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Monday, December 17, 2018    

Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.
  --Robert King Merton, sociologist (1910-2003)

(5:5.2) Religion is not grounded in the facts of science,...

(12:9.3) Mathematics, material science, is indispensable to the intelligent discussion of the material aspects of the universe, but such knowledge is not necessarily a part of the higher realization of truth or of the personal appreciation of spiritual realities.

(42:9.4) The philosophy of the universe cannot be predicated on the observations of so-called science. If such a metamorphosis could not be seen, a scientist would be inclined to deny the possibility of developing a butterfly out of a caterpillar.

(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.

     Robert King Merton (born Meyer Robert Schkolnick,) was an American sociologist. 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. He is considered a founding father of modern sociology while also gaining a status for the work he contributed to criminology.
     Merton 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". A central element in modern sociological, political, and economic theory, a self-fulfilling prophecy 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. Defined by Merton, "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 work on 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 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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