This has been the topic of many conversations and I've found insight in the thoughts of many. In my mind science is a tool of humanity. A tool to harvest the best information possible from our reality so that we can proceed through our lives in the best possible way. Science is not a matter of faith, but the two are not without relation. (I quantify this later) Hypotheses are not formed on whimsical speculation of a fantastic mind but upon educated guess of the issue's preceding information (sometimes the works of others, sometimes your previous works).
I am an atheist. And as a true Atheist I feel it important to qualify exactly what I am. I don't believe that there is no such thing as God, deity, divine interventions, Jesus in Cheetos or any other fanciful things. To Identify myself as, "Hello I'm an Atheist, there is no such thing in God." is to accept that the default position of our reality is that there is a God and I am against the status quo. Of course, and unfortunately this is true, but it is of little importance. A true Atheist is someone that applies Occam's Razor to the notions of dogmatic lore. I see no evidence for God therefor I don't focus my time and energy on him. I have no utility for him. I source morality from causality. I source spirituality from the incalculable wonder that is the unseen and unknown cosmos and the humility it brings me. I don't need God for anything. As Atheists we will never gain the status quo until we stop trying to fight it. We don't need to fight it, common sense will prevail or the forces that will squelch our mote of existence will destroy us. That is causality, the true nature of the world.
Faith: The word faith was something of particular interest in a debate I recently had. There was a person making the assertion that the Universe has a true nature. In conversation we agreed that "true nature" mean that the universe obeys a set of rules just as BA says. We debated on whether this was taken on faith or not. The ultimate truth/nature assumption is an absolute. How do you test an absolute? The very distinction of it's existence is that it's truth is infinite. It will produce a correct answer 100% of the time. The result of multiplying 0 and infinity is undefined. Human beings are not machines, we don't operate on truths, ones and zeros, ons and offs. We operate on the best information available that we choose to include. Simply, faith is a mechanism of our organism. Science is but a tool to discover what makes the most sense to have faith in. This ultimate presupposition of the Universe obeying a set of rules is truly an untestable assumption. It's an idea that supersedes all others which in my mind makes it logically. The greatest problem with this discussion is that the word faith can be suited to anyone's agenda. It's one of the most perverted words in human language and it rarely means the same thing for two people. My thoughts on this issue conflict even as I right this because this problem. Language is not 100% efficient, even if one were to discover the Ultimate Truth of the Universe he could not use language to give it to someone else.
The biggest difference between religion and science is that science embraces religions forbidden phrase, "I don't know". "I don't know" emboldens science and corrupts religion. Questions are the ultimate truth!
I'm young, and one of the greatest joys in life is that I have so much time to learn. My language is probably inferior to that of many on this board so I'll quote one of the most profound minds. Extra points if you can tell me who it is without googling it!
"I have some discomfort with both believers and with nonbelievers when their opinions are not based on facts ... If we don't know the answer, why are we under so much pressure to make up our minds, to declare our allegiance to one hypothesis or the other?" - My Hero