I read a truly interesting book over the summer, called "The Science of Liberty" by Timothy Ferris, one of the best science writers we have today. The argument he poses is that the development of science is effectively responsible for the creation of American liberal democracy (not meaning the modern interpretation of liberal, which is associated with being a Democrat, but rather the creation of liberty as a basic human right). I wrote about this back in early July, but am pleased to see that others are taking interest in the book.
There is a new Skeptic article in Scientific American. In it, Michael Shermer gives his take on the premise of the book, and I encourage you to take a look at it and find out what you think. It is an interesting topic.