The question of the existence of God
Because of the especially important place he occupies in the philosophy of science, I gave Francis Bacon his say near the beginning of this essay. 1 Now, at about the same distance from the end, I think he should be allowed to speak again. Francis Bacon was a simply reverent man, in spite of the traits in his thought that led Paolo Rossi to describe him as 'a medieval philosopher haunted by a modern dream'. 2 In his Confession of Faith, Bacon wrote thus: 'I believe that nothing is without beginning but God; and no nature, no matter, no spirit, but one only and the same God, that God as He is eternally almighty, only wise, only good in His nature, and so He is eternally Father, Son and Spirit in persons.'
As the result of some spiritual blindness or deficiency disease, I do not share Bacon's simple reverence, though I know that his belief in God is very widely shared. On the contrary, I believe that a reasonable case can be made for saying, not that we believe in God because He exists but rather that He exists because we believe in Him. In spite of the suspicion that rightly attaches to epigrammatic declarations that are tainted by smartness, the element of truth in the argument I propose to propound has long been recognized in such familiar and flippant blasphemies as 'Man created God in his own image.'
In Pluto's Republic, I summarized and explained Karl Popper's conception of a third world, inhabited by the creations of the mind, in the following terms: