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Le Fanu, a medical columnist for Britain's Telegraph and winner of an L.A. TimesBook Prize for The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine, is fond here of the words "unfathomable," "astonishment" and "mystery" in his assessment of the failures of evolutionary and genetic science to explain the nature of humankind. In this dyspeptic attack on scientific "materialism," Le Fanu aims the brunt of his ire at Darwin and evolution. The problem with many of Le Fanu's arguments is his selective use of sources, especially regarding evolution, and a habitual overlooking of the most recent research; thus, he's able to conclude that current research in evolution, genetics and brain studies are dead ends. Le Fanu's elegant writing is all that keeps his attack from becoming a rant against "the role of scientific progress in obscuring the dual nature of reality." In espousing the necessary existence of a nonmaterial reality, Le Fanu invokes the language of intelligent design. Many will be disturbed by Le Fanu's suggestion that "Big Science" turn away from its "degenerate research programmes" and focus instead on smaller questions like how birds navigate. (Mar. 17)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.