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Tom Allen

  • 2023-03-21 7:13 AM | Thomas

    A grain of poetry suffices to season a century.
      --José Martí, poet, journalist, and freedom fighter (1853-1895)

    (48:7.22)  Only a poet can discern poetry in the commonplace prose of routine existence.

    (143:7.3)  Profound philosophy should be relieved by rhythmic poetry.

    (195:7.15)  Poetry is an effort to escape from material realities to spiritual values.

        José Julián Martí Pérez was a Cuban poet, philosopher, essayist, journalist, translator, professor, and publisher, who is considered a Cuban national hero because of his role in the liberation of his country. He was also an important figure in Latin American literature. He was very politically active and is considered an important revolutionary philosopher and political theorist. Through his writings and political activity, he became a symbol of Cuba's bid for independence from the Spanish Empire in the 19th century, and is referred to as the "Apostle of Cuban Independence". From adolescence, he dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual independence for all Spanish Americans; his death was used as a cry for Cuban independence from Spain by both the Cuban revolutionaries and those Cubans previously reluctant to start a revolt.
        Born in Havana, Spanish Empire, Martí began his political activism at an early age. He traveled extensively in Spain, Latin America, and the United States, raising awareness and support for the cause of Cuban independence. His unification of the Cuban émigré community, particularly in Florida, was crucial to the success of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. He was a key figure in the planning and execution of this war, as well as the designer of the Cuban Revolutionary Party and its ideology. He died in military action during the Battle of Dos Ríos on May 19, 1895. Martí is considered one of the great turn-of-the-century Latin American intellectuals. His written works include a series of poems, essays, letters, lectures, novel, and a children's magazine.
        He wrote for numerous Latin American and American newspapers; he also founded a number of newspapers. His newspaper Patria was an important instrument in his campaign for Cuban independence. After his death, one of his poems from the book, Versos Sencillos (Simple Verses) was adapted to the song "Guantanamera", which has become the definitive patriotic song of Cuba. The concepts of freedom, liberty, and democracy are prominent themes in all of his works, which were influential on the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío and the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Martí's ideology became a major driving force in Cuban politics. He is also regarded as Cuba's "martyr."

  • 2023-03-16 9:37 AM | Thomas

    The theory of democratic government is not that the will of the people is always right, but rather that normal human beings of average intelligence will, if given a chance, learn the right and best course by bitter experience. 
         --W.E.B. Du Bois, educator, civil rights activist, and writer (23 Feb 1868-1963)

    (48:6.33) One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth.

    (71:2.8) The measure of the advance of society is directly determined by the degree to which public opinion can control personal behavior and state regulation through nonviolent expression. The really civilized government had arrived when public opinion was clothed with the powers of personal franchise. Popular elections may not always decide things rightly, but they represent the right way even to do a wrong thing. Evolution does not at once produce superlative perfection but rather comparative and advancing practical adjustment.

        William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American sociologist, socialist, historian, and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community. After completing graduate work at the Friedrich Wilhelm University (in Berlin, Germany) and Harvard University, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
        Earlier, Du Bois had risen to national prominence as a leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta compromise, an agreement crafted by Booker T. Washington which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities. Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. He referred to this group as the Talented Tenth, a concept under the umbrella of racial uplift, and believed that African Americans needed the chances for advanced education to develop its leadership.
        Racism was the main target of Du Bois's polemic, and he strongly protested against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism and helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to fight for the independence of African colonies from European powers. Du Bois made several trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. After World War I, he surveyed the experiences of American black soldiers in France and documented widespread prejudice and racism in the United States military.
            Du Bois was a prolific author. His collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, is a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus, Black Reconstruction in America, challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction Era. Borrowing a phrase from Frederick Douglass, he popularized the use of the term color line to represent the injustice of the separate but equal doctrine prevalent in American social and political life. He opens The Souls of Black Folk with the central thesis of much of his life's work: "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line."
        His 1940 autobiography Dusk of Dawn is regarded in part as one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology, and he published two other life stories, all three containing essays on sociology, politics and history. In his role as editor of the NAACP's journal The Crisis, he published many influential pieces. Du Bois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and he was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life. He was an ardent peace activist and advocated nuclear disarmament. The United States Civil Rights Act, embodying many of the reforms for which Du Bois had campaigned his entire life, was enacted a year after his death.

  • 2023-03-14 4:25 PM | Thomas

    We read books to find out who we are.
      --Ursula K. Le Guin, author (1929-2018)

    (0:12.13) We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience—God-consciousness.

        Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was an American author best known for her works of speculative fiction, including science fiction works set in her Hainish universe, and the Earthsea fantasy series. She was first published in 1959, and her literary career spanned nearly sixty years, producing more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children's books. Frequently described as an author of science fiction, Le Guin has also been called a "major voice in American Letters". Le Guin herself said she would prefer to be known as an "American novelist".
        Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, to author Theodora Kroeber and anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber. Having earned a master's degree in French, Le Guin began doctoral studies but abandoned these after her marriage in 1953 to historian Charles Le Guin. She began writing full-time in the late 1950s and achieved major critical and commercial success with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), which have been described by Harold Bloom as her masterpieces. For the latter volume, Le Guin won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, becoming the first woman to do so. Several more works set in Earthsea or the Hainish universe followed; others included books set in the fictional country of Orsinia, several works for children, and many anthologies.
        Cultural anthropology, Taoism, feminism, and the writings of Carl Jung all had a strong influence on Le Guin's work. Many of her stories used anthropologists or cultural observers as protagonists, and Taoist ideas about balance and equilibrium have been identified in several writings. Le Guin often subverted typical speculative fiction tropes, such as through her use of dark-skinned protagonists in Earthsea, and also used unusual stylistic or structural devices in books such as the experimental work Always Coming Home (1985). Social and political themes, including race, gender, sexuality, and coming of age were prominent in her writing, and she explored alternative political structures in many stories, such as in the parable "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (1973) and the anarchist utopian novel The Dispossessed (1974).
        Le Guin's writing was enormously influential in the field of speculative fiction, and has been the subject of intense critical attention. She received numerous accolades, including eight Hugos, six Nebulas, and twenty-two Locus Awards, and in 2003 became the second woman honored as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The U.S. Library of Congress named her a Living Legend in 2000, and in 2014, she won the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin influenced many other authors, including Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, and Iain Banks. After her death in 2018, critic John Clute wrote that Le Guin had "presided over American science fiction for nearly half a century", while author Michael Chabon referred to her as the "greatest American writer of her generation".

    The Subversive Imagination of Ursula K. Le Guin | The New Yorker

  • 2023-03-10 10:40 AM | Thomas

    It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is best able to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
      –Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

    (130:4.7) Life is an adaptation of the original cosmic causation to the demands and possibilities of universe situations, and it comes into being by the action of the Universal Mind and the activation of the spirit spark of the God who is spirit. The meaning of life is its adaptability; the value of life is its progressability—even to the heights of God-consciousness.

        Charles Robert Darwin  was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended from common ancestors is now widely accepted and considered a fundamental concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and he was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey.
        Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and a majority of the educated public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations which gave only a minor role to natural selection, and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.
        Darwin’s early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge (Christ’s College) encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s conception of gradual geological change, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
        Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations, and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay that described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin’s work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871 he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Actions of Worms (1881), he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.



  • 2023-02-16 10:48 AM | Thomas

    The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.
      --George Marshall, US Army Chief, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Nobel laureate (31 Dec 1880-1959)

    (134:5.10) Urantia will not enjoy lasting peace until the so-called sovereign nations intelligently and fully surrender their sovereign powers into the hands of the brotherhood of men—mankind government. Internationalism—Leagues of Nations—can never bring permanent peace to mankind. World-wide confederations of nations will effectively prevent minor wars and acceptably control the smaller nations, but they will not prevent world wars nor control the three, four, or five most powerful governments. In the face of real conflicts, one of these world powers will withdraw from the League and declare war. You cannot prevent nations going to war as long as they remain infected with the delusional virus of national sovereignty. Internationalism is a step in the right direction. An international police force will prevent many minor wars, but it will not be effective in preventing major wars, conflicts between the great military governments of earth.

    (134:6.4) Another world war will teach the so-called sovereign nations to form some sort of federation, thus creating the machinery for preventing small wars, wars between the lesser nations. But global wars will go on until the government of mankind is created. Global sovereignty will prevent global wars—nothing else can.

        George Catlett Marshall Jr. was an American soldier and statesman. He rose through the United States Army to become Chief of Staff under presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, then served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under Truman. Winston Churchill lauded Marshall as the "organizer of victory" for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II. After the war, he spent a frustrating year trying and failing to avoid the impending civil war in China. As Secretary of State, Marshall advocated a U.S. economic and political commitment to post-war European recovery, including the Marshall Plan that bore his name. In recognition of this work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
        He died in 1959 and was buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

    George C. Marshall - Wikipedia

  • 2023-02-05 9:37 AM | Thomas

    A belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
      --Joseph Conrad, novelist (1857-1924)

    (143:2.5) Many times, when you have done evil, you have thought to charge up your acts to the influence of the evil one when in reality you have but been led astray by your own natural tendencies. Did not the Prophet Jeremiah long ago tell you that the human heart is deceitful above all things and sometimes even desperately wicked? How easy for you to become self-deceived and thereby fall into foolish fears, divers lusts, enslaving pleasures, malice, envy, and even vengeful hatred!

        Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he became a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. Conrad wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of what he saw as an impassive, inscrutable universe.
        Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works contain elements of 19th-century realism. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters, as in Lord Jim, for example, have influenced numerous authors. Many dramatic films have been adapted from, or inspired by, his works. Numerous writers and critics have commented that Conrad's fictional works, written largely in the first two decades of the 20th century, seem to have anticipated later world events.
        Writing near the peak of the British Empire, Conrad drew on the national experiences of his native Poland – during nearly all his life, parceled out among three occupying empires – and on his own experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world – including imperialism and colonialism – and that profoundly explore the human psyche.

  • 2023-01-31 9:39 AM | Thomas
    Science does correct itself and that's the reason why science is such a glorious thing for our species.

      --Nigel Calder, science writer (1931-2014)

    (102:1.3) Truth remains unchanged from generation to generation, but the associated teachings about the physical world vary from day to day and from year to year. Eternal truth should not be slighted because it chances to be found in company with obsolete ideas regarding the material world. The more of science you know, the less sure you can be; the more of religion you have, the more certain you are.

        Nigel David McKail Ritchie-Calder was a British science writer. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
        Between 1956 and 1966, Calder wrote for the magazine New Scientist, serving as editor from 1962 until 1966. After that, he worked as an independent author and TV screenwriter. He conceived and scripted thirteen major documentaries and series concerning popular science subjects broadcast by the BBC and Channel 4 (London), with accompanying books. For his television work he received the Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science during 1972. During 2004, his book Magic Universe was shortlisted for The Aventis Prizes for Science Books.
        Calder said that climate change science has been invaded by sophistry about man-made global warming. As early as 1980, he predicted that by 2030 "the much-advertised heating of the earth by the man-made carbon-dioxide 'greenhouse' [will fail] to occur; instead, there [will be] renewed concern about cooling and an impending ice age".
        Calder participated in making the film The Great Global Warming Swindle. He also co-authored The Chilling Stars. Regarding global warming, Calder stated: "Governments are trying to achieve unanimity by stifling any scientist who disagrees. Einstein could not have got funding under the present system."

  • 2023-01-16 8:59 AM | Thomas
    Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

      --Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

    (99:2.5) The institutionalized church may have appeared to serve society in the past by glorifying the established political and economic orders, but it must speedily cease such action if it is to survive. Its only proper attitude consists in the teaching of nonviolence, the doctrine of peaceful evolution in the place of violent revolution—peace on earth and good will among all men.

    (100:2.7) Jesus portrayed the profound surety of the God-knowing mortal when he said: "To a God-knowing kingdom believer, what does it matter if all things earthly crash?" Temporal securities are vulnerable, but spiritual sureties are impregnable. When the flood tides of human adversity, selfishness, cruelty, hate, malice, and jealousy beat about the mortal soul, you may rest in the assurance that there is one inner bastion, the citadel of the spirit, which is absolutely unassailable; at least this is true of every human being who has dedicated the keeping of his soul to the indwelling spirit of the eternal God.

    (100:4.6)  Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate.

    (140:3.15) "I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. And whatsoever you believe that I would do to men, do you also to them.

    (143:1.7) Today, the unbelievers may taunt you with preaching a gospel of nonresistance and with living lives of nonviolence, but you are the first volunteers of a long line of sincere believers in the gospel of this kingdom who will astonish all mankind by their heroic devotion to these teachings.

        Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist, one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. An African American church leader and a son of early civil rights activist and minister Martin Luther King Sr., King advanced civil rights for people of color in the United States through nonviolence and civil disobedience. Inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi, he led targeted, nonviolent resistance against Jim Crow laws and other forms of discrimination.
        King participated in and led marches for the right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other civil rights. He oversaw the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and later became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). As president of the SCLC, he led the unsuccessful Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize some of the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King was one of the leaders of the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The civil rights movement achieved pivotal legislative gains in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
        The SCLC put into practice the tactics of nonviolent protest with some success by strategically choosing the methods and places in which protests were carried out. There were several dramatic standoffs with segregationist authorities, who sometimes turned violent. Several times King would be jailed. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director J. Edgar Hoover considered King a radical and made him an object of the FBI's COINTELPRO from 1963 forward. FBI agents investigated him for possible communist ties, spied on his personal life, and secretly recorded him. The FBI in 1964 mailed King a threatening anonymous letter, which he interpreted as an attempt to make him commit suicide.
        On October 14, 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped organize two of the three Selma to Montgomery marches. In his final years, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty, capitalism, and the Vietnam War. In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by national mourning, as well as anger leading to riots in many U.S. cities. King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2003. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in cities and states throughout the United States beginning in 1971; the holiday was enacted at the federal level by legislation signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and the most populous county in Washington State was rededicated for him. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

  • 2023-01-06 10:34 AM | Thomas
    Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.

