A system of ethics based on reason without recourse to
Religion and science are often seen as opposite poles in our understanding of the world. The
one seeks knowledge through ancient tradition, passed on through the generations as
revealed knowledge; knowledge that we take on faith, while the other finds its source from
directly observable or verifiable facts; it is a philosophy of eternal skepticism, the polar
opposite of faith. The believer begins with the assumption that God exists, or that life is
eternal, or whatever his faith entails. These are not the end-product of a long chain of
reasoning, but rather, they are the starting point that anchors the beginning of that chain of
reasoning. They are initial assumptions which are never themselves called into question.
Just as we never think to question our own existence, or the fact that we have experience,
the believer never thinks to question the existence of God, or of his own immortal soul.
And yet while religion and science are in some sense polar opposites, there is also much in
common between them. Both are carefully crafted systems of thought, concerned with
establishing the real truth behind the world we see in experience. Both use logic and reason
to persuade, and both record their laws, methods, and conclusions in a rich literature that is
taught to subsequent generations in educational institutions. They are both concerned with
the propagation of knowledge, even if that knowledge is arrived at by different means. In
fact, science can itself be seen as a kind of religion, or at least a logical successor to
religion, the latest, most reasonable faith, that serves the purpose of providing an
explanation of the origins and workings of the world, but without recourse to a supernatural
world beyond scientific observation. Science seeks to replace dogma with observation and
There is in fact a...