Talk:Francis Bacon/Archive 3

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Sexuality POV again[edit]

As pointed out previously, there was a long series of discussions back in 2007 (documented in the Archives) involving many editors that reached a consensus paragraph that succinctly summarized the two viewpoints of Bacon's sexuality:

Several authors, such as A .L. Rowse, author of Homosexuals in History,[1][2] believe that Bacon was homosexual. This conclusion has been disputed by other authors, such as Nieves Mathews, author of Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination,[3][4] who consider the sources to be questionable and the conclusions open to interpretation.

Recently there has been insistance on adding discussion of an article from Journal of Homosexuality and despite objections to adding more material to this paragraph, it has been repeatedly re-inserted. Now the further quote from Oxford Dictionary of Biography that states "While there is no certainty about Bacon's sexual orientation or identity, the likelihood that he may have been homosexual is undeniable" is being repeatedly added. I disagree with these repeated attempts to portray Francis Bacon as a homosexual. He had two love relationships with females (Marguerite & Elizabeth) that have been been written about by various authors, and he married a thrid - Alice Barnham.

If you want to know what Francis Bacon thought of homosexuality, then consider his personal conception of what would constitute an ideal society in his own words. Just as Thomas More wrote Utopia as his vision of an ideal society, in 1623 Bacon's aspirations and ideals were expressed in The New Atlantis. This was his creation of an ideal land where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit" were the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of Bensalem. Franics wrote of "the faithful nuptial union of man and wife," regardless of alliances and positions. In his vision of his ideal society, homosexuality did not exist. He wrote: "As for masculine love, they have no touch of it, and yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world as are there", and "there is not under the heavens so chaste a nation as this of Bensalem.". Arion 3x3 (talk) 16:39, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Is this really a POV issue? To be fair, I have gone through the archive and there wasn't really any consensus (just a lot of unfortunate squabbling). I don't think we can, or need to, prove beyond doubt that Bacon was homosexual, do we? In the context of this article it is sufficient to highlight that certain academics or sources cite evidence to suggest the likelihood that he was homosexual. That's all we can do in an encyclopaedia. Bacon married Alice Barnham very late (when he was 48 years old); and in a society where pre-marital sex was shunned, a 'love relationship' with either Marguerite or Elizabeth need not necessarcly have amounted to much. The evidence is of his vision of an ideal society is, I think, more compelling. However, to reiterate - we do not need to prove in this article that he was (or was not) homosexual - we just need to cover it objectively. To do this I think we definately need to include the Aubrey quotation. Contaldo80 (talk) 08:46, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. In a biographical article in an encyclopedia, presenting both sides of the homosexual controversy needs to be done dispassionately and without overemphasis. Secondary sources are helpful in such an endeavor. Otherwise this article will appear amateurish and trivial. Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:39, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Precisely. All the sources cited here show that it would be incorrect to portray Bacon as exclusively heterosexual and equally as exclusively homosexual.
Such evidence as there is surely indicates that he was a bisexual person. That is all the article can say. Straw Cat (talk) 22:12, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

The sentence that the "likelihood that he may have been homosexual is undeniable" doesn't even make sense. "Likelihood" implies possibility, "may have been" is dubious, and how that leads to the conclusion of "undeniable" is ridiculous. If you were a lawyer in a courtroom your entire case would be thrown out because the "likelihood" of anything that "may have been" and leads to "undeniable" is simply indefensible and incredulous. The entire sentence should be struck because it has no legs to stand on. Sage 1133 (talk) 04:41, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't it make sense? I think it does ( - and if you're looking for water-tight evidence then I suggest you spend some of your energy on more suspect parts of the article...) It says that on balance there is not enough evidence outright to settle once and for all either that Bacon was homosexual or heterosexual; but rather that it is undeniable that the balance of the evidence is loaded towards the former and not the latter. The quote also comes from an impeccable source - the Dictionary of National Biography published by the University of Oxford (incidentally you won't find in there anything about Bacon being Elizabeth's hidden son or 'life' after death....) If there is more evidence to suggest Bacon was homosexual, then how can one reasonably ensure that both sides of the debate are equally balanced. Is there even a controversy?! I'm going to see if I can track down the books by Nieve Matthews and Ross Jackson to see what arguments they actually make (we have yet to see them - but I'm not encouraged that Jackson has written his book as a commentary on a work of fiction. And one that suggests William Shakespeare wasn't capable of writing his own work). What evidence is there that he was predominantly heterosexual? He married Alice Barnham (when he was 48) and had no children; he had 'love affairs' with Marguerite and Elizabeth (but not sexual relations); he described the ideal state of affairs in his New Atlantis as 'nuptual union between man and wife' (and yet did not himself commit to such a vision until late in his life!) I'm all for making tha article professional and avoiding amateurism, but do find it odd that there is very little debate on highly dubious assertions about Elizabeth I, the Rosicrucians, Shakespeare and a feigned death; and yet reams of discussion about whether the guy was gay! Are we really being professional enough?Contaldo80 (talk) 15:42, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

As someone pointed out last year, Francis Bacon's fame is due to his historical impact as a philosopher, Parliamentarian, scientist, essayist, lawyer and politician. Any speculation regarding his sexuality is irrelevant to his notoriety. Arion 3x3 (talk) 22:09, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

If there is not enough evidence outright to settle once and for all Bacon's sexuality, why is it even being discussed? If you were to follow the line of thinking that's proceeding here, you'd have to list after everyone in Wikipedia if they were hetero, homo or whatever, and if there's material that debatable, settle on bi! That's a slippery slope and one full of conjecture and sets a precedent for every other article.Sage 1133 (talk) 03:48, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

I've been debating this issue in good faith and have taken great pains to present credible evidence of Bacon's homosexuality. The issue is relevant as it deals with his private life and personal relations and has been raised by historians so is an issue of interest to some; the character of the man as well as his works ( - incidentally the text referring to the 'relationship' with Margueritte has not been questioned by anyone in the same way as being 'relevant'!) I have approached this in an academic way, presenting arguments and citing reputable sources. But it's clear to me now that some of the material being used to refute the issue of homosexuality is bordering on the eccentric. The main text has a reference from Ross Jackson(Shaker of the Spear): first a novel and then a companion to the novel. I have found that Jackson is not even a historian. He has a Ph.D. in Operations Research (apparently the theory and practice of 'problem solving'). His books not only claim that Shakespeare's plays were written by Bacon (disputed by the majority of historians and critics - and indeed anyone who has read the plodding and heavy language used by Bacon in his verified writing); he claims Elizabeth I and Dudley were married - with Bacon as their child; that Bacon was a Rosicrucian; and that Bacon was the reincarnation of Plotinus and Plato. Now I think we're agreed that any wikipedia article needs to be of a high standard. Using Jackson to support any aspect of the text brings the whole article into serious disrepute. We haven't even been presented with the evidence Jackson supposedly uses against homosexuality? I would be grateful to actually see it. It seems absurd to say that because Bacon married Alice Barnham then that settles the case. I discovered this week (from the Du Maurier biography) that in 1603 Bacon indicated his desire to Lord Burghley to marry in order to counteract his waning influence at court, and the woman he had set his sights on (Alice) was 11 years old! We need to get a little serious with this whole issue and present text purely on the basis of hard facts - whenever I try to quote John Aubrey in relation to this section it is disputed and I find this both unfair and illogical. Maybe we need some sort of independent arbitration to sort this, and I would be grateful for anyone's suggestion as to how to go about doing this. Contaldo80 (talk) 23:25, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I object to the effort to discredit Ross Jackson's excellent compilation of research on Francis Bacon: The Companion to Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story.
  • First of all, I have just meticulously gone over every page of this book and I have verified that the claim by Contaldo80 that Jackson believed that Bacon was a reincarnation of Plato is untrue. In fact the only reference to Plato that exists in that book is the quote from Percy Bysse Shelly about Francis Bacon: "He is the greatest philosopher-poet since Plato."
  • This volume by Ross Jackson is a valuable tertiary reference source. He has assembled the evidence that he used in his historical novel Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story, and in this compilation he reviews the "enormous amount of material made available on these issues by an army of researchers and historians."
  • Jackson has reviewed and presented evidence regarding Bacon's possible authorship of the Shakespeare works, the homosexuality speculation, his role as the son of Elizabeth I and his relationship to Robert Devereux (Earl of Essex), the alleged love affair with Margueritte, his role in founding Rosicrucianism, in the establishment of settlements in America, and his alleged role in the editing of the King James Bible.
  • As for the homosexual speculation, Jackson wrote: "We do not know what sexual preferences Francis Bacon had. Some writers have claimed he was a homosexual. However, his utopian work The New Atlantis suggests quite the opposite. Bacon's ideal society specifically excluded "unnatural lust" and the story relates, "as for masculine love, they have no touch of it." Some writers have quoted occasional letters referring to his 'bedfellows', but this term had a quite different, non-sexual meaning in the 17th century as compared to our times. Due to a simple shortage of beds, it was quite common at the time to share what was available with friends of the same sex. Celibacy would seem a more likely path, given Bacon's high spiritual development, but the fact is that no one really knows. In any case, it is not important." Arion 3x3 (talk) 00:12, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The issue is actually of some importance because certain authors have suggested that the reason that Bacon was not promoted earlier under Elizabeth I was that she knew about (and disapproved of) his pederasty. He faired much better under the new king - James I. That's really why the issue is important and of interest - but the article doesn't give a chance to reflect this. But I'm sorry I really don't think the Jackson book has any place in this article - there are much better sources. Jackson is not a historian or academic and his book is acknowledged as a piece of fiction (I can't even find the book in any library or bookshop). In addition there are really too many sources from the 1920s and 1940s in this article - it gives the whole thing a very odd slant. If we can't replace them with something newer then they'll have to go. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:47, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Surely all modern biography, at least since Lytton Strachey, has accepted that the sexual relationships of subjects is relevant; especially so with a politician. I agree that some sort of arbitration may be necessary here. Straw Cat (talk) 18:19, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Of course it's relevant; but I see no reason for arbitration. In this type of Wikipedia article, such information shouldn't be laboured. A balanced paragraph about Bacon's sexuality, reffed to some decent sources like Zagorin, Jardine/Stewart, Matthews, or Epstein should suffice. qp10qp (talk) 18:28, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm absolutely happy to follow this suggestion. Avoid labouring the issue but present some evidence (from both sides) and main academic proponents - and why it impacts upon Bacon's life. At the moment the section reads awkwardly. Problem is that every time we try to redraft the section (for example to include the quote from John Aubrey - an important source) - the text is reverted. Contaldo80 (talk) 08:49, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I fully agree that a balanced summary paragraph stating both sides of the issue (as quoted at the beginning of this section) is the proper academic approach. The quantity of text devoted to this should not be laboured, as Qp10qp pointed out. I would venture to say that the paragraph quoted at the beginning of this section on this page is well balanced and serves this purpose very nicely. Emery (talk) 00:23, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

