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Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves Paperback – 29 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (29 April 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007120281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007120284
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'An extraordinary work of science...quite wonderfully refreshing.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

James Le Fanu is a medical doctor and regular columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph. He graduated from Cambridge University and the Royal London Hospital in 1974. He has published research articles in the ‘British Medical Journal’, ‘Lancet’ and the ‘Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine’.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Astbury on 3 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book everyone should read - and re-read, bought a copy for each of our adult children.Hard to put down once you start. Thank you so much, James Le Fanu, for this amazing, mind blowing book.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. C. Zanker on 3 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a first class, thought provoking book. The arguments are clearly and intelligently presented, and backed up by detailed facts and illustrations which clearly show both the historical aspects of the subject and the results of recent developments. The author is no respecter of reputations, and it is a pleasure to see the somewhat arrogant opinions and statements of some pillars of the current scientific establishment questioned. In particular, hard line Darwinists are asked some awkward questions.

Highly recommended.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Finlayson on 13 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover
Le Fanu wrote ,in the rise and fall of modern medicine,about things I thought I ,as a doctor knew about but didnt.His latest book is even better.Just as beautifully written,describing complex things simply ,rigorous and certain to provoke argument.
However only to be read with an open mind.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bill Darlison on 19 Feb 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is probably the most important book I have read in a decade. Le Fanu shows how recent scientific investigations into the genome and into the human brain seriously undermine the certainties of materialist science, and force us to rethink our attitude to long discarded ideas such as the soul. If you want to read a cogent, entertaining, intellectually rigorous answer to Dawkins et al. then this is the book for you.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Bloor on 4 May 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr Le Fanu examines how two of science's greatest achievements of recent years - mapping the human genome and imaging the activity of the brain - simultaneously extended our knowledge of the material world and revealed more starkly the scale of mystery about what it is to be human and how very different we are to other animals with which we share so much biological heritage.

While Darwin's theory of natural selection does provide a cogent explanation for small scale evolution it cannot begin to explain major differences between species. The astonishing complexity and inter-dependedness of biological systems defy attempts to make marginal changes - ones which create a functioning animal let alone an evolutionarily successful one.

The biological differences between Neanderthals and the artists who created the cave paintings of southern France are trivial but there is great gulf in terms of their humanity.

Dr Le Fanu has a most engaging turn of phrase which encapsulates both the meaning and the significance of his subject. He is keen to share his sense of awe at the richness of life and the astonishing uniqueness of human beings.
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Format: Paperback
Absolutely brilliant. Does not dismiss human achievement, but celebrates the wonders and uniqueness of our intellect and intelligence while illustrating why the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It does so with wit and charm, and without alienating anyone who does not have a scientific or medical background. I cannot recommend it enough.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Outrider on 10 Feb 2013
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This book provides a brilliant insight into the many scientific problems concerning evolution, Darwinism and The Brain, etc, discussing the underlying problems with scientific philosophy of Reductionism and determinism. The book is stuffed full of the most amazing facts to astound anyone familiar or not with these dilemmas facing modern science. Once you start reading this book you will not find it easy to put down. Le Fanu has a brilliant, razor sharp mind and intellect, which allows nothing to escape his informed insight, rigour and impatience with those who still insist on Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection, debunked at the turn of the 19th century but still kept alive by those whose careers are based on this false assumption. He will take you to many places - 20th century America, where 'Natural Selection', was actually put into practice to prevent poor people breeding - to Nazi Germany and their use of 'Survival of the Fittest', as an excuse to exterminate the Jews and others considered unfit for the master race. There are no punches held, and all through the book one is spellbound by the sheer amount, and depth, of scientific detail, especially when it comes to discussing the Brain, Mind, etc. This book should be in every school library and most certainly in all Universities. Everyone should read this book. It dispels all the nonsense spoken about evolution and puts the debate back on track, demonstrating how some scientists try to persuade the general public that The Theory of Evolution is now fact. The very philosophy of science is put firmly in the dock as not having all the answers, and although I am a fervent admirer of Science, cannot abide those who support bad science and dish out to the general public the most dreadful meaningless hypotheses and theories as truth. This man of science sets the track straight by helping readers understand the problems confronting scientific theory today. An excellent read. Well done Mr Le Fanu and thank you so much.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Copus on 27 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
The author's declared aims are to restore a sense of wonder to the scientific enterprise, and man to the pedestal from which he has been so unceremoniously toppled by philosophical materialism. He has succeeded triumphantly, and, in so doing, has driven another nail into the coffin of Darwin's reputation.

Le Fanu writes beautifully - almost poetically, at times - but never loses sight of his underlying message. Beginning with an evocative account of the discovery of the artwork of Cro-Magnon man in a French cave, he marvels at the sudden and inexplicable emergence of mankind, with our unique powers of imagination, reasoning and abstract thought. The contrast with our primate `cousins' should be self-evident, but the distorting lens of the Darwinian paradigm has served only to emphasise and exaggerate our similarities. Consequently, huge areas of potential research into what makes humans `special' have been largely ignored, with disastrous consequences for the scientific enterprise.

This might all seem a bit depressing, and, for those of us familiar with the Intelligent Design literature, rather unoriginal, too. However, it provides the context for the author's main thesis - that cutting-edge science is providing us with an opportunity to break free of the shackles of materialist reductionism, and re-embrace the concept of the soul. In two areas in particular - genetics and neuroscience - research over the last 20 years has shown that we are much more than the sum of our brain's electrical impulses and our DNA's instructions.
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