If one now asks why science arose as it did, it was Francis bacon which spread its doctrines. It is evident that the geographical dicoveries of his time, and the circumnavigation of the earth, had promoted an independent examination of the natural world. Formal theology had been shaken, and the rise of the common man had begun. The Puritan desire to rebuild an earthly paradise, even in the wilds of the New World, was growing. This is not to equate science with Puritanism alone, but it does suggest something about the Reformation, almost in spite of itself, playing a part in the emergence of a scientific movement, which, a generation or so after bacon, recognized his significance as the great spokesman for the scientific method itself and all that was to follow in its train.
Bacon’s analysis of the “cave of custom” and the necessity of understanding the “Idols” that distort the thinking of the average man, are the product of long observation of men under emotional stress. He warned that knowledge without charity could be as dangerous as the modern world has finally discovered it to be. In contrast to today’s warring nationalisms, Bacon spoke in The Great Instauration of bearing a strong love for ” the human republic, our common country.”
Bacon was intent to turn man into an actively anticipatory creature, rather than a backward yearning one. In doing so, he contended against great obstacles. He fought against the vested interests of the Scholastic teachers indifferent to experiment and change; particularly, the widespread belief that the classical past would never be equalled because the world has sunk in decay and is destined to perish at no very distant date. This last notion, which was widely accepted and promoted, was destructive of initiative and conducive to indifference.