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April 8, 1997


The Mobile Register -- A Rotten Rag?

In its April 1 editorial, "When Religion Meets Science," the editorialist of the Mobile Register is correct in saying that the University of South Alabama will host a series of symposia on religion and science, but is wrong in leaving the impression that USA should be given credit for the series. Pam Long in her April 2 article on the series compounds that error by saying that the USA Philosophy Club is a co-sponsor of the series, and that Sheldon Gottlieb of USA and Richard Sneed of Spring Hill College were the ones who received the grant making the series possible. All of this was inaccurate and misleading. In her April 5 report, Long corrected the error.

The grant for the symposia titled, "Religion and Science: The Best of Enemies--The Worst of Friends," was obtained from the Alabama Humanities Foundation by Edmund Tsang, an Editor of The Harbinger. Tsang is also the Projector Director. Drs. Gottlieb and Sneed are the Co-Project Directors and responsible for presenting the first two lectures in the series. The USA Philosophy Club has nothing to do with the program, but the Philosophy Club at Springhill College is a co-sponsor. The Mobile Register might also like to know that Dr. Tsang has, in the 14 years of The Harbinger's existence, obtained a total of 13 grants; in reverse chronological order they are:

(1) "Science and Religion: The Best of Enemies and the Worst of Friends," 1997. (2) "Humanities Role in Sustainable Development," 1996. (3) "Making Responsible & Ethical Decisions," (1995) (4) "Outside the Dream," 1994. (5) "Children of Poverty In America," 1992. (6) "Quality of Life & the Environment," 1991. (7) "Voices of America," 1991. (8) "The Changing Faces of Poverty in Mobile and Baldwin County," 1989. (9) "Social Welfare and Citizenship," 1988. (10) "The Last Generation? The Farmer and the American Agrarian Tradition," 1987. (11) "Great Constitutional Issues in Alabama," 1987. (12) "Science/Humanities Place in the Universe," 1985. (13) "War in Space? Moral and Ethical Dimensions in Tomorrow Military Technology," 1984.

Edmund Tsang is loath to toot his own horn and knowing his reticence in personal matters I wouldn't do it for him, but I believe it's about time that Mobile recognize one of its genuinely outstanding citizens even though I know that won't happen. The Mobilian of the Year will be another tired businessman. Instead of recognizing Edmund Tsang's contribution to the community, the editorialist of the Mobile Register prefers making silly statements about the monkeyshines of Fob James, namely that James "touched off a useful debate about religion and science." What useful debate? The issues of science and religion to be discussed in the forum have never been usefully debated in Alabama, but they have been exploited ad nauseum by a long list of political hacks seeing in these issues an opportunity to posture and inflame the prejudices of ignorant and illiterate citizens. The Harbinger produces forums because there is little "useful debate" of vital issues in Alabama.

The Mobile Register's editorialist also avers that the program on Science and Religion will "stimulate" the thinking of Mobilians. The thinking of Mobilians needs more than stimulation and titillation; they get plenty of that from people like Fob James and from the sensational stuff in the daily paper and the media generally. What Mobilians need is to inform their thinking so that they have the knowledge and information they need to change their thinking. Is that Quixotic? The cynics would say yes, but we say The Harbinger is not tilting at windmills; the issues of all the symposia are critical and how those issues play out largely determines the quality of life in Mobile and the State of Alabama. Have you noticed that the quality of life doesn't appear to be making much improvement in Mobile and its county -- not with 77 murders and 181 rapes reported last year and God knows how many child abuse cases.

The Mobile Register is not always a rotten rag, but it is when, in order to reinforce and protect the status quo, it serves as a cheerleader for Fob James and his motley crew of religious fanatics. That's just an old variety of prostitution; it's called whoring for a false god dressed up in monkey suit and making a mockery of the Ten Commandments.

-- Tom Brennan

Life Forms by Dan Silver

The Harbinger, Mobile, AL