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Anton J. Carlson (1875–1956)

Author of The Machinery of the Body

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Born in Sweden in 1875, Anton Carlson spent his early years as a shepherd and emigrated to the United States at the age of 16. He originally intended to enter the church, but his interest in studying the efficacy of prayer was discouraged and he subsequently turned his attention to the biological sciences. He completed a PhD in physiology at Stanford University in 1902 and shortly thereafter took a teaching position at the University of Chicago, where he remained for the bulk of him career. Dr. Carlson performed experiments concerning the physiology of the digestive tract, taught, and wrote two books: The Machinery of the Body and The Control of Hunger and Disease. He was a stalwart empiricist and and humanist, and asserted that "The supernatural has no support in science, is incompatible with science, (and) is frequently an active foe of science. It is unnecessary for the good life." He died in 1956, shortly after winning the first Humanist of the Year Award in 1953.
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