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Paula Zahn Now
The Debate Over Intelligent Design; American Girl Doll Ignites Controversy
Aired November 25, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining us. Paula has the night off.
Tonight, outraged parents, disappointed kids -- a toy that could be on your child's holiday list ignites a controversy.
COLLINS (voice-over): American Girl -- why is this popular doll setting off such a storm of protests?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were shocked at the controversy.
COLLINS: It's supposed to be about making girls stronger and more independent. But it's turning some of them against their favorite friends.
The VX solution, a nerve gas so deadly, a single drop will kill you -- so, where do you think the Army wants to dump its old VX?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nerve gas?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to dump it in here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's true, it's terrible.
COLLINS: What if it was your neighborhood?
And, in the beginning -- the basic questions we all ask, are we just an accident of nature or part of a master plan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The aggressiveness and the fighting and the death is a result of sin, whereas the evolutionists would say, that's survival of the fittest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all think that it's a way of trying to sneak God into the curriculum.
COLLINS: Tonight, intelligent design, an in-depth look at the movement that's shaking up American science.
PHILLIPS: And we begin with the growing outcry against one of the most popular toys around. While much of America hits the malls on this opening day of the holiday shopping season, some people actually spent the day protesting at the last place you would probably expect.
That's in Chicago. Protesters targeted the store that sells dolls from the American Girl collection. And the reason they are upset may surprise you even more. It's abortion and, believe it or not, gay rights.
Kyra Phillips explains the connection behind one of this country's angriest controversies and some pretty dolls.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To their young owners, American Girl dolls seem to be so much more than cloth and plastic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just really exciting to have dolls that you can play with that seem more -- more like a friend to you than a normal doll.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My girl, she likes to eat pizza.
PHILLIPS: Since 1986, more than 10 million of these dolls have been sold, sold with a wholesome, all-American image that has been anything but controversial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was really disappointed about what happened. I mean, I was just always thinking about it. And I have always been wanting to go protest.
PHILLIPS: Claire (ph) and Elena (ph) Wiesner love their dolls, too, but they started making protest signs when their mother told them about these so-called "I Can" bracelets. They are sold by American Girl for $1. And 70 cents of that goes to a non-profit group, Girls Inc.
The problem for the Wiesners, who are devout Catholics, is that they see Girls Inc. as supporting abortion rights.
RENEE WIESNER, PROTESTER OF AMERICAN GIRL: If I came across a fund-raiser they were doing for a company that had a lot of good things for girls and, yet, they -- it had anti-Semitic remark or racist tendencies, I would be just as appalled.
PHILLIPS: The Pro-Life Action League in Chicago and the American Family Association in Tupelo, Mississippi, have called for a boycott of American Doll products, accusing the company of supporting the -- quote -- "pro-abortion, pro-lesbian agenda of Girls Inc.," a 141-year- old non-profit originally called Girls Clubs of America.
JOYCE ROCHE, CEO, GIRLS INC.: We were shocked at the controversy. We were shocked and have never, ever, in our history, had anything like this happen to us.
PHILLIPS: The uproar is over statements posted on the Girls Inc. Web site. ROCHE: We say that we support a woman's freedom of choice, as guaranteed by the law in this country. And, as far as lesbianism, we are an inclusive organization, and we do not discriminate. And that, we say also in our policy statements.
PHILLIPS: That feels like advocacy to Renee Wiesner. And, for now, she and her daughters won't buy anything from American Girl.
WIESNER: All of us were in agreement from the start, without having to make it some sort of a dictate that we didn't want to spend money, when they are -- when they are fund-raising for this company. I don't want my girls embroiled in adult problems.
PHILLIPS: American Girl is continuing its support for Girls Inc. They have already pledged $50,000, in addition to the bracelet profits, and specifying that the money be used for programs to empower girls in math, science, sports and leadership.
In a statement, the company said -- quote -- "We are profoundly disappointed that certain groups have chosen to misconstrue American Girl's purely altruistic efforts and turn them into a broader political statement on issues that we, as a corporation, have no position."
Claire (ph) had planned to spend her birthday a few weeks ago at the American Girl store in Chicago. But the trip was canceled, and she celebrated at home. Now even her feelings toward her doll have changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She seems a little more rare to me now, like something I won't get again, because I don't know if I will ever really want to anymore, unless they change their mind.
PHILLIPS: Kyra Phillips, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: And, just this afternoon, American Girl gave us this statement regarding the Chicago protest -- quote -- We are appalled that this radical group is using intimidation to create a disturbing situation for young girls and their families. Given this group's purported focus on family values, we find it particularly hypocritical and shocking that these protesters are deliberately accosting innocent" -- excuse me -- "innocent children with inappropriate and distressing messages to simply further their own political agenda."
