One aspect of this that always puzzled me was, why did people care so much? Many of these people had no real interest in this topic, let alone expertise. It's not as though evolution poses any serious theological problems… Why do people care about evolution so much?
Eventually I realized that it has very little to do with either science or theology. Rather, it was about the social aspects. For various historical (but not theological) reasons, evolution has become the signature area of battle between religion and atheism. It's "us" versus "them." My own involvement led to even more emotional social struggle: Loyal Followers of The Gedolim, versus Jews who are Against The Gedolim. This battle wasn't about science or theology; it was about personal identity. No wonder emotions ran high.