“Liberty… is the great parent of science and of virtue; and… a nation will be great in both always in proportion as it is free.” –Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Willard, 1789. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Edition), Lipscomb and Bergh, editors; 7:329.
The principle here is that people naturally seek to find truth around them and to bring out the good within themselves, and that government should allow and encourage this.
However, this is not precisely true. It is true that people seek to know enough about the material world to be able to manipulate it for their own ends, and this may be called science. It is also true that people seek to meet their own standard of goodness, and they might call this virtue. To that extent, government should recognize these tendencies and allow them to flourish unimpeded.
However, It is our responsibility as parents, teachers, and members of the community to help define the objectives of science and the standards of virtue.