The ultimate goal of the creationist movement is to replace our public school system with fundamentalist church schools through all grades, from kindergarten through 12th grade. A clear obstacle to achieving this goal is the fact that science simply does not support fundamentalist dogma. In an attempt to overcome this obstacle, religious fundamentalists have attacked science with an unending litany of distortions, half truths, misquotations and outright falsehoods, all disguised as "creation science." In their books, web pages, and e-mail exchanges, creationists have made it clear that creationism and religious fundamentalism are one and the same.
Religious fundamentalists provide heavy support to stealth political candidates who, if and when elected, will attack the public school system by denying funding to reduce class sizes, purchase supplies, and build much needed facilities. All this to "demonstrate" that the public school system is "failing" to provide a good education to students. The next step is the voucher program, which would allocate millions of tax dollars to instruction in sectarian religious dogma disguised as "creation science."
Most creationist claims are so absurd that they can be readily refuted by the basic principles of science and obvious factual evidence. One would think that when presented with this information, the typical creationist would doubt the validity of his/her beliefs. In exchanging messages with a number of creationists, I have found that this is not the case. Without admitting any possibility that they could be wrong, creationists will feign interest in learning more about the evolution/creation controversy.
A favorite tactic is the "Let's have a fair and open debate so both sides can present their views and then decide" gambit. The problem here is that any discipline of science, whether biology, astronomy, thermodynamics, or geology, contains information that is complex and not easily understood. It is not possible for either side to cover all the detailed aspects of all the evolutionary sciences.
Creationists are well aware of this, so they evade responding to clear evidence of creationism's failures by the "debate" gambit. They cite distorted interpretations of references taken out of context from legitimate scientific journals. Their goal is to keep their opponent constantly running down one misstatement after another. By this tactic creationists strive to direct attention away from the major issues, such as the impossibility that the Grand Canyon could have been created in a single catastrophic event.
Rank and file creationists have no knowledge of science and cannot deal with its complexity. They are not willing to deal with scientific detail, preferring to limit their "knowledge" of scientific "truth" to conclusions that are consistent with their religious beliefs. Examples of this attitude can be found in the e-mail messages I have received from creationists. These messages display a consistent religious fundamentalist overtones and a reluctance to deal with the major issues in the creation/evolution controversy.