(Note: These are the key books, not science or media news. The Top Ten Darwin and Design Science News Stories for 2009 are here, the Top Ten Darwin and Design Media News Stories for 2009 are here, and my comments on the latter are here. Also, to get the links, you must go here.)
My comments follow.
5. Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves by James Le Fanu. The second international book to make the Top Ten list this year is Why Us? by James Le Fanu, a British medical doctor who publishes in peer-reviewed medical journals like the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and the British Medical Journal, a columnist for the London Telegraph, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for his book The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine (2001). In Why Us? we discover he is also a Darwin doubter. Le Fanu’s main point is that the more science reveals about the most important question a human can ask—What is man and how did he come to be?—the more we have to admit that we don’t know. Le Fanu demonstrates this by masterfully recounting the epic demise of expectations that prevailed until recently for the prospects of three scientific enterprises. Darwinian evolution, genetics, and brain research were supposed to combine to give a compelling, coherent and united naturalistic account of man’s origin and nature. They did no such thing and the prospect of their doing so in the future appears hopeless. This is a great book to give your Darwin-devoted friends. Intelligent design is never mentioned, but the foundation for the materialist, reductionist world-view is systematically dismantled by a well-known authority on science and medicine.
[From Denyse: A sideshow with respect to this story is that New Scientist (the National Enquirer of pop science mags) had to withdraw – due to a libel threat – an article bashing design in which Le Fanu and I were the only persons mentioned. So the cry went up, who made the threat? I don’t know who made it, but I can tell you who didn’t. I am a free speech journalist who finds Britain’s libel laws a scandal in need of serious reform. So some have assumed it was Le Fanu who complained. I do not know, but the article is back up now, with a comment from Le Fanu, so I assume this is a minor happy ending. Libel law reform in Britain would be a major happy ending.]
Pick #6 is here.