As much as I'm irritated by Creationism and Intelligent Design, I do think that I appreciate the depth of feeling behind them. If the notion that humans are special to the degree that the universe is centered around them is part of your world-view, then evolution is quite a blow once you understand it. It's much more of a blow than the notion that the Earth rotates around the Sun rather than the other way around.
Knowledge moves in fits and starts. We're okay with Copernicus's insights today and I think that it's because a Sun-centric model of the solar system is fairly easy to grasp. Evolution, on the other hand, is a tough one. The time scales are huge and the notion that life can spring from non-life just isn't intuitive for most people. Fortunately, though, it can be.
One of my favorite little books is Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams. It's a book with an agenda. It seeks to make de-centralized behavior intuitive. One of the examples in the book is a flock of birds. We look at a flock and we see the lead bird and we kind of assume the flock will go wherever that bird leads it. The truth is much more interesting. It turns out that you can accurately model the actual behavior of a flock (the swooping and swirling) with a set of simple rules which each bird applies independently, sensing only the birds in its immediate vicinity. And, in fact, this is how special effects designers create computer-generated flocks in the movies today.
The lesson of the book is that many of the patterns we see are the result of forces which are much more decentralized than we expect, but we have a cognitive bias against that point of view, so we don't see it. We can, however, gain an accurate view of the "workings" of the world through simulations. They can help us develop intuitions which make the truth a bit more plausible.
When I was a kid, I was very curious about the world. I'm a bit less curious now, but not much. For me, the notion that life could spring from inanimate matter seemed theoretically possible, I understood randomness and I understood the timescales, but I had trouble with the "shape" of the living behavior. Birth, growth, and death are not the sorts of things that you see rocks doing. Life is different somehow. How could it be an extension of mechanics and physics?
The thing which made it click for me is a simple simulation called Conway's Life. It's a simulation which plays out in a grid. Each cell in the grid can be "on" or "off." You start from an initial configuration, a set of "on" cells close to each other and then let it run. The simulation applies the same four simple rules over and over again. New cells turn on and off and the net effect is that grid fills with extremely organic looking patterns which seem to have been generated out of thin air.
You can try it out Conway's Life here. Create a set of five or ten "on" cells close to each other (possibly touching, but not densely packed), then press start. Sometimes the cells will disappear quickly but sometimes they will balloon out into a web of activity.
If I could do one thing in today in the educational system it would be to get this simulation into the hands of children in elementary school. The rules behind it are simple to explain and it provides a path toward understanding how life can be a consequence of the way the world is. That's as handy to know as the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun, regardless of whether you are religious or not.