Archive for Dr. S. Allen Counter


Posted in The Most Interesting Man in the World!, You Tube Classics with tags , , on August 7, 2016 by playthell
Allen Counter_MandelaPresident Nelson Mandela Recieves Renowned Scientist Dr. Allen Counter

An American Original…Scientist, Race Man and Bon Vivant

I have a friend on Facebook who likes to say that the guy in the famous Don Equis beer commercial who is advertised as “The Most Interesting Man in the World” is a Fraud! Cedrick McCliester insists that yours truly is “The most interesting man in the world.” Although I am deeply flattered by the claim, and my life has been an exciting adventure even by the standards of a romance novel, I beg to differ with Brother Cedrick and nominate another in my stead.

I believe that my former student and longtime friend, Dr. S. Allen Counter, is the most interesting man in the world. I have known several certifiable geniuses in my life time: Wynton Marsalis, John Coltrane and Allen Counter among them. And the most interesting among the geniuses is Dr. Counter. A professor of Nuero-Science at Harvard and a Professor of Medicine at the world famous Mass General Hospital, Dr. Counter is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Nobel/Korolinska institute in Stockholm Sweden, where the much coveted Nobel Prizes in medicine and biology are awarded. Many believe that Dr. Counter could become the first black scientist to win the Nobel Prize.

Dr. Counter  has published scores of original research papers in the leading scientific journals in his field and they have been simultaneously translated into all the major languages of the world. Dr. Counter is also the first black member of the world renowned New York Explorer’s Club, whose members include some of the greatest explorers in history!

Dr. Counter has led important expeditions to the North Pole – following in the footsteps of Matthew Henson, the Afro-American explorer that dicovered the North Pole who is now the second Afro-American enshrined in the New York Explorers Club by virtue of Dr. Counter’s efforts – and the Amazon Jungles, where he met and studied the Saramacans, a community of escaped African slaves who had lived deep in these jungles for centuries. A tall handsome ex-football player of high style who once considered becoming a professional actor before deciding to seek a career as a scientist, in his youth he was a chick magnet that attracted a wide array of gifted, powerful and beautiful women from all walks of life.

Dr. Counter and Oprah Winfrey




Dr. Counter, Super Model Naomi Campbell
Actors/Producters Debbie Allen amd Sister Felicia Rachad

Allen counter_Debbie allen_Felecia rashad

Hangin with the Doctor!
Dr. Counter and the Crown Princess of Sweden
Allen Counter and Swedish Crown Princess
Commoners and Royalty alike are Beguiled by  his Charms
The Doctor Escorts  Miss Sweden to the Ball


The Knight Squires the first Black Miss Sweden in High Society

Both a man’s man and a lady’s man, Dr. Counter began what has become one of the most consequental and best lived lives ever in dire poverty down in Boyington Beach Florida, in a black community largely composed of fruit pickers and servants to the mansions of the Super Rich WASP elite in Palm Beach. His academic climb began with a scholarship to Tennessee State, a historicall black college in Nashville, which he attended with the encouragement and aid of a devoted black teacher in his all-black high school. Growing up in the segregated American south where racial discrimination and inequality were legal, his is one of the most heroic and inspiring stories of American achievement in the 20th century!

If, as many thoughtful obsrevers have argued, the “rags to riches” story is the quintessentially representative anecdote of American civiliation Dr. Counter personifies it.  Although there is an embarrasment of riches to choose from, this anecdote will suffice.  After his appointment to the Harvard faculty he went home to visit his grandmother, who had largely raised him while his parents were working.  His visit was heralded on the front page of the local newspaper where it was proudly pointed out that he was the first Floridian of any race to be appointed to a professorship in science at Harvard.

He was not in town for a day before his grandmother recieved a call from the rich old peckerwood who had employed her as a servant, and had known “Count,” as he is afectionately known to his friends, when he was a boy.  “Is that our little Allen they are raising such a fuss about in the newspaper.”  “It sho is” she responed with evident pride.  At which point the old Peck sheepishly asked if she could persuade him to come to dinner at his home because he would like his grand sons to meet him, because perhaps his example could inspire them to some higher aspiration than “taking dope and recklessly riding around the Bay on jet skis!”   When Count left racist apartheid Florida to go off to college less than a decade ago, such an invitation was unimaginable.  Hence, after all is said and done, great success really is the best revenge.

Dr. Counter and President Obama


In Sweden for the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony honoring POTUS
Dr. Counter honoring Densel Washington 

Allen Counter - DenzelandAllen

Presenting an Award as President of Harvard Foundation
The Swedish Ambassdor to New England!

Allen Counter and Crown Prince of Sweden

“The Count and The Prince”

Artic Explorer

Allen countergreenland

Resting with is dogs
Arriving aboard a Nuclear Submarine

Allen Counter- USS Annapolis Atomic Sub_Commander _ Michael Brunner

Dr. Counter Plants an American Flag and Momento  honoring Matthew Henson
Winning Pothumous Recognition for Matthew Henson

Allen counter_audreymebane

Presenting the National Geographic Award to Henson’s Great Neice
Dr. Counter lecturing at Harvard

allen counter -lecturing on the human brain at Harvard

Unraveling the Mysteries of the Human Brain

Never forgetting the needs of communities like the one from which he came, he thinks that President Obama’s Affordable Health ACT is a good first step toward what ought to be free healthcare for everyone under a single payer system.  Dr. Counter, who is alo a licensed practicing doctor that treats patients, thinks medical care for profit is a crime against humanity. He also thinks that Dr. Ben Carson is merely a talented technician not a great scientific thinker – like the difference between a virtuoso pianist and a great composer – a clueless artist badly in need of a brain transplant to help him understand the complexities of American politics.

The videos below provide scenes from the magnificent life of Dr. S. Allen Counter, Professor of  Neuro-biology and medicine at Harvard and Mass General Hospital; Research Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Nobel Khorolinska in Sweden; great explorer; cutting edge researcher on the human brain; Pesident of the influential Harvard Foundation – where he sponsors the annual “Kumba Christmas” ceremonies put on by the Afro-American students – Author, ethnologist, filmaker;  engaged intellectual, scientific activist on behalf of the poor and powerles,  and charming personality.

All of these elements combine in him to produce the most interesting man in the world.  As you have observed from the photographs, Dr. Counter is a heroic figure that attracts stars from from all quarters, drawing them to him like a Super Nova.  He is the tallest tree in our American forest, a man who really has walked with presidents and kings yet retained the common touch….the most interesting man in the world!


Scenes from a fantastic life


Exposing Lead Poisioning from Industrial Pollution in Central America

Narrated by Debbie Allen

On The Kumba Choir

Each year Dr. Counter Presents them in a special Christmas performance


Playthell G. Bemjamin
Harlem, New York
August 2016

On God, Science and Man’s Fate

Posted in Cultural Matters with tags , on July 7, 2012 by playthell
     The Giant Hadron Collider

Can Modern Science Save Us?

The reactions of some people who believe in God and Science to the discovery of the so-called “God Particle” offers food for serious reflection. While they are intrigued by the discovery of the subatomic Higgs Boson Particle, which is believed to be the force that sparked the “Big Bang” that created the universe; they hasten to point out that even if the particle turns out to be what its discoverers are claiming, it is just another manifestation of the power of God.

This argument always intrigues me because I continue to marvel at how religion survived the dawn of the age of reason; let alone thrive in our highly scientific age.  Thus I turned to religious scientists for answers. Over the years I have had some deep conversations on religion vs. science with Dr. S. Allen Counter – Professor of Biology and medicine at Harvard, and Senior Research Fellow at the Korilinska Institute in Sweden, where the Nobel Prize winners are chosen in these fields.

I first met Dr. Counter when he was a grad student at Case Western Reserve University and I delivered a series of lectures on African and Afro-American history there.  We would become friends and have remained so for over 40 years now.  He is one of the world’s greatest scientists but, to my amazement, like most Afro-Americans he continues to believe in God, and scoffs at the idea that science can explain the creation of the universe without the agency of God.  And he finds my belief that science will eventually explain the mystery of creation, without what I believe is the God myth, laughable.

I concluded God was a fiction when I was 13 years old and living under legalized white supremacy in the South. Listening to all those bible quoting redneck crackers in Florida, I noticed what an astute British observer had also noted over a century earlier when he commented “It is the keepers of slaves who speak most passionately about their God given liberty.”

Of course, Thomas Jefferson would be an excellent example…except that Jefferson was a skeptic on the question of God.  I came to believe that if God exists there are a few things that are fairly obvious: he is neither just nor color blind.  In fact, the evidence of world history – something I have studied for over half a century now – suggest he is a racist, sexist, blood thirsty madman!

And although I recognize the Good that some religions have done…far greater evil has been done in the name of God.  Neither the idea of preordination nor “free will” makes any sense to me.  As Albert Einstein said, when the Rabbis questioned his theory about the creation of the world:  “God doesn’t shoot craps with the universe!”

Professor Counter, who daily works with the greatest scientists in the world, tells me that among the best scientist he knows half have become deeply religious as a result of their scientific knowledge, and half have become atheist!   Once when we were walking across Harvard Yard after I had delivered a lecture there we passed the chapel.

