If there were the equivalent of a “Most favored nation” status in science, evolution would be granted it. If there was an Emperor of science, evolution would be it. If there was a “Get Out of Jail” card in science, evolution would have it. For evolution is special. It can lack the evidence and still be a fact. It can fail and still be true. It can get it all wrong, and still be right.
It is not uncommon for scientists to use false ideas. The flat earth model, for example, is often used. In that case everyone knows the model is wrong. In other instances the status of the model or theory may not be so obvious. Four centuries ago different cosmological theories competed. Did the cosmos revolve about the earth or the sun? Such radically different models could, both, produce reasonably accurate predictions. So it was well understood that a scientific model could be accurate but not true, and that scientists could develop and use a theory with no claim of realism.
In science there is a long history of using models and theories and have limited or no correspondence with reality. Theories fill the spectrum from realism to anti realism and everything in between. For instance, realism may be intended in one part of a model but not another part.
Scientists know the difference and have no difficulty juggling different ideas with different levels of realism. Scientists don’t become confused and make truth claims for theories that have no basis in reality.
Evolution, on the other hand, is different. Evolutionists routinely devise all manner of mechanisms and processes that have no correspondence with reality while simultaneously making high truth claims.
For instance, evolutionists say that the important, information-bearing, DNA molecule was once not so. Instead, they say it was an RNA world. According to this idea the RNA molecule held and processed the information. There is a wealth of information missing from this story. This is not too surprising since it has no correspondence with reality.
Or again, evolutionists say that there was a time when biological cells exchanged genetic information on a massive level, in sophisticated networks using never-observed processes. Evolution, they say, was more horizontal than vertical. But these processes are far beyond anything actually observed in biology.
Evolutionists also say that there was a time when evolution experimented with different DNA codes. What is observed today, on the other hand, is that the DNA code is robust. New and different codes do not easily evolve.
Evolutionists also say that there was once a time when the amyloid state of proteins was a good thing, which evolution made use of. Did not the self-complementary stickiness of short segments of proteins turn them into useful building blocks?
That is in sharp contrast to what is actually observed. Only a relatively small set of particular proteins stick together normally. Usually protein aggregation is harmful and cells have a range of sophisticated strategies to eliminate any such possibility.
Unlike most theories, evolution is special. It can employ any number of just-so stories which have no basis in reality. Like a good bed-time story, the narrative can take any turn at any time, with no need for justification. For as evolutionists say, their theory is a given.
Religion drives science, and it matters.