I've written this post to address some of the issues raised in the comments to my first post on the evolution versus creationism debate.
(1) A major reason that Biblical creationism thrives in certain parts of America is because -- unlike every other highly developed country in the world -- we do not have a national science curriculum. America has a very strong tradition of "home rule" which means that state and local school boards can choose, if they wish, to exclude any discussion of evolutionary mechanisms in biology classes. (I was elected to my own local school board in Princeton, NJ, where the teaching of evolution has never been disputed.) Children who go to public schools (or Catholic schools) in western Europe and Asia learn biology (life sciences) in a complete sense, which incorporates evolutionary thinking at every level of analysis from genes to cells to whole organisms, populations, and ecosystems. These educated children have opportunities to pursue scientific careers that creationists don't even know exist. This is why the exclusion of 50% of America's children from knowing about evolution diminishes our country's competitiveness.
(2) To "do" science of any kind, you must learn what has been done previously and what the state of the field is at the present time. I am not ashamed of the fact that I needed to take three years of college courses in physics and math (16 courses in all) before I was able to understand quantum mechanics and general relativity to a degree where I could actually use these concepts to investigate unknowns. However, even with a Master's degree in physics (I switched to biophysics for my Ph.D.), I don't have the capacity to critique modern ideas like string theory -- but I am not ashamed of this either. Unfortunately for students today, you can't even begin to take in-depth courses in modern molecular biology without first completing college-level courses in physics, chemistry (organic and inorganic), and math. Then you'll need to study formal genetics, population genetics, biochemistry, cell biology etc. before you can truly understand the modern synthesis of evolution-genetics-developmental biology that is driving the biomedical enterprise. This is not an insult against anyone's beliefs or knowledge. It is simply a fact of the depth and breadth of modern science.