You strike me as more open-minded than your buddy who openly admits to being close-minded and loving it (at least he gets points for honesty). If I can read between the lines, I see the following set of beliefs held dear:
1) Being raised in the biblical beliefs you've come to regard the Bible as literally true.
2) There are scientists who hold the Bible as literally true, especially Genesis 1.
3) Science is mostly atheistic and therefore prejudiced against creationism and slanted toward scientism and evolutionary theory.
4) The biblical supporting scientists have refuted evolutionary theory and have substantial support for young-earth creationism.
C) Creationism is correct, evolutionary theory is false.
My response to young-earth creationists is usually directed at (1). The reason is at the crux of the scientific issues that follow. I don't think there would be any creationist science if Genesis 1 mentioned that the universe is 14 billion years old, and emerged from a big bang, along with an evolving solar system and the biological evolution of life over 4 billion years. Can we take for granted that if the Bible said these things that you would agree with the theories of modern science?
What I want to impress upon all literal young-earth creationists (who, for whatever reason, are usually Christians and not Jews) is that (1) cannot be correct and Christianity also be correct. As I replied to you in another post, there are direct contradictions between the Christian rendering of the Law compared to the Mosaic rendering. In addition, there are even verses in the Hebrew Bible which talk about those who are hung on a tree as being cursed. Jesus was 'hung' on a tree! According the Hebrew Bible the savior of Christianity is under a curse from God. Paul was aware of this and directly stated that Jesus became a curse so that humanity could be saved. These, and other scriptures, give very strong incentive for Christians not to be literal interpreters of the Bible. In fact, example after example shows that Christians were required to interpret the Hebrew Bible to reconcile it with new Christian understanding (they didn't have the Christian Bible at the time because it wasn't written yet).
I think all these science discussions surrounding your doubts in evolution all stem from the biblical texts. As a result, it is here that we should focus the attention and not trying to find discrepancies in science. Often this is done without complete knowledge of science and without a full understanding of how science works. We can talk about the science, but I got to tell you, the fact that Sam has openly expressed such pride in his close-mindedness does not bode well. It simply means that rationality doesn't matter. This is so contrary to the biblical stance of Christianity that I cannot begin to express my aghast. How could Christians ever prostelyze the Christian religion if people said that I am close-minded and will not listen to reason? With the sword? Maybe that's how Christians were converted a few hundred years ago, but that tactic is a little out-dated.
Warm regards, Harv