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Roger Bacon(c. 1214-`1294) was an English Franciscan friar, philosopher, and early proponent of empiricism and the scientific method. He studied alchemy, astrology, and mathematics and conducted many early scientific experiments. Pope Clement IV consulted him on the matter of integrating science and theology. His major works include Opus Tertium, Opus Minus, and Opus Majus.

Carlyle argues that intelligence and creativity arise from nature and God rather than from institutions and society. Bacon exemplifies a gifted individual who recognized that his talents were products of a higher power rather than human invention. However, Carlyle’s praise of him appears strange considering Bacon’s devotion to alchemy and astrology, since “Signs of the Times” mocks mystics and prophets for their “fatidical fury” and disregard for the present state of society. Carlyle likely saw BaconÕs dedication to the Franciscans and his placing experimentation above past authority as more important.


Redgrove, H. Stanley. Roger Bacon: The Father of Experimental Science and Medieval Occultism. London: W. Rider & Son. 1920.

[Wikipedia Contributors.] "Roger Bacon." Wikipedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation. 10 March 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon.

Last modified 7 April 2010