We want to point out that -- that CNN's parent company, Time Warner, also gives money to Girls Inc.
And, for now, we want to get you to two people who are involved in this discussion. Today's protest in Chicago was led by a group called the Pro-Life Action League. Its executive director, Ann Scheidler, was on the picket lines this morning. She's joining us now live. Also with us, writer Mona Gable, who is the author of a recent "Los Angeles Times" editorial criticizing the protests against American Girl dolls and Girls Inc. Thank you, ladies, to both of you, for being with us tonight.
Ann, I want to start with you.
Can you help me understand what is so offensive about an organization that says it champions the empowerment of young girls and whose motto is -- quote -- "inspiring all young girls to be strong, smart and bold"?
ANN SCHEIDLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PRO-LIFE ACTION LEAGUE: Sure.
Empowering girls to be strong, smart and bold is wonderful. But empowering girls to think that it's OK to destroy their unborn children is terrible. And for American Girls to link up with Girls Inc., when they already know that Girls Inc. had this advocacy for abortion, is unacceptable to those of us who were very fond of the American Girl dolls.
COLLINS: So, how exactly does Girls Inc. use that message of abortion in the types of events and meetings that they have with young girls? What is said about the issue...
SCHEIDLER: I really don't know...
COLLINS: ... to those girls?
SCHEIDLER: We did not get any kind of response from Girls Inc. about exactly how they promote this message, but the fact that they have gone to the trouble of putting that advocacy statement on their Web site -- they have also stated that Supreme Court nominations, that -- that girls have a lot at -- at stake in the Supreme Court nominations.
Now, what do girls have at stake? Everyone knows that the main issue that bothers anybody about Supreme Court nominations...
COLLINS: Have you been...
SCHEIDLER: ... is the abortion issue.
COLLINS: ... to any of their events, Ann?
SCHEIDLER: No, I haven't. In -- in Chicago, their only place is the YWCA, which is on Michigan Avenue, just blocks from the American Girl place.
COLLINS: Mona, let me get to you.
I know that you -- you have a little bit of experience with American doll because -- or American Girl -- pardon me -- because your daughter had one. But you really didn't like the doll very much at first. But now you find yourself very vocally supporting American Girl. What has changed?
MONA GABLE, JOURNALIST: Right, Heidi.
I -- I was always a little bit ambivalent about the dolls, because, first of all, they are ridiculously expensive. And then they come with all these clothing and accessories that cost even more money. So, they are really limiting, as far as who can actually afford these dolls, even though have -- have relevance historically.
But I -- I changed my mind as soon as I heard about this boycott, because, it seemed to me, it really has nothing to do with the American Girl, or really Girls Inc., for that matter, because, in terms of that Web site and that section of the web of Girls Inc., that talks about their support for Roe v. Wade, it -- it's almost impossible to find that.
And I think, for these people to be suggesting that, somehow, their daughters are going to have access to that, is -- is -- is pretty ridiculous.
COLLINS: Well, to be fair, Mona, isn't it more about the specific bracelets, the "I Can" bracelets that are handed out, and people can donate to? Do you think that American Girl informs the people that they are asking for donations from exactly what their -- their company or their organization is in support of?
GABLE: I don't think that's really the issue here.
I think these women -- these parents feel betrayed by something that is really a very minor part of what Girls Inc. does. Girls Inc. has a long history of helping impoverished girls from around the country. And, as you mentioned in your opening, they are supported by hundreds of mainstream corporations. This is hardly a fringe group that is advocating certain ideas that most Americans do not support.
GABLE: And I -- I support..
COLLINS: I'm sorry, Mona.
COLLINS: Who do parents feel betrayed by?
GABLE: I think they feel betrayed by the culture.
I think they feel betrayed by American Girl because American Girl is supporting an organization of which has -- a very small part of that organization involves educating girls about their sexual health and birth control. And it's a very minor part of the organization.
But they have chosen to select that. And, as you said, I'm sure most of these people have never visited a Girls Inc. center. I'm sure they have never even talked to any girls.
COLLINS: Right. All right.
GABLE: And I also question them using their own...
SCHEIDLER: There actually are not very many Girls Inc. centers.
GABLE: There are many Girls Inc. centers where I live.
COLLINS: Well, let me -- Ann, let me get back to you real quick for the last word here.
