The apes that ultimately evolved into humans enjoyed survival advantages over those of their cousins who had not inherited genes for the Great NeoCortical Leap Forward. That is, in hominid evolution, those apes with the greatest cognitive advantage were able to survive, proliferate, and outnumber their rivals.
The persistence of religion, despite the far greater explanatory power of scientific knowledge, relies upon this emotional side of human nature. However, those who wish to impose their religious views on society are also well aware that the Idea of God must be instilled into children while they are still stuck in the magical-thinking stage. Let any child, even a child of average intelligence, grow to adulthood before attempting to convince them that some old book holds more "Truth" than empirical facts, and that mind will most likely have escaped religion's clutches. Only early indoctrination can keep the synagogues, mosques, and churches filled with individuals willing to put an inculcated obsession ahead of humanity.
Catch 'em young and many of them will never outgrow magical thinking because some are not genetically endowed with the cognitive powers to overcome illogic. Religionists seem unwilling to grasp the fact that atheists have escaped religious indoctrination through the operation of critical thinking rather than that atheists are victims of scientific cultism, naturally immoral, or incapable of emotional response.
Religionists, however, are scared of scientific knowledge because at some deep level that they are too scared to admit science refutes the creation mythology in Genesis. Religionists are so scared of knowledge that many, such as the creationist family in "God's Christian Warriors", are homeschooling their children to ensure that they cannot bite the forbidden fruit of secular knowledge. If the facts supported religionist beliefs, then creationists would not need to attack or defend against knowledge.
Comment on post and response to comment: Emotional Response to Cage Rattling .
Sites Elsewhere : Poll: For Christians' identity, it's faith first, U.S. second, reposted from CNN :
PBS Evolution: Episode 6: The Mind's Big Bang