The largest revelation of the 18th century was the improvement of the technology available to the average person and by this change the amount of knowledge available This resulted in the dramatic increase of writers and lawyers turned scientists such as Ben Franklin and Joseph Priestly who Johnson focuses on because of their deviation from the norm and their political and scientific impact. As citizens have more knowledge and ability to learn things about the natural world around them it takes a lot of power away from religious organizations trying to explain how the world works to its congregations. This tends to result in a lot of atheistic people in an increase in denial of religion, however, some people like Joseph Priestley stage devout Christians as “he was a heretic of the first order who nonetheless possessed an unshakeable faith.”(Johnson, 172) The balance of science and religion had heavily favored religion until the availability of scientific equipment improved.
Johnson’s work is unique in the fact that it heavily analyzes the interconnectivity between politics and scientific research. this interconnectivity is no more apparent than in modern day when most of any research done in the United States is funded by the government in one form or another which results in a tendency for funding to favor research that supports the current party in charges ideology. If the president and the Congress is Republican, then there will be less research into anything related to the effects of not having health insurance on the middle class and more focus on military research. This isn’t a new trend either and the consequences of funding have a large impact on what knowledge the US has about more controversial topics such as stem cell research, abortion, and gun control.