Science denies the truth of myth and miracle, denies that human testimony can substantiate the miraculous, denies the existence of the supernatural. Science asserts the absolute, the unvarying uniformity of nature. Science insists that the present is the child of all the past, – that no power can change the past, and that nature is forever the same.
Science is the providence of man, the worker of true miracles, of real wonders. Science has “read a little in Nature’s infinite book of secrecy.” Science knows the circuits of the winds, the courses of the stars. Fire is his servant, and lightning his messenger.
Science freed the slaves and gave liberty to their masters. Science taught man to enchain, not his fellows, but the forces of nature, forces that have no backs to be scarred, no limbs for chains to chill and eat, forces that have no hearts to break, forces that never know fatigue, forces that shed no tears.
Science is the great physician. His touch has given sight. He has made the lame to leap, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and in the pallid face his hand has set the rose of health. Science has given his beloved sleep and wrapped in happy dreams the throbbing nerves of pain. Science is the destroyer of disease, builder of happy homes, the preserver of life and love.
Science is the teacher of every virtue, the enemy of every vice. Science has given the true basis of morals, the origin and office of conscience, revealed the nature of obligation, of duty, of virtue in its highest, noblest forms, and has demonstrated that true happiness is the only possible good.
Science has slain the monsters of superstition, and destroyed the authority of inspired books. Science has read the records of the rocks, records that priestcraft cannot change, and on his wondrous scales has weighed the atom and the star.
All has been accomplished by the heroic few. The men of science have explored heaven and earth, and with infinite patience have furnished the facts. The brave thinkers have used them. The gloomy caverns of superstition have been transformed into temples of thought, and the demons of the past are the angels of to-day.
Science took a handful of sand, constructed a telescope, and with it explored the starry depths of heaven. Science wrested from the gods their thunderbolts; and now, the electric spark, freighted with thought and love, flashes under all the waves of the sea. Science took a tear from the cheek of unpaid labor, converted it into steam, created a giant that turns with tireless arm, the countless wheels of toil.
Science at last holds with honest hand the scales wherein are weighed the facts and fictions of the world. Science neither kneels nor prays, science stands erect and thinks. Her tongue is not a traitor to her brain. Her thought and speech agree.
Pure science is necessarily godless. It is incapable of worship.
There is no harmony between religion and science. When science was a child, religion sought to strangle it in the cradle.
Reason, Observation and Experience – the Holy Trinity of Science – have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then, let us stand erect.