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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Bacon, Roger (1214-1292 or 1294) The English Franciscan monk Roger Bacon (nicknamed Doctor Mirabilis, “The Admirable Doctor”) was a noted medieval advocate of experimentation and observation as a means to learning, an advanced idea for that time in history. It was said that he built a bronze head that spoke and answered questions, but such canards are often circulated about persons of accomplishment.
      Bacon was probably the greatest scientific mind of his time, even before science was delineated and organized, albeit hobbled by the religious restrictions of intellectual exercise under which he necessarily labored.
      In about 1240 he also briefly described the tricks of the conjurors of his time and declared them to be harmless amusements. His learned opinion on tricks was largely ignored, and conjurors continued to be persecuted by ignorant secular and ecclesiastic authorities as minions of Satan.
      Bacon adopted the prophecies of Joaquim of Flore (see Appendix III, year 1260), but this and his credulous belief in astrology and other forms of mysticism aside, he was a genuine contributor to knowledge.

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