I know that Senator Barack Obama called the boycott of an American -- of American Girl silly, and went on to say exactly this about Girls, Inc: "An organization like this plays a vital role" -- "a vital part," that is, "in making certain we are opening up our windows and letting our girls look upon the horizon and see which path they want to follow."
If this, in fact, is what Girls Inc. is all about, isn't that what we all want for our children?
SCHEIDLER: We don't want for our children to go down the path of choosing abortion and being sexually active...
COLLINS: He doesn't say anything about abortion...
SCHEIDLER: ... when they're just children.
COLLINS: ... in that statement.
SCHEIDLER: No, he doesn't say anything about abortion. But I'm -- that's why we are protesting.
And it isn't a bit silly for us to try to protect our girls from exposure to the -- the kinds of program that would -- would -- would lead them to think that abortion is a perfectly acceptable alternative...
COLLINS: All right, ladies...
SCHEIDLER: ... because it is not.
COLLINS: ... I'm going to have to tell you, we have to wrap it up. And I so appreciate your time.
Ann Scheidler and Mona Gable, thank you again.
GABLE: Thank you, Heidi.
SCHEIDLER: Thank you, Heidi.
COLLINS: Coming up next, an extended lock at a faith and values conflict that's turning science class into a brawl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BEHE, PROFESSOR, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: That's beyond random mutation and natural selection. You need an intelligence to do that.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: Is he doing a disservice to science?
TAMRA MENDELSON, OPPONENT OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN: In my view, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Ahead, meet a longtime college professor who is a major proponent of intelligent design.
Also, does intelligent design stand up to the theory of evolution? Does it deserve to be taught alongside it? Should it replace evolution entirely?
And, later, we will meet a family that isn't waiting for the experts to finish arguing. They are at the zoo for a lesson straight from the Bible.
COLLINS: Now we're going to spend some time on a controversy that's raging in public schools all across the country. It is the debate over the theory of evolution.
In a landmark case, a federal judge is expected to rule by the end of the year whether high school students in Dover, Pennsylvania, should be taught about intelligent design. Backers of that say life is just too complicated to be explained by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Critics say it's unscientific and just religion in disguise. But you may be surprised to learn that one of the key witnesses in that lawsuit supporting intelligent design is a scientist, a biology professor at Lehigh University.
In fact, his specialty is listed as the evolution of protein structure.
Here's our faith and values correspondent Delia Gallagher.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): He's an unlikely rebel, a tweedy biology professor who has found himself at the center of one of the year's most ferocious debates.
Michael Behe is a major player behind intelligent design, the movement that's trying to bring the supernatural into science.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your testimony today, you -- you -- you felt it went well?
BEHE: Yes, I do. I thought... GALLAGHER: Behe was a chief witness in a federal trial over a Pennsylvania high school wanting to include intelligent design, or I.D., in biology classes.
BEHE: A lot of people apply a caricature to intelligent design that I think is inaccurate.
GALLAGHER: To get some answers, I went to Lehigh University, where Behe has taught for 20 years. What I found was an academic uprising.
(on camera): Is he doing a disservice to science?
MENDELSON: In my view, yes.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Tamra Mendelson teaches evolutionary biology and, like every other member of the Lehigh biology faculty, has rejected intelligent design as unscientific and helped turn Michael Behe into a campus outcast.
(on camera): So, now, how long have you been at this university?
BEHE: I came here in 1985.
GALLAGHER: In '85?
(voice-over): Back then, Behe was an ordinary scientist. And Lehigh gave him tenure. That was before he started questioning whether Darwin's theory of evolution fully explained life on Earth.
BEHE: When I started to realize that, scientifically, it -- it just didn't explain what it claimed to explain, that's when I started to, you know, have doubts. As science has progressed, at each stage, people have been astonished by the details in life.
GALLAGHER: Behe says you only have to look at the details to recognize they were conceived and arranged by a supernatural power.
BEHE: You can tell that something has been arranged when we see a number of different parts that are put together to do something.
GALLAGHER: Take the flagella, that tiny little tail that bacteria use to move around.
BEHE: And it literally is the propeller. It's turned around and around and around.
GALLAGHER: It looks simple, but it's not.
BEHE: If you didn't have the hook, the propeller would fall off. If you didn't have the driveshaft, the motor couldn't transmit any force. If you didn't have any one of dozens of different pieces here, it wouldn't work. You would have to have all these pieces all together before it worked at all.
And, in order to do something like that, that's beyond random mutation and natural selection. You need an intelligence to do that.
GALLAGHER: A more user-friendly example, the eye, too complicated, Behe says, to be a biological accident that evolved over time.
