Let’s start with some definitions. First, what is science? According to Merriam-Webster, science is “a system of knowledge covering general truths… especially as obtained … through the scientific method.” So here, science is defined methodologically; it’s an approach to truth that uses the scientific method. So what is the scientific method?
Generally speaking, the scientific method involves the steps of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and revision. We observe some phenomenon; we form a hypothesis, and we do experiments testing the hypothesis, which is then either confirmed or disconfirmed. Now this definition of science is not the only or even the best definition; for instance, many theoreticians like myself can go months or -truth be told- even years without directly interfacing with experiments. But this definition is sufficient for the purposes of this essay.
Second, what is religion? Sociologists will fight for hours over this question, but in the context of a conflict between science and religion, religion usually refers to monotheism – belief in a good, personal transcendent Creator and sustainer of the universe.
Now that we’ve defined our terms, let’s move on to our next section: what exactly is the conflict between science and religion?