Priestly uses this quote to make the abilities of technology and science very clear. New found technologies and science are I think the quickest way for people to change the way they perceive the world which is how people in positions of power, like government and religious leaders, lose their grip on influence. It begins to make people question the status quo and think that there are better ways of doing things. Often governments and religions rely on the old way of doing things. Science and technology are the direct antithesis of doing things the old way. Johnson noted that the Birmingham Lunar Society saw the importance of men like Priestly who saw progress as being necessary. “as a scientist, he could improve the efficiency of their steam engines and ironworks; and as a political engage, he could fight for the booming reform that those booming factories had made necessary.” (Johnson 168) People in those positions of power knew that the coming changes would change the way people looked at the world and they thought it would have a direct effect on their power and influence. People in power like to stay in power.
I think that Johnson’s work can be used to look at the situation of global warming which is one of the biggest hot button issues in science today. This issue goes hand in hand with the argument I laid out in the first paragraph; people in power don’t like to lose the power that they have. Making changes to limit the impact of global warming will have economic impacts that affect many people. The people in power being many of them. I think they are afraid of the change that scientists have proven needs to take place. It has become so highly politicized that not much will be able to be done about it until people in power remove themselves from their position and look at it from the human perspective.