In fact, wherever and whenever there is even the slightest appearance of purpose in the universe, the scientist’s task is to figure out natural selection’s sleight of hand. (Atheist’s Guide to Reality, p. 92)
Rosenberg, like most atheists I encounter, tries to support his atheism in a particular view of science: the idea that there is no other source of knowledge. But, here, we have him stating directly that science rules out, a priori, any concept of purpose. Its only job is to explain away purpose, not to actually consider the idea that it might really exist.
And he’s absolutely right about this last; that is the job of the scientist. Useful as it is, considering the possibility that there is more to reality than the physical is not part of it.
But to say that, because science is so good at its job, all other jobs aren’t useful is more that a little presumptuous. I’d be more inclined to call that a wild non-sequitur. One of the great strengths of science is the specificity with which it defines the limits of its inquiry. To demand that science investigates everything, then, is as anti-science as it is anti-religion.
Presumably, real support of science would involve learning what science actually is and does. And a belief that it is some universal form of inquiry, as applicable to metaphysical and spiritual questions as it is to physical prediction, is treating science as if it were religion and philosophy.
And the science lover in me is bothered by that.