No, as it doesn't really say very much - at least we should give some reasons on either side (and set out why it is important in the context of Bacon's life and career). Otherwise we're left in the odd position that this issue is dealt with in 3 sentences while controversies on rosicrucian membership, faked death, parentage of Elizabeth I, and Shakespearean authorship are each covered in detail in 3 or 4 paragraphs (even though homosexuality is covered in mainstream and reputable publications, and the other controversies are not). Contaldo80 (talk) 12:09, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

I have restored the "Personal relationships" section which Contaldo removed. He is trying to convince us that Francis Bacon was a homosexual by moving the mention of his alleged romantic relationship with Margueritte to another section, and eliminating any mention of Francis' relationship with Elizabeth Hatton. And I beg to differ with his characterization of "Journal of Homosexuality" as an example of "mainstream and reputable publications." Emery (talk) 01:28, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Restoring deleted material is fine - and should be encouraged. However, deleting properly added material is a no-no. Let's keep the POV in check and represent both sides of these arguments. Smatprt (talk) 17:41, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

I apologize, but I must differ with any assertion that discussion of an article that appeared in "Journal of Homosexuality" has any place in a scholarly biography about Francis Bacon. This is indefensible. I do agree that POVs should be kept in check. Therefore the obvious attempt to add more material that would artificially place more weight on the side of the homosexuality hypothesis, instead of keeping the satisfactory and balanced statement that has previously been on this article is not acceptable. Additionally, the statement regarding both sides of the argument more appropriately belongs in the "Personal relationships" section. Emery (talk) 07:05, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but you are ignoring your own earlier statements: "** It does not make any difference whether any of us believe an addition to the Wikipedia article is ridiculous or unimportant - as long as there are references as to the sources. As long as scholars, academic researchers, or authors have written about that subject, if it is related to the subject of the article, then their theories are validly referenceable on Wikipedia." You wrote that last year. So in turn, it does not matter what your personal opinion of the Journal is, the fact remains that the journal is more current than most of the references, and is contributed to and published by academics. You can't continue to delete properly sourced material like this and expect it not to be considered vandalism. Smatprt (talk) 07:26, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

(Dick Emery) - I removed the material on Marguerite as it's highly speculative. It only appears in books from the 1910s and 1940s. There is nothing on the wiki article page for Marguerite about a relationship with Francis Bacon. If you can cite a mainstream source that confirms a relationship between the two then it can stay (likewise contribute to the wiki article on Marguerite)- otherwise it is frankly nonsense and seems to support a trend of material that implies that Bacon was of 'royal blood' and therefore was comfortable relationships with other royals! I also removed the material on Hatton as it appeared again in a book from the 1940s (Dodd). I don't doubt that Bacon later regretted not marrying her as he certainly needed the money her dowry would have brought! I'm happy to have something on Hatton - it's important - but from a more recent source. This fixation on the homosexuality issue means that improvements to the rest of the article are being left out. We need to improve all source material please! Contaldo80 (talk) 16:29, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Assertions that material in a biographical article in an encyclopedia needs to be removed if references cannot be found that have been published only in the last several decades are absurd. To make this more plain: I cannot even begin to see the reasoning behind that baseless hypothesis. Yet Mr. Contaldo continues to repeat that as if this is some generally held academic view. Emery (talk) 19:47, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
There is a certain sense in it, but we need to be careful. Wikipedia is a gradualist enterprise and sources need to be improved over time. In the short term, people will use the sources they have at hand. As I understand Wikipedia policy, verifiability is the threshold, but only the threshold. After that, policy is to use the "best sources". I think that we do have some appalling sources used in this article (Dodd makes me shudder; and there are others), but at least they are sources, which means that we can check them (and at some point replace them, if we see fit). This is better than no sources at all, or a vague list of references at the bottom of the page. It's a start. So I do not think sources should be removed without being replaced: the idea is to replace them with something better—and I am afraid that with Bacon that does usually mean relatively (last four decades) recent sources. I'm talking about the likes of Epstein, Zagorin, Jardine/Stewart. I am just a little reluctant to work on this article until some kind of consensus is reached about the way forward. I am a non-reverter and therefore ill-suited to a revert-war atmosphere. qp10qp (talk) 20:18, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

In response to (Dick Emery) - wikipedia is not strictly an academic resource. However, we should try to discipline ourselves as much as possible in order to take an academic approach, and to improve the credibility and usefulness of the site. In general academic practice it is usual to use material that is up-to-date unless of course it is either seminal or influential. I don't think this claim can be made for the material under the Francis Bacon article from 1912 or 1940. If recent material is available to support the text - for example with regard to Marguerite and Hatton (and I am aware that it does exist with regard to Hatton) - then these should simply be used in place of the earlier sources cited. If more recent material is not available then we really do have to question how reliable these earlier sources are - particularly in light of the fact that many scholars have looked at the life of Francis Bacon since the 1940s and historical research methods are much improved on those in the past. This is particularly important if we want to reach the aspiration of reaching 'featured article' status. Also please do not call me "Mr. Contaldo" - I have not invited you to interact on such familiar terms (and you may also be making suppositions); I would be grateful if you would follow proper wikipedia etiquette. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:19, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

My friends, the greater wisdom is to be inclusive of all the excellent research by scholars and historians over the last 150 years, and not to exclude what was not written in the last 4 - 6 decades. We should document the massive quantities of meticulously documented information that exists as to the brilliant accomplishments of Francis Bacon. Namaste. Sujata Kapila (talk) 20:07, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

I am all for inclusiveness but suggest that this approach is a recipe for disaster - it's not really good academic practice. Firstly we need to distinguish between primary and secondary sources - primary sources are those written from people around at the time of Bacon (or shortly thereafter). Secondary sources are commentaries on these. We should not really be quoting 150 year old sources for this article unless they are seminal works of great influence. The risk is that historical methods in the past were far from rigorous, and a lot of the conclusions drawn are dubious. Macaulay's 'History of England' is a magisterial work, but subsequent research has revealed significant errors. Also there is the fact that loads of material is available from recent years - from good reliable and verifiable academic soruces. Bacon is a popular subject. Why can't we just use material from these? If modern historians haven't included a piece of information then it's probably not worth covering; and frankly we're scraping the bottom of the barrel if we need to find a quote from something written 80 years ago in order to support a sentence in the text. Contaldo80 (talk) 11:13, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Agree totally. And I would add that the age of sources isn't the only factor: academic credibility is another. Francis Bacon is one of those subjects that has attracted a great deal of non-specialist writing. This body of work needs to be kept at arm's length: firstly because we have scholarly sources to cover all the accurate information, and secondly because the conspiracy theories about Bacon in which such books deal are "faction". I mean things like the Bacon cipher, the idea that he wrote Shakespeare's plays, the notion that he might have been Elizabeth I's son, the fantasy that he had an affair with Marguerite de Valois ... and other wild speculation. qp10qp (talk) 12:55, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

And interestingly the book by Nieves Mathews on character assassination actually looks at these fringe theories in some detail, and maps how they have developed over the centuries - detracting from the real achievements of Bacon (ie his writings). Contaldo80 (talk) 13:42, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I must vigorously disagree with the notion that the article is "scraping the bottom of the barrel" by using research from published works from 80 years ago. I also must insist that there be a balanced representation of the homosexuality subject -- without an over-emphasis of one viewpoint over another. Therefore the discussion of the homosexuality magazine article, tipping the argument toward one side, is not a correct way. Sujata Kapila (talk) 20:28, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Age of works is not in itself a problem, Spedding's nineteenth-centruy scholarship still stands up, and Gardiner is also a good nineteenth-century commentator on Bacon, despite a certain Whig bias. But it is in the nature of scholarship to climb on the shoulders of its predecessors, and so it is generally bad practice to challenge modern scholarship with earlier scholarship, let alone to supplant it, as we do, in places, in this article.
On the question of homosexuality, I think it is straightforward: let us reference some modern opinions from scholarly presses (say Jardine/Stewart, Zagorin, and Mathews: those three would give us both sides of the argument) and have done with it. qp10qp (talk) 16:48, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes I also agree the age of works is not a problem, and that these should not take the place of modern scholarship. But these older reference works must not be excluded. As for the homosexuality topic, I humbly believe that the paragraph that is quoted at the top of this section does give both sides of the argument. Sujata Kapila (talk) 20:48, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the suggestion to include Jardine, Zagorin and Mathews. I think there should also be an explicit reference to Aubrey. However, I don't necessarily believe that the para as it currently stands is biased. There is more evidence to suggest that Bacon was homosexual - this is generally the mainstream academic line - hence you would expect there to be more to support the idea. It would be odd to give equal credence to all arguments. Even Mathews - who has been quoted to support the argument against homosexuality - only argues that Bacon was at best uninterested in sex. She accepts that he married in order to secure his place at court and for financial reasons, and not love, and that he preffered the company of men in all instances. And again can we look beyond this narrow issue - the sections on rosicricianism do not in my view offer balanced evidence - let's get on and do some work there rather than repeatedly going over old ground. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:25, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Let this be clearly understood. No consensus was reached on including the "Journal of Homosexuality" article discussion in the Wikipedia article on Francis Bacon. Emery (talk) 10:49, 15 July 2008 (UTC) "consensus" is required to add information to articles. The deleted section was properly added and properly referenced. Now if you want to build a consensus to have a section removed, then feel free to try. Better yet - try ADDING to the article instead of simply deleting. Smatprt (talk) 00:15, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

