Evolution is, in truth, nothing more than a scientific theory.
But in terms of academia in general, they defend evolution theory the same way they defend every other scientific theory.
So, if you wish to posit a "religion" for those academicians who claim to be irreligious, then their "religion" would not be "evolution".
Their "religion" -- that is to say, their core value -- is science (aka Methodological Naturalism), and evolution is just one branch of their science.
As for "Creationism" it is not science at all, since Creationism begins with somebody's interpretation of scriptures, then goes looking for supporting evidence, ignoring everything that contradicts it.
Evolution should be taught in science classes.
Creationism can be taught in religion classes.
And ideas like: God created the Universe, with all its Methodological Naturalism, and God endowed humans with certain inalienable rights... those ideas are appropriate for any classroom, whether scientific, religious, political or otherwise.
As for evolution's alleged "holes" or "incompleteness", let me suggest an analogy:
You could just as well say the science of medicine is "incomplete" and has "holes" because it did not yet cure _____________ (pick some incurable disease).
But science has cured or improved many diseases, and the average person today lives nearly twice as long as people a hundred years ago.
So medical science is not necessarily rendered invalid by what it does not cure.
Likewise, evolution theory is not necessarily rendered invalid by what it does not explain.
And much of medical science (like many other sciences) is built on our understandings of the long-term processes and workings of evolution.
I agree with your post, except for the following.
-—Likewise, evolution theory is not necessarily rendered invalid by what it does not explain.-—
The theory of evolution is diametrically opposed to the empirical evidence.
Fossils have been collected for 150 years. They paint a uniform picture. Species remain static over time. Species exit the fossil record the same way they enter. Period.
The evidence directly contradicts Darwin’s theory.
The remaining, minority position is that evolution occurs in great leaps. But no remotely plausible mechanism has ever been proposed.
The question of human origins touches all sciences, since man is a unity of body and soul. No complete theory regarding human origins can ignore either aspect of human nature.
What then should be taught to children? This is more a question of authority. Since parents are children’s primary educators, they should have the power to decide.
Lack of humility and a penchant for dogma are enemies of truth and fact, and all of us are susceptible to these human flaws, including scientists. When scientists hold fast to theories that are either not definitively testable, or that are not entirely consistent with observations or experimental results, then they are making a decision to ‘believe’ in their theory - irrespective of proof. This is, in fact, not different than religion. That's not the way science is supposed to work, but it often does.
The scientific method is not, unfortunately, applied nearly as frequently as it should be in experimental science. There are a lot of reasons for this, including conscious or unconscious bias in data interpretation in order to ensure publication. Recently a scientist who had been the head of cancer research at Amgen published a letter to Nature in which he described the efforts of a team of scientists from Amgen to replicate/confirm the results from 53 landmark scientific publications on cancer biology/research. They were only able to replicate 6 of the 53. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7391/full/483531a.htm
This doesn't mean that science can't be trusted. Science has been a big part of my life for a long time. It's a very important part of who I am. However, like any other endeavor that involves human beings, it is both fallible and corruptible.
The bottom line is that science doesn't ‘disprove’ God, although there are those who try to ascribe this function to science. I wholeheartedly stand by my assertion that belief in God and in the scientific method are in no way mutually exclusive, and that in searching for scientific truth one is often spiritually moved by what one finds.