Many devotees think that science has a place in the field of bhakti. For example, some think that by using the scientific method to evaluate the descriptions in bhakti scriptures, one can demonstrate the veracity of bhakti scriptures. Others think that preaching to an increasingly scientific, modern audience requires speaking to them in a language they can understand. Interpreting the scriptures through a scientific lens, and making them accessible to people can help make bhakti relevant and build faith for it in people. Unfortunately, such ideas are problematic, because science does not fit the definition of bhakti.
First, those who believe in testing bhakti’s claims as a hypothesis, thinking it to be a ‘science’, are not practicing uttama bhakti, because the goal of uttama bhakti is uttama bhakti, not hypothesis testing. Good hypothesis testing necessarily requires a robustly skeptical outlook. Skepticism, however, has no place in bhakti. Bhakti is a path of faith in scripture and surrender to a genuine guru. Surrender to the guru cannot occur when one harbors skepticism. Without surrender, bhakti does not yield results.
Those who are attempting to use science to further the cause of bhakti, tend to do bad science because they are plagued by confirmation bias, rather than the skeptical outlook required for good science. Their claims cannot be taken seriously because of their ideological biases, which causes them to ignore contrary or inconvenient evidence.
Those who use science to interpret scriptures run into their own set of problems. First, it is not clear that science is a valid hermeneutical method to interpret scriptures. There have been efforts, for example, to reconcile the cosmology of the Bhagavata purana with modern day cosmology, but whether such reconciliations are valid is unclear. The Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition has its own hermeneutical methods for interpreting the scripture, and the cosmology in the Bhagavata purana is not meant to be taken as a quantitative description of the universe at all.
Mixing bhakti with science means bad science and a confused understanding of bhakti.