(here he refers to info from Bill Bryson's book at Home.)
A remarkable number of inventions and knowledge was created by English clergymen.
The evidence of contributions by clergymen is much higher than physicists, economists, or other inventors
for that time period at, as far as physical records found about 10 times the number.
Here are just a few examples of inventors or knowledge experts.
Rev Edmund Cartwright - power loom
Rev Jack Russel - terrier breeder
Rev William Buckland - dinosaurs
Rev Willai Greenwell - archeology
Rev Octavius Pickard-Cambridge - spiders
Rev George Garrett - submarine
Rev Gibert White - naturalist
Rev M.J. Berkeley - fungi
And of course everyone knows Thomas Bays and Thomas Malthus.
And especially relevant is the country clergymen who had a nice home with plenty of leisure time, and
access to a good supply of tea. Hence the tie to Bryson's book. (Which i have not read by the way).
What enabled these religious people to make such intellectual contributions? Talib's take is The enlightened skeptic.
By being highly skeptical of human knowledge! Instead trust God.
If inspired by God, and in these cases of innovation meaning Nature as God made it, or even the the Invisible Hand of the markets. (Never mind capitalism here specifically!), The point is the spirit of just getting on with things directly - doing and tinkering and learning.
This vs relying on top-down flow from philosophy and institutions, both of which could be very convoluted at the time. Be very skeptical of those!