You must stop adding the homosexual journal synopsis to this article. Namaste. Sujata Kapila (talk) 02:58, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Sujata. Less is better. Simply ADDING to an article doesn't make it better. Sage 1133 (talk) 04:07, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Adding properly sourced, on topic material (that is also more recent than most of the referencing in this article) does indeed make the article better. It's rather amusing that some editors have no problem adding in fringe theories about Shakespeare or royal parentage, but can't bring themselves to include the "H" word. Might we leave the puritan ethic at the door and simply make the article the most in depth and thorough it can be? Or is homophobia going to control this article? Smatprt (talk) 05:22, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I again reaffirm my agreement with all the other editors who have clearly stated that a short balanced statement of both sides of the homosexualy hypothesis is acceptable. What is not acceptable is the insertion of the "Journal of Homosexuality" article summary into that statement. Trying to slant the presentation towards the homosexual view is unacceptable. And what is expecially intolerable among intelligent adults engaging in rational discourse is the flinging of labels such as "homophobia" and edit summaries that claim to be reverting a "vandal" (which is what was directed at me today). Emery (talk) 15:48, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

All I want to see is a balanced statement as suggested by Dick Emory. In politics if you don't get your way, you go on a personal attack. It has no place in chronicling someone's life. Sage 1133 (talk) 19:45, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I provided the text of an unbiased and fair statement about homosexuality at the beginning of this section of the discussion page. It is the actual balanced version that was worked out - by consensus - last year which presents both sides fairly. Is there anyone that would like to argue for an unbalanced and unfair version? Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:25, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

If contributors here are really serious about presenting balanced information then can I suggest they do so under the sections dealing with marguerite, parentage, rosicrucians, faked death etc which are frankly fringe (and shouldn't really be included at all). I have seen no evidence that some are prepared to do that. The bulk of mainstream authors believe Bacon to have been attracted to other men - that does not mean that he was necessarilly an active homosexual - he may have been chaste. It is important (i) because that was part of his character (and certainly no less of interest than a supposed 'love affair' with the queen of France; and (2) as some scholars have suggested this is why he was passed over for high office by Elizabeth (or 'mummy' as she may have been known). The text should therefore include references to the main supporting works; citations of aubrey and D'Ewes (the key sources) and something about the politics of the issue Then let's bring this to a close. I don't care whether he was gay or not but I do care about being intellectually honest. It is not sufficient to say that equal space be given to arguments for and against as the arguments against are less significant and convincing than thos for. Contaldo80 (talk) 21:06, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I would add that it is disingenuous to suggest that the question is balanced, when the Marguerite angle weights the evidence in favour of Bacon's heterosexuality. qp10qp (talk) 21:55, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I disagree that there are any convincing arguments for Bacon being homosexual in any way - by inclination or actively.
  • The section on the historical theory of the "Marguerite angle" is a separate section. The section on homosexuality is a separate section. What aspect of the consensus version of the homosexuality issue that I have quoted at the top of this section is not fair, balanced, and unbiased? How does it not present both sides? Why would you consider enlarging the section on homosexuality when the only time Francis Bacon EVER made reference to it was to envision an ideal society without it (in The New Atlantis)? Arion 3x3 (talk) 04:25, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
The paragraph at the top of this section is in my opinion too short. The length of the present paragraph in the article is about right, I think, but there are more objective sources to use than Rowse and Forker. Some more sophisticated form needs to be used than "authors believe". Good historians merely make a tentative hypothesis (if that) from the available primary sources. With Marguerite, they don't even seem to do that, since it appears that there are no sources.
On homosexuality, Jardine and Stewart quote the charges by D'Ewes and Aubrey, but conclude with "Whatever the case, it was a charge that has stuck to Bacon to this day". This is excellent scholarly language: the charge is a historical fact, its proof not.
Zagorin says: "In attempting to fathom Bacon's personality, we must also deal with the subject of his reputed homosexuality, a matter that Spedding, his Victorian biographer, avoided. According to several writers of the time, Bacon was homosexual" (here Zagorin gives the D'Ewes and Aubrey material and quotes Anne Bacon). He then suggests that Bacon's friend Antonio Pérez was a homosexual and shows that he wrote crudely to Anthony. Zagorin goes on, "The evidence of Bacon's personal life indicates that he was never sexually attracted to women. His closest relationships were exclusively with men ...". Zagorin also uses a scholarly format to frame his judgement: "Although the question of Bacon's sexual identity will probably always remain a puzzle, the likelihood that he may have been a homosexual is undeniable". In other words, like Jardine and Stewart, Zagorin goes only as far as he can.
The best scholars do not make assumptions that extend beyond the evidence, but they identify that evidence and hold it up to the light. So, in my opinion, what D'Ewes and Aubrey say is worth mentioning in the article as part of the available evidence. qp10qp (talk) 07:45, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Certainly a scholarly approach such as you reflect upon is admirable. However when dealing with Zagorin and Stewart's discussion of D'Ewes, Aubrey, and Anne Bacon, this is a different matter: it is not valid evidence under any honest evaluation of it - especially if you have read Bacon's writings. Any even superficial examination of what they bring up as "evidence" in support of the specualtion - is not "evidence". What do they bring up?

(1) D'Ewes attack upon Bacon in his private diary. There was no "public controversey" or "outcry" sparked by him against Bacon as has been falsely implied. D'Ewes had been a sworn enemy of Bacon in Parliament in political matters, and had called from a church pulpit for the execution of all homosexuals.

(2) Aubrey was an alcoholic who often got the gossip he collected mixed up and attributed to the wrong people.

(3) Anne Bacon loved her son, but was furious that he sometime allowed servants use the quarters that were not reserved for servants. Arion 3x3 (talk) 17:38, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

The point is that D'Ewes and Aubrey are evidence. You may think it's faulty evidence but it's the job of a historian to analyse all evidence, which is what these writers do. They have their reservations, which is as it should be. We are not in a position to discount such relatively recent, academic books. There are other books that take the same approach, and so should we. That there was no controversy or outcry is neither here nor there. We should not have a section on "Controversies", because nearly all historical evidence creates differences of opinion among scholars, and this is true of almost all aspects of Bacon's life. On the whole, I don't find chapters called "Controversies" in my history books and biographies. qp10qp (talk) 21:53, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

D'Ewes and Aubrey are primary sources that - as the discussions here have shown - can be misinterpreted as to their significance. Some secondary sources disagree, while other secondary sources - such as Nieves Mathews and Ross Jackson - point out the lack of substantial evidence for homosexuality - as well as the evidence against homosexuality (his ideal society vision in The New Atlantis). Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:18, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

A few months ago this year I stated my opposition to include the Homosexuality Journal article discussion into Bacon's biography. I simply don't see where it belongs in a biographical encyclopedia article, nor do I agree with placing opinions about someone's sexuality in an article unless it was well known it led to their notoriety or fame. I feel like a broken record on this. Bacon is famous not for his sexuality, but his many contributions to civilization. (talk) 16:48, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I think qp10qp makes the points very well. We are not required to be historians here and research this ourselves. Our role is simply to report the facts as they are and leave it to the reader to draw (unbiased) conclusions. Hence I don't think it's our role to dismiss Aubrey or D'Ewes as unreliable sources - better men and women than we have decided to draw up on them as sources when dealing with the issue of sexuality (and indeed Aubrey is a common and fairly respected source on what happened in that century - there aren't that many near-contemporary sources...)

Can I state yet again why it is important to cover the issue in the article (i) it is part of Bacon's character and as valid for comment as the fact that Nelson only had one eye(!) (ii) most modern mainstream authors today cover the issue (either briefly or at length); and (iii) perhaps most important is the fact that historians believe Bacon's sexuality may have slowed his career. Jardine and Stewart argue (also covered by Rictor Norton, author of 'Mother Clap's Molly House') that his responsibilities remained rather meagre for more than twenty years, and suggest this was because of prejudice against him for being homosexual. However, acknowledging it also seems likely that his advancement was prevented by the personal enmity of his cousin Robert Cecil, Lord Burghley. In contrast, Bacon rapidly rose to fame under King James I. He received the titles of Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St Albans in 1621. (His home was at Gorhambury, outside St Albans.) Again the argument is that the swiftness of his rise may have been influenced by his personal friendship with James, who was homosexual himself.

I would grateful please to hear a convincing argument as to why it is not necessary to deal with sexuality in the article. Can I also reiterate that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography deals with the issue of sexuality - perhaps suggesting that we should not get too caught up in arguments for or against inclusion. Let's go ahead now and decide the best wording to capture the key issues - otherwise we're going in circles here!

