Background

The Background Tab: If you want to understand the idea of “fundamentalist science” and its history from the bottom up, start with this page and the Background tab.  There you will find everything in the Category: Philosophy, Definitions, History and Societal Effects.  Why? because science has philosophy at its base, it’s history is its trunk, its form was influenced by society and its fruits have blessed or cursed society, depending on how properly it was conducted and applied.

Who am I? I’m nobody — but when it comes to science, you should regard everybody as a nobody. Don’t be impressed too much by “experts” or Ph.D.s or Nobel prizes. In science, all that matters are hard data. Look at that and always be suspicious about the difference between what people say we know and what we really know for sure, between what people claim are “facts” or “scientific facts” and things that have truly been so well determined and demonstrated that everybody can agree they are true. And then remember that even things thought to be like that have turned out to be wrong.

Here’s how I plan to break down this tab into sub-categories:

1. Philosophy, Definitions, Logic
2. History of Fundamental Science
3. History of Philosophical Naturalism
4. History: Darwin
5. Society: Contextual movements, affects on and by sciene
6. History: Scientists
7. History: General context, timelines
8. Living and recent creationists
9. Contemporary Converts
10. 21st Century evolution vs creation

The two posts I recommend reading first are:

Calm down; it’s probably not what you think

and

I’m not claiming this is my idea…

The latter is rather long, so you might prefer this somewhat shorter version:

Sir Francis Bacon and The Foundations of Science

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was not a scientist or “natural philosopher” as they were known in his time. He worked in the
British government. He left office in disgrace, having been convicted of bribery. His writings, however, described the method of
studying the workings of nature as natural philosophers had begun to do, putting in print the heart of what was to become known
as science. From this and my research on the history of science I have forged “my” idea of fundamental science, which properly
leaves out both evolutionism and creationism and has produced all the practical benefits attributed to science. Some of the data
produced can be used (or explained, or explained away) by both sides, but that debate is outside the bounds of fundamentalist
science. Personally, I consider the strongest evidence to favor belief that Divine Creation is the best explanation for life, the
universe, and everything.

So much for the introduction. Now for some quotes from Bacon himself.

Notes from _The complete Essays of Francis Bacon, Including The New Atlantis and Novum Organum_ With an introduction by Henry
LeRoy Finch, Washington Square Press, Inc, New York, 1963.

p. 6 (of this book), _Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral_ 1: “Of Truth”:”Certainly there be that delight in giddiness and count
it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that
kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as
was in those ancients.” This contradicts the view of modern “free thinkers” who attribute to their past counterparts the source
of the Scientific Revolution.

In the Preface of his _The Great Instauration_, Bacon sets out the need for a new approach to science (which actually was already
taking shape), as he would describe further in his later works. One point of criticism of earlier scientific endeavors might well
be applied to evolutionism (p. 156): “…if sciences of this kind had any life in them, that could never have come to pass which
has been the case now for many ages — that they stand almost at a stay, without receiving any augmentations worthy of the human
race; insomuch that many times not only what was asserted once is asserted still, but what was a question once is a question
still, and instead of being resolved by discussion is only fixed and fed…” Do we not see evolutionary studies still trying to
establish minor points, even ones that are compatible with creationism, such as the basic effects and power of natural selection?
Yes, and even late in the 20th century and later, we’ve seen fanfares for studies that supported “evolution” in the sense of
slight difference in the average size of individuals in a population, or the loss of a pair of spines. For every new
“transitional form” they discover, re-examination of another shows it was really a special case farther off to one side of the
imagined line to later types, and a half-dozen more unique fossils needing more intermediate forms are discovered. Things like
Mendelian inheritance patterns, DNA, and bacterial resistance to antibiotics have been discovered without regard to evolution,
and only later grafted into evolutionary studies and arguments.

