A number of atheists I've dialogued with or whose debates I've observed in the past have pointed out that it's not fair to give credit to God for the events we like and not blame God for the events we don't like. Which is odd, because plenty of people do blame God for events that they don't like. Most theists have probably been angry at God for precisely that reason at some point in life.
Some of the more philosophically sophisticated atheists chose to point out instead that it wasn't fair to give credit to God for what one's surgeon had done to save one's life. Instead of giving credit to the proximate cause of our healing (a good surgeon with good tools), we superstitious theists would invoke the ultimate cause of the universe that we called God, anthropomorphizing distant forces that we didn't actually understand.
It is with this background that I've observed the rhetoric around the recent March for Science. Undoubtedly, plenty of those who are part of the March for Science are theists. Many theists are scientific realists right along with most atheists. I certainly was.
But it is not just theists who engage in anthropomorphizing abstract causes which are not proximate to the outcome. Exhibit A from the March for Science coverage is an article in Salon which is entitled, "Science saved my life" and contains a genuinely touching description of how science kept her from going down a dangerous path of addiction and an unfulfilling life.
It's not very different from the AA or NA testimonies I've read or heard in person. But instead of finding God being the cause of her ability to relinquish her addiction, it was finding science.
Except, it wasn't science in an abstract sense that she found. She had an encounter with methodical, practical learning, the pursuit of knowledge which gradually drew her out of her reliance on old addictions as coping mechanisms. And she fell in love with this kind of learning, the grand unveiling of the mysteries of the universe insofar as we tiny-brained hominids can unveil them.
Like most people who found something more enticing than an addiction to alcohol, or marijuana, or prescription painkillers, or various other and more profoundly mind-altering substances, our erstwhile convert to scientific realism attributes her transformation to the system of ideas abstracted into one concept rather than just owning that she found something healthier than her old addictions to shape her life.
Just as my grandfather attributed his abandonment of his old addictions to his finding religion, the author attributes her abandonment of those same old addictions to finding science. This is, of course, not a bad thing to find something healthier to replace our addictions. Even if the replacement is just as addictive and we are overly attached to it, it may nonetheless be far less damaging than our old addictions.
This should indeed be celebrated rather than being mourned. I'm genuinely glad that she found science and that it allowed her to be freed of those old addictions to transient pleasures.
At the same time, I can't ignore that this is part of a broader trend. The popular conception of science, like the popular conception of God, has become reductively abstracted and oddly anthropomorphic.
Science is now treated more frequently as a causal explanation ("It's science!" a la Bill Nye and memes) rather than a body of methodologies that gradually allow us to uncover our numerous errors about the world and our experience of it.
Science is no longer that unpopular but necessary discipline for discovery and innovation that codifies the best of human learning heuristics into a broad field of study, it's become a popular invocation of epistemological authority. We can see this in a variety of other popular memes.
As someone who is very pro-science, who wants to support science education, scientific research, and political decision-making more informed by science, this trend is a troubling one. When religion becomes a tool used to make claims unthinkingly (and simultaneously authoritatively) such that it's difficult to question it, that's a serious problem for free inquiry.
And what I see today is science being used the same way religion has been by people who have a poor and popular understanding of it, so I worry that scientific inquiry may be compromised by a popular perception of it completely at odds with the free inquiry it ought to manifest and indeed fulfill.
This is why I'm generally opposed to the anthropomorphosis of science.
Related: The Benefit of Doubt: The Question of Science
Note: The above is a picture I took of part of one of my science fair trophies.