To its credit, the scientific community is trying to come to grips with the phenomenon of religion. Stephen Jay Gould, readers will know, attempted to achieve a sort of rapprochement with religion toward the end of his life. His was an irenic effort, I think we could say, especially when compared with some more recent pronouncements on the subject from scientists here and abroad.
In the September 2007 issue of theNew Scientist, Helen Phillips reports on a number of scientific studies that are trying to understand religion, especially in relation to morality and evolutionary biology. The conclusion Phillips draws from all these studies is tolerant: "Even if many no longer need religion for social cohesion or moral guidance, and think that atheism is the only rational route, we should nevertheless recognise that religion has had a pivotal role in our evolutionary history. It can still reinforce moral values and work with our innate moral sense." And foreboding: "It can also be used to justify immoral behaviour towards those who do not embrace our beliefs." And condescending: "Like it or not, religion remains an important part of what we are."
This is as good as it's going to get from that quarter until three things happen: