Air pumps and electrical machines symbolize scientific exploration and discovery. Therefore, governments and religions should fear science because scientific advancements will challenge a country’s political institutions and religious beliefs. This does not go to say that governments and religion should be the enemies of science, rather that science can uplift these institutions and society can progress towards a better future. For instance, Johnson says “England and France would have much to fear from an American air pump, if the current administration would only see fit to endow its schools with technology” (p. 115). This demonstrates that, if the American government would equip schools with scientific technology, then science could pave the way for advancement and change within the country, and it would become a competitor with England and France. Additionally, Priestly believed that “…scientific thinking would challenge the explanatory models of religion… [and] then [went] on to make an even bolder suggestion, linking the march of scientific progress to political change…” (Johnson, p. 86). Here, Priestly shows us that advancements in science lead to changing perspectives in religion and government because people are enlightened and better informed of the world around them when scientific advancements are made.
In my view, science absolutely is a catalyst for change because it challenges our perceptions of the world we live in and grants us with a new perspective. For instance, current scientific research has revealed the social consequences global warming could have – such as the displacement of people living on coastlines. Scientific research shows that, if we do not make changes to our way of life, the world around us will force humanity into a change. This will hold extreme social consequences and will eventually hold political consequences if people continually get more adamant about demanding their government act upon combating climate change.