But I still argue we should leave Ross Jackson out of this. I now have his book and the blurb describes him as 'an international management consultant and the author of 4 books on ecological, economic and spiritual themes'. Even a quick flick through 'Shaker of the Spear' gives us the following reading: Ancient egyptian phrases found in the scrolls. Ma'at was the name they gave to the inner order. The modern interpretation is 'Great is the established Master of Freemasonry, Great is the Spirit of Masonry'. Again they are magical phrases that actually work. Yours is just one example of how they work... (p147). I could go on! This is a bit like using Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code to write an wiki article on the Renaissance! It might be a cracking good read but I can't see why we're including it? Incidentally just what arguments does Jackson make against Bacon's homosexuality? No-one has ever said. Contaldo80 (talk) 17:53, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

You have mistakenly gotten the WRONG BOOK. You are criticizing a novel!
  • Ross Jackson wrote a novel entitled Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story
  • Ross Jackson also wrote an excellent compilation of research on Francis Bacon: The Companion to Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story. That is the book that is used in the reference citations. Arion 3x3 (talk) 04:35, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

You ask for a convincing argument as to why it is not necessary to deal with sexuality in the article. A few months ago I opposed inclusion of the Homosexuality Journal article because it does not belong in a biographical encyclopedia article. Why? Here's the reason: placing opinions about someone's sexuality into their biography unless it has a direct impact upon their career or fame is superfluous. Bacon is famous for his writing and philosophy, not his sexuality. If you follow your line of thinking we need to re-write everyone's biography in Wiki and include any conjecture about their sexuality whether it played a pivotal role in their life or not. Sage 1133 (talk) 03:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

You didn't add that he's also rather famous for being an important MP, lawyer, courtier and jurist, in very exciting times (and for instance featured prominently in the Helen Mirren Elizabeth series, which could be mentioned in the article). Anything that may throw light onto his relationships with other politicians, like the Cecils, Essex and Southampton, and the Queen and King, is relevant --Straw Cat (talk) 15:40, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Sage 1133 - I don't feel I can really have proper discussion on this issue with you. You keep insisting that sexuality is irrelevant but I have written umpteenth times that academics believe it to have had an impact on Bacon's career. Yet you seem to have deliberately chosen not to acknowledge those comments. Please let's be clear; we are not debating whether the issue of sexuality is an issue of interest for you personally. That has no interest or relevance here. The issue is 'Do academics think sexuality was a relevant factor that impacted upon Bacon's life and career?' If that argument is too nuanced then please let me know and I'll see if I can simplify further. Contaldo80 (talk) 19:08, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Arion 3x3 - thanks for clarifying but isn't this still I bit like drawing upon 'Dan Brown's Guide to the Da Vinci Code' to source the wiki-article on the renaissance? I think there are better academic sources. Also still interested to hear though how Jackson refutes the sexuality claims? Contaldo80 (talk) 19:08, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Might I suggest that the following wording be changed: "The Jacobean antiquarian, Sir Simonds D'Ewes suggested implied there had been was some question of bringing him to trial for buggery[12]. This conclusion has been disputed by other authors, such as Nieves Mathews,[13][14] who consider the sources to be more open to interpretation.". Apart from the redundancy of "suggested implied", I feel that "consider the sources to be more open to interpretation" is very bad English. If "open to different interpretations" is what is meant, that should be the form used. (talk) 22:29, 21 November 2009 (UTC)


The section on Bacon's relationship with Marguerite de Valois is highly dubious. It says that she was in the process of a divorce when they met. Whoever wrote this is unaware of how such issues were conducted in 16th century France. Marguerite was Catholic and would never have been able to procure a divorce. Instead she would have had to seek a papal dispension to dissolve the marriage. In addition the source cited to explain that they fell in 'love at first sight' is from 1940. This is too old a source to be used credibly here, and highly subjective I would have thought. Can we amend or get rid of please. Contaldo80 (talk) 23:32, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

There was no question of a divorce from Henry until the 1590s. It's true that Marguerite was magnetically attractive at this time, was not sleeping with her husband, and had several lovers and many courtly admirers. On the other hand, there is no mention of Bacon in Haldane's biography of Marguerite, nor in any other book I have read in which she figures. And it should be noted that by 1578, she was back in Nérac, in the south of France. I have already questioned the use of Dodd as a source, higher up this page. qp10qp (talk) 08:56, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

I absolutely agree with you. There's a shocking lot of nonsense in this article - a lot of it highly romanticised and speculative. It really needs a good tidying up. If you're agreed then I think we should cut back the section on Marguerite. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:23, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

I do not agree that there is a "shocking lot of nonsense in this article". I have reduced the size of the section on Marguerite, and added references. Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:23, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for having a go at this but still more to do I think. I'm worried about using the Peter Dawkins source for one. His academic training is actually in architecture; and this can be found from his website: "Peter is also the Founder-Director of the Zoence Academy, which runs a training course in the spiritual, geomantic and cosmological wisdom of the West." It all sounds a bit 'new age'. Meanwhile Jean Overton Fuller (again not a historian) has written a number of books around 'magic' - Alesteir Crowley, Madame Blavatsky - and is a proponent of the theory that Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays. Finally, even Smedley is said by some to have an 'occultist' agenda. This is one of his quotes: "It will eventually be proven that the whole scheme of the Authorized Version of the Bible was Francis Bacon's. The first edition of the King James Bible contains a cryptic draconian headpiece. Bacon cryptically concealed in the Bible that which he dared not reveal in the literal text: the secret Rosicrucian key to a mystic and Masonic Christianity". I'm concerned that stuff like this weakens our credibility. And again can we be clear whether or not there are references to Bacon on the wiki article for Marguerite? These things need to be reciprocal. Contaldo80 (talk) 14:11, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I've checked Janine Garrisson's biography of Marguerite, and she doesn't mention Bacon, as far as I can see (it's in French). Garrisson is a good academic historian: I have a translation of her history of sixteenth-century France. I don't know of any other recognised biographies of Marguerite (except Haldane's, which doesn't mention Bacon either). There is one mention of the name Bacon in the Gutenberg translation of Marguerite's Memoirs, but I can't make any sense of it ("As a counterpoise to their influence, the Queen-mother now conferred the vacant chancellorship on one of the wisest men France has ever seen, her Lord Bacon, Michel de L'Hopital, a man of the utmost prudence and moderation, who, had the times been better, might have won constitutional liberties for his country, and appeased her civil strife"): that seems to be all about de l'Hopital. Perhaps she is saying that de l'Hopital was to Catherine de' Medici what Sir Nicolas Bacon was to Elizabeth I. The meaning is complicated by the fact that Marguerite wrote this many years after the events, by which time Sir Francis Bacon had risen to high office.
It seems to me that the theory about Bacon and Marguerite probably comes from one of the "cipher readings" that have been used to produce all sorts of phantom information. Bacon was born in 1561 and Marguerite in 1553. During the window for any relationship (1576–8; Marguerite was in Nérac from 1578), Bacon was 15 to 17, Marguerite 23 to 25. Not that the age gap is conclusive. It is true that Marguerite was taking lovers during that time, but if Bacon was entranced by her, he would have been no different to the vast majority at the French court, where she exerted a powerful mystique. Divorce was not considered at this time, as far as I know: that came much later.
One of the difficulties in trying to counter this sort of thing is that the reputable sources offer only silence. This is their way of dismissing it, of course, but it's a problem for us if editors insist on balancing statements tit for tat. It's easier for the Shakespeare theory because some reputable authors have gone out of their way to dismiss it (not that we cite them): but they don't seem to regard most of the silliest ideas about Bacon as worthy of comment. Unlike us. qp10qp (talk) 15:23, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very helpful, and certainly makes odd such a statement as: "Francis Bacon's love for Margueritte was the overmastering passion of his life, and dominated his mind for many years". Maybe it did, but it doesn't seem to have been reciprocal! Another one for the controversies section rather than the main body of text? Contaldo80 (talk) 10:53, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Told a lie above, because I overlooked Eliane Viennot's biography of Marguerite. As I am interested in Marguerite and have her article on my "to do" list, I've sent off to French Amazon for a copy. If that one doesn't mention Bacon either, then we need to question this stuff very hard. It's not so easy to fill a full-length book on Marguerite, so you would think these authors would mention even half-legitimate information about her. qp10qp (talk) 12:02, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Looking into Mathews, it seems that the source of the Marguerite story is Elizabeth Wells Gallup, who claimed to have deciphered this and other information from codes Bacon had hidden in various writings, including those of Shakespeare. qp10qp (talk) 16:15, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

There is no denying that the implausible lengths that those attempting to decode what they claimed were cipers hidden in various writings have resulted in some historians backing away from seriously studying Francis Bacon. Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence (not just conjecture) that supports what some would dismiss as "the silliest ideas about Bacon". Emery (talk) 14:55, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Serious historians do study Bacon. But when they avoid certain subjects we should pay attention. I can find no mention of Marguerite in any of my books on Bacon (except a dismissal in Mathews) or on Marguerite/the late Valois court. All these books (with the exceptions of Mathews, though she is published by Yale, and of Haldane, though she translated scholarly books) are by respected academics. qp10qp (talk) 16:25, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I certainly have no problem finding mentions of Marguerite in my books on Bacon. In addition, I cannot find myself agreeing with limiting sources to only those by "respectable academics." When serious scholars diligently and with precison pursue the facts in history that may not be widely acknowledged, they should be honored for their integrity and courage - not dismissed as not being "respectable". I will never forget how the "Gulf of Tonkin" alleged attacks were parroted as legitimate by "respectable academics" and continued for years to be defended as the true "mainstream" historical truth. Emery (talk) 01:51, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

But when a non-academic scholar makes a genuine discovery, it is added to the accepted body of knowledge: for example, Du Maurier is always credited for the information that Anthony Bacon was charged with sodomy in Montauban. Scholars are only too keen to incorporate significant extensions to scholarship, from whatever source.
Could you check your books to tell me the primary sources used by your writers for the Marguerite story? I would like to check them. Our article mentions that "Various authors have claimed that they became romanticly involved with each other, pointing to such evidence as Argenis, first published by John Barclay in 1621 after the death of Marguerite" [should be spelled "romantically"]. Do all these "various authors" point to Argenis? Are they all original scholars, or are some merely following Gallup, Dodd, or whoever? The article glosses over the fact that Argenis is a political satire or fable, which is, after all, a form of fiction. It may have contained "secret" information about contemporary events (though bear in mind that it was published in 1621 and the supposed Bacon-Marguerite affair had been in the mid 1570s, before Barclay was born), but since that information would have to be gleaned through interpretation (there is no Marguerite mentioned in the book), its status as "evidence" needs to be clarified. If we are to present this theory, we need to know who first came up with it. I would genuinely like to investigate further, so that if we are to have this material in the article, it can at least be expained as a theory, interpretation from ciphers, fables, or whatever, rather than something more. qp10qp (talk) 07:39, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

The information about the alleged relationship between Francis and Marguerite should be in the "Controversies" section. When I have a moment, I will look at what other sources exist besides the largely discredited ciphers or the interpretation of the story allegedly concealed in Argenis. My actual area of specialization has been researching the evidence for Francis Bacon as the true author of the Shakespeare works. I consider it practically impossible to deny Francis as the true author once one becomes familiar with such matters as the financial arrangement with Will Shakspere, as well as the Northumberland Manuscript and all the parallels from Bacon's Promus of Formularies and Elegancies.

