In my blog about Ben Stein's embarrassing "documentary", Expelled, I hit on something that I want to expand on:
Creationists insult their own constituency by relying on their ignorance.In other words, creationists know that their followers are largely uneducated in the sciences, mathematics, formal logic, and philosophy, and they take advantage of this mercilessly.
One of the core, most crucial, arguments for creationism is "irreducible complexity," the idea that living systems are so complex that they couldn't possibly have evolved. And the key to this argument is convincing your audience that something is "complex," without defining the term. Since most creationists don't have the opportunity to study physics, chemistry and biochemistry, not to mention sub-topics like entropy and information theory, virtually all of the details of biology will seem magically complex.
If I could build a time machine and take any one of dozens of modern devices back two hundred years, I easily could have convinced 99% of the world's population that I was a genuine magician, simply by relying on their ignorance. Even something as simple as a pocket laser pointer would seem magical. When I came back to modern times and bragged about my exploits, and belittled the people of the 1800's for their foolishness, would you be impressed by how clever I was? Would you compliment me for fooling intelligent people with my magic? Of course not, you'd be disgusted by my arrogance.
Creationists are no different. They're just like the time-traveling charlatan, preying on ignorance and superstition. It's no surprise that belief in creationism is inversely correlated with education: Knowledge exposes their tricks.
It's also no surprise that creationists are the ones opposing the spread of scientific knowledge by trying to block the teaching of evolution. They know all too well that creationism can't survive in the light of real knowledge.
But the real scandal of creationism is that its main proponents knowingly rely on the ignorance of their constituents, and that they actively work to maintain that ignorance.