Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves

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9780007120284: Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves

In ‘Why Us?’, James Le Fanu explores the major implications of the most recent findings of genetics and neuroscience, challenging the common assumption that they must ultimately explain all there is to know about life and man’s place in the world. On the contrary, he argues, they point to an unbridgeable explanatory gap between the genes strung out along the Double Helix and the near infinite beauty and diversity of the living world to which they give rise, and between the monotonous electro-chemistry of the brain and richness and creativity of the human mind. “There is,” he writes, “a powerful impression that science has been looking in the wrong place, seeking to resolve questions that somehow lie outside its domain. It is as if we – and indeed all living things – are in some way different, profounder and more complex than the physical world to which we belong.” A N Wilson in his review described it as ‘an extraordinary work of science ... quite wonderfully refreshing’; for Christopher Booker in The Spectator it was “enthralling”: “one of the glories of Le Fanu’s erudite and beautifully written book is that a sense of wonder is evident on every page, even as he lucidly analyses the limitations of the narrow intellectual prism in which science has languished too long.”

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Product Description:

Paperback. Pub Date :2010-04-29 Pages: 320 Language: English Publisher: HarperCollins UK In Why Us. James Le Fanu explores the major implications of the most recent findings of genetics and neuroscience. challenging the common assumption that they must ultimately explain all there is to know about life and man's place in the world. On the contrary. he argues. they point to an unbridgeable explanatory gap between the genes strung out along the Double Helix and the near infinite beauty and diversity of the living world to which they give rise. and between the monotonous electro-chemistry of the brain and richness and creativity of the human mind. There is. he writes. a powerful impression that science has been looking in the wrong place. seeking to resolve questions that somehow lie outside . its domain It is as if we - and indeed all living things -. are in some way different...

Review:

"Simple and compelling; a bold attempt to reunite science with a sense of wonder."
--"The Sunday Times" (London)
"An extraordinary work of science. . . . Quite wonderfully refreshing."
--A. N. Wilson, "Reader's Digest "(UK)
"[Le Fanu reminds us] that life is finally inexplicable, and the universe full of mysteries that are inaccessible to scientific probing. The fact that these rarely stated realities are so superbly brought to life here makes this a brave, brilliant and fascinating book."
--"The Sunday Telegraph" (London)
"Excellent. . . . An important, luminously written book. . . . Carefully-documented, scrupulously fair-minded. . . . It deserves a very wide readership. . . . A careful reader, analyst, and conveyor of this body of research, and an admirer of its revelations and the ingenuity of those who have made them, LeFanu is also possessed of something even rarer than a gift for luminous explication of scientific complexity: he has what the great, polymathic thinker Blaise Pascal called 'l'esprit de finesse, ' or a philosophical mind."
--"Modern Age"
"James Le Fanu's lively literary imagination makes this book such a stimulating and challenging read."
--"Literary Review" (UK)
"Erudite and beautifully written. . . . Le Fanu lucidly analyses the limitations of that narrow intellectual prison in which science has languished too long."
--"The Spectator" (UK)
"Le Fanu sets his stall out with admirable clarity, and not a little brio. . . . [He is] a lucid and compelling writer."
--"Evening Standard "(UK)
"This challenge is so knowledgeable, so meticulously constructed that mere prejudice will not be enough to undermine this major work."
--"Catholic Herald"
"A bold synthesising polemic."
--"Standpoint Magazine"
"Le Fanu eviscerates salvation by science. The Double Helix is impenetrable, the brain unfathomable, the genome over-rated, the self a mystery."
--"World Magaz

Simple and compelling; a bold attempt to reunite science with a sense of wonder.
The Sunday Times (London)
An extraordinary work of science. . . . Quite wonderfully refreshing.
A. N. Wilson, Reader s Digest (UK)
[Le Fanu reminds us] that life is finally inexplicable, and the universe full of mysteries that are inaccessible to scientific probing. The fact that these rarely stated realities are so superbly brought to life here makes this a brave, brilliant and fascinating book.
The Sunday Telegraph (London)
Excellent. . . . An important, luminously written book. . . . Carefully-documented, scrupulously fair-minded. . . . It deserves a very wide readership. . . . A careful reader, analyst, and conveyor of this body of research, and an admirer ofits revelations and the ingenuity of those who have made them, LeFanu is also possessed of something even rarer than a gift for luminous explication of scientific complexity: he has what the great, polymathic thinker Blaise Pascal called 'l esprit de finesse, ' or a philosophical mind.
Modern Age
James Le Fanu s lively literary imagination makes this book such a stimulating and challenging read.
Literary Review (UK)
Erudite and beautifully written. . . . Le Fanu lucidly analyses the limitations of that narrow intellectual prison in which science has languished too long.
The Spectator (UK)
Le Fanu sets his stall out with admirable clarity, and not a little brio. . . . [He is] a lucid and compelling writer.
Evening Standard (UK)
This challenge is so knowledgeable, so meticulously constructed that mere prejudice will not be enough to undermine this major work.
Catholic Herald
A bold synthesising polemic.
Standpoint Magazine
Le Fanu eviscerates salvation by science. The Double Helix is impenetrable, the brain unfathomable, the genome over-rated, the self a mystery.
World Magazine
An outstandingly readable and informative book. . . . Le Fanu knows a lot but wears his erudition lightly.
David Klinghoffer, The Discovery Institute"