One further note about "respected academics" and their supposed expertise. I heartily concur with the following observation written by one of my colleagues: "The ignorance of today’s scholars is especially blissful. They think the authorship dispute was all settled years ago. They are largely ignorant even of Bacon’s acknowledged works. A second reason for devaluing their opinion is that, regrettably, sound judgment is not always among the qualities which achieve eminence for a scholar. An aptitude for sitting in libraries, digging out information, is distinct from an ability to evaluate the evidence so unearthed." Emery (talk) 20:38, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I think many agree with you about "academics", but the problem is that on Wikipedia there is a pecking order about Reliable Sources RS. Blogs, novelists and "researchers" who have not been published in an academic journal or review simply do not hold up to major scrutiny. As such, here on the Bacon article, orthodox scholars are going to be the most accepted sources. The more controversial subjects are going to get brief mentions at most, with more detailed information appearing more appropriately on their own page - ie: Bacon-Shakespeare detail is probably going to go best on the Baconian theory article. Smatprt (talk) 05:27, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Smatprt - wikipedia must meet the most rigorous standards in order to support its credibility. The study of Bacon the man - over centuries in fact - has attracted frequent fringe theorists determined to reveal some 'hidden' facet (most notably around the occult). The book by Mathews actually covers these well and tries to sweep away some of the cobwebs. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:34, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Calling skilled and dedicated scholars "fringe theorists" isn't helpful. As for the Mathews book sweeping away "cobwebs", that is not how I read the section on non-mainstream research. However, I would note how effectively and meticulously the speculation about Francis being a homosexual was totally and convincingly shown to be without any merit whatsoever. Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:18, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Mathews dismisses it, yes, but she exercises appropriate caution: "Whatever his inclinations, however, there is no evidence that Bacon was a practising homosexual, still less a brazen or convinced one" (p. 309). She is talking of evidence that he was a practising homosexual, and I agree with her. However, she goes on to explain Bacon's preference for male friendship in the light of the different conventions of those days.
As for Marguerite, I now have Eliane Viennot's biography of her. Along with Marguerite's other biographers Haldane and Garrisson, she doesn't mention Bacon (and this book is 536 pages long, excluding notes, etc). Since Mathews's book is the only one of my several books on Bacon to mention Marguerite (and then only to dismiss Gallup's cipher-based notion of an affair), I propose that the onus is on those who wish to include this material in the article to list and quote their sources here and clarify what primary sources the information is based on. OK, it is now in the controversies section, but what controversy? If there was a controversy, surely scholars would be addressing, not ignoring, it. The material, in my opinion, should be cut. I will do so unless arrested by valid evidence on this talk page. qp10qp (talk) 14:24, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you that the operative word is "practicing". No one but the person himself, in this case Francis, can really describe what "inclinations" he has. In the case of Francis, however, . . . . . he did suggest what his inclinations are: that being that "masculine love" (the term used at that time for homosexuality) was not what he would envision in an ideal society (his Utopian creation in "The New Atlantis"). Arion 3x3 (talk) 17:55, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Is this really as inconsistent as you think? It's perfectly logical that he was attracted to other men, but would not see that as an ideal. It would be very odd in 17th century England to find a man 'out and proud'. He would have viewed at as a shameful weakness. Besides which he wrote New Atlantis when he was an old man - even his ardour is likely to have cooled over time! Contaldo80 (talk) 21:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it was a hanging offence; if he was a homosexual, he wasn't going to talk about it. The New Atlantis is a fable and extols chasteness of all sorts.qp10qp (talk) 08:39, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

You are correct that The New Atlantis extols chasteness (and also extols the new order he envisioned for the settlements in North America). However the "wasn't going to talk about it" argument holds no more weight in this year of 2008 than it did in last year's discussions in the archives. The absence of evidence - is not evidence! Arion 3x3 (talk) 21:02, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

More to the point, what do you think about my proposed removal of the Marguerite material? qp10qp (talk) 21:39, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I think we should thank Qp10qp for researching this so thoroughly. After clearly showing that Marguerite's biographers don't even mention Bacon, and after explaining to all of us that her involvement is based on cyphers and interpretations of fiction, I find it hard to support keeping this section at all. Unless some verifiable sources are put forth, I agree that it should be deleted. I say this reluctantly as I am normally for keeping as much detail in an article as possible. In this case, however, it seems hard to justify. Smatprt (talk) 00:18, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I am completely opposed to the removal of the Marguerite material. Although I can understand the concerns expressed by qp10qp, I would also like to caution all of us to remain careful not to engage censorship of material that we personally find implausible. We need to have a proportionate representation of the matter, rather than to challenge the work of writers on the subject. Much of this work may strike one as not widely acknowledged, but as long as there are scholars, researchers, and authors in print who have written of the Francis and Marguerite relationship, their theories are validly referenceable on Wikipedia.

  • Argenis was originally published in Latin in 1621 and King James asked for it to be translated into English. The first such translation was undertaken by Ben Jonson, a member of Bacon's 70 "Good Pens" association. It has been claimed to have been written by Francis Bacon himself, using the pseudonym "John Barclay, after the passing of Marguerite in 1615. As for those who object that Bacon would not have written under a pseudonym, please note the following by E. D. Johnson, author of The First Folio of Shakespeare:
"Francis Bacon published a book called "Beautiful Blossoms" under the name of John Byshop which was printed in London by Henry Cocklyn"
  • Parker Woodward, in his book Sir Francis Bacon , stated on page 13:
"Francis (probably recalled) came back to England - nominally with despatches - but really with a scheme whereby the Queen was to help Marguerite to get a divorce that Francis might subsequently marry her. This was in 1578." Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:08, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Arion 3x3 - I can see you have great respect for Francis Bacon, and I do actually admire that. You've shown that your passionate about the subject. But dare I say that you're being a little disingenuous here? You say I would also like to caution all of us to remain careful not to engage censorship of material that we personally find implausible. But above you have argued quite strongly for the removal of text dealing with Bacon's sexuality on the grounds that the sources are biased and described events couldn't have happened! My main opposition to the inclusion of the text on Marguerite is that the modern academic sources are too old. If it's an important and valid issue then it will easily be covered in recent academic material - if it's not then it's for the fringes. But also, if you feel strongly about this then perhaps you should add some text to the actual wikipedia article on Marguerite. Why concentrate just on Bacon? Contaldo80 (talk) 18:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Was Bacon a materialist?[edit]

I'd like to raise this issue because of one of his quotations: "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." This would put some weight to argument that he was a theist, and a materialist worldview cuts pretty effectively all supernatural beings from existance. Of course Bacon can be also agnostic or something else, but in the light of this quotation it is most likely that he was a Christian of some sort. More research on this subject is needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:50, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Everyone in Elizabethan England was at least nominally a Christian. You weren't really permitted to be anything else. That doesn't discount the possibility, however, that Bacon may have personally doubted the existance of God and rejected Christian theology. Outwardly though he would still have been required to conform and practice the faith (particularly if holding senior public office). Contaldo80 (talk) 13:51, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

And there is not anything in his writings that would suggest he was an atheist. He did regularly question the authority of the clerical and scholarly tradition, but he did not question the existence of a God. One could make a pretty good case for him being an early deist in some form. --Saddhiyama (talk) 20:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Francis wrote of his disappointment with the clerical power struggles in both Roman Catholicism and the Church of England. However it is impossible to read his writings and speculate that he may have personally doubted the existance of God and rejected Christian theology. Emery (talk) 07:28, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the answer is that he was both a materialist and a Christian. He came to this position by regarding the spiritual and the material spheres as completely separate: he believed that God was the primary cause of everything, but that it was legitimate to study secondary causes through the use of reason. In Bacon's view, such study could only reinforce belief in God, being "the loyal handmaid of religion, for religion reveals the will of God, natural philosophy his power" (Thoughts and Conclusions on the Interpretation of Nature or a Science Productive of Works). He was anxious, however, to keep religious superstition and zealotry out of the study itself, since they would make reasoned results impossible. qp10qp (talk) 22:21, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Francis Bacon was opposed to superstition and clerical repression, but I have not seen evidence that he was a "materialist" who regarded "the spiritual and the material spheres as completely separate." That conclusion does not follow from Bacon's advocacy of experimentation and inductive science for the "Advancement of Learning". He believed that the same Nature that was ascribed to God was also in every person. In his essay "Of Atheism" he wrote: "They that deny a God, destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts, by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God, by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. . . . So man, when he resteth and assureth himself, upon divine protection and favor, gathered a force and faith, which human nature in itself could not obtain." Emery (talk) 07:14, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't think we disagree essentially, since I acknowledged that Bacon believed God pervades everything. But he regarded the material and the divine as separate spheres for study. Zagorin calls him "a materialist and a realist in the modern, philosophical meaning of the term" (p. 79). qp10qp (talk) 08:56, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Not only did Francis Bacon consider an all-pervading God to be the essential nature of reality, but he considered the process of scientific discovery part of the activity which sets us apart from merely "kin to the beasts" but as "kin to God, by his spirit". Zagorin's labeling of him as a "materialist" under any stretch of logic ("modern" or otherwise) does not follow. For example, on page 45 of "Of the Advancement of Learning" Francis Bacon wrote: "For so he (King Solomon) saith expressly, The Glory of God is to conceale a thing, but the Glory of a King is to find it out. As if according to that innocent and affectionate play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out, and as if Kings could not obtain a greater Honour, then to be God's play-fellowes in that game, especially considering the great command they have of wits and means, whereby the investigation of all things may be perfected." Emery (talk) 14:44, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not willing to become polarised on this, because Bacon is so complex, and he wrote a lot. Of course, it depends how you define "materialist": in Zagorin's terms, Bacon is a materialist insofar as he believes that, after God, the atom is the "cause of causes" that "brings the particles of matter together to produce all the variety of nature" (p. 71). This is not at odds with Bacon's belief in God as the creator and does not imply atheism. In Zagorin's view "a commitment to materialism was a ... basic feature of his philosophy" (p.38). "Countering the claim that too much knowledge of philosophy inclined men to atheism, he asserted that while a little superficial knowledge might lead that way, greater knowledge drew the mind to religion and made it realize the connection between the secondary causes and God as the first cause ... But he added the significant caution that these two kinds of learning should be kept separate and never mingled or confounded" (p. 48). qp10qp (talk) 17:05, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes it is true that Zagorin claimed that Francis Bacon believed "that these two kinds of learning should be kept separate". I have never read anything written by Francis Bacon that would make one think that this was his actual viewpoint. I believe, if I truly understand the point of Emery, that this is the problem with such an interpretation by Zagorin. I apologize for this, but it is a necessity to point out that the statement of Zagorin that "materialism was a ... basic feature of his philosophy" is not the truth. Sujata Kapila (talk) 20:32, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Francis Bacon was not a materialist. He was, in fact, opposed to materialism. This is a fact that is seen throughout all of his writings and is strongly communicated in his essay "A Confession of Faith"(and also "Of Atheism") where he clearly lays out his beliefs. To say that he was a materialist is like saying that President Obama is a Republican. It is evident to me that someone who calls Bacon a materialist either has never read his works or is mistaking him for someone else. "I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind."(Bacon, Of Atheism) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:02, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