As described in “The Plan of the Work,” Bacon regarded “his” alternative, organized approach to scientific studies as “a kind of
logic,” but one grounded firmly on concrete observations, rather than relying on purely mental constructs. The universities up to
that time held the deductive logic developed by the Greeks in the highest regard. It is often illustrated by the example, “1) All
men are mortal. 2) Socrates is a man. 3) Ergo, Socrates is mortal.” A very clear and mathematically precise and certain form of
reasoning — as far as it goes. Bacon wrote (p. 167) “I on the contrary reject demonstration by syllogism, as acting too
confusedly, and letting nature slip out of its hands.” For all the consistency and certainty of the formal proofs using deductive
logic, if the meaning of the words don’t have a proper connection to their application to the natural world, then the “proofs”
also are inapplicable. A parallel problem in a broad sense exists with evolutionism, in which SOME form of evolution is the ONLY
possibility for “scientific” explanations, GIVEN the (false) premise that ONLY entirely natural explanations must be used and
everything that ever existed in this universe must be so explained.

Bacon did not disdain theory and logic, but only those forms that were set apart from the physical world while supposedly used to
describe or explain the physical world. These were (p. 168) “Barren of works, remote from practice,” as noted earlier.

In place of this barren, distant form of logic, Bacon wrote, “…in dealing with the nature of things I use induction
throughout… For I consider induction to be that form of demonstration which upholds the sense, and closes with nature, and
comes to the very brink of operation, if it does not actually deal with it.” Furthermore, Bacon’s plan was to avoid jumping to
generalizations and broad theories that would then drive all further investigation. “Now my plan is to proceed regularly and
gradually from one axiom to another, so that the most general are not reached till the last.”

Bacon’s plan was not to use a simplistic inductive logic “which proceeds by simple enumeration,” but “a form of induction which
shall analyse experience and take it to pieces, and by a due process of exclusion and rejection lead to an inevitable
conclusion.” We see here the seed of the reductionism which has often been taken too far and has become a support for
materialism, but what Bacon was getting at was simply that, rather than concluding from a number of examples that a general
statement could safely be made, scientists should thoroughly and carefully examine the examples to see what (if any) was the
reason for what appeared to be a general rule, tendency, or law of nature. Furthermore, rather than being a closed, self-
sufficient system (p. 169), “…I hold that true logic ought to enter the several provinces of science armed with a higher
authority than belongs to the principles of those sciences themselves, and ought to call those putative principles to account
until they are fully established.”

I would say that the key to the success of the Baconian system was and is the checks and balances built into it, the caution and
distrust towards proposals until they had proved themselves trustworthy by both logic and testing or thorough examination in the
physical world. Even simple direct observations were not to be trusted on their own: “Then with regard to the first notions of
the intellect; there is not one of the impressions taken by the intellect when left to go its own way, but I hold it for
suspected, and no way established, until it has submitted to a new trial and a fresh judgment has been thereupon pronounced. And
lastly, the information of the sense itself I sift and examine in many ways.” This is the basis for the ideal self-correcting
nature of science — not the modern, facile sense of making corrections years after hasty conclusions have been reached, but not
making statements in the first place greater than the data can truly support.

Furthermore, experimental testing was not to be an accessory to observation, but the foundation of all scientific progress. “To
meet these difficulties, I have sought on all sides diligently and faithfully to provide helps for the sense… and this I
endeavour to accomplish not so much by instruments as by experiments. For the subtlety of experiments is far greater than that of
the sense itself, even when assisted by exquisite instruments; such experiments, I mean, as are skilfully and artificially
devised for the express purpose of determining the point in question.” (p. 170) Modern philosophers of science cannot really go
farther than this — they merely point out that there is even less certainty involved than Bacon realized, even with experiments,
and that science can’t prove anything with the level of certainty Bacon seems to have anticipated. What it comes down to is that,
with all the weaknesses of our senses, the only areas of science we can have confidence in are those that are subject to direct
and repeated examination and testing, using our senses with the aid of instrumentation. “And thus I conceive that I perform the
office of a true priest of the sense (from which all knowledge in nature must be sought, unless men mean to go mad)…” Note that
he specified, “in nature,” reserving knowledge of the supernatural to Divine revelation.

