For the record, I here mean young earth creationists, specifically, not people who think there was something guiding the process but otherwise completely embrace all of the evidence. This is a comment I made on reddit a while back that I have modified for this blog. I think it is a simple but important concept that many non-creationists often forget.
When arguing with creationists, it is important to understand the creationist’s position, at least a little. Some people are creationists simply and solely out of unintentional ignorance; when they see and understand the evidence, they turn away from their former position quite quickly. Those are the people who give me hope in engagements with science deniers, because “science denier” is actually an inaccurate title.
However, these are not the only type of creationists. A family member of mine said this of evolution: “And, honestly, I don’t want to know about it. It’s only purpose is to bring man to a false realization that God does not exist.” This is a reason I recommend Finding Darwin’s God every time I see a thread on reddit asking for suggestions of books to give creationist friends and family members: that book goes into reasons that evolution and Christianity are compatible, which makes it a “safe” read for the creationist. At least, in theory. The theological arguments are weak in my opinion, but they might help the creationist to only focus on the science rather than the theology.
Most creationists, I think, realize that evolution and Christianity are really incompatible. I’m pretty sure that many creationists who learn evolution is true become atheists, although I don’t have the stats to back this up. I can only say that this was my experience. So for the creationist, admitting evolution is true means losing EVERYTHING they have: identity, family, friends, assumptions, god, trust in themselves, etc. This isn’t true in every case, but maybe it’s something we should keep in mind?