I remember that incident. It was dubbed “#Creatorgate” and it was a clear-cut case of the opposition to the paper being entirely religious (or, anti-religious) in nature while having nothing whatsoever to do with the actual scientific merits of the paper. If scientists ever need an explanation of why some Christians get so hostile to science, and why so many wild and wacky conspiracy theories proliferate in so many churches, that is precisely why. It is precisely that kind of attitude that propagates the perception of many that science and religion are at war, and in a time when both sides need to be supporting each other in addressing the same issues, such as climate change, public health, and the integrity of democratic elections, such a war is only going to make things worse rather than better.
One thing that particularly shocked me was that some of the people attempting to justify such sentiments were Christians. My initial reaction when I see Christians siding with overreactions such as this is to ask, “Hey, are you really a Christian at all? If so, why are you siding with attitudes that are, as far as I can see, opposition to Christianity?”
Scientific papers should be judged on their scientific merits. In other words, objections to religious sentiment should only be made if they result in corners being cut, data being fudged, conclusions being overstated, any kind of misrepresentation or dishonesty, and the like, or if the expressions of religious sentiment are expressed discourteously or aggressively. If the conclusions of the paper are sound, the data fairly represented, and the religious sentiments expressed courteously and unobtrusively, then they should be left alone.