All of the controversial areas of science, especially in creation vs evolution, concern statements that depend on assumptions
applied to circumstantial evidence. Wherever science stays within the bounds of Baconian caution, there can be no controversy,
and the farther it goes on simple observations and applications of logic that assume naturalism, the more it falls prey to being
impractical, barren, controversial and just plain false. It’s all very well for modern philosophers to tout the “bold leaps” of
theorists, but only those theories that can be submitted to extensive testing or at least direct observation in different ways
have produced results everyone can agree on, let alone be of practical use.

(p. 171) Bacon saw his system, replacing older frameworks for studying nature and taking into account the difficulties in
acquiring true knowledge of nature, given the nature of our minds, “as the strewing and decoration of the bridal chamber of the
Mind and the Universe, the Divine Goodness assisting; out of which marriage let us hope (and be this the prayer of the bridal
song) there may spring helps to man, and a line and race of inventions that may in some degree subdue and overcome the
necessities and miseries of humanity.”

Excuse me for belaboring a point, but as Bacon neared the end of sketching out “The Plan of the Work” for _The Great
Instauration_ (which he never did complete), he proposed what amounts to an experimental test of his system itself, on one of the
main points of criticism of the old, haphazard and esoteric ways of studying nature (p. 176): “the fortune of the human race will
give the issue; — such an issue, it may be, as in the present condition of things and men’s minds cannot easily be conceived or
imagined.” As he’d pointed out, earlier endeavors seemed to be going in circles or throwing revolutions only to build different
but still untrustworthy systems, and producing little that was new, but now, if he was right, “his” system would produce both “a
line and race of inventions” for practical benefits, and also discover things so new that nobody at that time could imagine them.
(Indeed, Bacon’s attempts to imagine such things in _The New Atlantis_ may seem amusing to us, having seen how they actually
turned out.)

Scientific knowledge drifted further away from its moorings as it drifted from the anchor holds that Bacon (and other founders of
modern science) held to and advocated: sticking close to the facts, and not wandering off on the basis of humanistic
philosophies: “And all depends on keeping the eye steadily fixed upon the facts of nature and so receiving their images simply as
they are. For God forbid that we should give out a dream of our own imagination for a pattern of the world; rather may he
graciously grant to us to write an apocalypse or true vision of the footsteps of the Creator imprinted on his creatures.”(p. 177)
In other words, the vision of God’s handiwork in creation was to be (and for hundreds of years, it was) the solid rail-bed and
track for scientific progress, and Bacon foresaw that inserting an imaginary framework which ignored that vision (as some
scientists began to do a generation or two before Darwin) would lead to a God-forsaken end.

It’s important to note that, just as he did not rely on a simplistic form of induction, so Bacon did not slavishly embrace
empiricism when he wrote of the importance of sticking to facts. In _The New Organon_, Book I, section LXIV (p. 206 in this
book), he wrote: “But the Empirical school of philosophy gives birth to dogmas more deformed and monstrous than the Sophistical
or Rational school. For it has its foundations … in the narrowness and darkness of a few experiments. … I foresee that if
ever men are roused by my admonitions to betake themselves seriously to experiment and bid farewell to sophistical doctrines,
then indeed through the premature hurry of the understanding to leap or fly to universals and principles of things, great danger
may be apprehended from philosophies of this kind; against which evil we ought even now to prepare.” Unfortunately, men let the
success of science in increasing our understanding of nature to inspire the fantastic idea that everything in the universe could
be explained by natural forces as they are observed here and now, and even with no significant variation in the level or rate of
natural processes.

In contrast, Bacon fully accepted the universe began with an act (or acts) of miraculous Divine creation. Several of the previous
quotes indicate that an appreciation of nature as the work of God in general was at the very heart of his system. But there is
also reason to believe that he accepted the description of creation in Genesis 1 in its particulars as well as in a general
sense. In section LXX he writes, “Now God on the first day of creation created light only, giving to that work an entire day, in
which no material substance was created.” Clearly, Bacon not only accepted this detail, but understood it in a specific literal
sense. We may never be able to understand just how God created light, but Bacon accepted that God created light and nothing
else on the first day, even though the context here is as an example: “So must we likewise from experience of every kind first
endeavour to discover true causes and axioms; and seek for experiments of Light, not for experiments of Fruit.” In other words,
although Bacon saw science primarily as a means of producing practical benefits for humanity, he saw the importance of putting
basic research, the “what’s a baby good for?” kind of studies, first.

