Bacon's "Enchanted Glass"

What the LGBTQ+ Movement is Actually Reflecting

It was the rather low regard for the fallen human mind, besieged as it were by sin, that drove Francis Bacon, the "Father" of the Scientific Method, to formulate a new epistemology in his Great Instauration. In this brilliant man of faith's view, the Adamic fall left an indelible mark on the human intellect, such that in its total depravity and persistent infirmity it could not be trusted to generate knowledge that was in any way free from bias, wrong presuppositions, or contradictions.

Bacon called these incapacitating mental infirmities "idols of the mind," maintaining that they inhibited the entrance of truth1. Mincing no words, he opined,

For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.2

Historians of science have argued that Bacon's cynical view of the mind was informed largely by his theology3. Bacon acknowledged, as many of the other Reformers in his day, that the Fall not only imbued humanity with a proclivity to act immorally, but also the penchant to misinterpret things as they really appear, cleaving to falsehood. Unduly influenced by education and culture, our thoughts ". . . minister to us infinite errors and vain opinions, if they be not recalled to examination2." For the philosopher and statesman Bacon, the enchanted glass—that lens by which the corrupted human mind interprets the world—distorts reality by reflecting a story of nature that is not true, but rather malformed. 

Recognizing then, the limitations of the human mind for revealing truth by mere logic and deductive reasoning, Bacon posited an altogether different means for knowledge acquisition: experimentation3—repeated experimentation—within the context of a scientific community (natural philosophers in his day). Bacon's inductive methodology facilitated an explosion in knowledge of the natural world and accompanying technological advancement: from the development of antibiotics to the harnessing of wind power. Philosophical opines having their origins from an enchanted glass then—at least for the time being, were viewed with healthy skepticism.

Bacon was all too aware that in history past, musings emanating from the enchanted glass of the most brilliant minds—when embraced vociferously by the public did much to hold back scientific progress; he berated these as "idols of the marketplace1." One need only to revisit the history of how Aristotelian astronomy impeded the progress of Galileo's observational astronomy —to the end the latter was condemned to prison (later commuted to house arrest)—to observe the power of the marketplace's idols.

Fast forward to today: the progress and advancement of the Baconian methodology which informs us that males and females are fundamentally different—in every way imaginable, is being challenged by a new idol of the marketplace: transgenderism. The idea ". . . that gender identity can be dissociated from biological sex4 . . ." was popularized in the 1960's by psychologist John Money at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Money, believing that gender was a societal construct, counseled the family of baby David Reimer—who suffered damage to his penis as a result of a botched circumcision—to raise him as a girl (who was later to be called "Brenda"). Touting the life of Brenda Reimer as "evidence" gender is as malleable as what the surgeon's knife and hormone treatment can wield, the movement gained traction. What has been little reported is the fact that Brenda was miserable playing with dolls and upon learning what happened to him as an infant, he immediately began living life as a male and eventually married a woman4. This fact of early transgender history notwithstanding, the movement gained steam and relevance in the "marketplace."

Today, this marketplace idol has such relevance that state and federal laws have been passed treating people who identify as genders they are not born with as a protected category. School districts are implementing curriculum teaching children as young as five, that the biological gender they were born with informs them little as to whether they are genuinely boys or girls. The world of Baconian science would assert that the presence of x or y chromosomes, primary sexual characteristics (and after puberty, secondary ones), and certain innate competencies and strengths, informs gender. By contrast, the enchanted mirror of transgenderism—not reflecting the true incidence of things as they are in nature, betrays this empirical view, instilling confusion.

Bacon spoke with great force against the staying power of the idols of the marketplace. Fortunately, for the world of astronomy the distorted rays reflecting a geocentric model for the universe that held sway for millennia, were deflected and the model was replaced; thanks to a powerful observational method. One can hope that the contorted rays pugnaciously emanating from the LGBTQ+ marketplace will similarly be deflected and the transgender model for gender will be disposed to its rightful place in history, right alongside geocentrism.

Notes:
1. Bacon, F. (2016). New Atlantis and the Great Instauration. John Wiley & Sons.
2. Bacon, F. (1952). Advancement of Learning, second book, for Mortimer J. Adler.
3. Harrison, P. (2007). The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science. Cambridge University Press.
4. Pearcey, N. R. (2018). Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality. Baker Books.

Emily has had a lifelong appreciation for science, teaching, and research. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno with a BS degree in molecular biology and a minor in cognitive psychology. As an undergraduate, she conducted summer research in immunology, microbiology, behavioral and cognitive psychology, scanning tunneling microscopy and genetics; she also published research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and co-authored a chapter on scanning tunneling microscopy. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology at University of Cincinnati and a Certificate in Apologetics with the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Emily has had the joy of teaching high school chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, anatomy & physiology, and pre-engineering classes over the last thirteen years. As a former Darwinian evolutionist, Emily enjoys stating the case for intellectual agency, considering the arguments posited by the intelligent design movement as much more credible than those proffered by Darwinists.

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