I'm treading on very thin ice here, I will do my best to be respectful and very careful with my words. I should preface this thread by saying that while i have no respect for actual religions (in general, not in specific), I absolutely respect the adherents to those religions. They are human beings, and I have the same respect for them as I do for any other human (religious or not). Please try to keep that idea firm in your mind as I try to form an entire thought. (Credit to Sam Harris for planting this idea in my head.) Premise: without actually stating which ideas are "good" for human well-being, it seems possible that science (or at least the scientific process) could help determine which religious ideas we should be most tolerant of. Support: Analogy: no one can say which food is necessarily "good" and yet we are comfortable making broad generalizations about things such as "healthy food" and "poison" and "nutrition." In each area there are exceptions to the rule, but generalizations are made to great benefit. Peanuts are poison to some people, but are, in general, regarded as a healthy food. However, potassium cyanide is never regarded as a healthy food. No one would suggest that gallons of wine are necessary to a healthy diet, yet there are discussions about how a glass of it might be beneficial. Furthermore, if someone with no expertise in the field of nutrition were to make a "ground-breaking" statement, we tend to ignore them. If the marketing director of Pepsi Co. suggests that you should have no less than 8 glasses of Pepsi each day, we ignore him in the same way that we might ignore a claim that we should stop eating fruit. We acknowledge experts in the field, and generally disregard non-experts. Why do we accept "holy books" as granting instant "expert" status? Isn't it possible that some holy books, some where, might contain a small amount of ethical poison? Why is it that we rationalize the terrible behavior of certain religious groups when we don't rationalize the terrible diets of some? Why must we be equally tolerant of all ethical and moral precepts? No one would suggest that science has nothing to say about human nutrition simply because there are many valid answers and thousands of caveats. Why would we think that science has nothing to say about ethical and moral behavior? Conclusion: Just as there are many foods that could contribute to a healthy diet, perhaps there are many types of moral and ethical behaviors that could contribute to a healthy existence. And just as there are many food that are poisonous, perhaps there are many types of moral and ethical behaviors that could be poisonous to a healthy existence. Closing statement: In the same way that nutrition is a science with much nuance and many conflicting ideas, I'd like to propose the idea that ethics is a science that remains undeveloped. Discuss?