Can Air Pumps Destroy Religions?

Governments and religions do not need to fear air pumps and electrical machines themselves, they need to fear the new train of thought that was derived from Priestley’s experiments. Johnson shows this correlation when he states, “Joseph Priestly should have hit upon the secret of where breathable air comes from, and in doing so unleash a new way of thinking about the system of life on the planet” (Johnson, p. 129). You can lump governments and religion into the same group at this point in history, so if you disturb one, you’re also medaling with the other. Priestly begins to open a train of thought that questions religion and begins to point out flaws within them. Since the two systems of politics and religion are so intertwined Priestly faces massive


Johnson’s work can be highly relatable to genetic research. This type of research can make people question the existence of God or religion in general. New possibilities are opening up to scientist that we never even dreamed of. When humans can genetically control traits passed down from generation to generation it can really make us ask the question who or what is God? The social and political implications of this are unknown, and certainly terrifying. It is impossible for us to see the terrible political consequences that could come from genetic manipulation.

1 thought on “Can Air Pumps Destroy Religions?”

  1. Well done on this weeks blog. The idea that governments and the church shouldn’t fear air pumps and electrical machines but the idea that follow from this technology is an important aspect in Johnson’s account. When it comes to genetic engineering I would say that we can already see some of the implications that can occur from this type of technology. The film “Gattica” explores some of the potential problems that could occur with the integration of genetic engineering. From genetic technology, religion would certainly lose some power in the world, but it would still present.

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