Fear the Science

I think this quote by Priestley is an interesting way of saying that governments and religions fear science. In the book it seems as though some of Priestley’s first discoveries are viewed great scientific breakthroughs. However, this turns and the more Priestley invents and discovers the more he becomes hated. As the book states, “The final crisis that sent Priestley into exile was prefaced by three main controversies…” (Johnson, pg. 169) The first is the publication of History of the Corruptions of Christianity. This created huge backlash from Churches and Christian groups, including Samuel Horsley who states that Priestley’s work is an “extraordinary attempt… to unsettle the faith.” (Johnson, pg. 176) The second controversy was the publication of The Importance and Extent of Free Enquiry. Here Priestley explains his views on the energy flows through nature. The line on page 178 in the book leads to more controversy and Horsley to say “nip Dr. Priestley’s goodly projects in the bud.” (Johnson, pg. 179) Finally, Priestley’s interest and support in the French Revolution led to the involvement of the government. These events, among many, blossomed from Priestley’s discoveries. These air pumps and electrical machines create fear and distaste in governments and religions.

Johnston’s work has opened up a new view for the relations between politics and science. One of the biggest examples that I thought of is Global Warming. This discovery is known by many scientists and humans but there are still those who try and shut out science. But even though this is the case with some discoveries, governments and politics sometimes rely on science. If governments want to make the best decisions for their people then they need a way to gain reliable facts. This method is science and even though some people don’t want to believe it, science is and will be the basis for the future.

1 thought on “Fear the Science”

  1. I love the title! Governments and religion should fear science. It undermines and unravels them to their core. Before science, it seemed that government and religious entities were able to easily control people and spoon feed them exactly what they wanted. I truly believe with science gaining so much popularity from such well known figures that these institutions were legitimately scared. And they should be. For the first time, people were coming out of this fog and were able to think and decide things for themselves. And of course, government and religion can’t have people thinking for themselves!

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