Sarewitz’ argument backfires in that it calls our attention to the key difference between science and religion. It is sometimes said that religion answers questions about meaning and purpose, but this is not accurate. The correct formulation is that religion makes assertions about meaning and purpose. Sorely lacking is any reliable method for establishing the correctness of those assertions. Science’s contribution to these conversations is a set of investigative methods that everyone regards as legitimate. When a physicist lectures about the Higgs, the audience understands that he is not just making things up. He is not asking anyone to believe anything solely on his authority.
Be sure to have a look at Jerry Coyne’s response to the same op-ed.