Thanks for your last letter. Because of the length of the attachments (about 55 pages) and the fact that a lot of it is passages from copyrighted books, I'll only post the email, the Evidence Diagram, and the Introduction. I will only post my replies to these portions, but will include comments on the other portions in this email to you. If there are outside readers who are interested in the other material they can email me. This whole exchange is quite a lot longer than what I had anticipated, and although it is an interesting challenge to take on your arguments, it is taking more of my time than I really want to spend, so my reply won't be nearly as expansive as what you sent.
You start with list of assertions from Strobel that are supposedly things evolutionists must believe. This is a bad start since it has a sarcastic tone and some of the points distort what evolutionists actually think. I don't see how this creates some sort of "criteria bar", but I'll comment on each:
* Nothing produces nothing
I assume this is a typo and should have been "nothing produces something", which would apparently refer to the big bang having no cause. There is no logical necessity for something to have a cause, especially when it happens at the beginning of time. Theists have no trouble with God being uncaused. On the other hand the cover story in the current Scientific American (May) that suggests an underlying (presumably eternal) universe that created the big bang. See http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=00042F0D-1A0E-1085-94F483414B7F0000 (this might have to be copied into the browser URL box if it contains a line break)
* Non-life produces life It's not too shocking to think this might have happened at least once in the history of the universe. Of course the statement makes it sounds like we think this happens routinely, which is false. We also recognize that it is only a reproducing molecule that can undergo natural selection that must be formed.
* Randomness produces fine-tuning. This is a straw man. Nobody thinks this. Natural selection is what produces fine-tuning.
* Chaos produces information. Randomness does produce information, although it is not the sort of useful information you normally think of. Natural selection extracts useful information from the environment.
* Unconsciousness produces consciousness. Every human starts out as an unconscious fetus that eventually becomes conscious. There's no problem here. Evolutionarily, consciousness developed gradually.
* Non-reason produces reason. Not as often as one would wish, but there's no reason this couldn't happen through evolution.
Evidence for Biological Evolution Introduction
You state that you read many books on evolution and conclude that evidence does not support it. I get the impression that all the books you read were by people strongly opposed to evolution. If I am mistaken then the following thoughts are inappropriate. If you did read only creationist books, what do you expect? You have been inundated by arguments from the creationist side. The main knowledge you have of what evolutionists have to say is from quotes and interpretations that have been carefully selected (out of context) by their opponents to make a case against them. If you want to know the truth, you can't get all your information from one side. They will claim to tell you what the other side's arguments are, but only to the extent that they are ready with a refutation. If you care what is true, you have to get arguments from both sides from their best advocates, unedited by their opponents. Then try to sort things out in your own mind, and reserve judgment when things aren't clear.
The most comprehensive site I know of on the web for answering creationist arguments is www.talkorigins.org . I recommend reading the initial FAQ list and then doing searches or looking in the table of contents for info on particular points you feel are important.
I, by the way, have just finished "Darwin on Trial" by Philip Johnson, and a few years ago read "Life - How did it get here?" put out by Jehovah's Witnesses. I also follow arguments by anti-evolutionists when I see them on the internet or from other sources. I've read a number of books on the evolution side, but not as recently. No doubt I've had more influence from the pro-evolution side, so that probably gives me an unfair bias, but I do try to be critical of both sides.
As far as Colin Patterson, from what I read at "talkorigins" he was a believer in evolution, and so whatever dissatisfied him about answers to his requests for facts apparently didn't sour him on the main principle. He may have had some ideological conflicts with other biologists, but this quote out of context doesn't tell us what the problem was.
[Note: I went on to respond to other points Bill had made in his attachments, but since I did not include those on this website I won't include my responses.]