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CNN Larry King Live
Latest on Investigation Into Olivia Newton-John's Boyfriend's Disappearance; Intelligent Design in American Classrooms?
Aired August 23, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Olivia Newton-John's long time boyfriend vanished almost seven weeks ago. Why were authorities not contacted until five days after he was due to return from an overnight fishing trip? And what's the latest on the investigation? We'll ask Scott Epperson with the U.S. Coast Guard, Christine Spiteri, reporter with Channel 9 in Olivia Newton-John's native Australia. Jim Moret, chief correspondent for Inside Edition and more.
And then, is it God versus science? After creationism versus evolution, now debate rages over intelligent design with even the president stepping in. We'll hear from spiritual adviser Deepak Chopra, John MacArthur and more. All next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with the disappearance of Patrick Kim McDermott, the long time boyfriend of singer/actress of Olivia Newton-John. In addition to Chief Warrant Officer Scott Epperson is with us on the beeper phone, and Christine Spiteri of Australian TV channel 9, and Jim Moret, out old friend, chief correspondent of Inside Edition, we're joined in New York by Dr. Casey Jordan, PHD, criminologist and attorney, professor Division of Justice and Law Administration at Western Connecticut State University, and our old friend Dr. Michael Welner, associate professor of psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, Chairman of the Forensic Panel. Jim, you bring us up to date on the latest.
JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION" CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well the latest is this is still a missing persons investigation, and, frankly, no one knows where he is. This was a fishing trip that was started on June 30th. It's overnight, and basically, this gentleman leaves his belongings on the boat. He may have gotten off the boat, he may not. The belongings include his passport, his driver's license, his car keys, his car was left across the street. No one has seen him since.
KING: Carrying a passport on an overnight fishing trip?
MORET: That's strange. I know, it is strange. Everything about this case is strange. You indicated that he wasn't reported missing for five days, that's because there was a family event that was on July 6th, and we know that then the dock was called on the 11th, that's when they discovered his passport, his I.D. and so forth.
KING: And what, Christine, is -- why did Olivia Newton-John, I guess you're covering this because she's Australian, right? Why was she so late in getting involved? They issued a statement so much later. CHRISTINE SPITERI, AUSTRALIAN TV CHANNEL 9 REPORTER: Well, yes, that's right. I mean firstly, I think we have to remember that Patrick McDermott went missing while Olivia was back home in Australia, she was doing some promotional work there.
KING: She had nothing to do with his being missing.
SPITERI: No. Of course not. So she was away at the time, and because of the geography, and the distance and the time, problems there, it's possible that there may have been a bit of a lag in her realizing that he had gone missing. Not weeks. No. I think as soon as she got back she was aware and I think she's just chosen to stay silent on this. Being very mindful that Patrick has got a 15-year-old son. And that's a very awkward age. This must be an incredibly difficult time for him, and, I think, she's just trying to make it as less painful for him as possible.
KING: And Chief Warrant Officer Scott Peterson -- Epperson rather, Scott Epperson, of the U.S. Coast Guard, what's the Coast Guard's feelings or position on this?
C.W.O. SCOTT EPPERSON, U.S. COAST GUARD: Well right now Right now we're still treating this as a missing person's case. We're investigating everything that we -- all of the leads that we've gotten so far. Some of the media interest in this has turned up several other leads and we are following those at this point. So far, we haven't really gotten any information from anybody that is credible, that someone saw him get off the boat, contrary to some of the reports that are out there.
KING: And Dr. Casey Jordan in New York, criminologist and attorney and professor as well, division of justice and law, this is either someone who went away, or drowned, right, or was harmed in some way, it's one of those three things.
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST, ATTORNEY: Well exactly. You have to consider there was an accident, a possible suicide. I don't think anyone really has much credence in homicide, and then of course, the other theory is that perhaps he's faked his death, and there are enough odd things about his behavior and troubles in his life surrounding the weeks and months before the disappearance that could suggest either a suicide or an accident, or possibly a fake death. At this point, I'm sure that authorities are talking to everyone who knew him and trying to piece together his behavior just before the disappearance to figure out which theory is more credible.
KING: Dr. Welder in, wouldn't a suicide usually leave a note?
DR. MICHAEL WELNER, ASSOC. PROF. PSYCHIATRY NYU: Suicide notes, depends on how much he might have contemplated it, depends on whether that was his style. Most people who commit suicide don't leave notes. What's most striking to me is a forensic psychiatrist, sorting out the possibility of suicide versus other alternatives, is that he was in a committed, caring relationship. He was not of advanced age, he was not of failing health, he was not abusing alcohol, as much as we're aware of, and was not in chronic pain or chronic physical ailments. The kinds of risk factors that we readily associate with suicide. But a lot of investigation has to focus on the conflicts in his life that might make him choose to resolve to end his life as opposed to the conflicts that he might have with others that might cause him to either need to disappear, or that others might want to make him disappear. We can't really rule anything out when there's no evidence of what might have happened to him.
