In the other link, from pharyngula, Mary Midgley, the well-known philosopher said
People are not going to accept scientific fact if they think it is morally pernicious. When people are asked why they are persuaded by intelligent design, they often say that it's the only alternative to scientific atheism and Darwinism which are pernicious moral doctrines; they see it as the only refuge from this anti-human bloody-mindedness. It's at the level of attitudes to life that these choices are made. (my emphasis).
I think Dr Midgley has hit the nail on the head. Whether we atheists like it or not, most people want to have it both ways: they might want to embrace new scientific discoveries but they also want the comfort and certainty of their own particular brand of religion. The fact that we know atheism is not "morally pernicious" is no help. Timothy Reeves in this comment on the Sherri event compared the behaviour of people like Sherri to the Luddites who smashed up the latest textile machinery because they couldn't cope with the onslaught of progress. Dr Midgley says much the same
I have seen this at first hand. My late husband - the Golfer - was an intelligent man and a physicist. When we got married he was the one who didn't want us to marry in church (I hadn't made up my mind at this time); having been brought up on the fringes of one of the more extreme churches here, he hated religion of any kind. But like lots of people, he thought there was something - he thought that after we died, we continued in some way.
When I became convinced that there was nothing - no god, no life after death, no soul - I talked to him about it. I was excited at all the new things I had learned and thought he would be interested too, being a scientist. But I had to stop. Very quickly it became apparent that he was almost physically uncomfortable with the discussion. It was most disconcerting and, I have to admit, I was disappointed in him. Later, once he'd calmed down, he said that he didn't dare believe that this life was all there was because then all the work was worth nothing, he might as well chuck his job in and just live for the day - he couldn't afford to give the notion house room.
Now, before you all start screaming at your monitors, I agree with you. I know that he was talking nonsense; that atheism does not equal hedonism; that a finite life is still worth living; that people who do not believe in an afterlife still make sacrifices for other people. But the point is that the Golfer was the cleverest man I knew and he couldn't face the thought of a life without an afterlife. If he, with his mighty brain couldn't, what hope is there that other people without his science background will?
I have no answer. But I think that we atheists have to understand that it isn't easy for everyone to give up their faiths - those comforts that get them through their lives - any more than it's easy to give up cigarettes or eating too much - IT'S A COMFORT IN A DIFFICULT WORLD. When I watched the Golfer die I knew he wasn't going to a better place and I knew I wasn't going to see him again. That isn't easy to accept. It's much more comforting to pretend to yourself that he is and you will.