I should have known my comment would seem insensitive, for that I apologize. Alchemy was closely associated with Hermeticism...a religious philosophy. ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism This strongly implies association with such as the Freemasons and Rosecrucians, both of whom hold reverence for Hermes Trimegistus, and both of whom date back through the Middle Ages into the late Roman Empire and earlier. Hermeticism was the clique of "uber-scholars" of the era, logic was a pre-eminant practice, and the study of how the world worked (with the end to manipulate it as a goal) was a constant occupation...this was the greater part of the syncretic soup out of which science was born. Was science born out of Christian or other "religious" thinkers...certainly not in the way you suggest, apart from incidentally as you did mention. Nevertheless, Hermeticism is *a* religion, and out of the religion of Hermeticism as the primary source material, I do believe science as we know it did spring. You don't have to believe...simply connect the dots.