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  1. Opinion

It’s science that saves us, not religion | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.

Science is the answer

Despite closed churches, faith seems to be growing | Column, May 13

While people can appeal to a supernatural power to rescue them, they still turn to science to be “saved.”

Some people may believe that prayer saved them, but they usually say it as they are leaving a hospital from where they received treatments that were based in the practical knowledge we call science.

Science can be frustrating for those of us who are not scientists and for those who do not have a clear understanding of how science works. Science is dynamic. There are no absolutes. As our knowledge grows about the world and the virus, recommendations change. As physicist Richard Feynman once wrote, the essence of science was “bending over backwards to prove ourselves wrong.” But it is only through this process that knowledge, useful knowledge, is slowly and painfully acquired.

I have no doubt that some people are “returning” to faith for support and comfort. However, as an atheist, I much prefer to have questions that cannot be answered rather than answers that cannot be questioned. It is a position I can recommend to everyone.

Judy Adkins, Tampa

Don’t criticize a president

Obama’s plain talk not ‘classless’ | Column, May 15

In this Nov. 9, 2016, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, left, looks upwards while listening to President Barack Obama speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. [PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS | AP]

Once again, Ruth Marcus gets it wrong. There is an unwritten rule of conduct among ex-presidents of the United States: Do not comment on, criticize or otherwise undermine your successor. Former President George W. Bush knew this. Former President Bill Clinton knew this. Somehow, former President Barack Obama doesn’t. His lack of self-awareness allows him to think that somehow he is above respecting this presidential courtesy. Marcus adopts an “end justifies the means” argument — because this is President Donald Trump, it’s okay to act differently. News flash: It’s not.

David Mullan, Tampa

People lost their jobs

Snell: ‘I gotta get my money’ | May 15

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell throws in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, March 9, 2020. [SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES]

Someone needs to tell Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Blake Snell that there are more than 36 million people who have lost their jobs in the past two months and would gladly take a percentage of his $7 million salary. And didn’t Snell originally say he thought the virus was hyped up by the media?

PJ Jaccoi, Sun City Center

It’s just not becoming

Snell: ‘I gotta get my money’ | May 15

As emergency responders are in the thick of taking direct care of patients with COVID-19 and making anywhere from nothing, because they are volunteers, to an average salary of $35,000 to $50,000, you will not get any sympathy from me because your $7 million salary may take a $1 million hit. Why don’t you volunteer some money to COVID-19 relief or even volunteer at a clinic instead of being upset that your salary is taking a little hit? How about the millions of regular people that are not getting any salary during this epidemic?

Name, City

Mitigate, not eliminate

We’re retreating to a new strategy on COVID-19. Let’s call it what it is. | Column, May 15

It seems there are two polarized opinions about the virus. The first is that it will eventually subside and our problems will be over. The other is that the virus will be around for the rest of 2020, and perhaps beyond.

Dr. Leana Wen’s idea of “harm reduction” sits somewhere in the middle of those positions; we started too late and are reopening too early to eliminate it. Perhaps we’ll just have to live with it indefinitely, like the two examples she cites: safe-sex campaigns and motorcycle helmet laws that mitigate problems but don’t eliminate them. Perhaps a vaccine will become available to corral the virus, but until then our best hope is probably harm reduction.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Economy over public health

Pandemic shakes Florida’s bottom line | May 14

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference in Jacksonville on May 15, 2020. [Florida Channel]

As I approach my 65th birthday, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the change in values that has taken place in America since the time of my youth. In that span of time, the business and political leaders of this once great nation have placed consumerism over citizenship, and our value puts workers over our personal well-being. Although Jesus never said it, “Thou shall not impede commerce” is now enshrined in Holy Scripture, and although Hippocrates never uttered it, his Hippocratic Oath now has an addendum, “Cause no harm to the bottom line.”

Brian Valsavage, St. Petersburg

Wish list not first priority

Fed chief warns of lingering slowdown | May 14

Lawmakers, like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, must be stopped from taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis by continuing to ramp up the spending for their “wish lists.” These people are ruthless in their quest for power and seemingly do not care a whit about how they are hurting our country. Common sense dictates the need to hold back long enough to allow the huge amounts of money already allocated to take effect. Only then can we know what more needs to be done.

Marilyn Renner, Dunedin

One man’s arrogance

Clear unspoken message | Column, May 14

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet Meeting in the East Room of the White House, May 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI | AP]

It didn’t have to be this way. Warnings went unheeded for over two months, a growing disaster was met with denial and ignorance, and no plan or strategy for testing, tracking and re-opening has ever been developed. In short, one man’s arrogance and indifference has brought our country to its knees.

Even to this day, President Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask, and he encourages his followers to spread the virus by doing the same. They either have a secret vaccine in their pockets, or they just don’t care who they might be infecting.

Scott Cochran, Tampa