Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Quote of the Day (Sir Francis Bacon, on Helps to ‘Overcome the Necessities and Miseries of Humanity’)

“[L]et us hope… there may spring helps to man, and a line and race of inventions that may in some degree subdue and overcome the necessities and miseries of humanity.”— English author, courtier, and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), “The Plan of the Instauratio Magna,” in Charles W. Eliot, Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books (1909-1910)

The most prominent among all these “helps” today are the vaccines developed, in near-record time, to deal with COVID-19. All the more reason, then, to feel frustration over the many people who have still chosen not to be vaccinated.

In his advocacy for inductive reasoning as part of the scientific method, Bacon was the herald of a more enlightened age that lengthened lifespans and improved quality of life. We now have to ask whether the tides of disinformation previously confined to politics are now reversing the gains he helped bring about.  

When public health becomes just another entrenched front in the never-ending culture wars, you can say goodbye to any hope to a return to the everyday life we once knew.

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