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Everybody's Column

Evidence-based view of world is refreshing

A Christian minister recently bemoaned the fact that many Americans are realizing that they do not need religion in their lives (Sept. 8 News). However, this fact should be celebrated, not regretted. Indeed, there is nothing sad about people losing their illusions and replacing faith with reason.

Many people now understand that the Bible is no match for what science teaches us about the natural world. Today we know that the universe was not created in six calendar days. We know that the sun is a star, contrary to what we read in Genesis 1:16.

We know that there is no evidence that a worldwide flood ever occurred. We realize that there is no way that the Earth could have filled with water in a mere 40 days and 40 nights. It is clear that all of the world's species could not have possibly fit on Noah's ark. We have learned through DNA evidence that we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees. History and archaeology also help to demonstrate that the Bible is hardly the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Incidentally, members of the Center for Inquiry do not profess to have the complete truth. (We leave that kind of dogmatic claim to certain theistic religions.) However, we do provide an evidence-based world-view as a refreshing alternative to ancient superstition and blind obedience to ossified opinions.

Norm R. Allen Jr.

Associate Editor, Free Inquiry

Amherst

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> Lancaster schools wrong to block Obama's speech

Shame on the Lancaster School District for censoring President Obama's speech promoting education, personal responsibility and respect for parents, grandparents and teachers. School-age children are constantly exposed to negative, anti-social messages through the Internet, music lyrics and TV. I am disgusted and angry that a public education system chose to censor a president's message to children encouraging them to work hard, do their best and value their education.

School officials can spin their decision any way they decide; the fact is, they were bullied by a few phone calls from parents not wanting their children to view the speech. I am certain I live in a democracy (not a communist state) which elected our president. Shame on any parent or school official who would not want the children of Lancaster to have watched the president's speech.

As a parent of three children enrolled in Lancaster Schools, I am concerned (as every American should be) that a public school system has missed a historic opportunity for our children to hear such a positive message from our president.

Christopher Scozzaro

Lancaster

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> Keeping imports cheap benefits U.S. consumers

I agree that the dramatic decline of manufacturing in New York and the United States is disturbing. Undoubtedly raising import taxes on products coming from China would have unintended consequences, i.e. retaliation. The United States sells China a number of products, including airplanes, that China can buy elsewhere. I doubt the unions at Boeing Aircraft would like to lose the billions of dollars in sales and the resulting loss of union jobs if China buys those airplanes from Europe.

Chinese currency intervention is not all bad. China has a large investment in U.S. debt -- we are our own worst enemy -- which helps keep U.S. interest rates low, allowing firms to make investments that would be unattractive at a higher cost of borrowing. Also an under-valued yuan reduces U.S. dollar inflation. By keeping imports cheap, it increases the purchasing power of the average U.S. consumer.

Our esteemed Sen. Charles Schumer may be better able to help the unions by opposing "cap and trade" legislation that is now before Congress. India and China have told the United States and the world that they will not shackle their economies with new environmental regulations. If Congress does pass "cap and trade" in its current form, manufacturing and union jobs will flee New York and the United States as never before.

Roy T. Lindberg

Clarence

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> Inflammatory rhetoric only incites violence

It's been nearly 40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down. The country is run by a pro-choice president and a pro-choice majority in both houses of Congress. New York has a pro-choice governor, and a pro-choice Legislature. The last three nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court characterized Roe as "settled law." It is therefore time for The News to review its editorial policy regarding letters to this column that employ offensive and inflammatory language in their stated opposition to the status quo.

Phrases such as "slaughter of the unborn" and "spilling blood of innocents" are grievously insulting to the millions of women who have received abortion care. Such veritable "hate speech" provides a sense of validation for those who perpetrate violence against clinics and health care workers, including vandalism, harassment and even murder. It has no place in discussions among reasonable people who, despite their often conflicting beliefs, seek to reduce the number of abortions.

James C. Hufnagel

Wilson

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> Hypocritical politicians have taxpayer-funded care

When Sen. John McCain and his fellow conservatives in Congress declare there will never be any form of public health insurance option in any reform bill, they must be thinking the taxpayers are either too ignorant or too stupid to see the irony. McCain is the recipient of the most expensive health insurance in this country and it is 100 percent paid for by the taxpayers. He has unfettered access to any doctor, hospital and medical procedure under the sun on the taxpayers' dime. Then he tells me and other hard-working taxpayers who do not have employer-supplied health insurance that we are not worthy of having the option to purchase affordable health insurance through a public option.

For the past 18 years, my husband and I have been small business owners who have purchased health insurance in the public market. The policy we were able to purchase 18 years ago is now more than double the price. We have been forced to settle for insurance with high co-pays, and no dental or optical coverage, in order to have any coverage at all. And we have been forced to join a business association to purchase insurance, because insurance companies in Western New York are allowed to refuse to sell insurance to us as individuals.

Until McCain and his fellow conservatives drop their own publicly funded health insurance and purchase private insurance for themselves, their families and their employees out of their own pockets, they will remain elitist hypocrites in my eyes.

Claudia C. Bowker

Fredonia

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