... that the Baconian method is suitable also for vegetarians?
Sir Francis Bacon, born 1561 in London, began his professional life as a lawyer, but became best known for his early investigations about the method of science, called the Baconian method. In case you had never heard from that guy before, here is what you definitely know:
It was Bacon was is who concluded
Scientia potentia est.
(Knowledge is Power.)
~Francis Bacon, Meditationes Sacrae, 1597
The Baconian method essentially suggests you clear up your mind from all prejudices before you try to do science (Idols of The Mind: Tribe, Cave, Marketplace, Theater), and then approach the issue constructively (pars construens) in three steps:
- The table of presence ("tabula praesentiae") lists all the cases wherein the phenomenon exists whose formal cause is sought [...]
- The table of absence ("tabula absentiae") lists all the cases in which the phenomenon under analysis does not appear to be present [...]
- The table of degrees ("tabula graduum") lists the increase and decrease of the given phenomenon in one object or in different objects.
This third table [...], should bring us to know the formal cause (law) of the phenomenon itself. It is not always easy to arrive at a formulation of the law [...]. In such a case we must be content with a temporary or working hypothesis, and await new instances, new experiments."
The recent results from high redshift supernovae, and the implications for our knowledge about the nature of dark energy (constraints on the equation of state), are a nice example for 'new instances' that can be included in the 'tables'. Hopefully, the new data will eventually allow us to extend our current 'working hypothesis'. So far, dark energy still is essentially a parametrization for some mysterious component of our universe whose origin we don't understand - but a parametrization which works annoyingly well! For more info about the new supernovae data, see Sean's post at CV or Clifford's post at Asymptotia.
But back to Sir Francis: early in the year 1626, he applied his method of scientific research to investigate the possibility of using snow to preserve meat. While stuffing the chicken with snow, he contracted a fatal case of pneumonia, and died on April, 9th 1626.
See also: Wikipedia on the Baconian method
TAGS: FRANCIS BACON, SCIENCE, BACONIAN METHOD, USELESS KNOWLEDGE