TL;DR – That science and religion do not clash as they are not concerned with the same things is basically a mantra invented by religious people to have their religion not questioned.
The entire point of this post can be summarized by the image above.
It can also be perfectly explained by paraphrasing Sam Harris: There is NOT a single thing for which once we had a scientific answer, but for which we now have a much better religious answer, while through history we have countless examples where things were once explained by religion, but are now better explained by science.
It basically goes in this one way, every single time. It is almost every time science really advances knowledge about our universe, religion somehow falls back, loses credibility. To prove this point just think about that once religion claimed that the Earth was stationary, until science proved this wrong. Same with Earth being the center of the universe, and the sun going around it. This can also be seen in the science disproving nonsense that is Noah’s ark, for example. Then the creationism of man, which was disproved by evolution / geology / astronomy. Nowadays creationism is mostly replaced by so-called “intelligent design” where people are simply saying “ok, some kind of evolution did happen, but it was god who guided it” .. or “god started it”, or something similar.
Of course, even these things are being disproved by science right as we speak. For example, through the human body there is evidence of “bad design”, meaning no intelligent designer would do things in this manner, but on the other hand, they are perfectly explained by evolution.
CC0 Public Domain – Mikegi / Pixabay
These all were basically simple examples how religion and science do clash. The thing is: religion tends to make claims about the real world. The real world is susceptible to analysis by science. Therefore, science can prove religion wrong. And it has. And if religion can be proven wrong in the real world, is there really, I mean really any reason it cannot possibly be wrong in the metaphysical sense as well?
The people who claim that religion and science do not clash all actually use some sort of argument that implies that they do not clash as long as science stays in the domain of science and religion stays in the domain of religion. But here is the caveat. There cannot be a strict division like that, because science is concerned with everything that potentially can be tested and with everything that can be seen or witnessed in the real world. It it follows that science is concerned with matters of how did life begin, how we did rise from “lower” animals, how did the Universe begin, and even matters of morality, because if you think about it, science still has a lot to learn about how brains work, and that is why it can potentially have an impact even on ethics. But as we shall see, science is not concerned only with matter of how did something occur, science can be (more or less) used to even verify presence of God in the here and now.
By Anonymous - Camille Flammarion, L'Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888), pp. 163, Public Domain, Link - The image depicts a man crawling under the edge of the sky, depicted as if it were a solid hemisphere, to look at the mysterious Empyrean beyond. The caption translates to "A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven and Earth meet..."
The religion makes a case that god is all good, all powerful, all knowing, etc. Whatever. But we’re not going into contradictions of this nature here. For example, it should be perfectly clear to anyone that if god is truly omniscient we don’t really have free will. But, the whole point is actually even simpler.
Even if you say that God is forever beyond reach of space and time and science, that he lives on some another place of existence where no means in this plane of existence cannot come, the basic tenet of religion is that God listens to our thoughts and watches our actions. In order to be able to do that he has to come into some sort of contact with the physical world, because we humans live in the physical world. When he does that, he is effectively entering the real world and science should be able to listen or detect his means of communication, meaning there should be some evidence for it. But there is none.
If people want to say that this is because God doesn’t allow this evidence or when we detect it, he deletes it, or whatever, then they are in territory where they are desperate to defend your staring hypothesis that there is a god. After all, just try to think about how would they feel if science told them there is evidence of this communication with God. Then people would embrace scientific methods that discovered this. This very fact basically tells you all you need to know.
To paraphrase Richard Dawkins: The fact is, an Universe that was created by a god is scientifically different that the Universe that was not created by a god. An Universe where god listens to your thoughts is different than an Universe without such god. These are questions for science, whether we like it or not.