KING: Or even faking death?
WELNER: Absolutely. But the point is, there's no sign of fake death. There's just a disappearance. And any reference to death is presumed, and because death is irreversible, I think it is wise to look for him as if he continues to be missing.
KING: We have obtained through channel 9 in Australia a quick video of Patrick Kim McDermott doing a dedication to his girlfriend. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK MCDERMOTT, MISSING MAN: If we'd all just be a little bit like you, we'd all be a little better off. I love with you all my heart. Enjoy this evening and I'll talk to you later. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Was he in some sort of financial trouble, Jim?
MORET: Well, he filed for bankruptcy. We've obtained documents that he filed for bankruptcy five years ago. He was paying child support of $800 a month to his ex-wife. She went back to court in April, asking that he make payments directly to the court, which would raise the assumption that perhaps she wasn't receiving all of her checks.
KING: She's an actress, right?
KING: She came to the scene, right?
MORET: She contacted the folks at the harbor and it was her call that prompted them to look at his belongings and find out who it belonged to and so forth. But you know, it's hard. As you just heard, there are more questions really than answers. This is an odd case. We've covered missing persons cases before, usually the authorities are very forthcoming and they say this is the car he was driving, this is the license plate. We haven't really received that kind of information from the Coast Guard and I know that they're doing their best to find this person. They are treating this as a missing persons investigation, not a homicide at this point.
KING: Anything that they're holding back, Scott Epperson?
EPPERSON: A lot of stuff, any of the information that is releasable from the investigation has been released at this point. Some things are, you know, within the realms of the investigation, they're not going to talk about them at this time. I don't even have that information.
KING: What's the interest in Australia, Christine?
SPITERI: There's huge interest, you know, Olivia really holds a very special place in the hearts of Australians. You know, people have followed her career for now more than 30 years. It's almost hard to believe because she's still so youthful looking. And she is very Australian. She goes back home a lot. So there is that connection there.
KING: She's there now, right?
SPITERI: I understand she's actually in America. She's out of Los Angeles, she left her Malibu home once the story broke over the weekend. But she does have a home in Australia, so that is a base that she can always go to.
KING: We don't know where she is right now.
MORET: Right, and there's actually a good point Christine makes. The distance in the relationship. That's another reason why you say why didn't she report this sooner. She, as I understand it, may spend as much as six months a year in Australia, six months here. So while she and Patrick had a committed relationship, it was not necessarily a traditional relationship where you see each other all the time.
KING: You'd think you'd talk a lot, though, wouldn't you?
MORET: You would think so. And frankly the shame here is that her celebrity brought a great deal of attention to this missing person case. And it's a shame that she wasn't able to come forward sooner.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more and then our debate on intelligent design versus evolution, don't go away.
KING: We're back. Jim, you visited the boat dock?
MORET: Yes, I was actually going on board last night with a camera and bought tickets and bought a fishing license, which you had to do. And then just before we got on, the captain of the ship said that his lawyer requested no cameras.
So, we really deferred it to another time.
KING: The boat is there?
MORET: The boat's -- well, the boat actually went out last night. It leaves at 10:00 at night, arrives at the fishing location at 5:00 in the morning. You fish all day, then you come back the next night. So, it's a 24-hour trip.
KING: Do we know if he went alone?
MORET: It's our understanding that he was alone. There were 23 people on the boat at the time and there's no indication that he was with anyone.
KING: Anyone -- have they questioned all of these people?
ZAHN: As far as we know, the people have been questioned, but we can't get that from the Coast Guard. We're getting that from other sources and nothing remarkable happened based upon the people that we talked to.
KING: He paid his fee and --?
MORET: Paid his fee up front.
KING: Casey, is there any good reason why authorities would hold back information?
JORDAN: Well, if they have information that might indicate foul play, they certainly would withhold that. But really, I do think that we probably know as much as they do. You simply have a disappearance. You have a mystery and the best clues you're going to have, since you really don't have much, if anything, in the way of actual forensic evidence, is simply a conglomerate or a collection of what you do know about the items that were left on the boat; discovered after he was reported missing; apparently not found by the crew prior to his family inquiring about his disappearance and his fishing trip: His fanny pack, his fishing rod, his car keys.
Then again, you want to talk -- we understand from a neighbor, that he always told his neighbor when he was going on a fishing trip, but in this particular case he did not tell the neighbor at all. So, you take all of these elements and try to put them together and decide whether or not, you know, anything was out of character for him and which theory you should be pursuing with the investigation.
KING: Dr. Welner, why would he leave personal items on the boat?
