I can't really support the idea that studying science and religion become the same for Pi in this book. In my opinion, studying science and religion always were the same thing for Pi. Pi has an incredibly deep faith. It's an interesting one, due to the fact that it mixes three different religions, but he absolutely believes in a higher power and the spiritual world. Pi also loves science, and he believes that by studying science, he is learning to better understand the intelligent creator that put all of the scientific laws into motion. We can see Pi's blurring of scientific study and spiritual wholeness early in the book when he tells readers what his thesis was about.
My majors were religious studies and zoology. My fourth-year thesis for religious studies concerned certain aspects of the cosmogony theory of Isaac Luria, the great sixteenth-century Kabbalist from Safed. My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid gland of the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because its demeanor—calm, quiet and introspective—did something to soothe my shattered self.
Notice that Pi's religious mystic is a man of science, and his zoology choice is based on an animal that appears quite spiritual.
Near the book's end, Pi tries to explain that neither science nor religion have all of the answers. Both are systems of belief and instill a sense of wonder. Additionally, both require the supporter to have faith in the information put in front of him or her as well as faith in the unseen or yet-to-be-discovered evidence. For Pi, faith and religion leave open the possibility of the miraculous, and science further encourages people to believe in that which is hard to believe. He uses Darwin and Copernicus as examples, as their theories were once thought laughably impossible. Pi doesn't see how believing in God is any different.
[Mr. Okamoto:] "No scientist would believe you."
[Pi:] "These would be the same who dismissed Copernicus and Darwin. Have scientists finished coming upon new plants? In the Amazon basin, for example?"