      --Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)

    (89:6.3) There is no more tragic and pathetic experience on record, illustrative of the heart-tearing contentions between ancient and time-honored religious customs and the contrary demands of advancing civilization, than the Hebrew narrative of Jephthah and his only daughter. As was common custom, this well-meaning man had made a foolish vow, had bargained with the "god of battles," agreeing to pay a certain price for victory over his enemies. And this price was to make a sacrifice of that which first came out of his house to meet him when he returned to his home. Jephthah thought that one of his trusty slaves would thus be on hand to greet him, but it turned out that his daughter and only child came out to welcome him home. And so, even at that late date and among a supposedly civilized people, this beautiful maiden, after two months to mourn her fate, was actually offered as a human sacrifice by her father, and with the approval of his fellow tribesmen. And all this was done in the face of Moses' stringent rulings against the offering of human sacrifice. But men and women are addicted to making foolish and needless vows, and the men of old held all such pledges to be highly sacred.

        Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. A prolific writer, he wrote or edited more than 500 books. He also wrote an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. Best known for his hard science fiction, Asimov also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as much nonfiction.
        Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation series, the first three books of which won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. His other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are set in the much earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation series. Later, with Foundation and Earth (1986), he linked this distant future to the Robot stories, creating a unified "future history" for his stories. He also wrote over 380 short stories, including the social science fiction novelette "Nightfall", which in 1964 was voted the best short science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.
        Most of his popular science books explain concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. Examples include Guide to Science, the three-volume Understanding Physics, and Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery. He wrote on numerous other scientific and non-scientific topics, such as chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, history, biblical exegesis, and literary criticism.
        He was president of the American Humanist Association. Several entities have been named in his honor, including the asteroid (5020) Asimov, a crater on Mars, a Brooklyn elementary school, Honda's humanoid robot ASIMO, and four literary awards.

  • 2023-01-02 11:10 AM | Thomas

    In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice.
      --Jerry Coyne, biology professor (b. 30 Dec 1949)
    Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.
      --Robert King Merton (1910 - 2003)

    (1:6.2) God is to science a cause, to philosophy an idea, to religion a person, even the loving heavenly Father.

    (42:9.4) The philosophy of the universe cannot be predicated on the observations of so-called science.

    (81:6.10) Science teaches man to speak the new language of mathematics and trains his thoughts along lines of exacting precision. And science also stabilizes philosophy through the elimination of error, while it purifies religion by the destruction of superstition.

    (101:2.8) Reason is the proof of science, faith the proof of religion, logic the proof of philosophy, but revelation is validated only by human experience. Science yields knowledge; religion yields happiness; philosophy yields unity; revelation confirms the experiential harmony of this triune approach to universal reality.

    (102:1.3) The more of science you know, the less sure you can be; the more of religion you have, the more certain you are.”

        Jerry Allen Coyne is an American biologist and skeptic known for his work on speciation and his commentary on intelligent design. A professor emeritus at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, he has published numerous papers on the theory of evolution. His concentration is speciation and ecological and evolutionary genetics, particularly as they involve the fruit fly, Drosophila.
        He is the author of the text Speciation and the bestselling non-fiction book Why Evolution Is True. Coyne maintains a website and writes for his blog, also called Why Evolution Is True. He is a hard determinist.
        Coyne gained attention outside of the scientific community as a public critic of religion. As a proponent of New Atheism, he is often cited with atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. He is the author of the book Faith Versus Fact.

        Robert King Merton was an American sociologist who is considered a founding father of modern sociology, and a major contributor to the subfield of criminology. He served as the 47th President of the American Sociological Association. He spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University, where he attained the rank of University Professor. In 1994 he was awarded the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the field and for having founded the sociology of science.
        Merton’s contribution to sociology falls into three areas: (1) sociology of science; (2) sociology of crime and deviance; (3) sociological theory. He developed notable concepts, such as "unintended consequences", the "reference group", and "role strain", but is perhaps best known for the terms "role model" and "self-fulfilling prophecy". The concept of self-fulfilling prophecy, which is a central element in modern sociological, political, and economic theory, is one type of process through which a belief or expectation affects the outcome of a situation or the way a person or group will behave. More specifically, as Merton defined, "the self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior, which makes the originally false conception come true".
        Merton's concept of the "role model" first appeared in a study on the socialization of medical students at Columbia University. The term grew from his theory of the reference group, the group to which individuals compare themselves but to which they do not necessarily belong. Social roles were central to Merton's theory of social groups. Merton emphasized that, rather than a person assuming just one role and one status, they have a status set in the social structure that has, attached to it, a whole set of expected behaviors.

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