WELNER: Well, you know, you brought up earlier the idea of staged death. if he wanted to stage his death, he would have tossed his wallet and his personal belongings into the water and if they washed up somewhere else, he clearly would have left that impression.
I think Casey alluded to something important and that is you come up with things that simply do not add up and that is what you're left with when you have no evidence. For example, we also spoke about the passport being there.
In my professional opinion, this is the kind of case where answers are likely to be elicited by the active involvement of people like his son, because if he did have an involvement in his own disappearance, probably the greatest drive to bringing him back is the relationship that matters to him the most.
KING: Is it puzzling to you, Christine, that no one's come forward to say, "I saw him"? He hasn't -- he's not your everyday looking person.
SPITERI: That's right. I think the difficulty with this case, of course, is that there is no body. So, we can't assume that he is dead. And then once you have the possibility that he is still alive, it opens up a huge can of worms.
But you would think, if he was out there, particularly now -- we've had a few days of very high media coverage -- if someone had seen him they would have come forward.
But what we don't know which is important -- and obviously,, the Coast Guard may be keeping this private at this time for investigative reasons -- is the money trail. Is he using his bank accounts. Did he have some money stashed away somewhere that he could be living off? That's what we don't know.
KING: Where would he have jumped into the water, Jim?
MORET: Well, he was last seen three miles out from shore, where they settled up their accounts in the galley. So, he would of had to have jumped, if he got off the boat...
KING: It would have to be there.
MORET: ... it would have to be there.
KING: No one saw anything there?
MORET: Nobody saw or heard anything unusual on the entire trip, which is why you say, "Wouldn't people remember him?" Not necessarily. It was an uneventful trip based upon those I've talked to.
KING: Scott Epperson, does the police get involved or is this strictly Coast Guard?
EPPERSON: Right now the LAPD or the Los Angeles Port Police are not involved. It is strictly a Coast Guard investigation and it was initially reported to the authorities and the Los Angeles port police did respond, but then when they found out it was on the boat and on the water, it turned into a strictly Coast Guard case.
KING: I see. Wouldn't it be better, Casey, if they were involved?
JORDAN: I'm not sure at this juncture that it would really add anything to this case. I think that you really just need to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
And again, human behavior is -- are the pieces of the puzzle right now. You do want to look at bank accounts. You do want to look for, you know -- interview his son, his ex-wife, everybody who knew him and who was around him in the days surrounding that fishing trip, just before and again, try to figure out whether or not the chances are better that he's alive or actually went overboard. Then you know whether or not the Coast Guard should be giving this over to law enforcement on land.
KING: As this continues, we'll have you all back.
MORET: Thank you.
KING: Good to see you again, Jim.
MORET: Good to see you, too, Larry.
KING: And welcome to the United States.
SPITERI: Thank you, Larry.
KING: We'll be right back. A raging debate is going on in the United States now. Thesises (SIC) are being written. There was a five-page article in the "New York Times" the other day. There's a new organization devoted to one side of this. Creationism or as it's now called intelligent design versus evolution. That's next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK MCDERMOTT, BOYFRIEND OF NEWTON-JOHN: Gorgeous, be a little bit like you, we'd all be better off. I love with you all my heart. Enjoy this evening and I'll talk to you later. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Creation and evolution has become a raging debate and President Bush has participated in it. Let's meet our panel. Here in Los Angeles, John MacArthur, pastor, teacher at the Grace Community Church; author of "The Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution and the Bible;" host of "Grace to You" and president of the Master's College and founder of the Master's Seminary.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana is Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. Barbara is the author of "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design." She is professor of philosophy, Southeastern Louisiana University, National Advisory Council of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
In Los Angeles, Deepak Chopra, the best selling author of "How to Know God," and founder of the Chopra Center. His blog site, www.intentblog.com, now has a discussion on the topic of creation versus evolution, including lengthy comments by Deepak.
In Topeka, Kansas is Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, who supports the president's position on teaching intelligent design as well as evolution, favors teaching both. In Stamford, Connecticut is Congressman Chris Shays, Republican of Connecticut, who disagrees with the president on the teaching of intelligent design. And in Seattle is Dr. Jay Richards, vice president of the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank at the forefront in promoting the intelligent design theory. John MacArthur, do you believe that the world is only 5,000 years old?
PASTOR JOHN MACARTHUR, AUTHOR, "BATTLE FOR THE BEGINNING": No, I wouldn't say necessarily 5,000, but I would say I doubt that it's more than 10,000 years old.
KING: So all this other proof of millions of years, cavemen, don't mean anything?
MACARTHUR: Well, I think there may have been cavemen, but I don't think millions of years has been proven.
KING: You don't think any of that has been proven?
