Friel: Do you really believe Something came from Nothing?
Friel: Do you really believe Jesus Christ didn't exist and walk the planet?
Friel: Do you have all knowledge?
Friel: Do you care if you live or die?
Barker: Yes, most of the time I love life except when sometimes I'm so sick I think I'd rather die.
This was a puzzling exchange, and I don't understand why Friel took up precious time to ask what seemed to be basic information questions. Later in the segment his questions took on more of a "Stump the Atheist" tone, which is to be expected, but these initial questions weren't like that at all. I can only speculate, but I wonder if Friel was attempting to poison the well, to get an unsympathetic audience to hear Barker admit out loud such traditionally blasphemous statements such as that he doesn't believe in an historical Jesus.
Next, Friel launched a series of multiple questions regarding evolution, all of them following the same "Which came first" format.
Friel: Which evolved first, the digestive system, the food, the appetite, the ability to find food, digestive juices, or the body's ability to resist its own digestive juices? Which evolved first, the drive to reproduce or the ability? The male or the female? The bones, ligaments, tendons, blood supply, or the muscles to move the bones?
Barker answered all these questions adequately given our current understanding of natural selection. Essentially, Friel is arguing again for Irreducible Complexity, which I responded to earlier. No matter how Barker could have answered these questions, Friel would have declared the answer to be wrong, because his worldview demands that interworking body parts have to pop into existence fully formed by a creative designer, even though the fossil record clearly indicates that the interworking body parts co-evolved together. Friel wants us to imagine that the Theory of Evolution declares that a human head was rolling around on the ground, not able to find food very well, when suddenly it "evolved" a body which lumbered off into the distance, so let's all laugh at that comic piece of absurdity! But again, that's a caricature of natural selection that no evolutionary scientist has ever posited, so pointing and laughing at it is a waste of time. It's like thinking that the theory of gravity must be false because everyone knows that Wile E. Coyote can't hover in the air after walking off a cliff.
It's curious to me that Friel is attempting to use the concept of Irreducible Complexity to question the entire Theory of Evolution when Michael Behe, the Christian biochemist who first posited IC in his book Darwin's Black Box has said that he accepts the basic concept of Natural Selection and believes that humans descended from more primitive primates. In other words, Friel would disagree with Michael Behe while using his arguments. But that's just one of the corners into which young-earth creationists have painted themselves.
Friel continues demonstrating his lack of understanding of evolution with his next question.
Friel: Suppose we take a car factory and we remove all the kinks and bad parts out of the assembly line, how many runs would they have to run to produce an airplane? You can't turn a car into an airplane; you can't turn one thing into another.
Barker: Yes you can, through natural selection.
Barker has received a lot of criticism for his answer, both at the debate via derisive laughter from the audience, and later on the web after the debate was made public, and I agree his answer doesn't make sense at first appearance. I suppose, however, we could put this one under the category of Ask-a-silly-question-get-a-silly-answer. Friel sets up a scenario of an optimized factory and wonders if the products of the factory will change without human intervention. I missed this crucial difference the first time I listened to this debate. When Barker answered "Yes you can," I believe he was answering a different question, namely, "Can a car be changed into an airplane?" and of course the answer is yes. First, add a pair of wings, install a more powerful engine, remove unnecessary weight, etc. It may not be an ideal airplane, but it would be more like an airplane than a car.
But that wasn't what Friel was asking. He wasn't asking if one thing can be designed into another by intelligent designers. He was asking can a single organism "change" into another. He picked a spectacularly bad example to illustrate his point, because cars are not living organisms and thus cannot reproduce. But again, the theory of evolution has never claimed that a single living organism changes into another during its lifetime. Evolution only happens via reproduction, when the following generations are genetically different from their parents and from each other.
Friel is is no position to question evolution if he hasn't taken the time to understand it. Barker correctly ended the exchange by pointing out that millions of Bible-believing Christians accept the facts of evolution despite Friel's cartoon caricatures.