David Goldston (extensively edited)
“Scientists tend to underestimate the public receptivity to science, and the battles ahead.
Intelligent-design advocates try to sell their wares as science rather than religion partly as a legal gambit, but also because science and scientists are held in high esteem.
Scientists do not face a public inherently hostile to science even among fundamentalists, and should address the public with respect rather than contempt.
Although a remarkably high percentage of Americans do not believe that humans evolved from earlier life forms, it’s not clear whether this is just a casual way of saying they viscerally reject the notion of a random Universe.
Evolution is largely a symbolic issue to the public, and may be a poor measure of how religious attitudes affect the reception of science more generally.
Battles over evolution arise most intensely when the culture is changing in ways that many find confusing and disconcerting.
Scientific discovery can genuinely undermine religious beliefs. Discoveries in genetics and neuroscience are verging on drawing the ultimate materialist picture of humans as nothing more than proteins and electrical impulses, all machine and no ghost. This view will complicate questions about the nature of individual responsibility and morality.
The conundrums may leave even atheists longing for some theological guidance on how to decide what is moral.”