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Francis Bacon -- archaic in his way. And yet, I think, crucial.

Bacon proposed: A reconstruction of the sciences, arts and all human knowledge to extend the power and dominion of the human race...over the universe.

In the 17th century, Bacon's ideas for systematizing science were crucial in the foundation of the Royal Society of London and also in the French project which became the Enclyopedie of Dennis Diderot. He lived between the time of Galileo and the time of Newton. His statue, sitting, made of marble in his expensive pantaloons, is next to that of Newton in King's College, Cambridge.

Bacon's New Atlantis is a utopia about a society founded on science. The basis of the Royal Society was that ideas should be tested experimentally, proved, published and then re-tested to challenge them. If a scientific experiment cannot be repeated, then it must be judged false. Earlier science had done this. The Royal Society of London with its Proceedings systematized the process. No longer was discovery so random. The idea of peer review was born.
The idea was one of a totality of knowledge, leading to a totality of control.

With this came the idea that the good life, human progress, emanates not so much from service to God. It comes from the harnessing of science to make invention and from inventions to develop mechanical processes for the manufacture of things or the extraction of the materials that make things.

Problems arise, as now, when knowledge is not total and when we suffer the sensation that going forward may lead us back. The more we invent, the more we consume, the more we pollute. I am not dogmatic about this. I am saying that it can happen. Which is why I invented Planet Technopolitana to be a place where we can ask questions.

I think this is relevant to now. Bacon wanted 'dominion of the human race...over the universe.' We don't have that. We do have dominion over our own universe, this planet. Increasingly, we do. My question, which is not an exact one, is about whether we have come to worship invention and progress to such a degree that we can't go back on where we are.

Can we? Or do we want to? I don't know the answers. I do think that while scientists frequently reject God or his 'existence', it is possible to argue that science has become our God. As it was heresy in the middle ages to doubt divinity and people went to the stake for arguing specific dogma, is it not now heresy to say we have too much development?











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