Who put the timeline on this page? It looks awesome, and I might want to use it on other pages, but I'm not entirely sure how to use it. Where did it come from and how does it work? Tea and crumpets (t c) 18:58, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

Can someone specifically cite Bacon's presence in parliament on the date the Gunpowder Plot was supposed to have taken place? - Hexhand (talk) 23:09, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Removed "npov" statements[edit]

Removed several edits by User:Smatprt concerning the sexuality. Despite the claim that this was a npov edit it clearly was not. "Numerous scholars believe that Bacon was either bisexual or homosexual" and then "In opposition to these theories, novelist Ross Jackson..." is certainly no npov edit. The "350 years of debate" is certainly also debatable, since this question has only been debated amongst Bacon scholars in recent years. The mention of the bisexual/homosexual theory as it is seems a lot more npov than those recent edits. --Saddhiyama (talk) 01:29, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Agree with point one, disagree with point two. So, restoring half. How is stating a debate exists pov? The first accusations came in 1621 and since then, the debate was picked up by Aubrey, and then subsequent Bacon biographers. I will add a fact tag, though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
  • First of all, there has been no debate for 350 years by any stretch of language or logic.
  • Secondly, the fact is that several authors in recent years tried to add Francis Bacon to their list of famous homosexuals in history. There is no foundation for such a hypothesis. However, as has been stated by more than one editor here: "It does not make any difference whether any of us believe an addition to the Wikipedia article is ridiculous or unimportant - as long as there are references as to the sources." I would add the caveat: as long as such conjecture is not stated as verified fact. Arion 3x3 (talk) 17:16, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
    • Saying there is "no" foundation for such a hypothesis is simply ridiculous. You seem to forget that statements (or more specifically, accusations) about his inclinations have been made going back to approx. 1619, 1621, etc. Just because they were by political "enemies", or court "gossips", does not negate the fact that the statements were made, recorded, and can be easily verified. Smatprt (talk) 00:31, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
    • I also went back and examined the earlier "consensus" paragraph that Arion keeps pushing. It's clear that there was never a "consensus" and that Arion's continual assertion that there was is deceptive and is in line with Arion's consistent desire to whitewash this particular subject. The edit records clearly show a systematic attempt to delete any material (however properly referenced) that is not in line with Arion's personal agenda to censor the entire subject from the article. I agree with Qp and other editors that believe that the statements of Aubrey and the others should be restored, along with any information in opposition to these statements, in order to give the reader a clear account of the issue and the various reasoning on both sides of the argument. I say, give the reader as much info as possible and then let the reader decide for themselves!Smatprt (talk) 00:31, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

(1) I stand by my statements - and they can easily be verifed by anyone who objectively evaluates the facts. And why this insistance on discussing the sexuality of a historical figure who was never known to be involved in any campaign for sexual rights, and never involved in any sexual scandals?

(2) Misrepresentation of my position is not helpful. It is not true that I have a "personal agenda to censor the entire subject" - I have clearly stated my support for an unbiased, balanced presentation of both sides of the issue.

(3) Using the argument that the article synopsis of the article from the Journal of Homosexuality is "properly referenced" and therefore should be included as part of the text of a biography of Francis Bacon was opposed by editors from the very beginning of the attempts by Smatprt and Contraldo to insert it - and will continue to be opposed. Arion 3x3 (talk) 12:24, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I support the edits by Smatprt. He is accurate, the debate is historical since it began during his own life (as my previous contributions here amply documented (is anything left of that properly sourced and relevant material?!)) and the man's sexuality is very relevant to the article. What could be more relevant in these times of close focus on previously taboo topics such as homosexuality and pederasty? It is timely and it is notable and it is a topic of research by bona fide scholars. Haiduc (talk) 10:46, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't see anyone trying to "hide" Bacon's sexuality; rather, we're trying to make sure that any discussion of it is appropriately sourced. There is disagreement that the particular journal used by Smartprt is an appropriate source for this article as it's not in the oeuvre of established Bacon scholarship. Since the claim has been made in the article that "Numerous scholars believe...", then surely it is not in any way burdensome to find several citations from unquestionably reliable sources supporting the claims. The consensus view as I read is is represented by this statement by qp10qp:"Let us reference some modern opinions from scholarly presses (say Jardine/Stewart, Zagorin, and Mathews: those three would give us both sides of the argument) and have done with it." Nandesuka (talk) 11:11, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

As pointed out by Nandesuka, giving both sides of the issue, in a balanced way without bias, is indeed what this biographical article needs. The article synopsis from the Journal of Homosexuality does not belong in this biography. Arion 3x3 (talk) 14:53, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I commented on this above but in summary - the issue is relevant as historians suggest it impacted on his career; Jackson should not be used as a source opposing the argument (need to find someone else). Arion 3x3 - could I also ask that you don't please call me Contraldo which isn't my name anyway and use proper wiki etiquette. Thank you. You also seem to have very strong views on this subject and seem to speak with certainty - have you met Francis Bacon by any chance? I know there's some suggestion that the man never died. Contaldo80 (talk) 18:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Having studied the writings of Francis Bacon since 1968, and as the holder of a large collection of books and journals by and about Francis Bacon, I can say that I know him through his writings. In The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21) Volume IV, Chapter XIV. The Beginnings of English Philosophy Section 9: Francis Bacon is the following helpful comment:

"Bacon’s plan for the renewal of the sciences was never fully elaborated by himself, and it has never been deliberately followed by others. In his personal career, too, there are some events that still remain obscure. But material is not lacking for forming a judgment on his philosophy and on his life. We cannot expect to remove either from the range of controversy. But the life-long devotion of Spedding may be said with confidence to have made one thing clear. Pope’s famous epigram — 'the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind' — and the brilliant elaboration of the same in Macaulay’s essay are false, and cannot be made to fit the facts. We can understand Bacon aright only if we do not assume any such absurd antithesis, but remember that life and philosophy are revelations of the same mind, and allow for one shedding light on the other. It is on this account that it is necessary to attempt an estimate of Bacon’s character and to touch upon the disputed events in his career, although the questions cannot be discussed at length, and little more can be done than to indicate results." Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
It really might help to look at WP:Ownership.--Straw Cat (talk) 21:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Reference "Notes" section was messed up[edit]

Careless editing over the last 4 days resulted in a messed up reference section. I reverted to the 19 July version after unsuccessfully trying to fix the problems. Any further edits on the article should be done by editors who also preview the article to see if their edits do not ravage the Notes section. Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:37, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, but please could you specify which references were messed up, and what you did to try to fix the problems? --Straw Cat (talk) 17:37, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Just look at the messed up "Notes" section that you put back [[1]] (the operative words are look at that section) and then look at the version that I just restored (edited by Edward321) [[2]] I would suggest that if you do not understand the problem, that you do not keep re-creating the problem after other editors have contributed to the article. Arion 3x3 (talk) 17:57, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I wonder if it might help if you took quick look at Wikipedia:ownership? Your responses seems to match some of the examples given and you may not be aware that you could be discouraging others from expansions to this article.--Straw Cat (talk) 18:54, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree - helpful suggestion. Contaldo80 (talk) 18:57, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

  • I think it would also be helpful to look at the results of editing by hitting the preview button. That would prevent the messed up format of the reference Notes - that were fixed today and then the problem was recreated, and then fixed again.
  • I am all for expansion, but against deletion of well referenced and significant information that is pertinent to the subject of Francis Bacon. Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:12, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

The messed-up condition of the formatting of the reference notes section has again been re-created - a third time today after being fixed 3 times today - this time by Contaldo80: [[3]] Arion 3x3 (talk) 22:00, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

It really might help you to look at WP:Ownership. Wikipedia is a collaborative project. --Straw Cat (talk) 11:42, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Repeated repostings of condescending remarks directed towards another editor - regarding Wikipedia rules - are not helpful. There are reminders at the top of this discussion page that this page is for discussing improvements to the format and content of the Francis Bacon article. Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:47, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the reason that more than one editor has raised the ownership issue is the simple reason that you (Arion) continually act like you own this article. And I'm a bit surprised that you have a problem with condescending remarks considering that you yourself have been equally condescending toward several other editors ("the operative words are look at", "Messed up again by..." instructions about the preview button, etc.) You also say you are against deletion of well referenced material, but then support the deletion of well referenced material that you happen to disagree with. Your insistence on keeping the Marguerite section (even though it's purely speculative), but delete all the material from Aubrey or D'Ewes, seems pretty hypocritical, and contributes to the appearance of ownership issues being in play.Smatprt (talk) 21:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The techniques of false accusation and inaccurate misrepresentation of the facts are well-known methods used to try to discredit someone. Nevertheless these do not help to improve the article.

