I had a discussion over the weekend with someone who told me they felt that religion and science were the same in that they both utilize a, "I believe it, so it is true" philosophy. I argued that in science, the scientific method is used to empirically test a hypothesis before it can be proclaimed to be fact, proven to be wrong, or determined to be a theory that still requires more testing. That in science, all possible alternative solutions must be exhausted before proclaiming an answer to be truth, whereas in religion, the only proof needed to prove any assertion is simply, "it's in the bible" or it's in whatever religious text that person holds as truth. I was shut down. "No" she insisted, "Science does the same thing." And this argument was presented not by a person who is defending their religious convictions, but by a person who claims to be an atheist, with no religious affiliation whatsoever. A person who I hold dear to my heart and who's intelligence is, in fact, rather high. So the usual explanations of religiosity or lack of ability to understand complexities don't suffice when attempting to understand how this person arrives at this idea of religion and science using the same methods to explain their truths.
In my mind, the truth is that science in fact does require rigorous testing and examination before a theory can be called a fact, and when it is determined that something that was once held to be known as fact is later determined to have a different explanation, science corrects itself and admits the error and states the new evidence that grants proof to a new answer. Religion refuses to acknowledge any possible answer or explanation that is not presented in religious text. In fact, many religions dictate that followers should not seek answers outside of the religious text, that to do so is an affront to the supreme deity of that text's choice, while science begs us to seek all possible answers and to test them over and over again to gain a better, more complete understanding.
Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not a religious scholar, nor am I a scientist. I'm willing to seek alternative theories.
What are your thoughts? Are religion and science intrinsically the same? Why or why not?