The Complete, Unequivocal, yet Necessary Truth

The analogy of the air pumps and electrical machines portrays the effect of scientific process on the common culture of the era. Priestly, through his innovation, uncovered principles which profoundly affected the views of materialism and spirituality in his time. The infamous “discovery of air” exterminated the mystics in the fluids which encompass Earth, grounding them with a metaphysical presence that could be not only understood, but examined, through empirical studies (Johnson 147). The progress of science, thus, impacts not only the technological world, but the societal structure around it, cutting deeply into religious and political fields. The three share a deep seeded connection. Johnson described how “the radical’s belief that progress inevitably undermines institutions and belief systems of the past” allows for a worldview that constantly undergoes massive change and adjustment, as the “radicals” push forward against principles previously unquestioned (Johnson 238).


Current scientific dilemmas, including the environmental problems we face, the ethicality of genome tampering, the limited supply of fuels, or the application of nuclear power, all have a foundation in scientific principles, but their usage goes far beyond the lab. With new technology comes authority and power, and with that power comes political stances and economic consequences. Using these tools, then, requires some moral foundation; the likes of which we find in religion. In this way the three are bound, and Johnson provides example of this through the story of Priestly. His groundbreaking science shook the core of religious philosophy, and thus was greatly rejected by many. Those who had secret religious questioning, such as Thomas Jefferson, often kept quiet as to not cause political disruption (Johnson 173). However, Priestly unashamedly proclaimed his denial of modern Christianity, much to the dismay of those around him. In this way, through the problems Priestly faced, one can realize the potential upheaval resting within the fibers of discovery.


1 thought on “The Complete, Unequivocal, yet Necessary Truth”

  1. All the points you make are really well thought out and sophisticated! Touching on the authority and power and what comes along with it is really important.

    Based on what we know from Johnson’s book, as our society advances along with technology and solving economical problems, do you think that with the solving of problems, they will continue to create more or change other issues drastically? After reading your thoughts, thats something that I was just wondering from your perspective, great job!

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