  • I did not make condescending remarks toward several other editors. Your stating that does not make it so. For the record: I pointed out the "messed-up condition of the formatting of the reference notes section" (I could have chosen "disrupted", "distorted", "askew", "awry", "cockeyed", "lost formatting"). I also pointed out that clicking on the preview button would prevent such disruption, and gave a link [[4]] to show what had occurred so that anyone making further changes could ensure that the disrupted formatting would not be repeated. My suggestion was ignored, and twice more the formatting of the reference "Notes" section was in a disrupted state.
  • An example of one of many misrepresentations of Francis Bacon is the repeated insertion into the bio info box that Machiavelli "influenced" Bacon. It is a fact that Francis Bacon wrote in The Advancement of Learning, 1605, book II, xxi.9, "We are much beholden to Machiavelli and others that write what men do, and not what they ought to do." Bacon was writing approvingly of the political objective honesty of some of Machiavelli's observation of Florentine society. The impression that can be wrongly inferred by indicating that Francis Bacon was "influenced" by Machiavelli is that Bacon's basic philosophy and outlook on life was shaped by Machiavelli, and that therefore Bacon approved of tyrants engaging in deception and killing in order to control others (Machiavelli's maxim: "the end justifies the means"). Wrong! Arion 3x3 (talk) 02:05, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
If people want to jump to the wrong conclusions, that is up to them—but of course Machiavelli influenced Bacon. Bacon was consciously writing in the humanist tradition of political thought, of which Machiavelli at that time was considered a cornerstone. Bacon repeatedly refers to Machiavelli, and he wrote Henry VII in Machiavellian terms. As Bacon writes in De augmentis, "the form of writing, which of all others is fittest for such variable argument as that of negotiation and scattered occasions, is that which Machiavelli most wisely and aptly chose for government; namely, Observations and Discourses upon Histories and Examples" (see "Bacon's Political Philosophy" in The Cambridge Companion to Bacon). Having said that, I am not a fan of these "influenced, influenced by" parameters in infoboxes. The matter would be better dealt with in the main article, where it could be noted that Machiavelli was regarded as a serious political thinker in Bacon's day and not as merely a tyrannist. (We have a guideline not to mention anything in the lead that is not mentioned in the main article, and I think the same should apply to the infobox.) qp10qp (talk) 09:18, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I do agree with you about the shallow nature of adding a few names to an "info box" under the heading of "Influenced by" without any context. Yes, you and I know that Machiavelli was praised by Bacon and others as a political realist who attempted to expose the dark side of political manipulation and malfeasance by governmental leaders. That being said, public perceptions need to be considered when assembling a reference resource such as Wikipedia.

  • The January 19th issue of Telegraph this year reported that Hitler kept a copy of The Prince by his bedside (where it was reportedly a constant inspiration) and Mussolini described The Prince as "the statesman's supreme guide".
  • To give the impression that Bacon's philosophy and beliefs were primarily influenced by Machiavelli's more extreme public reputation as a "proponent" of "the ends justify the means" would be a disservice to Bacon's legacy. I agree that the matter would be better dealt with in the main article, where it could be noted that Machiavelli was regarded as a serious political thinker in Bacon's day and not as merely a tyrannist. Perhaps you could assemble something on this for the main article? Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:20, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
So, Bacon might have been influenced after all. But it is a "disservice" to just state it in the box, although Plato is OK, although some might get the dangerous idea thereby, that Bacon approved of Plato's ideas about homosexuality. Yes, it would be a good idea to expand all these influences in the main article text. Hmmm ...are we quite certain on the evidence that Bacon disagreed with the maxim (which I believe Machiavelli never actually wrote) that the ends justify the means? As a judge and politician, did he always disapprove of torture, for instance? --Straw Cat (talk) 15:03, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes Francis Bacon always disapproved of torture. Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:38, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Evidence?--Straw Cat (talk) 11:38, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
I think what this conversation is revealing is that the "influenced" section of the infobox is, actually, sort of stupid. This is not the sort of information that can be imparted in a sound-bite. So let's just leave it blank. Nandesuka (talk) 15:07, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm really not happy about the comments above whereby Arion 3x3 accuses me of having messed up the references yet again. I did no such thing - I did not revert, I just removed the text on Marguerite which the contributor had inserted yet again. This goes to the heart of the issue of 'ownership'; this is making this article very awkward and unpleasant to work on. Contaldo80 (talk) 19:13, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

To further clarify what happened: when you removed the entire section on Marguerite, you removed the reference html for one of the references that is used in multiple places. An example of this would be: removing <ref name="Rawley-bio">William Rawley (Bacon's personal secretary and chaplain) ''Resuscitatio, or, Bringing into Publick Light Several Pieces of the Works, Civil, Historical, Philosophical, & Theological, Hitherto Sleeping; of the Right Honourable Francis Bacon....Together with his Lordship's Life'' 1657.</ref> - - - If there are any multiple uses of that same reference - later in the article - of <ref name="Rawley-bio" /> - - - - if the first instance is deleted by someone - it will result in the "Notes" section being distorted ("messed up"). I hope this is helpful. Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:54, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. Apologies then for having done that. Contaldo80 (talk) 17:20, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Said Frank "I never died..."[edit]

At present, in an encyclopedic article on, IMHO, one of the most influential writers ever in any language, a great philosopher of inductive scientific method and a major influence on the Enlightenment and, as has been remarked, on those who brought about both the English and American revolutions, people currently will find a section about his apparently having never died, with sources which are - how to put this? - largely unscholarly, non NPOV and non-peer reviewed. This section is actually larger than the section on his works.

I would certainly defend the secret and occult stuff's inclusion somewhere in the Encyclopedia - the Rosicrucian material is informative. But surely either they should be moved to a separate article from the main one, or else their fringe status should be highlighted.

Certainly the Works and main biographical section needs some expanding.--Straw Cat (talk) 18:17, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Personally I blame the Ross Jackson book - it's 'romanticised' Bacon too much! Contaldo80 (talk) 18:49, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Which book are you referring to? A novel is intended to be romanticized. However we had been discussing another of his works that is used in the reference citations.
  • Ross Jackson wrote a novel entitled Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story
  • Ross Jackson also wrote an excellent compilation of research on Francis Bacon: The Companion to Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story. Arion 3x3 (talk) 04:38, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I will be moving the Faked Death section to a separate article, Fringe and Occult Theories about Francis Bacon, in the next few days, in accordance with the rules in WP:Fringe. Possibly other sections should go there too. --Straw Cat (talk) 23:50, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Done--Straw Cat (talk) 19:00, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi - I deleted the bulk of the occult section as I thought there wasn't much need for it as there's a whole article about it now - I transferred the text to that page instead. Otherwise it seems that we risk ending up repeating the same information in several different articles. My thought was that we should give a summary and then flag the link to the main article on the occult so that interested people can read more about it. While I personally don't agree with the claims being made, I have little objection to having the material (unlike the parentage stuff which in my view is frankly barking). My main concern is that the whole Bacon article is already way too long and would benefit more from including stuff on Bacon's political career and philosophical works. Happy to seek views though. Contaldo80 (talk) 08:17, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

"Essayist" vs "author"[edit]

Lead sentence described Bacon as "an English philosopher, statesman, and essayist." I've changed "essayist" to "author".
Bacon wrote essays, and he wrote a novel, The New Atlantis.
"Author" means "The writer of a book, article, or other text." ( ) The category "author" includes the category "essayist", but not vice-versa.
Therefore, "author" is both correct and comprehensive, and "essayist", though correct, is not comprehensive.
(Personally, I'd also be perfectly happy with "philosopher, statesman, and writer," if we prefer that.)
Comments? -- (talk) 13:23, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Both "author" and "writer" are perfectly fine. "Essayist" was far too limiting. Arion 3x3 (talk) 19:49, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Citation needed, Part Deux[edit]

Can someone specifically cite Bacon's presence in parliament on the date the Gunpowder Plot was supposed to have taken place? Without it, we might have to excise ANY commentary that suggests he was. - Hexhand (talk) 18:31, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The statement placing him parliament during the supposed date of the Gunpowder Plot's execution has been removed. When someone can reliably cite the instance, we can include it, but not until then, I am thinking. - Hexhand (talk) 21:43, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

List of published works lacking... omissions[edit]

The article requires a complete list of the man's published works: I'm amazed that this has been neglected, while so much else has been done.

1597: Bacon publishes On Plantations, evidently his most direct foray into the debates over slavery, colonialism, etc., massively influential in its day.

By contrast, The Interpretation of Nature was unknown and ignored until long after his death (among those who sought to revive interest in it was 20th c. philosopher Karl Popper, who had been rather biased against Bacon prior to reading it, and became a fan thereafter; Popper complained that Interpretation had been treated rather flippantly by Bacon's editors, including those who compiled his complete works, etc.).

