Ed, what you have shown is that some scientists equate evolution (or science in general) with atheism, and give it as one of their reasons for being atheists. That is up to them, and an entirely personal matter. However, Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers are in a minority when it comes to “science and religion.” The official position of the National Academy of Sciences is that they are compatible (whether you take Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA position, or a more over-lapping position).
“Mindful of school board battles and recent court decisions, Science, Evolution, and Creationism shows that science and religion should be viewed as different ways of understanding the world rather than as frameworks that are in conflict with each other and that the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith. For educators, students, teachers, community leaders, legislators, policy makers, and parents who seek to understand the basis of evolutionary science, this publication will be an essential resource.” (booklet “Science, Evolution, and Creationism” by National Academy of Sciences, from the description)
“Science and religion are different ways of understanding. Needlessly placing them in opposition reduces the potential of both to contribute to a better future.” (ibid, page 47)
“Aren’t evolution and religion opposing ideas? Newspaper and television stories sometimes make it seem as though evolution and religion are incompatible, but that is not true. Many scientists and theologians have written about how one can accept both faith and the validity of biological evolution. Many past and current scientists who have made major contributions to our understanding of the world have been devoutly religious. At the same time, many religious people accept the reality of evolution, and many religious denominations have issued emphatic statements reflecting this acceptance.” (ibid, from FAQ page 49)
This 88-page booklet can be read online here
The Catechism says basically the same thing in paragraphs 159, 283-284
- Faith and science: “…methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” [Vatican II GS 36:1]
The old “warfare model” (or “conflict thesis”) was dead on arrival and refuted in such works as Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders by Livingstone and more comprehensively in The Post-Darwinian Controversies by James R. Moore. I recently acquired both these great books, and it was more an evangelical Protestant battle in the late 19th century, not a Catholic one.
There are numerous scientists who are religious, even traditional Catholics. The chapter The Church and Science (mp3) in How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization will set anyone straight.
Science is indeed neutral about God. The Catechism says so above. Science is not inherently atheistic nor is evolution. Oxford philosopher/theologian Keith Ward replied to Richard Dawkins a decade ago in his book God, Chance, and Necessity (1996) and I suggest a reading of his chapter 4: “Darwin and Natural Selection.” Alister McGrath has also replied to Dawkins in some depth in his Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life and briefly in The Dawkins Delusion. I am writing a demolition of Dawkins here and have been going through his book, the Harris and Hitchens books with a fine-tooth comb (I have their audiobooks as well). They have no good arguments against traditional Catholicism or theism, it is all caricature. It will be something like my anti-Da Vinci Code article when done. Do not worry. There are about 25 book replies to Dawkins and the “new atheists” already published – the best is probably still God is No Delusion: A Refutation of Richard Dawkins by Fr. Thomas Crean and Ignatius Press, but I am looking forward to Keith Ward’s brand new Why There Almost Certainly Is A God: Doubting Dawkins.