Re: Religion is...
I'm sure many religious people aim to understand the purpose and meaning of our universe and many others are conditioned or terrified of the responsibility that living without religion entails and a small number are power-seeking shits who treat people as things but they probably would be with or without religion.
The big difference is that we can make blanket statements about the purpose of science with some degree of confidence. It's much harder to do so with religion, but that doesn't mean Professor Townes was wrong - only that he was not wholly right.
And as a scientist, he would have learned a great deal from not being right. That's the whole point.