Science and Society: A Dangerous Pair

Johnson uses a few examples in The Invention of Air about how technologies such as air pumps and electrical machines should be feared by governments for their magnitude of power and whose hands they are in. With the invention of the air pump came entire new realms of science and technology that could be experimented with such as the field of pneumatic Chemistry. The government should fear air pumps and electrical machines because the scientists and engineers who create them have the power to shape the world and especially the future. As Johnson says, science and technology, politics and religion are not secular in their progression; science reigns more and more powerful as it is responsible for creating the world around us. Another example from Johnson is the shift from the Colonies losing the Revolutionary war to receiving more gunpowder and gaining strength in order to win; Johnson writes, “That tremendous influx of stored energy changed the balance of power” (Johnson 143). In this example, physical technological power reigns over one of the most established political powers of that time.

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing social and political implications regarding science and technology, I think to research like CRISPR technology and “designer babies”. These technologies reach far into the realms of politics and religion because of their power to shape upcoming generations and future social dynamics. The use of these technologies would undoubtedly create a further divide between those that could afford to take advantage of it and those who could not.

4 thoughts on “Science and Society: A Dangerous Pair”

  1. Hi Ellie great blog. I like the points you bring up. I am in the mindset that science and technology reign power to shape the world around us. I agree that the government should fear such things as the air pump and electrical machines. All that power is in the hands of engineers and scientist. But its also scary because we don’t know what they could use it for whether its for the right or wrong reasons. You also make an interesting point about the CRISPR technology and the divide between society of who can take advantage and who can not.

  2. Great summary and interpretation of most of Johnson’s points regarding why governments should fear such innovation. I definitely agree with you for the most part and also agree that the implications behind CRISPR technology are very intriguing due to their complexity in all levels of society both in immediate and long term effects. However, your statement regarding the rising secularism of innovation and science is a bit troublesome. As discussed in class throughout the last 6 weeks, religion and science are not and can not be truly separated and despite the arbitrary division that currently exists in our world, are still as close if not closer than ever due to scientific discovery proving/supporting religious concepts.

  3. Hey Ellie I enjoyed your post! I like how you began your post when you explained that there are examples in the book that detail why governments should fear air pumps. Maybe you could have actually written down one of those quotes just so we had a sense of idea. You did go onto explain why the governments should fear air pumps when you stated that the magnitude of power and whose hands they are in were big reasons. I think that you made a great point when you explained that the invention of the air pump unlocked new realms of science and tech that we could experiment with. That’s is very wise and creative thinking. Your idea in the second paragraph is very interesting and I’m curious to see if it happens in the future. Good job!

  4. I definitely like your post. I agree with you wholeheartedly, and your points are good. I love how you state that science is powerful because–without a doubt–it’s the one thing we as a species should fear at some point. However, it’s been clear that religion and science don’t mix (and for many, many reasons), but I do think your other points are well though out. Nice job!

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