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Essay/Term paper: Atlantis

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Medicine

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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
on 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 existence 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 belief 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 likeness'
and 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
asking 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 sought self preservation. As
Bacon put it, "they had already prepared for
death" (Bacon, 419). After the Feast of the
Family, the father of Salomon's House has a
conference with the travelers. The father says, "I
will give the greatest jewel that I have. For I will
impart to thee... a relation of the true state of
Salomon's House" (Bacon, 447). The greatest
'jewel' is not one of monetary value but of
knowledge. The father continues, "The End of our
Foundation is the Knowledge of Causes and
secret motion of things, and the enlarging of the
bounds of Human Empire, to the affecting of all
things possible" (bacon, 447). This is the turning
point from religion to science and science
becoming the new civil religion. From this comes
the ability of human rule over Nature. It was stated
before that they were interested in "God's first
creature which was light" (Bacon, 437). This
contradicts an earlier statement that "It is
dedicated to the study of Works and Creatures of
God" (Bacon, 436). The former obviously an
indication to science as the latter is to religion.
Bacon stresses the importance of 'light' as the
precursor of 'fruit' to suggest that they are
following the divine instrument. There are two
images used by Bacon to refer to knowledge,
torture and light. The torture refers to the violent
twisting of nature's secrets. Nature must be
conquered but is not adverse to the conquest. The
forces of Nature are against us, but in a rather
passive manner. Light, on the other hand, is the
meaning for natural philosophy. From Salomon's
house there go forth 'merchants of light' and
'lamps'. Light is identified with truth. Supposing
that light is symbolic of natural philosophy, then it
dismisses the case of light being divine philosophy.
The light in Bacon is primarily the light of Nature.
The obvious contrast here is one between "gold
and silver and light" (Bacon, 437). Light, here is
noble where gold and silver are base. The 'noble
light' is for the beneficence of all man. Bcaon took
the modern spirit and weaved them together so as
to suggest a method by which man could master
the universe. He did this to the end that he might
exhibit therein a model or description of a college
instituted for the interpreting of nature and the
producing of great works for the benefit of man.
The island community of Bensalem also has "two
long and fair galleries" (Bacon, 456). In one
gallery the native place all manner of patterns and
samples of rare and excellent inventions. In the
other gallery are placed statues of inventors. It is
interesting to note here that while the island and its
natives act in "so civil a fashion" (Bacon, 423) in
professing to be Christian and religious that they
place science so high on their list. Science is
placed so high that instead of having statues of
God and his works, they erect statues of inventors
of the western world thereby showing their
commonness and baseness to human preservation.
They do, however, have "certain hymns and
services, which (we) say daily, of laud and praise
to God for his marvelous works" (Bacon, 457).
But, even this is done "for the illumination of (their)
labors and the turning of them into good and holy
uses" (Bacon, 457). The statues are erected to the
memory of what the natives consider most
important for in Bacon, the scientists are a
consecrated priesthood. In Bacon's NEW
ATLANTIS, religion plays an important role.
However, it is a role of cover-up. It covers up the
true idea that Bacon is trying to get across -
science as the new civil religion. Although he
relegated religion into a realm of its own outside of
and different from philosophy, he held that there
were religious laws that man must obey whether or
not they appeared reasonable. By freeing theology
and philosophy, Bacon was able to shape
philosophy so that it might undertake an unbiased
study of the universe. This left man subject to the
will of God and thereby shorn of his freedom. It is
obvious that this creation could not long satisfy the
thinking mind as it was far too contradictory. The
laymen have a genuine thirst for knowledge yet
they cannot know what is uncovered either by
religion or by science.  

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