Now obviously these are quotes, not arguments, yet they point to an obvious problem in trying to construct an alternative to faith, especially one based on science, whatever is meant by that.
For example, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, an eminent physicist and current BHA President states, 'Reason, decency, tolerance, empathy and hope are human traits that we should aspire to, not because we seek reward of eternal life or because we fear the punishment of a supernatural being, but because they define our humanity.
I have a strong sense of awe and wonder in the world, which my cells are so fleetingly a part of, that goes far deeper for me than anything religious faith can offer'.
Well, yes. But hatred, malice, fear and xenophobia are also evidently human traits that also define our humanity (as in fact the best religion recognizes). So we come back to the core issue, why pick certain traits and not others? It is not a given. It is only 'obvious' if you are approaching from a certain perspective: a perspective that has been shaped much more by centuries of culture than any scientific discoveries.