We need to recognize that modern science has two faces: one, the public face of total self-assurance, two, the private face of absolute self-doubt.
That may explain the vitriol of this generation of popularizers of Darwin (Dawkins, Hitchins, etc.) They lack the restraint of the old-timers because they lack the assurance of the old-timers. They are more insecure in their claims.
Scientists who take a more humble approach and don’t attempt to apply scientific methods to every matter of life are much more polite and, in scientific terms, useful.
But all of science is permeated by the growing realization that the natural sciences are not self-authenticating, that their methods are not sufficient to do metaphysics, literature, history, psychology, etc. and that this insufficiency matters in a world that will only believe in public what is authenticated by Descartes and Bacon.
In short, science is in a metaphysical crisis.