Religious faith should stay in the closet
The National Day of Prayer has come and gone. Did anyone notice? (It was May 2). President Obama and Gov. Brown issued official proclamations extolling the benefits of prayer and urging citizens to participate.
It seems to me that prayer should be a rather personal exercise. In fact, Jesus advised his followers to pray "in secret," in a closet with the door closed (Matthew 6:6). Our government should not tell citizens when to pray, to whom or even that they should pray.
Government religious proclamations are offensive to all nonbelievers (currently about 20 percent of the population), as well as to anyone who values the principle of church/state separation. We don't need them.
Coverage of Collins' sexuality a bit overdone
What -- only a 48-point-type front-page top headline to congratulate Jason Collins (April 30), the first active NBA basketball player to announce that he's gay?
And just three photos, two related sports-page stories, a mere 119 column inches altogether, with simply one quick 11-inch sidebar follow-up and only one later editorial cartoon? Couldn't the Times have given this story the attention it deserved?
Further, doesn't mentioning Jarron Collins (Jason's identical but "straight" twin brother, previously his Stanford teammate) in the same article represent a dangerous challenge to "queer theory," specifically the notion that homosexuality is genetically predetermined?
Given such terrible, unguarded insensitivities -- and despite columnist Mark Purdy's optimism about Collins' free-agency prospects, since the NBA is "proud" of his "decision to take the lead in promoting a healthy and open attitude about gay issues in the sport" -- is the Times perhaps exhibiting a latent homophobia? Witnessing the politically incorrect, minimalist treatment of this momentous occasion, the Stanford Indian ... I mean, the Stanford Native American ... I mean, the Stanford Cardinal must be, like, totally tweeting their outrage.
Lab's budget priorities are totally wrong
Looking at the breakdown of funds requested by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 2014, I noticed a few interesting facts. Energy efficiency and renewable energy combined constitute less than 1 percent of the budget. Defense environmental cleanup is a minuscule tenth of 1 percent! On the other hand, nuclear weapons activities constitute a whopping 84 percent of the requested budget.
Are these priorities truly in line with most Americans' feelings? LLNL is a national lab that could be using science to bring about a better future. After six decades of poisoning the environment, can't we take a break and spend some time cleaning it up?
DNA pioneer agreed with creationists
If you reject God because science explains the origin of life then you don't know Crick. Sir Francis Crick was a giant intellect, proselytizing atheist, and co-discoverer of DNA. Crick's intimate understanding of the blueprint of life didn't give him a clue on how it came to exist. He knew that the irreducible complexity of DNA wasn't created by evolution. He and the psalmist could agree that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made."
Praising God wasn't an option for Crick, so he believed that seeds of life drifted in from somewhere over the rainbow, where dreams that he dared to dream really could come true; because he and creationists agree that life didn't spontaneously combust from electro-charged pond scum like your biology teacher taught you. Don't believe me? Do your own research; evolution as an explanation of the origin of species is your dogma, not mine.
Evolution's proof nearly irrefutable
A letter writer in the May 9 Times says he found 1,000 "distinguished scientists" who are skeptical of Darwin's theory of evolution.
I am a scientist. I don't care what other scientists are skeptical about. We REAL scientists go by EVIDENCE, not belief. And the evidence for Darwin's theory of evolution is overwhelming. Things that Darwin never knew existed confirm his theory. Like DNA, or bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics.
It will take more than 1,000 scientists, no matter how distinguished, who are "skeptical" about the theory of evolution to overturn it. They will have to produce huge amounts of evidence against it, not skepticism, because of the enormous weight of the evidence for the theory. They have not done so.
Incidentally, this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Scientific_Dissent_From_Darwinism, has good information about the writer's list -- that it is sponsored by a fundamentalist Christian organization, and 75 percent on the list are not biologists. It turns out that the dissent from Darwinism is not all that scientific after all.
Istvan Simon, Ph.D.
Pleasanton professor of mathematics and computer science California State University, East Bay
Delta tunnels plan exposed as water-grab
Now the real truth as stated by Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary at the California Natural Resources Agency and the driving force pushing the twin tunnels, comes out and says that the Delta won't be helped at all by this project that is costing the taxpayers $14 billion -- soon to be $18 billion, similar to the new super train you are currently fighting in your newspaper!
The super train won't even get near the Tri-Valley area except on our tax bill -- so why not train your guns on the super twin tunnels that will not protect or improve the Delta that is our only source of water? It's the old peripheral canal concept underground that we defeated in many elections over the last 50 years. The $14 billion should be allocated to saving the Delta and the ecosystem that supports the whole Bay Area with clean water and stops salt water incursion into our only supply of safe drinking water. Don't let Southern California interests rob our water rights!
Borenstein's work on his editorials solid
Daniel Borenstein continues to bring salient and underreported information on government shortcomings to the light of day. He provides the public with very valuable reporting.
Great job Daniel. Please keep it up. Editors, please feature Daniel more.