Saturday, September 20, 2014

Putting some bacon on Bacon.

(For your information, I'm not talking about Kevin Bacon puh...leeees!)

Someone posted this in one of the Facebook group that I manage and  I think what the guy wanted was to prove that scientific-minded people like er… Sir Francis Bacon are smart people that believed in God (Weh?) and atheism is not a logical mindset.

So first, I become suspicious with the post so I tried looking for the quote, "Little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God."

I tried Yahoo, Google and Wiki, yet it seems the said quote only appeared on Christian propaganda sites. I guess the quote is a mistranslation of Sir Francis Bacon's original quote.

More research and I came up with this....
"It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." Now this quote appeared in Bacon's Essays (1625), 16, "Of Atheism"

Looking at Bacon's biography, we find that Bacon lived well, in the early 17th century. Woah... that was quite long ago. He was a devout Anglican and known to mixed his scientific approach and his Christian beliefs. That was too evident in his essays, especially in The New Atlantis. He believed that  we can only study arguments for the existence of God, knowledge of God's nature, action, and purposes through special revelation. Special revelation? From whom, from God? Uh, so to know God, I must first receive a special revelation to God. Hmmm... like I'm riding a Merry-Go-Round, huh? Scientific thinking huh?

So Ok, now, the question is...
Does Sir Francis Bacon's belief implies atheism is wrong?

To answer the question, let us just remember what Michael Shermer said in his book "Why People Believe Weird Things." 

“Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”

It's called "logic tight compartments" and that's why as Mr. Shermer discussed in Scientific America, "educated people can, in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, believe that that evolution is a myth, that global warming is a hoax, that vaccines cause autism and asthma, that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush administration, conjecture no more. "

Further readings see:
Logic-Tight Compartments (Scientific America) January 2013. 
Essay XVI Of Atheism

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer (ISBN 0-8050-7089-3) 1997 Henry Holt and Company

Smart People Believe Weird Things (Scientific America) September 2002

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