Bacon repeats these thoughts in CXXI (pp. 254- 255), in defending his work against the criticism that “many things…will seem to
be curiously and unprofitably subtle,” arguing “at first and for a time I am seeking for experiments of light, not for
experiments of fruit; following therein, as I have often said, the example of the divine creation; which on the first day
produced light only, and assigned to it alone one entire day…” We may take as a sign of his true belief in a literal six-day
creation the fact that he also uses as examples things that nobody would say are mere allegories, such as “the letters of the
alphabet” and “the seeds of things.” He contrasts these “subtle” studies of nature with the abstract reasonings of the
scholastics, “useless not only in their origin but also in their consequences; and not like those I speak of, useless indeed for
the present, but promising infinite utility hereafter.”

Another example of Bacon’s emphasis on judging science by its eventual products is in LXXIII (p. 216), “Of all signs there is
none more certain or more noble than that taken from fruits.” Of course, this is in harmony with the Biblical principle of
recognizing things by their fruit. Again, in LXXIV (p. 217): “Signs also are to be drawn from the increase and progress of
systems and sciences. For what is founded on nature grows and increases; while what is founded on opinion varies but increases
not.” Yet again, LXXXI (p. 222): “It is not possible to run a course aright when the goal itself has not been rightly placed. Now
the true and lawful goal of the sciences is none other than this: that human life be endowed with new discoveries and powers.”

In section LXXII (p. 224), Bacon writes that “the true method…first lights the candle… even as it was not without order and
method that the divine word operated on the created mass.”

In contrast to Bacon’s concept, I’ve encountered an evolutionist or two who went so far as to disparage the idea that science is
based on experimental confirmation. Even the author of the introduction to this book emphasized the importance of theory.
Evolutionists say things like, creationists will “drag us back to the dark ages,” but it is their emphasis on pure reason,
consensus, plausibility, logical parsimony, etc., and their downplaying of facts and experiments that would return science to
that state. There was a similar attitude hampering science before the 17th century: “an opinion … vain and hurtful… that the
dignity of the human mind is impaired by long and close intercourse with experiments and particulars, subject to sense and bound
in matter… experience being…rejected with disdain.”

(LXXXIII, p. 225) “Again, men have been kept back as by a kind of enchantment from progress in the science by reverence for
antiquity, by the authority of men accounted great in philosophy, and then by general consent.” (LXXXIV, p. 225)

Another reversal we see today is the return (if it ever went away) in academia and government-funded science to what is now
called “political correctness” or censoring of ideas outside the established views — only now, the ancient authority is Darwin
and the “common way” of thinking is evolutionism. Section XC (pp. 232- 233): “For the lectures and exercises there are so
ordered, that to think or speculate on anything out of the common way can hardly occur to any man. And if one or two have the
boldness to use any liberty of judgment, they must undertake the task all by themselves… For the studies of men in these places
are confined and as it were imprisoned in the writings of certain authors, from whom if any man dissent he is straightway
arraigned as a turbulent person…”

At the start of XCIII (p. 236), Bacon emphatically states, “The beginning is from God… who is the author of good, and the
Father of Lights.” When science was cut off from God, is it any wonder it wandered into darkness? Bacon goes on to note: “Nor
should the prophecy of Daniel be forgotten, touching the last ages of the world: — ‘Many shall go to and fro, and knowledge
shall be increased;’ clearly intimating that the thorough passage of the world… and the advancement of the sciences, are
destined by fate, that is, by Divine Providence, to meet in the same age.”

Bacon saw his method as a sort of path between extremes (XCV, p. 237): “Those who have handled sciences have been either men of
experiment or men of dogmas… from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the
rational…much may be hoped.”

