I think that governments and religions fear the air pump and the electrical machine because they enabled one of the great spectacles of early Enlightenment science. (Johnson Pg. 75) It seemed like when scientists started to use these new tools they began to become knowledgeable and disbelieve religions and distrust governments. As Priestley continues to research and invent, we see his ideas of politics and religion develop until they “…reached a level of influence that his natural philosophy had attained during the Leeds years a decade before.” (Johnson pg. 180) Also, Priestley believed that science had to power to take authority away from churches and governments. He said that even the air pump and electrical machine had the power to make governments tremble. Priestley was trying to make it very obvious that science could change everything, even something like an air pump or “electrical machine.” It’s not necessarily the air pump that is going to take the authority of the church, but it’s the scientific discoveries that the air pump helps scientists to unearth.
I think that Johnson did a good job of talking about how scientific discoveries can have both political and social consequences. Through our readings this semester, I think it has been made really clear to us that scientific discoveries and advancements always come with consequences, whether they be good, bad, social, political, etc. I don’t think his work necessarily shed a new light on the political and social consequences jus because we have been reading about those consequences the whole semester. I do think he did a good job of talking about the consequences that came with Priestley’s discoveries. Johnson’s work did make me think about current scientific dilemmas like cloning, that cause tons of social problems.