Self-styled 'critical thinker' lacks proof

According to the author of an April 9 letter, I can't be both a Christian and a critical thinker. Please allow me to at least try.

Even as the author ridiculed those who treat evolution as anything other than unassailable fact, it's quite telling to note her use of the phrase "proven theory" -- using the tired example of intra-species variation found in fruit flies to prove that man came from primordial goo shows why such an oxymoron is necessary.

Virtually no one denies the microevolution of her example. However, the macroevolution that has species changing into other species has such an embarrassing lack of fossil evidence that scientists are now proposing that these changes must've been immediate after building their entire premise on the idea that these changes took eons.

I'd propose that no critical thinker can claim that this type of evolution is a fact; it not only lacks the archaeological evidence that should be vast and obvious if it were, but it can be neither observed nor reproduced, the very essence of proving a scientific theory.

And if the letter writer believes that it's the scientists who are the truly open-minded of the university community, she should watch Ben Stein's "Expelled" after she's done with "Life of Brian."

Sean Fetterly

Antioch

Headline on Syria misleads readers


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The presumption one might make from reading the sensationalistic headline, "White House: Syria used chemical weapons" is that Bashar al-Assad has finally crossed President Barack Obama's "red line" by using chemical weapons on his own people.

Instead of bolstering this claim, though, the article goes on to systematically contradict it. Nowhere in this article does the White House make any such claim. In fact, the interpretation of intelligence reports seem to suggest little confidence in such an assertion.

Replacing the "White House" in the article's headline with "Senators Feinstein and McCain" might have been less eye-catching, but more accurate.

John Heiden

Oakland

Health care reform will improve care

The article, "Women of color wait longer for breast cancer surgery," put another question in my head: How can Obamacare contribute to eliminating health inequalities in vulnerable populations?

As a UC Berkeley undergrad pursuing a degree in public policy, I'm concerned; but I foresee that the Affordable Care Act will do the following:

1. Under the ACA, various organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and Health Resources and Services Administration would be able to provide free or subsidized preventive care across all age groups. This would benefit people who normally cannot afford and thus do not get treatment in time.

2. The health reform promotes medical homes, which is basically a physician leading a team of clinical professionals in providing an integrated, patient-centered care. This would reduce treatment discrimination because ethnic minorities and low income populations are found to have less accessibility to primary care, and medical homes would mean having a team of medical professional tailoring to the needs of the patient.

3. People are more likely to be treated with surgery if under Medicaid. The ACA gives states an option of expanding their state Medicaid program to include everyone up to the 133 percent poverty level. This would enroll more people that were previously not covered, and hence make sure that more people get equal access to the treatment they need.

Lizi Feng

Berkeley

Different times, safer environment

When I was a youngster, my schoolmate and I would go to Wrigley Field for baseball and Bears football games -- alone. We went to Blackhawks hockey night games at the Chicago Stadium, in the inner city, returning home alone on the bus.

My father taught me fly-fishing at age 6 and bought me a .22 caliber rifle and 20 gauge shotgun at age 14. We enjoyed many years fishing. I had many happy times pheasant and duck hunting, once with my high school teacher.

In 1976, when the Buccaneers came to Tampa, the foul language and conduct of the beer-swilling yahoos at the games made me and my girlfriend uncomfortable.

We enjoyed fishing and the safe sport of hunting or skeet shooting because we didn't have a bunch of fools around us. I never witnessed an accident in the field or at the range because safety was always first. All the shooters I met were always ladies and gentlemen.

I would not enjoy a trip to the Raiders and 49ers games at any time. How many arrests are regularly reported? You can keep your crowds. I'd rather enjoy my time on the water or in the field.

W.N. Johnson

Concord