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? MACARTHUR: No. 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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. (CROSSTALK) KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead, Dr. Richards. RICHARDS: Larry, could I just follow up on that? KING: Yes. 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Winnsboro, Texas, hello. CALLER: Hello. KING: Hi. 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? KING: Barbara? 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. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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.