Behe published his findings in a book, "Darwin's Black Box." Like most intelligent design writing, it doesn't speculate about who the designer is. But Behe has his own guess.
BEHE: I think the designer is God. I'm a Roman Catholic. You know, heck, you know, God has to be considered a major candidate for the role of the designer.
GALLAGHER: Other intelligent design advocates have other ideas.
BEHE: It's been suggested that maybe space aliens could be the designer, maybe time travelers. You know, maybe some human from the future comes back to the past. And, you know, certainly that's got some sort of difficulties there, but some physicists have suggested that time travel is possible.
GALLAGHER: Talk like that doesn't sit well with Tamra Mendelson.
MENDELSON: Science is restricted to the material world, and has been for 900 years. And it works really well that way. And, so, to propose a supernatural explanation just isn't scientific.
GALLAGHER: Behe doesn't actually teach intelligent design at Lehigh. Still, his colleagues say just his being there is bad for the university's reputation.
MENDELSON: Parents approach us and ask, what's going on? What's going on in your science department? And they are hesitant to send their children here, because they think their children won't get a good education.
GALLAGHER: Lehigh's biology department has even posted a statement on its Web site, distancing itself from Behe's research on intelligent design. His colleagues have taped anti-I.D. articles on their doors.
And though university president Gregory Farrington can't fire Behe, he won't say he's glad to have him on staff.
GREGORY FARRINGTON, PRESIDENT, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: He's allowed, as a tenured member, to take positions that are controversial, and he's doing that. And, so, whether I'm happy or not really isn't relevant.
GALLAGHER (on camera): Do you feel ostracized?
BEHE: Yes. That's OK. You know, c'est la vie. You know, what good is it in arguing for an idea that everybody accepts already?
GALLAGHER: A question a lot of scientists throughout the centuries have faced, whether their theories have panned out or not.
COLLINS: The theory of evolution may be under fire, but, in just a moment, Delia Gallagher on how Darwin supporters are fighting back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL NOVACEK, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST CURATOR, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY Department of Vertebrate Paleontology: We're more than 95 percent similar in our DNA to chimpanzees. So, we share a lot with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Next, a world-class museum's latest case for things being older than the Bible says.
But don't tell it to this family. They are seeing proof that the Bible is right at the zoo.
And, later, a frightening change of subject -- you won't believe where the Army wants to dump some of the most dangerous nerve gas ever made. Is it really safe here?
COLLINS: We're focusing tonight on the controversy raging right now in America's public schools over teaching evolution.
One example of how much support Darwin's theory has came last week, when the Vatican's chief astronomer said intelligent design does not belong in science classrooms. Until recently, scientists might have thought the debate ended years ago. But more and more backers of intelligent design are publicly challenging Darwin's theory, despite more than a century of scientific scrutiny.
Once again, here's faith and values correspondent Delia Gallagher.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): For thousands of years, most people accepted one truth: God created everything, man, plants and animals, all separate and distinct.
Then Charles Darwin came along and shattered all that. Life didn't begin in the biblical Garden of Eden, he wrote. Human beings evolved slowly from lower life forms, along with chimpanzees, for example. And that became the established truth.
But now there's an anti-Darwin guerrilla war, bitterly raging across the country.
BEHE: The evolution of humanity, I think, it's simply an open question at this point.
GALLAGHER: Michael Behe teaches biology at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He's a main proponent of intelligent design, the theory embraced by growing numbers of religious believers.
BEHE: The argument is not that Darwinian evolution doesn't explain anything; it's that it doesn't explain everything.
GALLAGHER: Intelligent design holds that life is too complicated to be the result of Darwin's random mutation and natural selection, that some organisms were clearly designed by a supernatural hand, which most modern scientists understand as code for a return to biblical creationism.
NILES ELDREDGE, CURATOR, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY DARWIN EXHIBIT: And there is no way to test notions of the supernatural. And, so, it's just not even appropriate to even try to do that.
GALLAGHER: Niles Eldredge is a scientist fighting back. Intelligent design, he says, is a dangerous and unscientific fraud.
(on camera): Are you a Darwinist?
ELDREDGE: I'm a Darwinist.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Eldredge is organizing a major new exhibit on Darwin at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
ELDREDGE: So, you can see the variation in shell shape.
GALLAGHER: Darwin was fascinate by the differences he observed among members of the same species, how giant tortoises, for instance, developed differently in different places. He concluded that animals change over time, adapting over centuries to changing conditions, and that life, all life, began with one common ancestor.
