Science is far more reliable than religion, tradition, and custom when it comes to establishing facts. Scientia, a Latin word and the ancestor of our English term, means "knowledge." Scientists are focused on enhancing mankind's collective knowledge in a myriad of spheres. Religion, on the other hand, devises moral codes and ties them to metaphysical models. Tradition and custom, which play an important role in human societies, are rooted in ways of behavior that have long histories.
One way to compare science with religion, tradition, and custom, is to examine female genital mutilation (FGM). More than 200 million girls and woman are living with the consequences of FGM. There is no scientific reason for this cruel and dangerous practice, but FGM has a long history in parts of Africa and the Middle East. FGM stems from the religious traditions of the peoples where it is practiced.
In ancient times, violent storms and human illnesses were viewed as the product of spiritual and supernatural forces. Today, most people view these through the lenses of meteorology and medicine, respectively, two of the many branches of science.
Although scientific advancements have saved countless lives, there are still many doubters of the scientific method and the models it produces. For example, some parents have recently rejected the practice of vaccination.
Scientists do extremely important work, and their work deserves more respect than it sometimes receives. A society that rejects science does so at its own peril.