The use of the air pump and electrical machines are good, specific examples of things that kicked off the Industrial Revolution. Whether it was Priestly’s invention of carbonated water and discovery of oxygen, or Benjamin Franklin and his discovery of electricity, both began a shift in society. People began to form new groups and sects of society completely devoted to scientific discovery. People became selfless, sharing research and new theories with anyone and everyone, instead of using their research for personal gain and wealth. This is what Johnson meant by the government having “reason to tremble at an air pump, or an electrical machine” (p. 133). The Lunar society mentioned in the reading began to create “immense wealth and technological supremacy without a single Parliamentary seat”, this led them to begin to oppose the “archaic structures of the British establishment” (p. 150). These men held the keys to the entire Industrial boom, but completely opposed the current hierarchy. Their detachment form religion made them hate Britain’s reign even more. With all these new developments and a deep-rooted hate for the current regime, governments and religions should be very, very afraid of air pumps and electrical machines.
Towards the end of the book, Johnson talks about a group of main scientific research such as stem cell research, atomic energy and global warming. He goes on to compare their “controversial nature” to Preistly’s problem that his research was always being questioned and denounced by politics and faith. Things like global warming and evolution are known fact in today’s realm of science but are denounced in todays world by politics and religion. They become muddied by corrupt political regimes and false religious truths, whereas science is cold, hard fact that whether you believe it or not, is the one and only truth.