The idea that humans were close cousins to monkeys, distant relatives to earthworms, horrified a lot of people in Darwin's time. It still does today. And that's made intelligent design more appealing. Even though only a small minority of scientists back intelligent design, they are getting a lot of attention, so much attention that mainstream scientists now have to spend a lot of time arguing against it.
The new Darwin exhibit includes video testimonials from some of America's top scientists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN MILLER, BROWN UNIVERSITY: ... that, without evolution to tie it together, biology is little more than stamp collecting. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: Without the framework of evolution to understand what we look at every day, it would make no sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Behind the scenes at the museum, researchers are working to strengthen what they call an already ironclad theory.
(on camera): Where are we?
NOVACEK: So, we're in a new collection in the museum. This is the frozen tissue lab. This vat is filled with liquid nitrogen. And you see, of course, it has a very vaporous element to it, very cold.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Up to a million specimens are stored in giant vats of liquid nitrogen, a high-tech petri dish. The aim? To create a library of all the Earth's species.
By studying these little bits of tissue, scientists continue to find new links among species, new evidence for Darwin's theory that all life descends from that one common ancestor.
NOVACEK: We are more than 95 percent similar in our DNA to chimpanzees. So, we share a lot with them.
GALLAGHER: Scientists say, the evidence is so strong, that there's just no ducking it.
But Mike Behe says mainstream scientists shouldn't be quite so certain.
BEHE: Well, I am very, very confident that intelligent design will continue to become more and more credible.
GALLAGHER (on camera): What do you think Darwin would have thought of this whole discussion?
ELDREDGE: I think Darwin would not be surprised, but he would be disappointed.
GALLAGHER: Darwin's idea shook the established view of how life began. Now it is the established view. But, for many people, the idea that humanity is merely a biological accident is still just too hard to accept.
COLLINS: Next, Delia Gallagher shows us what a trip to the zoo can teach kids about Darwin or about the Bible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL JACK, B.C. TOURS: It is not the evidence that is in question. It is what? The interpretation of the evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: See the evidence for yourself and through this family's eyes.
And later, this isn't hell, but it could be, if anything stored here ever leaked out. Stay with us, you won't believe what the army wants to do with it.
COLLINS: When Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution, he said he didn't see any reason why it would shock the religious feelings of anyone. Well whether or not you believe his theory, he was dead wrong about that.
Evolution has been under steady attack for a century and a half, by those who believe the Bible's version of Genesis is literal fact. Here's how some believers in Colorado are waging the battle for creationism.
Once again, faith and values correspondent Delia Gallagher.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): The Fryberger family drove three hours this morning to get a day-long lesson in creationism.
RUSTY CARTER, B.C. TOURS: OK, B.C. Tours, let's go on and get started.
GALLAGHER: The Frybergers and about a dozen other families are on a very unconventional tour.
CARTER: So B.C. stands for biblically correct, as opposed to being politically correct, right? So, we're B.C., not P.C.
GALLAGHER: Rusty Carter runs a flooring business. And on weekends, he plays tour guide. Today, the Denver Zoo is a classroom. The lesson? Straight from the Bible.
CARTER: What is creation? What do you mean by creation?
MIRIAM FRYBERGER, TOURIST: Creation is when God chose to make the world and he did it specifically, and he put thought into it, and designed it all so that it would work just right together.
GALLAGHER: Here, a glimpse into the Garden of Eden.
CARTER: Oh, here we go guys, a cheetah.
GALLAGHER: And what Adam and Eve saw there, we see right here, at the zoo.
CARTER: It's very simple. We think that the hippos were designed always to be a hippo, and hippos have always been hippos, and elephants have always been elephants. So there's been no change from one animal to a different animal.
GALLAGHER: Rusty admits there was one major change. When God cast Adam and Eve out of the garden, the peaceful creatures became, well, not so peaceful.
CARTER: The aggressiveness and the fighting and the death is a result of sin. Whereas the evolutionists would say that's survival of the fittest.
CHARISSA FRYBERGER, TOURIST: There's a lot of evidence if you look at the way animals are.
GALLAGHER: As Christian home schoolers, the Frybergers really aren't learning anything new.
C. FRYBERGER: There's lot of evidence that he could be going through that I don't see him doing.
GALLAGHER: But it is enough for Linda Haskins.
LINDA HASKINS, TOURIST: My kids are in public school and they hear a lot about evolution. And I want them to know more because we teach creation and we want them to see what God has done.
GALLAGHER: At mid-day, the group pauses for a prayer of thanks.
CARTER: Father, Lord, thank you so much for the animals that you've created. Help us to glorify you in your precious name, Amen.
