Science vs. Religion: the inevitable battle?

Are Science and Religion in conflict?

Have you got the notion from pop-culture that science and religion are in constant conflict? Like two rival boxers vying for the title of heavy weight champ.

We’re reminded about the Catholic Church’s opposition to Galileo, the Scopes trial and more recently, the creation evolution debate or discussions around stem cell research.

It’s called The conflict thesis, and holds that religion and science has and always will be in conflict throughout history, and it was made popular in the late 1800’s, by John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White.

However, today much of the scholarship that the conflict thesis was first based on, is considered to be inaccurate. An example is the claim that people of the Middle Ages widely believed that the Earth was flat. That idea is still very common in popular culture. But this claim is mistaken, as historians today know “there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge that earth was a sphere and even knew its approximate circumference.”

Regarding the model in itself, historical research indicates that religion has a much more complex and close relationship with science than the conflict thesis acknowledges.
Today historians know that many scientific developments, such as Kepler’s laws were explicitly driven by religious ideas and organizations.

But one reason for the current appeal of the conflict thesis is the existence of ongoing debates that seem to follow a pattern of religion versus science, or religion versus what some claim to be social progress, where this supposed progress is linked in some way to science or technology. But hopefully, as time passes so will the misinformation, because to the nonpartisan both science and religion have important parts to play in our world. Science tells us how the world works and religion tells us why.