Many people (specially orthodox religious or so called conservatives) think that science is the "force against religion", and they offer very strong arguments to support this hypothesis. One can ask what is science after all? Is it something which we humans invented or something which existed all the time we just discovered it and named it or is it just way of thinking? Basically science consist of the stuff that people have found out about things around us, they use this knowledge to figure out the things and also to create or design things which can make our life more comfortable. In very simple terms science is just people finding out what the stuff is and how things around us work and this logic can be applied anywhere not just for science subjects like chemistry, physics, biology and maths. Any rational or logical analysis and reasoning is science, that's how I define it, for me science doesn't just means few subjects to study.
The reason why some people think that science is bad for religion is because science has allowed people to figure out things on their own that people didn't know back when the first draft of the many of these religious or holy books were written. A very simple example of this is where rainbows come from? The bible answered that it was from god; he created rainbows after the great flood to show that he wouldn't create another world- wide extermination. For people back then, it answered why there were rainbows, it was very simple explaination and went very well with the story in book, it satisfied their curiosity but now, people have looked into it and found that rainbow is just the light reflecting of the water in clouds (this is simplest way to describe it). We now know that it has been like this since the beginning of the earth, and that's just how light works, it's the property of light we just didn't know about it back then. I am giving this particular example just to show that people took the explanation from Bible as truth because rainbows seemed so magical and they wanted an answer...but back then they didn't know, there was no way to understand this phenomena because they didn't have the knowledge or techniques to study this phenomena, it was impossible for them to know this...then they heard stories of the God (more or less all religions have some stories like this) and one of the stories said that the rainbows were from god, an all powerful being, creator of universe, he created everything including the rainbow. If it were me hearing this for the first time, I would believe it, because something so beautiful and grand as a rainbow must come from something beyond this world. Back then there were many things like this which required some sort of explanation (like sunrise and sunset, solar eclipses, floods, earthquakes, various epidemics, etc.) and concept of 'God' and its ultimate powers gave very satisfactory explanation for all these phenomenons, and remember Bible is just one of the texts which gives such explanations there are many books from many religions which offer similar explanations and stories.
People then believed that this person named 'God' (addressed by various names in various religions) must be real and he must be the power behind causing the things that people don't have control over or can't explain......human nature and mind is very curious, these simple answers satisfied curiosity of lot of people but not all of them were happy with these answers. Some of these people started to look into these things, a few thousand years later and after many experiments they discovered that rainbows are a lot simpler than we thought, one can even create their own rainbow on any bright day or under lights with simple water hose or fountain...so people figured out where they come from and this is what science is, simple rational and logical thinking. It is not a rule book, or something to live by, it's not a lifestyle, it is just a way of thinking. They also figured out that earth is not stationary but it moves around Sun and that's why we experience sunrise and sunset and many more natural wonders. But the problem was these things contradicted the things mentioned in some scriptures which attained status of books revealing absolute truth by the time these discoveries were made, and then this conflict or war started, science vs religion.
Science also doesn't claim to deliver absolute truth. Everything in science is tentative, open for debate. According to science, there is no way to prove anything absolutely, one can question everything no matter whose theory it is and how old it is. The beauty of science is if you want to disprove anything in science, you would be using science to do it and whole scientific community will welcome any new discoveries or theories. But current form of any religion doesn't allow this, it demands faith, total surrender and many people do this, feel happy about it, nothing wrong in it as long as it works for them and helps these people to solve their problems and coexist peacefully but one is forced to confront some of these beliefs when they create division in society, stereotype people based on their beliefs and preach hatred. It surely is a matter of concern when people start killing each other because of differences in their religion and faith. Anyone who questions any religious belief is branded as atheist and is subjected to lot of criticism and hate. I already shared some of my views regarding this topic in my post about science and religion where I discussed how both these things can complement each other but unfortunately it is not possible because of rigid attitude of people from both the fields. Science doesn't run away from any question, but sadly same can not be said about religion and that is why people think science is a force against religion but in reality science is a not a force against anything, it's a very simple thing which helps us to figure out the stuff (including some irregularities in science and its theories). Religion would have benefited immensely from science if it would have embraced many discoveries which cleared many doubts and explained many natural phenomena (same thing which religion tried to do in the beginning), rather than accepting these facts it took a stand of rejecting them and insisting that whatever is written in some holy books is absolute truth and this created a rift which is widening day by day.
I mentioned in my previous post also that I don't think them (science and religion) as a force against each other, both can be complementary to each other if people want, but if I have to choose only one I will definitely choose science because it's more logical, rational and not dictatorial.
(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)