GALLAGHER: And then the families are off to the next stop on this creationism tour, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
TYSON THORNE, B.C. TOURS: Does everybody who wears a white lab coat, are they a scientist? Depends on what you believe.
GALLAGHER: Here, B.C. guides Bill Jack and Tyson Thorne take over.
JACK: It is not the evidence that is in question. It is what? The interpretation of the evidence. Fossils are -- boring. They're piles of dead things, right?
GALLAGHER: In the background, silent, fuming, the museum's vice president. Richard Stuckey's been a chief curator for nearly 20 years.
JACK: Are you going to tag along with us?
RICHARD STUCKEY, VICE PRESIDENT, MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE: That's right.
JACK: That's fine and dandy.
GALLAGHER: Bill and Tyson spend the next two hours trying to dismantle Darwin's theory of evolution. THORNE: According to evolution, millions of years ago, there were dinosaurs and lizards. And millions of years later, they turned into things like turtles, and iguanas, and ostriches, and polar bears, and chimpanzees.
And right here is all of the evidence for what they believe. What's here? Nothing.
GALLAGHER: The museum's displays, mere fiction, just artwork.
JACK: This exhibit is called, how old is the earth? How old is the earth?
GALLAGHER: Billions of years, says science. Not so, says B.C. Tours.
THORNE: We can look at the genealogy that's contained both in genesis and in Matthew. We can piece enough history together with enough families to trace our heritage all the way back to Adam and Eve. And from the time of the fall on forward, roughly 6,000 years has passed.
GALLAGHER: Most scientists will tell you that's nowhere near the time needed for evolution.
JACK: Because evolution is not good science. It's a pseudoscience, but it does one thing well. It gets rid of the need for God.
GALLAGHER: By this point, Richard Stuckey is fed up. He's too polite to interrupt the tour, but he can't hide his dismay.
STUCKEY: I was offended in a sense that he was talking to very young children, and saying to the young children something that is absolutely false.
GALLAGHER: He takes us behind the scenes, to the big bone room where Charles Darwin keeps watch over dinosaur fossils, millions of years old.
STUCKEY: These are authentic bones. They still have some of the original organic material preserving them. This isn't art, this is real. This is authentic stuff.
GALLAGHER: But in this debate, one man's fact is another man's fraud.
JACK: It comes down to a question of, whom are you going to trust on this issue? It's what it really is. Is it going to be man's word or God's word? That's what you've got to ask. Whom are you going to trust?
GALLAGHER: At the end of the day, that's the fundamental question. How ordinary people view the universe in which they were born.
COLLINS: I'm sure we've all seen in Delia Gallagher's reports will provoke some interesting discussions. It already has in our newsroom. In a minute, supporters of both viewpoints will give you even more ammunition to think about.
And later, some real ammunition. What should the army do with hundreds of tons of unwanted nerve gas? How about dumping tons of chemicals into one of the country's biggest rivers?
COLLINS: A burning debate that may soon come to your child's school if it hasn't already: Whether to teach intelligent design in science class. There are strong feelings on both sides, and you are about to see just what I mean.
I recently got together with Steve Meyer, a director at the Discovery Institute, an organization that promotes intelligent design, and Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which defends the teaching of evolution.
COLLINS: Steve, I want to go ahead and begin with you. What is wrong with Darwin's evolution theory?
STEVE MEYER, THE DISCOVERY INSTITUTE: Well, the problem with Darwinian evolution is that it was a theory that was invented essentially in the 19th century, to explain what we knew about life at the time then. And since then, we have learned, especially in the last 20 or 30 years, that life is full of exquisite nanotechnology, and this evidence has interested many scientists in the idea that there is evidence not just of the appearance of design, which is what Darwinism says, but evidence of actual design in the origin of life.
And there's a good reason for that. Systems that have nanotechnology in them, systems that are information-rich, always arise from an intelligent source.
COLLINS: And Eugenie, what about reflecting further? I mean, when you talk about science, isn't it really part of the nature of science to start challenging these existing theories, like Darwinism?
EUGENIE SCOTT, NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION: It's not like evolution is accepted as a dogma. It's just that it happens to work really well. The idea that living things...
COLLINS: But what about intelligent design? I mean, is it possible that there could be parts of intelligent design that work for scientists, too?
SCOTT: Not so far. Thus far, as you've heard, intelligent design, in its purest form, is supposedly a way of detecting things that have been constructed by an intelligence. But it really misses the point, even taken in that very minimalist framework. Of course, we all think that it's a way of trying to sneak God into the curriculum...
