Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
We live in Francis Bacon’s world. Before him, populations had been subject to plague and famine on a scale difficult to imagine today. In arguing that nature could be understood and put to human service, Bacon changed the course of history, saving countless lives.
In his quest to conquer nature, Bacon became the father of modern science but, as such, he introduced the scientism that has shaped the world since. In this engaging critical work, Innes provides a compelling Reformed analysis of a complex man’s complex legacy—and in so doing, shows us how to engage thoughtfully with scientific philosophies and technologies that surround us today.
“Innes gives an insightful analysis of the sixteenth-century thinker Francis Bacon, whose vision was foundational to the rise of empirical science and technology. Indeed, Baconianism has become part of the very intellectual air we breathe, which is why it is crucial for Christians to think critically about Bacon’s influence—both on Western culture and on our own thinking. Innes skillfully disentangles the elements in Bacon’s thought that are compatible with biblical truth . . . from the elements that are contrary to biblical truth, and therefore destructive both personally and socially. . . . Innes is a reliable guide, and this book will be especially helpful to readers concerned about how science and technology have shaped the modern worldview.”
—Nancy R. Pearcey, Professor of Apologetics and Scholar-in-Residence, Houston Baptist University
“Francis Bacon is a key figure in introducing a new way of thinking about the world, at the heart of which is optimistic reliance on scientific method. David Innes has given us a nuanced, thoughtful, and critical introduction to Francis Bacon, in his life and thought. His book moves from Bacon’s views to assess the larger issues about science and its dominating role in modern aspirations for knowledge, power, and happiness. I heartily recommend the book as a path for rethinking the role of science from a Christian point of view.”
—Vern S. Poythress, Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach
“Fascinating study of the controversial role played by Francis Bacon in fashioning the worldview of modern science. While keenly appreciating the many benefits of science and technology, Innes probes the darker side of Bacon’s thought that helped give rise to a scientific enterprise largely unbound by moral restraint. Subtle, provocative, and exquisitely relevant to our current culture.”
—John G. West, Vice President, Discovery Institute; editor, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society; author, Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science