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James Le Fanu
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The imperative to know thyself is both fundamental and profoundly elusive -- for how can we ever truly comprehend the drama and complexity of the human experience? In Why Us? James Le Fanu offers a fascinating exploration of the power and limits of science to penetrate the deep mysteries of our existence, challenging the certainty that has persisted since Charles Darwin s Origin of Species that we are no more than the fortuitous consequence of a materialist evolutionary process. That challenge arises, unexpectedly, from the two major projects that promised to provide definitive proof for this most influential of scientific theories. The first is the astonishing achievement of the Human Genome Project, which, it was anticipated, would identify the genetic basis of those characteristics that distinguish humans from their primate cousins. The second is the phenomenal advance in brain imaging that now permits neuroscientists to observe the brain in action and thus account for the remarkable properties of the human mind. But that is not how it has turned out. It is simply not possible to get from the monotonous sequence of genes along the double helix to the near infinite diversity of the living world, nor to translate the electrical firing of the brain into the creativity of the human mind. This is not a matter of not knowing all the facts. Rather, science has inadvertently discovered that its theories are insufficient to conjure the wonder of the human experience from the bare bones of our genes and brains. We stand on the brink of a tectonic shift in our understanding of ourselves that will witness the rediscovery of the central premise of Western philosophy that there is more than we can know . Lucid, compelling and utterly engaging, Why Us? offers a convincing and provocative vision of the new science of being human. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007120284

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James Le Fanu
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2011)
ISBN 10: 0007120281 ISBN 13: 9780007120284
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 194 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The imperative to know thyself is both fundamental and profoundly elusive -- for how can we ever truly comprehend the drama and complexity of the human experience? In Why Us? James Le Fanu offers a fascinating exploration of the power and limits of science to penetrate the deep mysteries of our existence, challenging the certainty that has persisted since Charles Darwin s Origin of Species that we are no more than the fortuitous consequence of a materialist evolutionary process. That challenge arises, unexpectedly, from the two major projects that promised to provide definitive proof for this most influential of scientific theories. The first is the astonishing achievement of the Human Genome Project, which, it was anticipated, would identify the genetic basis of those characteristics that distinguish humans from their primate cousins. The second is the phenomenal advance in brain imaging that now permits neuroscientists to observe the brain in action and thus account for the remarkable properties of the human mind. But that is not how it has turned out. It is simply not possible to get from the monotonous sequence of genes along the double helix to the near infinite diversity of the living world, nor to translate the electrical firing of the brain into the creativity of the human mind. This is not a matter of not knowing all the facts. Rather, science has inadvertently discovered that its theories are insufficient to conjure the wonder of the human experience from the bare bones of our genes and brains. We stand on the brink of a tectonic shift in our understanding of ourselves that will witness the rediscovery of the central premise of Western philosophy that there is more than we can know . Lucid, compelling and utterly engaging, Why Us? offers a convincing and provocative vision of the new science of being human. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007120284

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, James Le Fanu, The imperative to 'know thyself' is both fundamental and profoundly elusive -- for how can we ever truly comprehend the drama and complexity of the human experience? In 'Why Us?' James Le Fanu offers a fascinating exploration of the power and limits of science to penetrate the deep mysteries of our existence, challenging the certainty that has persisted since Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species' that we are no more than the fortuitous consequence of a materialist evolutionary process. That challenge arises, unexpectedly, from the two major projects that promised to provide definitive proof for this most influential of scientific theories. The first is the astonishing achievement of the Human Genome Project, which, it was anticipated, would identify the genetic basis of those characteristics that distinguish humans from their primate cousins. The second is the phenomenal advance in brain imaging that now permits neuroscientists to observe the brain 'in action' and thus account for the remarkable properties of the human mind. But that is not how it has turned out. It is simply not possible to get from the monotonous sequence of genes along the double helix to the near infinite diversity of the living world, nor to translate the electrical firing of the brain into the creativity of the human mind. This is not a matter of not knowing all the facts. Rather, science has inadvertently discovered that its theories are insufficient to conjure the wonder of the human experience from the bare bones of our genes and brains. We stand on the brink of a tectonic shift in our understanding of ourselves that will witness the rediscovery of the central premise of Western philosophy that there is 'more than we can know'. Lucid, compelling and utterly engaging, 'Why Us?' offers a convincing and provocative vision of the new science of being human. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007120284

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Book Description Vintage, Paperback(2010), 2010. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. The imperative to 'know thyself' is both fundamental and profoundly elusive -- for how can we ever truly comprehend the drama and complexity of the human experience? Num Pages: 320 pages, With index. BIC Classification: PDZ. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 129 x 22. Weight in Grams: 228. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780007120284

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