COLLINS: All right, I want to get to this poll. Eugenie, 53 percent of Americans believe that God created human beings. Tell me exactly what the dangers are of bringing intelligent design into our children's schools?
SCOTT: For one thing, because intelligent design is not considered part of science -- it is fundamentally a religious view that is masquerading as science -- students will get a very distorted view of what science actually is. Secondly, because intelligent design presents evolution as a theory in crisis, that scientists are arguing about, students will get a very distorted view of what -- of the strength of the science of evolution within the scientific community.
I think that that is hurting us in terms of overall scientific literacy, and it's hurting the students who are taught this distorted science.
COLLINS: All right, so, Steve, why bring the supernatural then into science?
MEYER: We're not talking about bringing the supernatural into science. We're talking about, first of all, exposing students to the criticism of Darwinian evolution that is in the scientific literature.
Now, over 460 scientists have signed a statement expressing their dissenting opinion from Darwinism, saying they doubt the creative power of natural selection. This is hardly the stuff of the American Bible Belt.
The theory of intelligent design, similarly, is not based on religion. It's based on these new discoveries of nanotechnology and cells.
COLLINS: I'm sorry, I've just got to ask one last question, because it's still really foggy to me. And Steve, it goes to you. Are you talking about God or not?
MEYER: We're talking from a scientific point of view, about the ability to detect the products of intelligence. And one of the key products of intelligence is information. We see information embedded in the DNA molecule.
COLLINS: Where does the information come from? Who designs it?
MEYER: We can't tell from the science. We can tell that an intelligence played a role, but we can't tell what the identity is.
COLLINS: Is it God?
MEYER: Obviously people who hold a religious belief will associate the idea of intelligent design with God, and God is certainly a candidate explanation for the source of the information. I personally am a religious believer, and believe that God is the designer. SCOTT: Right. Well, it's either God or someone with the same skill set. I mean, if this isn't smuggling God into the classroom, I don't know what is.
COLLINS: Eugenie Scott and Steve Meyer, thank you again.
MEYER: Thank you.
SCOTT: You're welcome.
COLLINS: So how do most Americans feel about all of this? Well, just take a look at this poll, which asked, regardless of your own beliefs, should schools teach evolution only, creationism only, intelligent design only, or all three? A solid majority, as you can see, preferred students be exposed to all three.
Next, the Army has got a problem. They are talking about neutralizing some nerve gas and dumping what's left in a major river.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to dump it in here?
DAN BEYEL, CHAIRMAN, CAPE MAY COUNTY BOARD: We're very concerned.
COL. JESSE BARBER, U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL MATERIALS AGENCY: It will not pose a hazard or risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Who is right? And when it comes to nerve gas, is it worth taking the chance somebody is wrong?
But first, a programming note. Saturday night at 8:00 Eastern, our "They Said What" special with Larry King. We'll look at soundbites that changed our world over the past 25 years. Right now, here's a look at the famous confession from NBA star Kobe Bryant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOBE BRYANT, NBA PLAYER: I sit here in front of you guys, furious at myself, disgusted at myself, for making a mistake of adultery.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's no question Kobe Bryant was embarrassed. He was caught red-handed having an affair.
CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV: And there with his wife and flashing her new, what was it, $4 million diamond ring on her finger, and looking at him lovingly.
LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It did cost him $4 million, didn't it? CRIER: All I could see was managed athlete saying just as much as he thought he could say and still get away with it.
SMITH: Kobe Bryant was in the spotlight from 18 years old on. How tough is that? None of us really can know.
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, INSIDE EDITION: I can tell you that while Kobe Bryant was under investigation, I remember going to a Lakers game, and I saw kids and women wearing Kobe Bryant jerseys. And I thought, how fascinating. Who are our heroes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Right now, the U.S. military is hard at work figuring out how to destroy one of the most lethal chemical weapons ever created. It's called V.X., a substance so deadly that only the military is allowed to move it.
You'd think neutralizing V.X. is a good idea. But just wait until you see where the army has chosen as a final resting place. Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 40 years, hidden out of sight here behind these cornfields, the U.S. Army has stockpiled the biggest part of this nation's nerve gas supply.
More than 1,200 tons of V.X. stored in steel casks. Inside, row after row of reinforced bunkers, guarded around the clock.
(on camera): V.X. is so deadly, just a drop the size of a B.B. could kill me if it soaked through my skin. Back in the Cold War days, the U.S. brewed almost 9 million pounds of this killer chemical at a little-noticed plant in small-town western Indiana. It was never used in combat, and now the U.S. must figure out a way to destroy what's left of its stockpile, without panicking people who never expected to find nerve agent in their neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nerve gas?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to dump it in here?