KING: All right, hold on. Dr. Forrest, your concept of how can you out-and-out turn down creationism, since if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?
BARBARA FORREST, AUTHOR, "CREATIONISM'S TROJAN HORSE": Larry, creationism has long ago been discredited by science and it's long ago been declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. And so, this is an issue that should long ago have been settled. We shouldn't still be debating this.
KING: Should it be taught at all?
FORREST: No, not as science. Creationism is a religious issue. If it's to be taught at all, it should be taught within that context, but it should never be presented to children in a science class in a public school as science, because it isn't. It's a religious belief.
KING: Deepak, is it a faith issue?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR: It is a faith issue. I totally agree with her. I think we have to look at the scientific evidence, which says that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, the planet is only 3.8 billion. Human beings have been around for 200,000 years in the form that we know them. But you know, hominids have been around for a long time.
But having said that, there is evidence in science that there is creativity in the universe, that consciousness may not be an emergent property, that physical matter may be an emergent property, that consciousness conceives and governs and constructs and actually becomes what we call mind, and then body and the physical universe.
KING: Senator Brownback, what is your definition of intelligent design?
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: Well, there's intelligence involved in the overall of creation, but Larry, I don't think we're really at the point of teaching this in the classroom. I think what we passed in the U.S. Senate in 2002 is really what we should be doing, and that is that you teach the controversy, you teach what is fact is fact, and what is theory is theory, and you move from that proceedings, rather than from teaching some sort of different thought. And this, I really think that's the area we should concentrate on at the present time, is teaching the controversy.
KING: In other words, give the students both sides of the issue, fairly presented?
BROWNBACK: Yes, and as I said, teach what we know is fact to be fact. Teach what is theory as theory, and have a robust discussion. I liked one of the commentators I read recently, saying that I think we all should relax a bit about this, and have a good, robust debate about what we really do know, what we don't know but is theory, and try to proceed together and move together in a very thoughtful, very careful fashion.
KING: Congressman Shays, why do you disagree with your party's president on this?
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: Well, while Rome's burning, we're eating grapes. I mean, the thought that we would have a debate in the Senate about creationism and scientific evolution, and that we would focus on this issue blows me away.
You know, God has every place in government, but religion doesn't, and this is the introduction of religion into government. When we have huge problems to deal with, the energy crisis, $100 a barrel oil is going to be something we're going to have to deal with, and we're debating this issue in the Senate, and that's outrageous.
KING: And Dr. Richards, as vice president of Discovery Institute, how would you counter what Congressman Shays just said? Why is this important?
DR. JAY RICHARDS, DISCOVERY INSTITUTE: Well, I think it's important to focus, Larry, on what the issue is that's being discussed. The topic is intelligent design. Intelligent design isn't the same as traditional creationism. Intelligent design theory is just saying more or less what Deepak Chopra said, actually, that there's evidence of purpose and design in the universe, whether you look at the laws of physics or nanotechnology inside cells, design theorists say that's evidence for intelligent design. It's not a creation theory, and it's certainly not a religiously-based argument. It's based on the evidence of science. And so the debate is different interpretations of science.
And what the Senate did and Senator Brownback described is they encouraged what we call teach the controversy at Discovery Institute, and that just means teach the controversy over Darwin's theory of evolution specifically, the evidence for and against it, but don't require teaching intelligent design. We think that should be allowed, and we understand that's what the president said.
Yes, these topics ought to be allowed, but remember, the president also said it wasn't the job of the federal government to dictate curricula to local school districts, and we agree with him on that as well.
KING: Dr. Richards, if there's intelligent design, who designed the intelligent designer?
RICHARDS: Well, this is one of these sort of popular, you know, I call this a popular argument...
KING: How do you respond to it?
RICHARDS: Yeah, I mean, put it this way, Larry...
KING: Who created the creator?
RICHARDS: We can tell that Mt. Rushmore is sculpted, right? You can tell that there was an intelligence behind it. The fact that you can ask a follow-up question about the origin of the designer doesn't contradict the initial claim we can detect intelligence. That's all design theory does, it focuses on these clear indicators of intelligent agency, just like a detective does or anyone would do, in which you're detecting the activities of intelligent agents.
KING: How, John MacArthur, do you react to intelligent design as opposed to creationism, as Dr. Richards separates them?
MACARTHUR: Well, I think intelligent design is the only possible scientific position to hold, because we have intelligence in the universe. It has to come from intelligence, because we have complexity, it has to come from complexity.
The silver bullet, Larry, is DNA. Before our understanding of DNA, there was a lot of confusion and a lot of belief in evolution. It was like the emperor's new clothes. It was really naked but thought it was dressed up. DNA has, I think, spelled the end of traditional naturalistic evolution, which essentially says complexity comes out of simplicity. It can't happen. The silver bullet is not a single example of reproduction leading to an increased amount of genetic material necessary to produce a more complex organism has ever happened.
