(For newcomers, this is a debate between myself, a Christian, and my best friend Andy Snyder, a former Christian who is now an atheist. For a fuller introduction to the intent and explanation of the name of this series, please see the introduction. Though this is presented as a two party debate on one level, comments and responses are still fully welcomed to all posts in the comments section as a way to help extend the debate and bring other voices into it.)
I realize that by this point I've pretty much totally killed this discussion by cutting up my response to Andy's last argument into a bunch of pieces, making responding to me a laborious task. Let me here briefly respond to the last two paragraphs of Andy's last post, and then make a proposal for how to go forward.
First I'll deal with Andy's second to last paragraph:
I make no comment on any evidence for any theory of the development of the universe - that isn't really our topic. I'm fairly open minded and willing to listen to arguments for either young earth creationism (which I am admittedly not inclined toward for some of the reasons you've mentioned) or evolution over the course of billions of years, either through stable progression or intermittent leaps of mutation. However, the gradual evolution of the human species (which, again, I'm not married to) does not necessarily imply the evolution of world views from primitive (less true) to advanced (more true) states. Plenty of people are able to understand the universe scientifically on both the theist and atheist presuppositions, clearly debunking the idea that a scientific mind is an evolutionary step beyond the religious mind.
And, Andy's final paragraph:
Indeed, humans are pattern seeking. As a Christian, however, I have to say that this pattern seeking activity is one of the many ways humanity seeks to evade God. The world views we construct are ways of keeping God at arms length, to be dealt with conceptually rather than personally. The more internally consistent my world view, the better insulated I am from God. This is the problem. There are several world views that are entirely internally consistent - how are we to measure them against each other? World views can really only be understood internally, so how are you, a proponent of scientific/naturalistic world view which values world views according to their utilitarian function of organizing data, going to evaluate the Buddhist world view?
Now, as to how to go forward in this series, feeling that I might have killed it with the length of these last several arguments, let me propose the following options:
1) We consider these first 4 rounds (everything we've done so far) as our opening arguments and now proceed to pester each other with direct questions, one at a time. For instance, you pose a question briefly and succinctly; I answer it as briefly and succinctly as I can; you respond to my answer, commenting on whether or not I have adequately dealt with the question from your point of view; and then its my turn to ask you one.
2) We continue on as we have and you deal with everything I've said in my last four part response in whatever way you see fit and we just see if anyone keeps reading.
3) We proceed to final arguments.
I favour option 1 myself, but I'm open to any further suggestion you might have.