- Evolution by natural selection amounts to "time plus chance plus a protein molecule" - This is, of course, a wildly reductive way of describing the relevant theories, and you can't really create this sort of caricature without misrepresenting the ideas being discussed. Certainly, the atheistic view is that evolution by natural selection proceeds without conscious control, which makes it, in some sense, a "random" process. But it also happens as the result of predictable natural processes, a feature that loose firings of the word "random" don't really seem to capture.
- "Faith" is required to believe in naturalistic explanations - This is a confusion. It's true that science, by and large, does not consist in a priori reasoning, so its conclusions can't be known with complete certainty. However, it does not follow from the fact that we cannot know X with certainty that believing X requires "faith". Rather, appropriate scientific beliefs are held with relative certainty - as they are viewed as more probable than competing alternatives - and are subject to falsification by evidence. To the extent that a belief admits of the possibility of falsification by evidence, it cannot be described as requiring "faith" in the sense that the word is typically used. Articles of religious faith are not fundamentally probabilistic in the same way scientific beliefs are. Personally, I like to think of scientific beliefs, or a posteriori beliefs generally, as operating assumptions. (Later in the thread, I had to explain that science does most of its work through induction not deduction, so the fundamental problem seems to be a failure to distinguish different types of reasoning.)
- We have lots of reasons to think that the Bible is a reliable historical record - Given the extent to which the Bible is internally inconsistent, it seems odd to put a lot of stock in its consistency with external reality.
- Various complex biological phenomena are irreducibly complex, in the sense that they couldn't have evolved gradually over time according to prevailing theories - Creationists don't seem to realize that arguments appealing to supposed irreducible complexity are 1) incredibly ambitious and 2) ridiculously arrogant. Ambitious because you have to rule out every possible progression of evolution as incompatible with theories of natural selection, and arrogant because you have to assume that just because you can't think of a way something could have evolved, it must not have been possible by natural means. As I said in the comments, the poverty of a given individual's imagination says nothing about the potential of evolution by natural selection. And all of this completely puts aside the fact that, so far as I know, every single example put forward by creationists as an instance of irreducible complexity has been rebutted with a possible mechanism of evolution in which each individual step is either selectively advantageous or selectively neutral.
- There's nothing improbable about the theory that God created everything - However improbable our scientific theories are, surely the theory that God exists and also provides all of our scientific evidence is more improbable still. The bottom line is that if you want to theorize God's existence and agency, that theory either demands explanation and justification, or it does not. If it does, then you should provide it. If it does not, then theistic theories are being held to a much lower standard than scientific theories. This is related to another misconception:
- Supernatural theories have significant explanatory power - As I said over the course of the argument: First, why assume that a supernatural force must be involved rather than wait and see if a natural explanation can be uncovered? Second, if the force in question has all sorts of physical, material, natural influences and effects, in what sense is it supernatural at all? Why don't we just describe it as a natural force? What work is the "supernatural" part doing except letting us wave away the aspects of the question we don't understand?
- Evolution by natural selection violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics - I didn't realize people still believed this, so it's helpful to see that the misconception persists. Anyway, the 2nd law pertains closed systems; organisms are not closed systems, so the 2nd law doesn't apply.
Also interesting, but maybe less satisfying to examine, is the peculiar combination of smugness and defensiveness on the part of my interlocutor. On the one hand, I'm told that as an atheist I get a "free ride" from my Christian countrymen and it's suggested that I must not truly understand theistic arguments. At the same time, I'm told I'm "insulting" his intelligence by suggesting that his reasoning is flawed and I'm "hectoring" him when I request examples or arguments in support of his assertions.
Then there's the troubling bigotry of not only the assertion that atheists are doomed to moral inferiority (because we must be relativists!), but also the implication that specifically Judeo-Christian theism is required for sound moral infrastructure. Besides being a (surprise!) reductive view of the history of Western civilization, it also gives short shrift to the two-thirds of the world's population that doesn't share the peculiar religious beliefs of my opponent.
For me, the point of all of this was getting more of a sense of how a great many people think about these things. I've spent the last seven years or so in the Bay Area, and four of those years I spent studying science. It's easy for me to forget that a great many people haven't had the same good fortune.