Young-Earth creationism is not only a form of faith, but also a set of beliefs that attempt to redefine scientific inquiry. David MacMillan, a former creationist blogger, has written an explainer to unravel these beliefs and highlight the challenges of debating creationist misconceptions.
Over at the blog, Panda's Thumb, MacMillan launches his series of explainers with this overview that looks at science through the young-creationist mindset:
We understand the theory of evolution to be a series of conclusions drawn from over a century of research, predictions, and discoveries. This theory allows us to understand the mechanisms in biology and make further predictions about the sort of evidence we will uncover in the future. Its predictive power is vital to success in real-life applications like medicine, genetic engineering, and agriculture.
However, creationists don't see it the same way. Creationists artificially classify medicine, genetic research, and agriculture as "operational science," and believe that those disciplines function in a different way than research in evolutionary biology. They understand the theory of evolution, along with mainstream geology and a variety of other disciplines, as a philosophical construct created for the express purpose of explaining life on Earth apart from divine intervention. Thus, they approach the concept of evolution from a defensive position; they believe it represents an attack on all religious faith.
This defensive posture is reflected in nearly all creationist literature, even in the less overt varieties such as intelligent-design creationism. It dictates responses. When creationists see a particular argument or explanation about evolution, their initial reaction is to ask, "How does this attack the truth of God as Creator? What philosophical presuppositions are dictating beliefs here? How can I challenge those underlying assumptions and thus demonstrate the truth?" Recognizing this basis for creationist arguments is a helpful tool for understanding why such otherwise baffling arguments are proposed.
In reality, we understand that although various philosophical implications may be constructed around evolution, it is not driven by any atheistic philosophy. The fundamental principle undergirding the theory of evolution is the same as the fundamental principle behind all science: that hypotheses can be tested....But creationists instead insist that evolution arises out of explicitly atheistic axioms….
Creationists accept certain aspects of variation, adaptation, and speciation, but they artificially constrain the mechanism for adaptation to produce an imagined barrier between "microevolution" and "macroevolution"….They conceptualize evolutionary adaptation as a series of individual changes, missing the entire mechanism provided by the population as a whole ….They make the extraordinary claim that no transitional fossils exist, simply by redefining "transitional" into something that could not possibly exist….Creationists attempt to rewrite the last two centuries of scientific progress in order to avoid dealing with the multiple lines of evidence all independently affirming common descent and deep time….They have far-reaching misapprehensions concerning microbiology and DNA …. On top of all this, they assign ethical and moral failings to evolutionary science in order to make evolution seem dangerous and anti-religion….
Source: Panda's Thumb