Unsound history

On Friday The Guardian had a short post on the recently posted Israeli Newton archives. The author concentrated on the interrelatedness of science, religion and occult in Newton’s work. As can be imagined the rapidly expanding comments column is a cesspit of ill informed opinion, prejudice, ignorance and just plain steaming crap. I briefly contemplated letting the HISTSCI HULK loose on it but then decided that the resulting post would be so long that I’d still be writing at Easter so I dropped the idea. However I just couldn’t resist this one.

A pro-religious commentator bigredeye posted with approval a longish quote from Francis Bacon’s On Atheism essay. This was responded to by SoundMoney, who apparently is not very sound on Early Modern Period English political history.

Not surprising. Like Francis Bacon, the father of modern science. Bacon’s essay on atheism is still so pertinent

There was a certain obligation on Queen Elizabeth I’s ministers to openly profess the state religion, with somewhat career-shortening consequences if you did not.

 Firstly, for those not up to speed on the life and times of  “the father of modern science” Bacon was never a minister under Elizabeth first achieving this honour under James. Secondly, for those not clued in on his publishing activities On Atheism was first published in 1612, nine years after Elizabeth’s death!

About these ads

4 Comments

Filed under History of science, Humour, Myths of Science

4 responses to “Unsound history

  1. friendsofdarwin

    Furthermore, Queen Bess tended not to persecute people for their religious beliefs. True, she did have a number of Catholics put to death, but this was usually for plotting against her (i.e. treason), rather than for their religious views (albeit their religious views were presumably the reason they were plotting against her in the first place). Elizabeth I’s (and her father’s) argument with Rome had little to do with religious differences; their main concern was who should be in charge.

  2. Pingback: More Reflections on Historical Expertise | Darin Hayton

  3. Pingback: More Reflections on Historical Practice | Darin Hayton

  4. Pingback: R. G. Collingwood on Historical Practice | Darin Hayton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s