You might as well say that Johnny can't be a poet because his first language was German not English. There's a relationship between language and thought but they are not the same. A good programmer is a good thinker - of a particular kind. The language he/she uses to express those thoughts is almost (but not entirely) irrelevant. For example, I can express myself more fluently Thai than I can in Khmer, even even though I am equally skilled in both. And while I am not a programmer, I cherish my first experience learning BASIC because it gave me an insight into the world of programming that has been invaluable to me in my work as a writer working with scientists and IT specialists. So three cheers for BASIC.