KING: As someone who learned (ph) in religion, though, you can't prove Adam and Eve, can you?
MACARTHUR: I don't think you can prove Adam and Eve, except that you know somebody was there to begin.
KING: So you believe it? You believe it?
MACARTHUR: Well, we're talking about two different things. Intelligent design is the only rational way to view the universe. Somebody intelligent made it. Religion answers who that intelligence is.
KING: Does it ponder you who made the intelligence, who created the creator?
MACARTHUR: I accept the Bible as the source, the authoritative source that tells me it was God, and something or someone has to be eternal, and the Bible says it is God who is the eternal one.
CHOPRA: See, when he says that, he's denying all of biology, all of anthropology, all of geology, all of astronomy, all of cosmology, all of evolution, it's -- all of physics, all of chemistry, and everything that we know, that we have learned.
Now, I do agree with Dr. Richards, who says that there is evidence that we need to understand Darwin's theory a little bit better, or you know, it's a little more than 150 years old. So how do we explain simultaneity in the university, how does a human body think thoughts, play the piano, kill germs, remove toxins, and make a baby all at once? How does DNA, which is very intelligent, emerge from inorganic chemicals?
And they say, who designed the creator? If you think of the creator in human terms, which is the human imagination, then you're in trouble. But you know, in quantum physics, they refer to this field of infinite possibilities as acausal, which means without cause, nonlocal, beyond space time, infinitely correlated inter-relatedness, and when you start to understand that the very fundamental levels of nature are acausal, they are beyond time, they're without -- they transcend time, then you can have a different idea of the creator.
KING: We'll pick right up on this right after these words.
KING: Dr. Barbara Forrest, is this discussion important, or, as Christopher Shays says, there a lot more important things than this?
FORREST: Oh, my goodness, there are so many more important things to discuss than this, Larry. It's amazing that we're still having this discussion in the 21st century.
And there are a few things that I think the American people need to know about the intelligent design issue. Number one, this isn't about science. Dr. Richards' adviser at the Discovery Institute, Philip Johnson stated that this is about religion and philosophy. It's not really about science. There really isn't a scientific controversy to debate. I'd also like to point out that Dr. Richards' associate at the Discovery Institute, Dr. William Demski has said that intelligent design is the logos of John's gospel restated in the idiom information theory. This is just as biblically based as the earlier traditional type of creationism.
And one more thing. Another of Dr. Richards' associates, Paul Nelson pointed out in an interview just one years ago that they don't have a theory of biological design at the Discovery Institute. They simply don't have a theory, and in order to have a theory -- in order to do research, they would have to have a theory. He admitted very candidly that they don't have any, and there is not one iota of scientific data that the Discovery Institute creationists have produced to support what they say. This is not about science. This is about religion, and political power.
KING: All right. Before Dr. Richards responds, Senator Brownback, how do you respond to if we have separation of church and state and this is about religion, why is it even being discussed at the federal level?
BROWNBACK: Well, the discussion took place at the federal level several years back, and I do agree, we need to discuss issues like energy and immigration at this point in time. That's why we just passed a big energy bill and hope we'll take up immigration this fall.
But the reason for its discussion was in the No Child Left Behind Bill is where it took place there. And there it passed, the measure passed in the Senate by a large majority with votes on both sides of the aisle. Senator Kennedy and Senator Santorum proffering the amendment saying we should teach more information, but that it shouldn't be required. And you should teach facts and teach what's theory. But it wasn't that we should teach intelligent design. It was really more a critique at the holes, at the issues, associated with Darwinian evolution. And I think that's a good, robust discussion that we should be having and it's something we have all across the country. But we are focused on other issues in the Congress.
KING: Congressman Shays?
SHAYS: You know, I've been listening to this debate and thinking, I believe in God. I believe in the first chapter of the Bible as the explanation for creation in my own religion. But I get uncomfortable when I start hearing people tell me what they think should be taught in our schools.
And I feel like, in a way, I'm almost in the middle ages and Copernicus and Galileo, the earth is round and it does go round the solar system, and religious belief said no it doesn't. And we have the same kind of -- and you can't take it out of the context of what we've been debating. We have literally had a hard time passing in the House stem cell research, that could have untold benefit, because some people's religious beliefs don't want us to move forward with what is sound science. I think God gave us the intellect to discern between sound science and religious dogma.
KING: Dr. Richards, isn't that a good point?
RICHARDS: Certainly. But again, the question is what's the evidence of nature? Arguments in evidence from science have theological implications on all sides, the probably world's best known Darwinist Richard Dawkins said Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. So he was arguing a theological point based on a scientific theory.
