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Carbon dating worksGary Juarez correctly notes that more than 30 years ago it became clear that the rate of formation of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere, a key to radiocarbon dating, changes over time. But he is typical of creationists in ignoring the fact that this problem was solved.

Bristlecone pines are the oldest living things on Earth. Tree rings, whose thicknesses reflect years of drought and non-drought, show that the oldest trees are about 6,000 years old.

The climate that allows these trees to live so long also means dead logs don't rot for many thousands of years. Outer rings in long-dead logs can be matched with inner rings in living trees, making it possible to construct a very robust tree ring chronology for the last 11,000 years, taking us well back past the age of the earth that creationists propound.

What is important for radiocarbon dating is that we can date the wood making up individual rings. By comparing radiocarbon ages with the actual ages of rings, we can determine just how much radiocarbon ages must be corrected to allow for the changing amount of carbon that was in the air surrounding the living trees. Problem solved. &

8212; Edward Beutner, Ashland

Blame the greedy unionsEver look at all the labels on your back and the shoes on your feet? Don't forget your underwear. Nothing made in this country by an American worker anymore.

Oh, well, these clothes were really cheap and by buying them I helped out some poor Chinaman who only needs a bowl of rice to live on so he or she doesn't mind making my shoes for cents an hour.

Greedy unions in this country caused this mess by demanding too many benefits and super-high living wages and forced the really rich and the corporation CEOs to close our factories and move their money where the action is &

8212; the poorest and dirtiest countries in the world.

What's really terrific is these American traders (traitors) don't have to pay tariffs to sell these Commie sweatshop goods to us at Wal-Mart and upscale factory outlets.

I've got a credit card, so what the hey, let's go shopping. &

8212; Ralph Bowman, Central Point

U.N. not in U.S.In several letters and various articles there has been an objection about officials of other nations criticizing the USA on our home ground from the United Nations complex.

Without assessing the content of such critics' messages, I feel compelled to remind everyone that the 18 acres bordered by First Avenue on the west, East 42nd Street on the south, East 48th Street on the north and the East River on the east are international territory. Although obviously surrounded by territory of the United States of America, this complex is not in our country.

If this is confusing, remember that Vatican City is a 0.17-square- mile separate nation wholly surrounded by Rome. &

8212; Fredric M. Latty, Ashland

'Father Red Socks' inspiringI was one of many who were touched by John Darling's wonderful article on "Father Red Socks" (Sept. 25).

I have been at Providence Medford Medical Center since 1978 as a guild member, a patient and an employee. I have been blessed many times by Father Joseph Shirey, his love for people, his great sense of humor.

He is Providence's mission spirit personified. If the world could be like Father Shirey, what a beautiful world we would be!

I am so proud to share "precious moments" with this great and humble man of God. &

8212; Susie Larson, Central Point