the overuse of science.

The difference in the approach to his critique of science was different than the Augustans and even modern day attacks on science. Bacon took the path of not criticizing the actual science that was taking place but he attacked the use of science and the effects it was having on society. This view was in contrast to the Augustans like Pope, who believed that science was “worst than the beast”, and with his fellow Augustans he went after the fundamental cores of science and the negative effects on man.

The majority of arguments of the time would not stand up after the post Darwinian era. Over time the Baconians put to rest the Augustans school of thought on science, and I believe that if Sir Francis Bacon were alive any time after the mid 19th century, would most likely believe in Natural Selection, because he essentially created the inductive reasoning methods used to develop Darwin’s theory. This method of inductive reasoning used to be known as the “Baconian Method” but is now known as the “Scientific Method.” Bacon later went on to form the British Royal Society is known as one of the Fathers of modern day science ironically.

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