That doesn't mean Darwinism shouldn't be discussed in public schools, the same way intelligence design obviously has theological implications. A lot of people like to talk about the supposed motivations of design theorists. But whether somebody is a Christian or Theist, or a Hindu or an Atheist, the evidence and the arguments are what matters. And that's what we're hoping people start talking about, and not the supposed religious motivations that Dr. Forrest talked about or this discussion as if the debate over intelligent design is simply a debate between science and religion. It's a debate about the evidence of science and its proper interpretation and that's a legitimately public debate.
KING: John MacArthur, do you --
FORREST: May I respond to that?
KING: Yes. Just one second. John MacArthur, do you want Adam and Eve, taught in the public school?
MACARTHUR: I don't particularly care whether Adam and Eve is taught in a public school, because I'm not sure that the person teaching it or mandated to teach it would be able to teach it correctly or with conviction. And I don't believe that public education is to be a forum for teaching Biblical Christianity, but I do believe that individual teachers who teach in science or in any other discipline that integrates with science must admit the fact that evolution is a poor explanation for the scientific data. When it comes to origin, nobody was there. We can't reproduce it. It's not repeatable. So it's a faith base, even an evolutionist is putting faith in the eternality of matter or some natural element. It's all faith at that particular point. We choose to believe in the God who has revealed himself in scripture and his account of creation.
KING: Dr. Forrest?
FORREST: Well, Dr. Richards was talking about making the issue one of evidence, but they don't have any evidence. That's the problem. Before you can make an issue about a scientific debate about evidence you must produce the evidence, and so far the Discovery Institute Creationists are batting zero. There is not one scintilla of scientific evidence to support what they say. So when we argue this is a scientific issue, we're really missing the point. This is an argument about whether or not public schools should be venues for promoting the religious ideas of the Discovery Institute in violation of both the pedagogical standards of teaching and in violation of the constitution. This is not about scientific evidence, because they have none to produce.
KING: Let me get a break and come back, we'll include your phone calls, too. Don't go away.
KING: All right. We're back. Let's take a call.
Orlando, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, this is for Deepak Chopra. There was a time when the church didn't believe the world was round and all diseases were caused by God's anger. If God is the all-intelligent supreme being, maybe evolution was his design to connect all living things, so we could learn his mysteries.
CHOPRA: Right and you know, we shouldn't use the word "his" or "her." There's certainly enough evidence that there is intelligence in the universe. There's creativity in the universe. There are emergent properties that come out of quantum leaps that the universe has a field of possibilities; that somehow -- there is something called observer effect, that, you know, conscious beings have the ability to influence the behavior of the universe; there's something called teleology in biology, which is purpose-driven process or purpose- driven evolution.
Darwin's theory is incomplete. It does not give us, you know, the complete explanation. So, the question is -- this is not a debate between theology and science. But science is asking questions: Where does consciousness come from? What's the source of thought? Are we alone in the universe? Do we have a soul? What happens to us after we die? What is the source of inspiration, imagination, creativity?
KING: And who knows the answer to any of that?
CHOPRA: Well, nobody knows all the answers, but we are looking at these. You know, there's now -- there is the ability to track a thought, for example. You can radio label a carbon atom and you can see what's doing in your brain when you think.
KING: And how do you teach this, Senator Brownback?
BROWNBACK: I don't know that you do teach it in the public school system. I just -- as I stated before, what I think we really should be doing is saying what do we really know? What do we know from the fossil record? What do we know that's been produced by observable evidence? What don't we actually know yet and let's identify that and then, let's have a robust discussion of it.
Let's teach the fact and theory at the -- at K through 12. If local school districts and states decide to do it, that's their choice and then. let's have a robust national debate at our higher education institutions.
I hope they would hold seminars and have the best people that are pushing and discussing intelligent design, the best evolutionists in the world, having great debates and discussions. I think we would all be illuminated by that.
KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead, Dr. Richards.
RICHARDS: Larry, could I just follow up on that?
RICHARDS: I very much agree with Senator Brownback. What's on the table is not whether biblical creation is going to be taught or even whether intelligent design is going to be required.
The Discovery Institute does not advocate requiring intelligent design. We do agree with both the president and the Senate and the Congress as a whole, that where controversial theories are taught like biological evolution, that is Darwin's theory of evolution, that the full range of evidence ought to be discussed; the strongest evidence for it and against it.
That's what the Teach the Controversy is about. And then that these ideas of intelligent design, teleology, as Deepak Chopra describes it, should be discussed or teachers should be free to talk about it. That is, free without being harassed by the ACLU, but it shouldn't be required. It shouldn't be imposed from the top down. I fully agree with the senator on that point.
KING: Sag Harbor, New York.
CALLER: Isn't it the responsibility of parents to make arrangements with their school to allow their children to be excused from traditional science classes and then take up the responsibility, providing their own teaching of divine mind, infinite intelligence, divine design, et cetera?
