I've come to the conclusion that science, *at least how we have today*, is just a kind of neo-religion.
Take, for example, theoretical physics and regular religions:
1) Both try to build a system to supply the need to explain how human beings and the cosmos came into existence. Even though religion doesn't "believe" in God, there are also religions that doesn't believe in a greater power creating and ruling everything (buddhism, for example).
2) Both does so by creating theories that go on evolving and changing, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. For example, a long time ago *christians* accepted the idea that the universe was 10 thousand years old, but now they don't. Then, science also had his own hiccups, believing Earth to be flat, etc.
3) So both use theories that eventually change, get disproved, evolve into more complex theories or are substituted by newer, more elegant ones. But they continue to be just that, theories.
4) In both fields, religion and science, there's a great tendency of ignoring new developments in order to keep the orthodox, more comfortable understanding. For example, there are several holes with quantum physics and relativity in general that, although observed in practical terms, are ignored because they don't match the *theory*. So both fields tend to favor theories against direct observation, when the phenomena observed cannot readily be explained by the current official theory, nor explained with a new theory.
5) Both fields do so in a belief that their method is the best way there is. Religion believes they are right because of their faith, Science believes they are right because of the belief that everything can be explained and deducted away by the "Scientific Model". So, both religion and science are founded upon a theory that should work, but in practical terms, is not applied (hence the bloody wars that "loving" christians fight, hence the attachment of the scientific establishment to obviously flawed theories just because they have become commonly accepted). Just because the bible says that the planet is a sphere suspended upon nothing (if that's what it really is), doesn't mean that it's right about everything. Just because some things can be explained using the currently preferred scientific theory, it doesn't mean that the theory is wholly right and a "law", as the "laws" of physics are called (at least until disproved). Because "laws" on religion are more subjective, they cannot easily be disproven, but they are just like scientific laws, only harder to disprove. Scientific law's, because are purposedly based on objectivity, can be disproved if enough objective arguments are shown, but they are still wrongly taken as "laws". So if someone, one day, disproves the "law" of conservation of energy, the next new theory will still be called a "law" and considered a hard truth, until also disproven. Just like religion.
6) Both religion and science should be based on direct observation of reality, without judments or prejudices from either the past, from the commonly accepted model, nor from the observer's own mind. It should be ok to say "I don't know", instead of creating myriad theories to explain things away, or worse yet, taking these explanations for granted as "truth". So, if you don't know how humanity came into existence, just say "I don't know" and explore it. If you don't know how the universe came into being, just say "I don't know" and try to understand the universe, instead of creating *theories* like the big bang, for example. Get the Spaghetty monster, throw in some calculations, and BAM, you got a reasonable scientific theory for today's standards of science. Silly.
7) Even if you consider the Big Bang theory as being elegant and probable, it is still a theory, and only that. People in the past must've thought, for some reason, that the idea of one or many omnipotent, omnipresent, always-existing, never-born personal being creating the entire existence was very elegant and a good explanation, but that also is just a theory. After all, if such powerful being(s) can exist without a creator, then also the universe should be accepted as being able to exist without a creator, because in theory, the universe is much more simple than the creator. In resume, just because a theory is elegant and fits and is the best thing you got, don't attach yourself to it, recognize it as just a theory and let it go. Reality must be watched and understood objectively, not through theories, no matter how elegant they are. Whenever someone attaches himself to a belief, be it "proved" or not, he automatically narrows down his mind and keeps himself from seeing things from a broarder perspective. So, the moment you believe relativity explains everything, you close yourself from other possibilities. The moment you believe "Jesus is your only savior", you automatically excluse yourself from other possibilities (specially the most important one, *yourself* being responsible for you instead of laying down the responsibility in someone else).
8) Embrace your ignorance. Recognizing that you don't know something is the first step to knowing it, or at least it won't keep you from stopping the search or take you astray from it. The problem with the current scientific establishment is that, as today's world look upon science to give it the answers they need (as it once did with religion), scientists feel like they *should* have answers to everything, and that's when people, out of the need of explaining things that cannot be readily explained, come up with theories to do it. So, the same way someone sees a blue blur floating through one of your living room's wall and going away through the other believes he was visited by an "angel", the same way scientists tend to come up with bizarre theories to explain the things we see in our natural universe. Theories are fine, the problem is that, if you get enough people to like your theory, it starts to be considered a "law", and that is counterproductive to further development of understanding. Same with religion.
9) Ultimately, the perfect religion and the perfect science should be indistinguishable from each other, because they would be one and the same. Any objective study of reality should not be bound by beliefs, dogmas, social/political/economical agendas, orthodoxy, compromise with any organization or association or group, previous mind conditionings, stubborness, assumptions, fear of non-acceptance, etc. It may look like science today is such a thing, but it is not, nor is religion. Today, if a scientist comes up with hard scientific proof (as in proved by direct observation of phenomena, instead of just mathematical "proof"), for example, of the "Eletric Universe" theory, it would take at least half a century before it could enter "mainstream" physics. Then add another decade before it shows up on classroom physics books. Same with religion, but on a hundred-to-thousands-of-years scale, when for example, the Pope comes forward to declare something as being true when it was considered false for centuries. Take, for instance, when Galileo was prosecuted by religion for his new and revolutionary cosmologic model. The same thing happens today when someone comes forward with a new revolutionary theory that goes against what is commonly thought: he is prosecuted by the mainstream physics body, if he holds a position of respect like, let's say, director of the physics department of a big university, or a government agency, he might loose his position, he might be ridiculed by other colleges, etc. That is also a form of prosecution by "heresy" which goes against free thinking and uncompromised research, like Mansoor al-Hallaj's execution, destruction of lab equipment, imprisionment and burning of 6 tons of books, journals and papers from psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich in 1960 America, etc. This is a pattern that repeats itself over and over again, in all branches of human thought, be it religion, science, morals, etc. This is a deeply ingrained behaviour that is passed from generation to generation that must be acknowledge and dealt with, if humanity is to come out of this long lasting "dark ages" of consciousness. In fact, before we try to reach Mars, it would be of great benefit if effort was first directed towards our own consciousness, to understand how the human being tickles and acknowledge its flaws, thus fixing them. And to do so, a new system of thought must be introduced, because the one we have today just won't do, it will just go on repeating yourself over and over again. Unless a human can strip himself of all his conditionings, be them moral, cultural, religious, everything, he can never start anew and take a fresh look at himself, his place in the universe and in reality itself. The very base of human thought is flawled and childish, hence everything that stems from it will also be flawed, either by prejudices, by one-sided views, narrowmindedness, etc, and that's what must be acknowledged and fixed if humanity is to, as a whole, jump outside his current claustrophobic box into the immensity of what it is to be a human being with the full capacity of his consciousness awakened. Before spending billions looking for the imaginary Higgs boson, look at yourself!