Much else of import will follow from a simple list of the man's published works.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:14, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Odd ending[edit]

The article ends on an odd note, and it seems that several catagorie heads could be combined or even eliminated. I'm going to have a go at addressing this. If anyone has an issue with this, please discuss at this thread. Cheers! Smatprt (talk) 16:59, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

What are you suggesting be eliminated? If anything, this article needs expanding. Arion 3x3 (talk) 14:07, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Did I say anything about eliminating substance? No - I referred to CATAGORIE HEADS. Expand away at the article, but please build a consensus before adding stuff you know is completely fringe and highly controversial. Smatprt (talk) 06:35, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
You might also add a list of works, as suggested above, instead of adding more fringe theories!Smatprt (talk) 06:37, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Had a go at the least of works - grateful for thoughts on any ommissions. Is everyone agreed that we should also merge the article on Idols of the Mind with that on the Baconian Method? Makes no sense having them separate. Contaldo80 (talk) 12:39, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Repeated deleting of the section on Bacon's influence on new religions of the 20th century[edit]

In the last several weeks there has been the repeated deleting - without discussion - of the section on Bacon's influence on new religions of the 20th century. Since Francis Bacon has been the focal point of these spiritual organization, which have had millions of adherents over the last 75 years, this is entirely appropriate. Just as it is appropriate to include popular culture influences under the "Modern portrayals" subheading which details cinema and television portrayals of Francis Bacon. Arion 3x3 (talk) 15:33, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Oh, please. Bacon never died but became an ascended master???? That stuff is pure fringe and shouldn't grace the article here. I mean, what next - Bacon is God? Talk about POV! Various editors are going to keep deleting, so get used to it. Smatprt (talk) 23:19, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

I have to disagree with you. Francis Bacon is the key historical person around which numerous new religions have been established in the 20th century. Estimates of their membership have ranged from 1 million to several million. If significant historical figures have had religions established around them, such as Siddhartha Gautama, Confucius, or Francis Bacon, then this should be documented in Wikipedia. It makes no difference if a Wikipedia editor considers any particular religious belief to be outlandish. Arion 3x3 (talk) 04:00, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

And that is why there is an article just for these kind of assertions.Smatprt (talk) 05:19, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm frankly fed up that everytime we try and put in some well-sourced mainstream reference to Bacon's sexuality we have to have an endless debate on whether it should or should not be included. Yet here we have a group of contributors who are clearly pushing POV - that Francis Bacon was an 'ascended master' and that he's the leader of some religious band or the other. And clearly to be an ascended master you could never be homosexual (God forbid!) There is even less evidence of this - how are we going to prove it! Smartprt is absolutely right to be firm on whether Bacon is an ascended master or not - it's frankly ruining and distorting the article. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:23, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Let's face it. Francis Bacon has been an important influence upon new religious movements since the 30's; I think this should be part of the main article Sage122412.71.96.2 (talk) 01:13, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I know we are supposed to assume good faith but...I seriously wonder if there are some puppets floating around. In any case - I see no consensus to keep this stuff.Smatprt (talk) 01:27, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • The issue is a very simple one. Does this material deserve to be part of the main article on Francis Bacon? The answer is obviously yes. Influences of a historical figure on modern popular culture belong in such an article. The precedents for this are found throughout Wikipedia.
  • The question as to whether religious or philosophical beliefs should be mentioned if an editor thinks they are stupid is not a criteria. An article on the historical Jesus, mentioning that there are beliefs that he was resurrected from the dead and ascended bodily into heaven, does not require editors to believe these things or discuss the plausibility of these religious beliefs in order for them to be included in a Wikipedia article on the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
  • The information on the religious influences of Francis Bacon on 20th century new religions has been part of this article for a long time. There is even information on influences on television and cinema. Why is discussion of television and cinema - within this main article - acceptable, but discussion of influence on religion within this main article unacceptable? Arion 3x3 (talk) 15:32, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Contrary to what you say, I moved the Bacon's Still Alive stuff to a new article back in July, with a full explanation, but perhaps proponents of this stuff were all at the Ascended Master Summer School then.

I'd noted that Arion 3x3, under this and his various other predecessor names, is obviously deeply interested in and knowleagble about this subject and Theosophy, to judge from his many contributions to the articles on Ascended Masters, and removal of critical material in them. Fine.

But Wikipedia has evolved rules, and one of them, endorsed by Jimbo Wales himself, states that you shouldn't present beliefs in an article, which are held by a tiny amount of people. And he says that is a rule, not open for debate. The belief that Francis Bacon literally never died is held by a very very small set of people. In an article about one of the pioneers of scientific evidential method, the continual insertion of this stuff amounts to vandalism. So please be warned - there are procedures to deal with it.--Straw Cat (talk) 19:53, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Well said. I respect individuals' personal beliefs, but we should avoid attempts to build respectability for a theme purely through association. Contaldo80 (talk) 17:02, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

The issues I raised about the religious influences of Francis Bacon on 20th century new religions deserve intelligent discussion. Personal attacks (accusing me of "vandalism"!??) are not what this talk page is intended for. Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:49, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

As a newcomer to this article, I must weigh in against you. These fringe theories actually have little to do with Bacon, and much more to do with the believers in them. A separate article is the cottect place for them. Bob (QaBob) 04:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

There is something clear : you can find a homophobic biographer for every historical homosexual character, even for Verlaine and Rimbaud, denying their homosexuality : in the case of Francis Bacon, it is Nieves Matthews, who was a known homophobic woman. That's nothing more complicated than that. It's just not important. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Bacon as an LGBT-listed article[edit]

Whether or not Bacon was, in fact, homosexual (or for that matter bisexual) is a matter of dispute (note the lonnng discussions above, and in the archive) -- that said, whether he was gay or bi or whatever is interesting as a discussion of the arguments, and that stuff IS encyclopedic; however, adding Bacon to the LGBT list crosses the line of presenting arguments, and instead providing conclusions. Removing the LGBT-list link, and unless consensus indicates he should be listed as LGBT, it shouldn't be added back in again. JasonDUIUC (talk) 20:59, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Fine, I can go with that. It's been a long slog trying to resolve this issue in any case. Incidentally though I still don't think there's as much of a dispute as some commentators would have us believe. Part of the problem in my view comes when personal religious beliefs (however noble or well-intentioned) interfere with objective historical analysis. The LGBT category label is in any case slightly anachronistic. Although I do have reservations about adopting a 'consensus-seeking' approach - that presupposes one can have a rational debate. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:11, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

We managed to make it almost 6 months without someone unilaterally adding the list tag back in, in a drive-by fashion. Not bad for an article that gets vandalism on a regular basis, and had (has?) a lonnnnnngstanding conflict over the gay/not gay issue. Re-removing the category tag, until a consensus says otherwise. If you have issues with that, please say so.... JasonDUIUC (talk) 09:55, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

The current article contradicts itself.[edit]

At present the article both claims that he was a member of several secret societies, and disputes this... not optimal, I would say. -- Cimon Avaro; on a pogostick. (talk) 00:51, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Correct language and spelling[edit]

As this article deals primarily with personages and locations in England, it ought to be written in Standard English and not General American. (talk) 05:07, 9 February 2009 (UTC)




我很喜欢培根的作品 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:45, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

From Systran: "My idol. I like Bacon's work very much" --Old Moonraker (talk) 10:58, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


Might we consider semi-protecting this article - at the very least allowing only signed in users to contribute? It gets an awful lot of childish vandalism - often extremely unfunny "jokes" about pork products. This makes it very hard for me to follow some of the debate on changes and improvements - and there is a danger that efforts to make the article better (instead of fire-fighting) are being severely compromised. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:51, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Sadly, tend to agree. If only there were some wit to the additions but they seem to think they're the first ones to have thought of it. It might help to add to the article the information that despite his interest in food preserving it is a myth (if it is) that the sizzling stuff was named in his honour - as I have seen it seriously suggested.--Straw Cat (talk) 19:51, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

New images[edit]

I have recently uploaded contemporary engravings of Bacon by Wenceslas Hollar, galleried below. Feel free to use or not use. Dcoetzee 09:39, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Saint Germain conspiracy[edit]

There is a conspiracy theory which claims that Francis Bacon and count Saint Germain were the same person. I don't know much about this theory, but it seems to be part of the series of urban legends surrounding Bacon. [5] ADM (talk) 22:10, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

You're right. It's covered under the Occult theories about Francis Bacon article which can be accessed through this main biographical one. Regards. Contaldo80 (talk) 08:47, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Conflicting Data[edit]

This, from the section titled "The New Instrument":

the Baconian method, consisting of procedures for isolating the form,
nature or cause of a phenomenon, including the method of agreement,
method of difference, and method of concomitant variation.

seems to conflict with this from Avicenna's Canon of Medicine:

(Ibn Sīnā's 1025) Canon of Medicine was the first to describe the
methods of agreement, difference and concomitant variation which
are critical to inductive logic and the scientific method.

As it stands, this Bacon article might lead the reader to believe Bacon developed the methods. So I've tried to clarify that. Cheers, Anthony (talk) 18:53, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Adding Material[edit]

I've added to the list of Bacon's works. I didn't really know how to add the citation within the article for such a discontinuous list (or even whether it was appropriate), but these references come from this source:

  • Mary Heese, "Francis bacon's Philosophy of Science," Essential Articles for the Study of Francis Bacon, ed. Brian Vickers (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1968), pp. 114-139.

JKeck (talk) 19:20, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Just added some other works of Bacon's that I found in the Farrington reference (for biblographical info., see "Sources"). JKeck (talk) 16:49, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Currency conversion[edit]

"He died at Lord Arundel's home[15] on 9 April 1626, leaving assets of about £7,000 (2009 US$11,183) and debts to the amount of £22,000 (2009 US$35,147)."

These amounts of money are not the current value of the pound, they are the value of the pound in 1626. I don't know how to find out how much the debts and assets are worth in today's money, perhaps someone else can help? Until then, the dollar conversions should probably be removed, as they're converting as if £7,000 is a 2009 value, not a 1626 value. (talk) 13:57, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I think conversions to modern day currencies should be avoided altogether, so I support the motion to remove them. They are too unreliable, gets outdated quickly and it is doubtful whether useful conversions can be made at all. --Saddhiyama (talk) 15:17, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
A fairly reliable idea can be obtained from here, but it would need to be properly in context (earnings or prices) and rounded. Using prices, that would offer today's equivalents of just under £1m and just over £3m respectively. The dollar equivalents currently shown do not assist the article and should be removed. --Old Moonraker (talk) 17:33, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Done. --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:54, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ A. L. Rowse, Homosexuals in History, New York: Carroll & Garf, 1977. page 44
    • ^ Jardine, Lisa; Stewart, Alan Hostage To Fortune: The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon Hill & Wang, 1999. page 148
    • ^ Nieves Mathews, Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination, Yale University Press, 1996
    • ^ Ross Jackson, The Companion to Shaker of the Speare: The Francis Bacon Story, England: Book Guild Publishing, 2005. pages 45 - 46