Creation and evolution. Some folks believe God created the universe a few thousand years ago by speaking certain phrases. Others believe everything is a matter of chance, mutation and a lot of time. These two groups of people like to argue with each other; name calling, anger, misinformation - and the occassional fair and wonderful dialogue. But is it all really worth it? Why do we spend time bantering back and forth on the topic when we could be doing so many other things?
Well, I think it's because we like to argue. Feeling right is a good ego boost. I think it's because we like to persuade, and nothing seems so noble as removing falsehoods from another's worldview. But no matter the intentions, should we continue to debate the topic as intensely as we have? (Note: by "we" I mean those who actually care to become informed and take the debate seriously, and participate in a civil manner. For those who just like to insult the intelligence of others, lie, manipulate data, etc...those folks should get out of any debate and learn how to deal with people.)
(I also mean those other than I, since I feel little need to jump into this particular fray. My wife is an environmental educator, with degrees in biology and fisheries/wildlife management from a large public University. Even she's not terribly interested in the debate. Our priorities lie elsewhere. My post here is to discuss those motivated to actually debate the topic.)
If someone is to debate this topic, there should be sound reasons why. There are a large number of problems in the world that need solving, and C vs. E is not necessarily higher on the list than, say, raising money for AIDS sufferers in Africa, or feeding the homeless in a shelter, etc. Nor, from a Christian point of view, is our mandate to "go forth and preach that God created everything in six days." No, it is to love our God/neighbors/enemies, to take care of the poor, to make disciples of all nations. Preaching the Gospel, helping others. These are to be our priorities.
That being said, there are some profound reasons why the creationist community needs to remain engaged in the discussion. For one thing, evolutionary theory, even if true, cannot explain or answer so many important spiritual/philisophical questions. The problem of suffering cannot be addressed by natural selection with an answer more helpful than "stuff happens. Adapt or be screwed." The creationist can answer this question and more - God created people with free will. Free will means the ability to choose wrongly, and consequences (i.e. evil) enter the picture. There are limits to the practicality of an evolutionary apologetic to answering some of these higher questions. Creationists, with the creator-figure behind them, have a broader perspective on these areas of inquiry.
Second, the evolutionary community needs to be kept honest and tested. There are a number of people (not all evolutionists - not even most, perhaps) who believe so strongly in their atheistic worldview that they are "religiously" dogmatic about evolution. This is never good for science. Any theory needs to be tested, and one as complex as evolution needs to be tested greatly. For science to advance, challenges are needed.
Third, God wants us to seek the truth. Nobody should believe a lie. In a matter as contentious as this one, we should make every effort to honestly promote truth seeking, dogma questioning, and evidence interpreting.
Finally, there are worldview concerns at stake. Evolutionary theory leads, ultimately, without God, to a deterministic universe void of meaning. Free will turns out to be an illusion, and nothing is ultimately significant. Creationism holds that we are created for a purpose. These two views of reality are starkly different. As billions of people seek answers relating to meaning pretty much throughout their lives, arguments arising from this debate can be incredibly useful.
Now, I know there are hybrid views (i.e. God used evolution) that attempt to bridge the problem. Take the apparent empirical advantage of evolution and tie it to the apparent spiritual/meaning advantage of creation. I don't see this view argued as strongly as the extreme positionss, but as long as the C v E debate is taking place, such hybrids will also offer different answers. Regardless of the position, seeking the truth, seeking meaning, and seeking knowledge are all good things. Of these, seeking truth is the most important. But seeking meaning is probably the most universal. To the extent the C v E debate can provide clarity and answers, it is important enough to continue holding.