The NCSE is troubled, but this just sounds like solid science. I’m all for critical analysis of data, evaluating conclusions, and rigorous scientific inquiry.
Praising science as way to implicitly, or explicitly, club religion over the head is a familiar feature of our culture. It’s not new, either.
“Evolution” in its deepest sense is a foundational metaphysical commitment, not a scientific theory that one could test.
The paper could cause a stir, since it has violated an “implicit agreement” that mainstream academics should never criticize public advocates of evolution.
Whether the subject is evolution or climate change, the purpose of accusing someone of “science-denial” is to keep that person in line.