Atheism is not inconsistent with the Scientific Method. It simply assumes a point subject to proof while denying unfounded assertions, i.e., faith. You could take the opposite point of gods exist until proven to not exist. I, personally, take that as a much weaker position as your are accepting assertions that are provably false.
This is unfortunate to make this the central point in this particular award. It is important to expand science now to include the spiritual elements of our perception of the universe of which we are a component. Sentient observers are actors within this system. We can posit the existence of some number of these observers in the universe. Some number of those could be older and more advanced than us.
Just as stated, significantly advanced technology is effectively magic to those without that technology. Sentient beings with significantly advanced knowledge are effectively divine to creatures without that knowledge.
These are relative positions. That scientifically appropriate position.