Science Should Provide Useful Information

Bacon also thought that science could and should change the world for the better. Science would fur- nish the knowledge that would improve technology, and improved technology would improve the world. As evidence for the power of technical knowledge, Bacon (1620/1994) offered the inventions of print- ing, gunpowder, and the magnetic compass:

These three [inventions] have changed the whole face and condition of things throughout the world, in literature, in warfare and in navigation. From them innumerable changes followed, so much so, that no empire, no sect, no star has been seen to exert more power and influ- ence over the affairs of men than have these mechanical discoveries.

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The practical knowledge furnished by science was so important for the betterment of society that Bacon believed that scientific activity should be generously supported by public funds. With his interest in practical knowledge, it is interesting that Bacon died on April 9, 1629, following complica- tions from a chill he experienced after stuffing a chicken with snow in order to test the effect of cold temperatures on the preservation of meat.

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