KING: Chris Shays, what do you think of that?
SHAYS: Absolutely. It is the role of the parent. It's not the role of the government to get involved in these issues. I -- you know, I've heard a few references, "well, we believe because it's in the Bible. We choose to believe because it's in the scriptures."
And I don't have a problem with that, except their belief of what's in the scriptures, their belief of what's in the Bible may be different than my belief of what's in the Bible, what's in the scriptures.
And our founding fathers recognized, when people came to America, they wanted to practice their own faith, with out other people are telling them what it had to be. I get very nervous hearing some of the dialogue tonight about people's belief of what they think is the source of creation and that they need to impose it in our schools.
KING: Do you want to impose it in our schools, John?
MACARTHUR: No, I just want to say that the Bible defines and describes creation. God created the entire universe in six 24-hour days.
CHOPRA: In mythological terms.
MACARTHUR: It's not in mythological anything.
KING: What place does the Bible have in a public cool?
CHOPRA: As good as any mythology.
MACARTHUR: In a public school intended to teach education to young people, I don't expect the Bible to be taught there. This is the role of the church. This is the role of Christians to do this.
KING: Isn't that what the debate is about?
MACARTHUR: No, because if you look at science, you see intelligence. Why are the evolutionists so panicked over the fact that someone might teach that behind creation, is intelligence? Why is that so frightening to them?
KING: Are you panicked, Barbara?
SHAYS: Because -- You know, I'd like to jump in.
FORREST: I'm not panicked.
KING: Barbara, are you panicked?
FORREST: I'm not panicked. No, I'm not panicked at all. I think science teachers have, you know, very good sense about what needs to be taught in a science class and I'd like to respond to something that Dr. Richards said a minute ago.
He says that the Discovery Institute isn't really asking for intelligent design to be taught. That is precisely what they want and I might add that as soon as the president had made his statement that both sides should be taught, Dr. Richards' associate, Dr. William Demski, wrote a statement thanking the president for endorsing the idea that both evolution and intelligent design should be taught. And those are his words. He interpreted that statement by the president as a explicit endorsement.
KING: I've got to get a break. We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Winnsboro, Texas, hello.
CALLER: I am just wondering -- I guess this is to Barbara -- why leave God out of science, because isn't it the responsibility of the teacher to present all ideas on how the world and how life began? I feel like God created science, he created her, you know, why put him in a religious category? Just look in the mirror, you know, if you want evidence. Why leave him out of science?
FORREST: Well, the reason -- the reason that science is taught the way it is is because it reflects the methodology of science. Scientific methodology simply cannot reach God. That requires a faith commitment. And so if you put God into a science class as a scientific explanation, you simply are confusing children about the nature of science.
There's nothing wrong with people adopting a religious, a comprehensive religious view to understand the world, but there is a great deal wrong with introducing that as a scientific explanation to children in a science class. That's the role of the church and the role of the family. It's not the role of the science teachers. They have enough to do just simply teaching science as it should be taught. KING: Shouldn't everyone agree with that? John, do you agree?
RICHARDS: Can I follow up on this?
KING: Dr. Richards, go ahead.
RICHARDS: I certainly agree as well. The question being debated and discussed publicly right now is not really should all ideas be discussed in the science classroom. I mean, obviously we can't talk about everything. The question is first, should Darwin's theory of evolution be taught openly and honestly? And so far as I can tell, no one has explicitly disagreed with that uncontroversial point, that the strongest evidence for and against it ought to be taught in the public school science classroom.
And then this other question about intelligent design, at least at the Discovery Institute, we do not think it should be required, contrary to what Dr. Forrest said previously. People can verify that on our Web site at discovery.org. We think teachers should be free to talk about this, and frankly, I don't think that it can be suppressed. It's now very much a public discussion, evidenced by the fact that you're talking about it on your show tonight.
KING: Deepak, would you agree with that?
CHOPRA: Yes, I think that we should leave terms like "God" out of it. I think where I disagree with one of our panelists, Barbara, is that you know, consciousness is a very legitimate pursuit in science, and it should be. After all, who is this person? You know, science is only focused on the observed, never on the observer. And I think it's time that science begins to address this question, is consciousness an epiphenomenon or is it the ground (ph) of being that creates the universe? And that's very legitimate as a scientific perception.
FORREST: But that is not appropriate in a high school science class.
CHOPRA: Yeah, maybe so. Maybe so.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments, a couple more phone calls right after this.
KING: San Diego, hello.
CALLER: Yes, do the panelists think that life will reach a climatic point? What will that climax be? And have they read the "Resistance..."
KING: Have you read that? Where does it all go?
