by Virginia Carraway Stark
Are you reading this article to find out about the connection to Bacon? The Bacon in question here isn’t a food but a person (sorry to disappoint, but keep reading!). The first person ever credited with ‘inventing’ the scientific method was Roger Bacon (1214-1284). It wasn’t really his own idea, it was based on the teachings of the Greeks and other ancient societies that believed that rationality was the best state for humanity. It is significant to note why Roger Bacon is credited with inventing the method by which we evaluate all science and discovery that brought the world out of the dark ages.
It was the Dark Ages that Bacon lived in. It was a time of superstition where if you picked a flower you might be accused of witchcraft and burned and tortured. The people were terrified and nothing was ever proven in the way that we now think of proof. Before scientific method became the standard of proof, people could claim anything based off of accidents, coincident or circumstances.
That is why it is important to focus on the sciences when studying the paranormal. It is the only thing that really stands between an observer and the same attitude of people in the dark ages who believed that demons and witches were responsible for everything that went wrong in their life. If a child died, it was a witch, if a wife or husband cheated, it was a demon. Every little thing was attributed to the paranormal and this caused people to become even more fearful of the world they lived in. Terror, violence and superstition are the proven results of failing to apply the scientific method in any field, but this is especially valid in the realm of the paranormal.
The scientific method is rarely definitive because as a species, we are constantly learning new things and adding to the puzzle that is the universe. Used properly, the scientific method continues refining and questioning endlessly.
It all starts by making observations. These observations are watched until the person is able to come up with a question. For example, someone might say: my door is always shutting on its own. That is an observation.
This is refined into a question: why is my door always shutting on its own?
From there a hypothesis is formulated. For example in the case it could be: I suspect my door is shutting on its own because it’s on the door crooked.
Then: Develop testable predictions. How to predict a crooked door? Well, how about if I put a pop bottle on the top of the door. Does the liquid look tilted? The door has to be moved until I perceive it is hanging straight.
Now it is time to gather up data to test the prediction you have made. That means in this case, rehanging the door, making sure that it isn’t in anyway crooked.
If this fixes the problem then you have developed a general theory on doors. That means that you have something that you feel certain is to be true based off of trial and error.
Now lets say that it didn’t fix the door. You have to refine, alter, expand or reject you initial hypothesis. For example, maybe check the floor too…is the house crooked? Did the door stay straight after you rehung it?
In the field of the paranormal you must rule out all possible known hypothesis before assuming that it’s a ghost or spirit that is closing the door. The generally believed hypothesis that already have been proven take precedence over unusual or unproven theories, that is part of our duty as ration human beings. It is by applying and refining this method that we can learn about the paranormal and still stay out of the dark age