Gerard Verschuuren

Gerard M. Verschuuren
Born 1946 (1946)
Fields Biology, Human Genetics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Biology, VBA, VB.NET and C#.NET
Alma mater Leiden University, Utrecht University, VU University Amsterdam
Doctoral advisor Cornelis van Peursen
Other academic advisors John Huizinga, Marius Jeuken
Spouse Trudy Doucette (m. 1983)

Gerard M. Verschuuren (nicknames Gerry and Geert) is a scientist, writer, speaker, and consultant, working at the interface of science, philosophy, and religion. He is a human geneticist who earned a doctorate in the philosophy of science, and studied and worked at universities in Europe and the United States. In 1994, he moved permanently to the United States, and lives now in the southern part of New Hampshire.

Studies and research

He began studying biology at Leiden University and specialized in human genetics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, with a thesis on the statistical analysis of epigenetic variation in the Tellem skulls of Mali in comparison with the Kurumba tribe of Burkina Faso (former Upper Volta). After that, he became a participant of the six-member Human Adaptability Project team (led by professor John Huizinga, M.D.) of the former Institute of Human Biology at Utrecht University Medical School, as part of the International Biological Program, studying the population genetics and adaptation of savannah populations in sub-saharan Africa based on research among the Fali in Cameroun, among the Dogon in Mali, and among the Fulbe in Chad.

Verschuuren also studied philosophy at Leiden University and wrote, under supervision of professor Marius Jeuken, a thesis on the impact of the Harvard philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead on research in biology. He further specialized in philosophy of science, in particular in philosophy of biology, at VU University Amsterdam. Verschuuren concluded his post-graduate studies with a doctoral thesis on the use of models in the sciences. In this work, he analyzes how all sciences use models, which are simplified replicas of the dissected original, made for research purposes by reducing the complexity of the original to a manageable model related to a soluble problem.[1]

Verschuuren taught biology, biological anthropology, genetics, human genetics, statistics, philosophy, philosophy of biology, logic, and programming at Aloysius College, Utrecht University, the Dutch Open University, Merrimack College and Boston College. Currently, he focuses almost exclusively on writing, consulting, and on speaking engagements.[2]

Educational work

Verschuuren became the leader of a team of textbook writers that developed three consecutive series of biology textbooks for high-schools and colleges under the names Biosfeer (19751983), Oculair (19841994), and Grondslagen van de Biologie(Foundations of Biology; 1985present). He also became a member of the College Admission Test team for biology in the Netherlands (19761982).

For those specifically interested in the philosophy of biology, he wrote three textbooks: Investigating the Life Sciences: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (1986), Life Scientists: Their Convictions, Their Activities, and Their Values (1995), and Darwin's Philosophical Legacy - The Good and the Not-So-Good (2012).

To reach fellow scientists as well, he started in cooperation with the professors Cornelis Van Peursen and Cornelis Schuyt, both of Leiden University, an overseeing editorial board for the development of 25 books on the philosophy of science for 25 specific fields, written by experts in those fields (1986present), Nijhoff, Leiden, Series Philosophy of the Sciences.

During the 1970s, Verschuuren wrote a weekly column on breaking biological topics in the Volkskrant daily. He was a member of the editorial board of the Dutch philosophical magazine Wijsgerig Perspectief, for which he wrote several of its articles, and a member of the editorial board of the Dutch-Flemish magazine Streven, for which he also wrote articles and book reviews (partial listing). All in all, he wrote many books and articles in Dutch on biological and philosophical issues (listing).

In the 1980s, Verschuuren was an advisor to the Foundation Scientific Europe, which published a voluminous overview of research and technology in 20 European countries, entitled Scientific Europe (edited by Nigel Calder). From 1985 until 1994, he was the editor-in-chief of the Dutch magazine Natuurwetenschap en Techniek and publisher of the Dutch version of the Scientific American Library.

Consulting work

Verschuuren assisted scientists and engineers in using computers for data analysis, statistical analysis, and regression analysis. He became a Microsoft Certified Professional and was an official adviser on Excel's latest statistical functions (2010).

Verschuuren has done consulting work for many companies, including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Babson College, Bose, Boston Scientific, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Commerce, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Emerson, Harvard U., Intel Corporation, John Hancock, IBM, Keystone Trading, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Liberty Mutual, Pfizer, Mass. General Hospital, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, MIT, Rockwell Automation, Sepracor, Siemens, Staples, Teradyne, and Wyeth.

On request of MrExcel, he has developed a series of more than 10 interactive CDs and DVDs to help scientists and more general users to become familiar with programs such as Visual Basic for Applications and C#.NET. These interactive tools are great for visual learners - completely visualized, full-color, and with frequent self checks (listing). In addition, he wrote From VBA to VSTO (2006), 80 Excel Simulations (2013), and Excel for Scientists (2005, 2008, and 2013).

He also created many informative videos to help scientists manage data on their PCs or laptops.

At the interface of science and religion

A former Jesuit and a practicing Catholic, Verschuuren is interested in the relationship between science and religion. It is his conviction that religion and science cannot be in conflict with each other and cannot be seen as a threat to each other, as long as both stay in their own territory,[3] which prevents us from turning science into a pseudo-religion, or religion into a semi-science. Put in the words of Augustine of Hippo[4] or Galileo Galilei,[5] science reads the "Book of Nature" and religion reads the "Book of Scripture," for they both have the same Author, GOD.

From this perspective, grounded in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas, he has written several books:

Books and articles


  1. The Use of Models
  2. Where Do We Come From?
  3. Stephen J. Gould, Rocks of Ages (New York: Ballantine Books, 2002), 207–208.
  4. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos, 45, 7.
  5. Galileo in his 1632 Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems
  6. Race and Races
  7. The Use of Models
  8. Foundations of Biology
  9. Hemostatic Regulation
  10. Visual Learning Series
  11. Excel for Scientists
  12. 100 Excel Simulations
  13. 100 Excel VBA Simulations
  14. Darwin's Philosophical Legacy
  15. God and Evolution? Science Meets Faith
  16. What Makes You Tick?"
  17. Of All That Is, Seen and Unseen
  18. The Destiny of the Universe
  19. It's All in the Genes
  20. Five Anti-Catholic Myths
  21. Life's Journey
  22. Aquinas and Modern Science
  23. Preview of "Matters of Life and Death"
  24. Preview of "The Reductionism-Holism Debate"
  25. Channel of all videos

Extended links

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