What science offers today, which neither Darwin, nor any religiostics had available to them at the time is an understanding of genetics and how it drives evolution. It also dispels any notion of any form of moral superiority. All that really matters is can any given species adapt to and survive in the environmental conditions, which currently present themselves.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.