Sciences Disruption of Beliefs

In Yuval Harari’s Sapiens, he argues that societies are only possible due to shared beliefs. Reading The Invention of Air supported Harari’s argument in my mind because it argued that scientific changes disrupt Governments. This is because governments rely on shared beliefs to function properly. Some beliefs are essential for a government to function properly, such as a belief in Christianity for Britain to function during Priestly’s time. Priestly’s and other philosopher’s theological research that resulted from scientific progress was such a threat to Britain’s core beliefs that people were exiled. Governments need to fear, “air pumps and electrical machine” not because all scientific discovery is disruptive to governments, but because some discoveries disrupt the core shared beliefs that hold the government together.

Johnson’s The Invention of Air mainly focused on Joseph Priestly’s discoveries and philosophies. Priestly was on of the first people to view the world as an ecosystem, his idea, now sits as one of the bedrock principles of the twentieth-century ecosystem science.” (Johnson, Pg. 50) Ecosystem science wasn’t coined until the 1930’s (Johnson, Pg. 78) and is very relevant to today’s politics. It is also an area that also has a lot of research that still needs to be done and the results of this research may change the way our society functions. Research into genetics and evolution give us a better understanding of the world, but make us face that we are not very different from the animals we raise and slaughter for food. Someday this may change our belief that killing other species for food is wrong.

One thought on “Sciences Disruption of Beliefs”

  1. Your connection between scientific research causing disruptions of government because of the core shared beliefs we have being shaken is a good point and a great connection between the two texts. I don’t think that this disruption of shared beliefs is a bad thing and would honestly argue that it is essential for the evolution of our society. I wish you had talked more about ecosystem science and how that idea relates to the modern world and our current political and social climate but overall I loved your blog and the ideas you shared within it.

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