No it is just the theme here. Now that I think about it I don’t think the conflict thesis is that relevant to the Scopes Trial, except in its conflict for the existence of moral values and it’s “debunking” of them.
I mentioned Dawkins simply because he is very popular, both his scholarly work and his atheism. He also held the Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science for over a decade. When I was in high school, I knew who he was but had never heard of Francis Collins, Michael Ruse, etc. It is clear to me that he is stepping outside of his boundary as a scientist and into philosophy. Regardless much of his work is cited often. Anyways I digress.
I agree (as I’m sure most do) that non-theistic, or agnostic if you will, approaches to science don’t need “theistic approaches” (not sure what this would look like anyways) to balance themselves out. Where this gets tricky is we can provide naturalistic explanations that end up implying atheism due to their implications. We can give a naturalistic account (and there are plenty of these) for the emergence of religious belief as an evolutionary mechanism without reference to religious belief being true. We can do the same for moral belief.
The claim “religious/moral belief evolved as an accidental byproduct of the emergence of consciousness” falls in line with naturalistic assumptions done of science. Yet it is clear that these do imply atheism, and favor non-religion over religion because they undermine the truth of religious claims. Whether this is a “scientific” claim is tricky, but I’d argue this sort of claim does not belong in a science classroom.
The reason I mention “critical thinking” or perhaps epistemology/philosophy of science more clearly isn’t for a scientific reason at all. It has to do with the nature of truth itself. What allows us to claim science, mathematics, reason, etc is “true” is outside the realm of science. I say the following as a researcher and an educator: it is ridiculous that states require 3-4 years of science education but nothing in philosophy. Our students graduate with the ability to understand theories in science but have no formal mechanism for discussing truth.