Count and I had not discussed the God question in some time, so he asked, “You still don’t believe in God?”  When I said I was still a non-believer he said: “So what do you believe in…science?”  He guffawed and said “Well I know a hell of a lot more science than you….and everything I have learned has just made me a better Baptist!”

My conversations with Dr. Counter serve to underscore the inability of science to provide a definitive answer to the riddle of whether God exist.  This is because “Does God Exist?” is not a scientific question.  Therefore the scientific method can’t address it, because religious claims are based on faith and  science is based on observable evidence.  This means belief in God is fundamentally irrational.  For instance, if one must profess a belief in Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven in the afterlife the question arises: what is to become of millions of good people who are Budihst, Or Muslims,” or Jews, or those who practice polytheistic African religions?

No one has been able to answer these questions in any way that makes sense to me; neither scientist nor theologians.  Nor have I heard a credible explanation of why so many evil doers prosper, while the righteous are so often cast asunder. Yet the failure to resolve these differences in the nature of God has led to more oppression, war and mass murder than any other problem in the history of man.  It was the major rationale for the enslavement of our African ancestors.  However, unlike some atheists, I don’t attack the church in general because many churches perform great service for their followers and people in need who may be un-churched.

There are many occasions in which I have defended the black church in America, such as in my debate with the famous British atheist Christopher Hitchens in the Great Hall at Cooper Union.  In another debate sponsored by CEMOTAP, an important Afro-American organization here in New York City, in which the question at issue was: “Has the Bible Been Good for black People?” to every ones astonishment – since I am a well know atheist, and reminded the audience of that fact in my opening remarks – I vigorously defended the bible!

And just a couple of months ago I delivered a “sermon” from the pulpit of “The Church on the Hill,” an AME Zion church in New York titled “On the Heroic Role of the Afro-American Preacher in the Pan-African Liberation Movement. “  The speech was videotaped and will soon find its way to YouTube after proper editing.  However some of the arguments I make in that speech are previewed in my essay “Pan-Africanism: Reality or Myth?” on this blog.

Hence although I am a militant atheist, I do recognize the good works of the progressive church.  I also recognize that the worst people in America – racist, reactionary right wing Tea Party Republicans – wrap themselves in the pages of the Bible while transforming Jesus Christ from the God of the poor and downtrodden into the God of billionaires who would starve the poor and deny medical care to the sick!

Thus I am forced to wonder where are the righteous preachers willing to denounce this abomination?  Why is the theologian Cornell West madder at President Obama – the only friend of the poor who is likely to be president – than these evil blasphemers?  I have attacked them more than him….and I don’t even believe that Jesus Christ was a real presence!

For all these reasons and many more I shall remain an atheist…in spite of my unbridled admiration for the good works of many churches.  Hence the “God Particle” is of great interest to me because it may serve to finally debunk the God myth.  Yet I must admit some ambivalence, because I am not sure we would be better off if there were no true Christians in the world…or if some people didn’t believe their ass was going to burn in hell if they don’t behave themselves!!!!

And while I agree with those who contend that we need more research on ways to apply scientific knowledge to solve pressing human problems right now; the search for the origins of the universe, the grand questions of science, must not be short changed in the process as it was under the Bush Republicans.  Which is why this great scientific breakthrough occurred in Europe and not in the USA!

Yet the most critical problems facing the survival of the homo sapien species on this planet are not scientific but political. We already have the technical means to solve many of the critical problems that threaten humanity; it is the political organization of our planet that prevents it.

The failure to see ourselves as one species struggling to survive on a planet with limited resources; the horrible waste of blood, treasure and intellectual resources on endless wars; the greed of ruling classes; racism and ethnic strife; the refusal of governments to deal seriously with the destruction of our natural environments, which the world’s scientists have warned is approaching the point of irreversibility – we can see it reflected in the horrible killer heat waves and devastating storms that are wreaking havoc and claiming lives all over the world.  These are disasters of biblical proportions!

These are the things that will lead to our extinction if not corrected. As my grandmother was fond of saying “If man don’t change his ways Almighty God will end our days!  The problems that threaten our existence are failings of human character that science is powerless to correct, and God has not seen fit to intervene and save us. Hence in spite of the constant refrain that we hear from politicians and businessmen that scientific and technical education is the key to our salvation: I say it is expanded humanistic education that will save us…or we shall not be saved!

Professor S. Allen Counter: Biologist/Medical Doctor
Dr. Counter escorts first black Miss Sweden to Nobel Prize Ceremony For Obama 


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

July 6, 2012