Everyday I have my social media newsfeed bombarded with political stories. Despite the apparent variety of sources, the stories themselves tend not to have that much variety. One type is the leftish outlet complaining about religion. Whether the topic is creationism in schools or pro-lifers having some rally somewhere, the articles and (more particularly) the comments tend to see 'religion' and the 'religious' as irrational, contemptible, and so forth. 'Religion' is a thing of the past, and 'science' is the way of the future. By these terms most people tend to mean 'Christianity' or 'Christianity, Islam and similar sets of beliefs where there is some scriptural tradition with a set of stories and accounts of the cosmos; by the latter, resource-intense research based on experiment and observation. One irrational and driven by superstition, the other driven by intelligence and inquiry. In fact, the contrast is neither an accurate representation of 'science' nor 'religion'. It doesn't take much education in history or anthropology to learn that actual 'religion' is pretty much based on the same methodologies and goals as 'science'. Experts entrusted with such things observe the world and come up with a system of explanation in accord with that. Such explanations are entwined and institutionalized in the social order, through monasteries, mosques, museums, or research institutions, etc, and the 'experts' associated with them. In the West, our resources for making such observations about the cosmos expanded very rapidly in the period from 1600 to now, vastly outpacing the ability of our social systems to adapt. In the US, the current tension results in large part from the way government introduced compulsory high school education in rural localities, where modern systems of understanding the world (such as evolution) were unfamiliar to the population and its leaders. Despite this, 'scientists' and 'religious' figures were the same people until relatively recently. To highlight this, the word scientist is itself of recent origin, and Western universities are Christian institutions in origin. Even Newton when formulating a theory of gravity had to refer to it as a spirit (how else could one describe some invisible thing that pulls stuff down?). Historically, there is no change from 'religion' to 'science'. Instead, the expertise of specialists within our society has gradually increased and its understanding of the world has been transformed by accumulated observations and technological advances. At the same time, the masses of the population are neither less nor more 'religious'. The masses still depend for their knowledge of the cosmos on what experts tell them. I accept, most people know enough to problematize the biblibal creation account. But how many people who ridicule the biblical creation account in favour of the Big Bang actually have any clue why the Big Bang is favoured? In fact, expertise in 'science' is so fragmented that even 'scientists' don't understand 'science'. How many cell biologists believe in the Big Bang? Probably all. How many even know about Red Shift or Cosmic Microwave Background radiation? Very few. In fact, Big Bang is believed for social reasons not for scientific ones, because the experts with the most power say this is most likely. For those experts themselves, the theory is favoured because of the internal logic of a series of observations (likely to become defunct); but that's only as relevant as the people with power make it. Scientists and other men of knowledge, like priests and other predecessors, need to participate within living economic and social system and have an incentive to maximize their own value, represent theory as fact, and do what they are paid to do. In the US, big power has gotten client experts to portray climate change as problematic (or, rather, offered patronage to scientists prepared to do so), undermining the ability of the populace to ward off forthcoming calamity. The religion-science distinction makes people select an antiquated and defunct system of knowledge control, the priests and the public cult, as the thing to scrutinize when trying to discover how others might control them. Popular democratic energy is consumed by diversionary side-shows about church v. state and a few marginal 'moral' issues, while before everyone's eyes the elites are eking out the freedom of universities and research institutions, turning their managers into corporate psychopaths, and reducing academics to virtual servitude. Experts are being deprived both of economic independence and of the institutions which would protect them. So as we proceed into the post-democratic age where unscrutinized power controls our lives, public representations of 'science' will shift more and more towards what suits the patrons of science and less and less what the observations say. This is the future, and it is partly because people think that religion is irrational and are distracted by a 'threat' that is already defunct!