I think that both science and religion look for truth,
and that's *why* they construct theories, but science
knows about falsifiability whereas religions still think in
terms of conscious assured possession of truth.
I think that religion and science also differ because
religion seeks an explanation of things in terms of a
transcendental agency Who communicates only very
sporadically to humanity and doesn't stick around for a
lot of questions, whereas science looks basically for
testable regularities without regard to the issue of an
ultimate agency "behind" the universe, although I must
qualify this by saying that people thinking along the lines
of Frank J. Tipler (*The Physics of Immortality*) do
envision a God-like entity of some kind.
As far as Contact goes, the movie really alters the
novel's ending in terms of "reconciling" science and
religion. For Sagan, proof of God's existence would
consist of His leaving a message in the number pi. The
movie never even gets into that part of the novel.
Two other points come to mind. (1) What did Sagan think of
the cosmological anthropic principle(s). (2) Has anyone
read the fascinating book by Steven J. Brams, *If
Superior Beings Existed, How Would We Know?*? If so, any