James Le Fanu

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James Le Fanu (born 1950) is a British physician, medical journalist and author of several books.[1] He is best known for his weekly columns in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph.


He graduated from Clare College, Cambridge University and the Royal London Hospital in 1974, and then worked in the Renal Transplant Unit and Cardiology Departments of the Royal Free Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in London. For the last 20 years, he has been a doctor in general practice.[2] Le Fanu is also a medical journalist and has written articles and reviews both for medical journals such as the British Medical Journal and for magazines, and weekly columns in the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph, for which he is best known.[2][3]

Le Fanu is also an author. His books include The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine, which won the Los Angeles Prize Book Award in 2001,[2] and Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves (2009).[4]


In his book The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine, Le Fanu claims that from the 1930s until the mid-1970s was the "Golden Age" for medicine, due to smaller groups of researchers working with rudimentary technology and without modern sophisticated biological knowledge and that since then "the fall of medicine" has occurred. He sees this due to the number of cures declining at the same time as new scientific knowledge of human biology was improving. He further claims that while industrialised medicine has improved because of technological advances, at the same time the costs have increased hugely. Other reasons he lists for the fall of medicine include his argument that medicine has become too centred on a movement he calls "The New Genetics"; he further links the fall of medicine to the "social theory" of public health, such as the work of Ancel Keys in the 1950s.[5][6]


Le Fanu is an open critic of materialism and Darwinism.[4] He is the author of the controversial book Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves, in which he claims that Darwin's theory of evolution is a materialistic theory that fails to explain consciousness and the experience of the human being.[4] He states that it is not enough to conjure the wonder of the human experience from the study of bones, genes and brains alone.[7] According to a review of his book by the New Scientist, Le Fanu argues for the existence of an immaterial "life force".[8] Le Fanu is not a creationist and does not argue for God, instead he argues for a non-physical cosmic force which he claims could explain where consciousness originates from; he also claims it may explain many of the other mysteries unexplained by material science.[9][10]

According to Le Fanu: "Darwinism is the foundational theory of all atheistic, scientific and materialist doctrines and of the notion that everything is ultimately explicable and that there is nothing special about it – the self-denigration and self-hatred, the great ‘nothing but’ story.”[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Le Fanu, BBC. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Biography of James Le Fanu, jameslefanu.com, retrieved September 17, 2011.
  3. ^ James Le Fanu. Constable & Robinson. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Josh Loeb, Review of Why Us? by James Le Fanu, Camden New Journal, 11 March 2010, retrieved September 17, 2011.
  5. ^ Michael Gard, The End of the Obesity Epidemic, London: Routledge, 2011, ISBN 978-0-415-48987-4, p. 160.
  6. ^ Cheryl Petersen, 21st Century Science & Health: with Key to the Scriptures, Victoria, British Columbia: Trafford, 2009, ISBN 978-1-4251-7660-0, p. 131.
  7. ^ Christopher Booker, "Mind over Matter", Spectator Book Club Review of Why Us?, 31 January 2009, retrieved September 17, 2011.
  8. ^ Amanda Gefter, Review of Why Us? by James Le Fanu, New Scientist 5 February 2009, retrieved September 17, 2011.
  9. ^ Will Self, Review of Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves by James Le Fanu, London Evening Standard 13 February 2009, retrieved September 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Brian Clegg, Review at Popular Science.co.uk. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Bryan Appleyard, "For God’s sake, have Charles Darwin’s theories made any difference to our lives?: It is the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth but creationists and scientists alike may spoil the party", The Sunday Times January 11, 2009, retrieved September 17, 2011.

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