CIII (p. 242) – – Bacon describes how his system carefully builds from particulars to “axioms,” which in turn give “light” for
seeking new particulars, and so on…

CIV (p. 242) – – He emphasizes that “The understanding must not however be allowed to jump and fly from particulars to remote
axioms,” but only by “a just scale of ascent, and by successive steps not interrupted or broken…” It seems to me that this is
exactly where the early non-Scriptural geologists and Darwin went wrong — they took simple observations and jumped to
conclusions far beyond what they could actually justify by them.

CV (p. 243) He rejects “the induction which proceeds by simple enumeration” as “childish.” His form of inductive research “must
analyse nature by proper rejections and exclusions…” He foresaw that his method would eventually result in “very many things
… which no mortal has yet thought of…”

CXXI (p.254) He acknowledges that at first many aspects and products of his system “will seem to be curiously and unprofitably
subtle,” but emphasizes “that at first and for a time I am seeking for experiments of light, not for experiments of fruit;
following therein, as I have often said, the example of the divine creation; which on the first day produced light only and
assigned to it alone one entire day, nor mixed up with it on that day any material work.” He also compares this early work to
“the letters of the alphabet” and “the seeds of things.” He contrasts this with the efforts of “the schoolmen… such as were
useless not only in their origin but also in their consequences.”

CXXIX (p. 261) “Again, discoveries are as it were new creations, and imitations of God’s works…” (p. 262- 263) “But if a man
endeavour to establish and extend the power and dominion of the human race itself over the universe, his ambition (if ambition it
can be called) is without doubt both a more wholesome thing and a more noble than” ambition for self or country. I’m afraid Bacon
underestimated the power and potential for corruption in the pride of humanism.

_New Atlantis_
(p. 286) A New Atlantean describes “an Order or Society which we call _Salomon’s House_; … dedicated to the study of the Works
and Creatures of God.” It is “called … sometimes the College of the Six Days Works; whereby I am satisfied that our excellent
king had learned from the Hebrews that God had created the world and all that therein is within six days; and therefore he
instituting that House for the finding out of the true nature of all things, (whereby God might have the more glory in the
workmanship of them…) did give it also that second name.”

(p. 287) “God’s first creature, which was _Light_”

(pp. 297- 307) A fuller description of this institute by one of its “Fathers” describes its purposes or aim as “the knowledge of
Causes, and the secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of Human Empire, to the effecting of all things
possible.” In all the details of their work and researches, nothing is said about discovering the origins of things. Some of
Bacon’s attempts to imagine the unimaginable produce results that now seem bizarre, such as reproducing rains of small animals:
“also generations of bodies in air; as frogs, flies, and divers others” and “means to make divers plants rise by mixtures of
earths without seeds…” and again, “We make a number of kinds of serpents, worms, flies, fishes, of putrefaction…” Perhaps
worst of all is the mention of “perpetual motions.”

However, most of the works are of a practical nature, such as refrigeration; medicine and other treatments for health; applied
botany or scientific husbandry; breweries, bakeries, and kitchens; mechanical arts; furnaces of various sorts; “demonstrations of
all lights and radiations”; the study of precious stones and fossils; “we practise and demonstrate all sounds, and their
generation”; artificial scents and flavors; “instruments for all sorts of motions”; “We have also a mathematical house… all
instruments, as well of geometry as astronomy”; and “houses of deceits of the senses… juggling, false apparitions, impostures,
and illusions; and their fallacies.” The items of spontaneous generation and the perpetual motions are scattered through these,
but also in them are almost prophetic pictures of modern lighting, lasers, radio or other means of sound transmission and
reproduction, aircraft and submarines.

(p. 306) “We have certain hymns and services, which we say daily of laud and thanks to God for his marvellous works; and forms of
prayers, imploring his aid and blessing for the illumination of our labours, and the turning of them into good and holy uses.”
How sad that, from this model, we have come so far that many see science and religion as enemies, or at best, things which must
be kept apart!