KAYE (voice-over): Here is the Delaware River, which flows past this beach in the summer resort town of Cape May, New Jersey.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to say anymore. Who wants nerve gas in our water?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's true, it's terrible.
KAYE: But this is what the army wants to do. To use this DuPont plant upstream to finish scrubbing out the deadly poison and then dump the leftover waste water into the river, right where you see what's bubbling up here.
COL. JESSE BARBER, U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL MATERIALS AGENCY: What we are proposing is safe. The technology is sound, the science is rock solid.
KAYE: V.X. is not really a nerve gas, it's more of a sticky liquid.
BARBER: It resembles motor oil. It is a consistency similar to that. It's yellowish in color.
KAYE: At Newport, Indiana, in the 1960s, the army made its nerve liquid to be poured into rockets and artillery shells, ready if needed for World War III.
Much of that V.X. is still here. Now under a new treaty, the U.S. is starting to destroy it. The poison is loaded into a special reactor, mixed with a solution much like oven cleaner, heated and swirled around in a huge blender, designed to render the V.X. harmless.
(on camera): And so if it all shows clear then it doesn't have to go back into the reactor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the V.X., that would be correct.
KAYE (voice-over): Lab technicians test around the clock. The catch? Science can't be sure all of the V.X. is washed out.
(on camera): You are looking to get this down to what you consider safe, what the army considers safe, which is 20 parts per billion. Why can't you get it down to zero parts per billion?
BARBER: The analytical instruments that are built today don't measure down to zero.
KAYE (voice-over): So the army wants to ship that V.X. waste water halfway across the country, to the DuPont facility for a second process meant to finish the job, before pumping what's left into the Delaware River.
(on camera): How many gallons of this V.X. waste water are we talking about putting into the river?
BARBER: We would be talking about shipping approximately two truckloads a day, or 10,000 gallons.
KAYE (voice-over): That's two truckloads a day for two years or more.
DAN BEYEL, CHAIRMAN, CAPE MAY COUNTY BOARD: We're very concerned, because we'd rather be safe than sorry down the road, if something isn't as reliable as we think it is.
KAYE (voice-over): An hour down river, officials in Cape May, have come out against the army plan. This 19th century resort makes its living from the sun, the sand, the summer, and the sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tourism is huge here. And it's so much the part of the local economy that if you have something that could put it at risk, then you're going to have a lot of businesses and people that are suffering because of it.
KAYE: Cape May is also a fishing port. And environmentalists say some fish could be killed, even by a tiny amount of V.X., if left in the run-off.
MAYA VAN ROSSUM, DELAWARE RIVER ENVIRONMENTALIST: According to the studies, the levels of V.X. nerve agent that could be in this discharge kills striped bass.
KAYE: And Maya Van Rossum worries drinking water could be affected up and down the river.
VAN ROSSUM: The Delaware River's tidal, so the water sloshes back and forth.
KAYE: Both ways.
VAN ROSSUM: Both ways, upstream and downstream.
KAYE: DuPont says it won't handle the V.X. waste unless it is certain everything is safe. No contract has been signed so far. Opponents want the army to rethink its plan and finish the cleanup job at the Newport plant. That would mean more time and much more money.
VAN ROSSUM: And the fact of the matter is, even if it were to take a longer period of time and more dollars as they're claiming, that doesn't make it OK to discharge this very toxic stuff into our Delaware River.
KAYE: For now, the plan to drain it into the Delaware has been blocked by the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, because of that threat to fish. But the army says DuPont has improved its scrubbing process and so a second EPA review is underway.
BARBER: It will not pose a hazard or a risk to the aquatic life in any form or fashion.
KAYE (on camera): So is your plan still alive then, would you say?
KAYE (voice-over): Even if the EPA should reverse itself, for now, New Jersey's own environmental officials have denied DuPont a state permit to process the V.X. waste water, pending months more of hearings and heated debate. If the army does go ahead, this Cape May father won't let his children back in the water ever again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't want anybody in there, even if they said it was safe. I don't think the ocean is a dumping ground. It's not our trash can. KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Cape May, New Jersey.
COLLINS: One final note, the destruction of V.X. began last May in Indiana. So far none of it has reached the Delaware River. Of 250,000 gallons, only around 7,000 gallons have been neutralized so far and none of it has been shipped yet to the plant on the Delaware River, to be clear.
Well, that is all for us tonight, everybody. Have a great weekend. LARRY KING LIVE is next, with amazing stories of people who won't give up on solving cold cases. That starts right now.
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