Francis Bacon was the founder of the modern scientific method. The
focus on the new scientific method is on orderly experimentation. For Bacon,
experiments that produce results are important. Bacon pointed out the need
for clear and accurate thinking, showing that any mastery of the world in
which man lives was dependent upon careful understanding. This understanding
is based solely yyon the facts of this world and not as the ancients held it
in ancient philosophy. This new modern science provides the foundation for
modern political science. Bacon's political science completely separated
religion and philosophy. For Bacon, nothing exists in the universe except
individual bodies. Although he did not offer a complete theory of the nature
of the universe, he pointed the way that science, as a new civil religion,
might take in developing such a theory.
Bacon divided theology into the natural and the revealed. Natural
theology is the knowledge of God which we can get from the study of nature and
the creatures of God. Convincing proof is given of the existance of God but
nothing more. Anything else must come from revealed theology. SCience and
philosophy have felt the need to justify themselves to laymen. The belieft
that nature is something to be vexed and tortured to the compliance of man
will not satisfy man nor laymen. Natural science finds its proper method when
the 'scientist' puts Nature to the question, tortures her by experiment and
wrings from her answers to his questions. The House of Solomon is directly
related to these thoughts. "It is dedicated to the study of Works and the
Creatures of God" (Bacon, 436). Wonder at religious questions was natural,
but, permitted free reign, would destroy science by absorbing the minds and
concerns of men. The singular advantage of Christianity is its irrationality.
The divine soul was a matter for religion to handle. The irrational soul was
open to study and understanding by man using the methods of science.
The society of the NEW ATLANTIS is a scientific society. It is
dominated by scientists and guided by science. Science conquers chance and
determines change thus creating a regime permanently pleasant. Bensalem,
meaning "perfect son" in Hebrew, has shunned the misfortunes of time, vice and
decay. Bensalem seems to combine the blessedness of jerusalem and the
pleasures and conveniences of Babylon. In Bacon's NEW ATLANTIS, the need for
man to be driven does not exist. Scarcity is eliminated thereby eliminating
the need for money. "But thus, you see, we maintain a trade, not for gold,
silver or jewels... nor for any other commodity of matter, but only for God's
first creature which was light" (Bacon, 437). This shows a devotion to truth
rather than victory and it emphasizes the Christian piety to which the
scientist is disposed by virtue of his science. As man observes and brings
the fruits of his observations together, he discover likenesseees anbd
differences among events and objects in the universe. In this way he will
establish laws among happenings upon which he can base all subsequent action.
Bacon realized that sometimes religious ideas and the discoveries of nature
and careful observations were contradictory but he argued that society must
believe both.
The NEW ATLANTIS begins with the description of a ship lost at sea.
The crew "lift up their hearts and voices to God above, who showeth his
wonders in the deep, beseeching him of his mercy" (Bacon, 419). Upon spotting
land and discerning natives the sailors praise God. When a boarding party
comes to their ship to deliver messages, none of the natives speak. Rather,
the messages are delivered written on scrolls of parchment. The parchment is
"signed with a stamp of cherubins' wings... and by them a cross" (Bacon, 420).
To the sailors, the cross was "a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain
presage of good" (Bacon, 420). After the natives leave and return to the
ship, they stop and ask "Are ye Christians?" (Bacon, 421). When the sailors
confirm that they are, they are taken to the island of Bensalem. On Bensalem,
the sailors are 'confined' to their resting place and are attended to
according to their needs. The sailors reply, "God surely is manifested in
this land" (Bacon, 424). Upon talking to the governor the next day, he
exclaims "Ye knit my heart to you by yyasking this question, [the hope that
they might meet heaven], in the first place, for it showeth that you first
seek the kingdom of heaven" (Bacon, 427). This is not true. The sailors have
already sought food, shelter and care of the sick. In other words, they had