Unfortunately, just defining either concept seems almost hopeless at times. On the other hand, describing them is much easier, so let’s start there.
Science isn’t system, but an approach to knowledge, a method. Scientists will argue forever about the definition of science, but still agree it is the most useful or productive method of understanding the world. What are its essential characteristics? They are objective observation, the deriving of principles and “laws”, and predictions based on these. (When it produces things, it is also technology.)
Science can be easily differentiated from religion by the fact that all of the knowledge it produces might be proven wrong. Religious “knowledge” is typically sacred, and untouchable, while scientific knowledge is always being overthrown or refined by further application of science. While faith is the cornerstone of religion, evidence is for science.
This explains why “creationist” science is not actually science. He will openly tell you that his “faith” is more important to him than the evidence. He only uses the pretense of science to support his preconceived notions. Many scientists, on the other hand, have overturned even their own theories, because the essence of science is to go where the evidence leads you.
Spirituality And Science Combined
It seems that spirituality and science contradict one another, but this would only be true if all spirituality was based on religious beliefs. Spirituality, though, can be seeking higher levels of experience, asking the deepest questions, and seeking the true “self,” which in no way makes it contrary to science. In fact, since science is such a productive method of discovering new truths, it can be used for spiritual exploration and discovery.
If prayer brings you peace of mind, why not pray? When the evidence shows it to be a phenomenon involving brain chemicals, why not accept that too?
It is scientific spirituality, by the way, that has lead to the technology of brain wave entertainment. Now you can buy CDs that give you the same spiritual experiences as religious mediators.
Being spiritual then, can mean forever seeking higher levels of experience, and looking for the answers to the deepest questions. Science help in this quest. Since every answer raises even deeper questions, there is no extinguishable of spirituality by way of science. If spirituality is the quest, then science may be the most effective means of continuing it.
Check out my playlist of my favorite things I listen to when I meditate :