Sir Frances Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Galileo, Astronomy, & the Scientific Revolution

American Minute with Bill Federer

The Renaissance of the 15th century led the Reformation of the 16th century, followed by the Scientific Revolution — a period of increased understanding in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, physics, science, biology, anatomy, chemistry, and philosophy.
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One of the individuals credited for pioneering the “scientific method” was Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626).
Bacon was Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of Britain, being knighted in 1603 by King James I, during whose reign Jamestown, Virginia, was settled – England’s first permanent settlement in the New World.
Bacon’s writings were instrumental in the founding of the Royal Society of London in 1660 under King Charles II, which brought together the greatest scientific minds in England.
He is quoted in the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building, on the dome above the North lobby of the Great Hall’s stairway:
“KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – Sir Francis Bacon, De Hoeresibus.”
Bacon advanced “inductive reasoning,” where evidence is empirically and methodically observed with our senses, pointing to a probable conclusion.
This is contrasted with Aristotle’s “deductive reasoning,” where one starts with a generalization or major hypothesis, adds minor, specifying premises, then reasonably and logically predicts what the evidence should be.
Another Bacon quote is displayed in the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building is in the West Corridor, on the South tablet:
“The first creature of God was the light of sense; the last was the light of reason. – Bacon, Essays, Of Truth.”
The longer quote is:
“The first creation of God, in the works of the days, was the light of sense; the last was the light of reason, and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of the spirit.”
Bacon wrote:
“There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”
Bacon wrote in Novum Organum Scientiarum, 1620:
“Man by the Fall fell at the same time from the state of innocence and from his dominion over creation.
Both of these losses, however, can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences.
For creation was not by the curse made altogether and forever a rebel, but in virtue of that covenant ‘In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread’ it is now by various labors at length, and in some measure subdued to the supplying of man with bread; that is to the uses of human life.”
Bacon wrote in Sacred Meditations, 1597:
“God saw the works of His hands and they were exceeedingly good;
when man turned to consider the works of his hands, behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit.
Whereof if you will do God’s works your sweat will be like aromatic balm and your rest like the Sabbath of God; for you will work in the sweat of a good conscience and rest in the leisure of sweet contemplation.”
Bacon wrote in History of the Winds, 1623:
“Without doubt we are paying for the sin of our first parents and imitating it. They wanted to be like gods; we their posterity, still more so.
We create worlds. We prescribe laws to nature and lord it over her. We want to have all things as suits our fatuity (foolishness), not as fits the Divine Wisdom, not as they are found in nature.
We impose the seal of our image on the creatures and works of God, we do not diligently seek to discover the seal of God on things.
Therefore not undeservedly have we again fallen from our dominion over the creation;
and though after the Fall of man some dominion over rebellious nature still remained … we have for the most part forfeited by our pride, because we wanted to be like gods and follow the dictates of our own reason …”
He continued:
“Wherefore, if there be any humility towards the Creator, if there be any reverence and praise of his works;
if there be any charity towards men, and zeal to lessen human wants and sufferings;
if there be any love of truth in natural things, any hatred of darkness, any desire to purify the understanding;
men are to be entreated again and again that they should dismiss … those inconstant and preposterous philosophies …
that they should humbly and with a certain reverence draw near to the book of Creation … that on it they should meditate, and that then washed and clean they should in chastity and integrity turn them from opinion.
This is that speech and language which has gone out to all the ends of the Earth, and has not suffered the confusion of Babel; this must men learn, and resuming their youth, they must become as little children and deign to take its alphabet into their hands.”
Sir Francis Bacon wrote in Essays: Of Goodness (NY: Tryon Edwards, D.D., A Dictionary of Thoughts, Cassell Publishing Co., 1891, p. 71):
“There never was found, in any age of the world, either philosophy, or sect, or religion, or law, or discipline, which did so highly exalt the good of the community, and increase private and particular good as the holy Christian faith …
Hence, it clearly appears that it was one and the same God that gave the Christian law to men, who gave the laws of nature to the creatures.”
Profound statements of Bacon include (NY: Tryon Edwards, D.D., A Dictionary of Thoughts, Cassell Publishing Co., 1891):
  • “I had rather believe all the fables in the Talmud and the Koran, than that this universal frame is without a mind.”
  • “They that deny a God, destroy man’s nobility; for clearly man is of kin to the beasts by his body, and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.”
  • “Knowledge is not … for a proud mind to raise itself upon … but a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man’s estate.”
Bacon wrote regarding charity in Instauratio Magna, 1620-23:
“I would address one general admonition to all;
that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or any of these inferior things;
but for the benefit and use of life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity.
For it was from the lust of power that the angels fell, from lust of knowledge that man fell;
but of charity there can be no excess, neither did angel or man ever come in danger by it.”
Regarding virtue, Bacon stated (NY: Tryon Edwards, D.D., A Dictionary of Thoughts, Cassell Publishing Co., 1891):
  • “Certainly, virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.”
  • “A man’s nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one and destroy the other.”
  • “Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it.”
  • “We cannot too often think there is a never-sleeping eye, which reads the heart, and registers our thoughts.”
  • “He that studieth revenge keepeth his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.”
  • “In revenge, a man is but even with his enemies; but it is a princely thing to pardon, for Solomon saith, ‘It is the glory of a man to pass over a transgression.”
Regarding God and government, Bacon stated (NY: Tryon Edwards, D.D., A Dictionary of Thoughts, Cassell Publishing Co., 1891):
  • “All precepts concerning kings are comprehended in these: remember thou are a man; remember thou art God’s vice-regent.”
  • “God hangs the greatest weights upon the smallest wires.”
  • “There never was found, in any age of the world, either religion or law that did so highly exalt the public good as the Bible.”

Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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