First, I suggest that those interested in what science has to say about morality read Sam Harris's, "The Moral Landscape."
Envision a World Without Science:
Aztecs used to rip out people's hearts to ensure that the sun would rise the next day. Druids would burn people in wicker men or throw them into peat bogs to make the crops fertile once more.
This kind of superstitious, horrific behavior was due to the fact that people had no idea how the natural world really works; there was no "scientific method." People were not formally trained to think analytically. But even today you can find people engaging in irrational and harmful behavior, wherever people are uneducated and depend on a superstitious belief system, wherever people are ignorant of science and modern medicine. I present you with a few choice examples:
In 2010 the Independent, a UK newspaper, reported that an Indian 'miracle lake' had become a pilgrim destination. People were bathing in a muddy, unsanitary, stagnant lake contaminated by industrial toxins. The Independent reported the following:
["The phenomenon has continued to grow even though the 'cured' man has now died. He was a member of the family that owns the lake.
'It all started after my brother, Hiranmoy, had a dream about a snake goddess telling him that a dip in the pond could produce miracle cures of killer diseases. He was cured of cancer for a while, but later died,' Tarini Raj, 45, said."]
Catholics with incurable and/or infectious diseases periodically make pilgrimages to Lourdes, France, to bathe one after another in the same supposedly holy water in the belief that the Mother Mary will cure them.
Until recently, the Sambia of Papua New Guinea would send young boys to live with older men who would ritually inseminate the boys to ensure that the boys would become men; supposed "evidence" that this worked was the fact that the boys would mature and develop masculine features after a few years.
One of the most repulsive and morally unconscionable customs in the world, common in some parts of Africa and the Middle East, is female genital mutilation. According to the WHO, 100–140 million women and girls have undergone genital mutilation. Here is a list of the various types of this horrifying procedure:
["The main three are Type I, removal of the clitoral hood, almost invariably accompanied by removal of the clitoris itself (clitoridectomy); Type II, removal of the clitoris and inner labia; and Type III (infibulation), removal of all or part of the inner and outer labia, and usually the clitoris, and the fusion of the wound, leaving a small hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood...Several miscellaneous acts are categorized as Type IV. These range from a symbolic pricking or piercing of the clitoris or labia, to cauterization of the clitoris, cutting into the vagina to widen it (gishiri cutting), and introducing corrosive substances to tighten it."]
It is clear that many parts of the world need scientific education, less reliance on irrational belief and more reliance on critical thinking. The real question is how to make that happen.