CHOPRA: I don't really know what he's talking about, but if he's asking, is evolution an ongoing process -- yes, it is. I mean, you know, right now, I think we can think of evolution in terms of meta- biology, the evolution of our consciousness and the evolution of the consciousness of our consciousness. What's the source of thought, where is creativity, imagination...
KING: Why are you smiling?
CHOPRA: ... and inspiration.
MACARTHUR: The evolution of our conscientious and the evolution of our consciousness of our consciousness?
CHOPRA: Of our consciousness, because we are aware that we are aware. There's no other species that is conscious of its awareness.
MACARTHUR: You just can't get ...
CHOPRA: I don't expect you to get that.
MACARTHUR: No, I get it. You just can't get away from the idea that...
CHOPRA: The Bible is the source of all truth.
MACARTHUR: We are -- wait a minute, that we are God in some universal sense, and there is no other God than us. And in some collective consciousness, we are God, and that's where we find ourselves.
CHOPRA: (INAUDIBLE) have an image of God. And God...
MACARTHUR: You've said that in your book, so.
CHOPRA: Of course I've said that in my books, but you have misinterpreted it.
KING: Maybe the only thing we know, Congressman Shays, is that we don't know.
SHAYS: Well, as I'm listening to this dialogue, I'm praying for inspiration. You know, the bottom line is, I think our founding fathers got it right. We each need to sort this out on our own, and we don't want the government starting to impose what should be taught or not taught, particularly in the federal level.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
MACARTHUR: I would just like to encourage the congressman, because at the beginning he said that, in his faith, he believes in the "Genesis" account, and I think...
SHAYS: First Chapter.
MACARTHUR: First Chapter, sure, I'll stick with that first chapter, six days of creation and God rested. That's what the scripture says.
SHAYS: And made -- and made everything perfect. MACARTHUR: That's right. And then the fall, you've got to get to Chapter Three sooner or later.
SHAYS: Well, I don't want to get to Chapter Three.
MACARTHUR: Well, you have to. I mean, you are trying to...
SHAYS: You think I have to. See, that's the problem, and that's my point. That's my point.
MACARTHUR: I want to know why he's a congressman if he isn't in there trying to help -- reduce the effects of what happened in Chapter Three, which is the story of the fall?
SHAYS: No, but see, this is, Larry, this is the key point. I believe in God deeply, and already now I'm being questioned, and that's the danger, because the gentleman who just spoke has his religious view and questions mine. You are going to raise such a huge challenge if we start getting into this debate, because it's intolerant, and I think that's what this discussion is leading to.
MACARTHUR: I just need to defend myself. I certainly didn't intend that. You said you believed in Genesis I.
CHOPRA: You questioned whey he's a congressman.
MACARTHUR: ... and I just said you should stick with the conviction about Genesis I, and you have the creation account right there.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) yes?
RICHARDS: You know, we're having a sort of deep theological and philosophical dispute, and I certainly don't think that that kind of dispute is appropriate for public school science classrooms. So I agree with Mr. Shays.
I do think that, when you're talking about the origin of the universe and the origin of life, there are inevitably going to be philosophical implications, and so the best thing that you can do is to teach the strongest evidence for and against the sort of leading ideas on these questions. Certainly, the leading idea right now in biology is Darwin's theory of evolution. So teach it fairly, honestly and openly, and then let teachers be free, if they want, to talk about intelligent design responsibly, to do so, but you can do that without getting into these sort of rarefied theological disputes.
FORREST: Actually, you can't. Intelligent design is a religious idea. You inevitably wind up talking about religion. As we are now.
MACARTHUR: You're inevitably talking about -- wind up talking about who is the intelligence, and obviously, you're going to get there, but I agree with the fact that that's not what science does, because science can only observe what happens, what's repeatable, what's observable, and creation and origin is outside of that. It does lead you there, but science doesn't offer the answer. CHOPRA: Larry, if I have the opportunity, can I tell people to come to www.intentblog.com if they want to follow up on this discussion, OK?
KING: Thank you all very much. John MacArthur, Barbara Forrest, Deepak Chopra, Senator Sam Brownback, Congressman Chris Shays and Dr. Jay Richards.
Tomorrow night, we'll talk about the mysterious shooting of Grammy-winning artist Marc Cohn. He's the husband of Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News. And Ryan Hawks will be with us. His parents disappeared from a boat. We may have some more evidence as to what happened to them.
New evidence about who's the best when it comes to the news at 10:00 Eastern. There's only one, my man Aaron Brown. It's good to be back, Aaron.
AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": It's nice to see you.
KING: Good to see that smiling face straight up.
BROWN: Thank you.
KING: Go get'em?
BROWN: You had a good few days off?
KING: I had a wonderful time.
BROWN: Good for you. It's nice to have you back. Thank you very much, Larry.
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