Bacon's New Atlantis and Science

@rcohlers you will want to see this interesting article by @jongarvey

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Also, let’s remember that @rcohlers first raised Bacon’s work here: Clinton Ohlers: Two Parables on Divine Action.

This is important, because he is a Bacon scholar, and may be submitting some work on this soon. I’m looking forward to reading it!


I would also encourage people to read the article, no matter your views on science and religion. It is really well written and asks some great questions.

One of the thoughts I have after reading the article is how Bacon would feel about studies looking into intercessory prayer and health outcomes.

I’m certain he would believe the were neither blinded nor well controlled. He would also likely believe that God healed people in present day, and in true accounts passed down in Scripture.

Interesting - there were one or two scandalous miracles around about Bacon’s time - I think possibly a little after, but no matter, for the logical point is the same. There was some nororious woman who claimed to deliver rabbits, who deceived some quite notable scholars of the time.

But Bacon (assuming he wasn’t having an off-day) would be dealing with the quality of the evidence, I think, rather than questions of impossibility based on principle (though I’m not sure theological considerations of gratuitous miracles wouldn’t have had a bearing on the case.) After all, when spontaneous generation of frogs is part of standard science, human generation of bunnies isn’t so much of a leap.

So how he’d have dealt with answered prayer, assuming the witness was credible (and see Dan Deen’s recent piece on Bauckham re that), would be to accept that God could, and does, certainly act providentially. What’s more problematic to me is how he fitted such providence into his natural/supernatural dichotomy - it seems to me a weakness in a theistic science like his.

@T_aquaticus - thanks for the compliment :slightly_smiling_face:


What do you think @Philosurfer?

What’s the theological judgment on intercessory prayer? It seems to incorporate a strange view of God, i.e. that one can get him to do something he would not have done otherwise. What sort of God is influenced by such things?

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