The conflict thesis is a historical thesis that contends that religion and science have historically been in a state of perpetual war against one another. Science, the thesis argues, has been continuously impeded and opposed by religion and only makes progress when it is able to cast religion aside. While some noteworthy scientists and popularizers have at least partially held this thesis, the vast majority of historians of science oppose it on the grounds that it is far too simplistic and is largely bolstered by false claims. While the Conflict Thesis has roots in the anti-Catholic sentiment of the Reformation and the Enlightenment, it was popularized by 19th century historians and public intellectuals, John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White. They both argued that religion and science are in a perpetual state of conflict with one another and science, the good side, only progresses when it is able to overcome religion. To back up their claims, both of them claimed that the "Dark Ages" were a period of no intellectual growth and Christopher Columbus ' voyages proved Christians wrong in regards to thinking the Earth was flat.
Science vs. Religion: The Conflict Thesis Revisited (2018)
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The conflict thesis is a historiographical approach in the history of science that originated in the 19th century which maintains that there is an intrinsic intellectual conflict between religion and science and that it inevitably leads to hostility. Historians of science have long ago rejected the thesis     and have instead widely accepted a complexity thesis. In the s, the relationship between religion and science became an actual formal topic of discourse, while before this no one had pitted science against religion or vice versa, though occasional interactions had occurred in the past.
There is a popular conception that the historical relationship between science and religion has always been one of conflict or even all-out warfare. Lawrence Principe and Dr. Edward Davis examine the roots and social context of the conflict thesis.