Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Chris1
Historical Darwin: Francis Bacon
People die in incredibly stupid ways every day, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is a new phenomenon! On the contrary, natural selection has been having its way with humanity for years, and the strange death of Francis Bacon is proof that even the brightest among us can become its unwitting victims.
Deep thinker, gifted philosopher, and enthusiastic scientist, Bacon’s genius was eventually recognized by even the English monarchy, who knighted him in 1603, at the age of 42. Still, while he remains a popular figure among the academics of the world, Bacon’s death is rarely mentioned – probably because the stupidity of it reflects badly on all of the rest.
As the story goes, during a winter road trip in 1626, Bacon was suddenly struck by the notion of preserving meat by packing it with snow, allowing people in wintry climes to avoid the use of precious salt as a preservative altogether. Despite being of an advanced age, and generally under-dressed, Bacon paid an impromptu visit to a local poor woman, purchasing a disemboweled chicken from her.
After handling the dead chicken for a while, Bacon made his way out into the snow drifts in order to stuff it with the white stuff in the hopes of proving his sudden theory. No more than 24 hours later, he was laying in a damp, unused bed at the home of a friend; 72 hours after that, he was dead of apparent pneumonia.
Unlike most people who have proven failures at the games played by natural selection, Bacon’s genius belies his apparent inability to predict that a germ-covered, lightly dressed old man would face risks if he were to stand about in deep snow for hours at a time.
Historical Darwin: Francis Bacon,