Link Between Physical Sciences And Biology Research Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Biology Type: Research Paper Paper: #20248181 Related Topics: Oceanography, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Biology
Excerpt from Research Paper :

¶ … Biology autonomous from physical sciences?

Background of debate

Biological science has undergone a time of progressive change in the last few decades. A distinctive element of this progress has been a continuous addition of fresh theoretical points-of-view and methods from physics and chemistry (the physical sciences). The most interesting fresh innovations in contemporary Biology are closely linked with how these new theories and methods are applied. There is a unanimous consensus that a lot of the phenomena that used to occur naturally in the arena of biological science has been overridden by a science that is practically physical. The exact reference of the new expanded theories such as 'biophysics', 'biochemistry', and 'molecular biology' apparently point to new knowledge for treating the science of life on earth as chemical and physical principles (Hansen. 1969)

What is Biology?

In an attempt to answer this question, it is worth noting that biology is in actual sense composed of two distinct and separate fields' namely historical biology and mechanistic or functional biology. All activities related to the physiology of living organisms falls under functional biology, more so in relation to cellular processes particularly where the genome is concerned. It is noteworthy that all these cellular functions can find adequate explanation in purely mechanistically physical and chemical terms. Whereas the other biological branch is historical, purely functional processes cannot be explained by knowledge of history much as this knowledge is important for explaining general aspects of the living world encompassed by time in historical dimensions when the theory of evolution is taken on board. The type of the more often asked questions also distinguishes these two fields of biology. In order to get the facts needed for in-depth analysis one must be certain to ask the 'what' question. The most commonly asked questions in functional biology is, however, "how?" while in terms of biology of evolution the frequently asked question is "why" But the question is practically incomplete because even in evolutionary biology one occasionally asks "how" questions, for example how can you explain the multiplication of species? One must therefore take note of the essential differences between the two classes of biology in order to understand its remarkable nature. Granted, some of the most distinctive differences between biology and the physical sciences is true for only of the branches, namely evolutionary biology (Mayr, 2004).

How the debate of reductionism started?

Up to the nineteenth and twentieth century, biology was practically a dead subject. Despite the fact that an enormous degree of factual knowledge of natural history, physiology, and anatomy was gathered in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was believed that the world of life during that period purely belonged to the medical realm. However, this was only true for physiology, anatomy; and in some cases botany which to a large extent comprised of finding out plants that had medicinal values. Indeed this included important elements of natural history that in real sense was either regarded as a hobby or something that was in recognition of the contribution of natural theology. Lastly, when mechanics was recognized as an exemplary science, a new school of thought that organisms were essentially the same as inert matter was born (Mayr, 1997).

The logical conclusion that was drawn from this assumption was that the prime objective of science was to subjugate biology to the laws of physics and chemistry. But with the passage of time progress in biology made this theory null and void. Biology gained a stronger foothold in the science sphere when vitslism and its sister mechanism were overwhelmed by the acceptance of the new theory of organicism in the twentieth century, this, despite the fact that many philosophers of science have not yet fully accepted the impact of this new paradigm (Mayr, 1997).

Three very distinct...

...

One extreme position held it that biology should not be regarded as a science because it is devoid of the universally accepted quantitative and structured law of a "true science," this in reference to physics. But on the other opposite end of the spectrum of thought, biology not only shares the qualities of a true science but it is different from physics in essential points which ranks it as an autonomous science just like physics. In the continuum of these two opposing views a third preposition views biology as a "provincial science" due to the fact that its findings are ultimately reduced to the law of chemistry and physics; and that it is not universal (Mayr, 1997).

Is Biology an autonomous science?

The question whether biology is an autonomous science or not can be paraphrased in two ways: Like chemistry and physics, is biology a genuine science? And does biology as a science share similar characteristics with chemistry and physics? John Moore's eight criteria for evaluating whether a given action deserves to be called a science can help us answer the first question. According to him (Moore): (1) without resort to supernatural theories, the basis of science should be actual data collected in the field and taken to a laboratory for experimentation and observation. (2) Data must be gathered in response to questions and observations must be made to solidify or disparage guesses. (3) For any form of bias to be eliminated, objective methods should be applied. (4) There should be consistence between the observations made and the original hypotheses within a given conceptual framework. (5) Every hypothesis must undergo tests and there should be competing hypothesis no agreement so that their ability to solve problems (validity) is compared. (6) Within the domain of a given science, generalizations ought to be universally accepted. Without recourse to supernatural factors, all peculiar occurrences must be explicable. (7) So that possibilities of errors are eliminated, a discovery or factor must be wholly accepted only after repeated confirmations by the investigators. (8) A characteristic of science is a continuous refinement of scientific theories through replacement of incomplete or false theories and by finding solutions to hitherto confusing problems (Mayr, 1997).

From the above criteria many people would rightly conclude that just like physics and chemistry, biology should also be treated as a genuine science. One question that still lingers is whether biology is actually a provincial science and therefore should not be treated the same as physical sciences. The first time the term "provincial science" came into being, it was antonymous with the term "universal" in the sense that biology was concerned with localized and specific matter for which one could not impose universal laws. It was argued that the laws of physics had no limitations of space and time; that they remained as valid on earth as in the Andromeda galaxy. But that in contrast, biology was provincial because all known forms of life existing after the Big Bang did so for only 3.8 billion years of the entire 10 billion years. Ronald Munson convincingly refuted this claim by demonstrating that none of the fundamental laws, principles or theories of biology are explicitly or implicitly tied down in their range and scope of application to a spatial region either in space or time. The world of life has immense peculiarities and so one can generalize about phenomena that are unique. Although every ocean current has peculiar qualities, this does not preclude establishment of theories and laws about ocean currents (Mayr, 1997).

We must question "what is universal" if we have to accept all the arguments that deny biology of the principals of universality. Since even non-living matter is believed to be in existence outside the earth, for any science dealing with non-living matter to be regarded as universal it must be applicable extra-terrestrially. So far, life is only demonstrable on earth yet the same laws and principles similar to those of non-living objects are taken to be universal because they are given validity on earth which is the only place existence is known to occur. There is no point of denying the term "universal" for a theory that is true across the whole sphere where it is applicable (Mayr, 1997).

What is meant by describing biology as a provincial science is the fact that it is an outcrop of chemistry and physics and that in the final analysis the discoveries of biology can be tied to physical and chemical theories. A proponent of the independence of Biology, by contrast, might postulate the following argument: various characteristics of interest to biologists will never be reduced to physiochemical laws, and besides, many attributes of the physical world examined by physicists are irrelevant to the study of life or any science outside physics, as a matter of argument. In this sense both biology and physics are provincial. There is no point of treating physics as superior simply because it was the fast structured science. This historical accident does not confer on it more universality that it's younger cousin biology. Until it is accepted that science contains…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Ayala, F.J. (1968). Biology as an autonomous science. Boston Studies in the philosophy of science, 27, 312-329. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-010-1829-6_14#page-1" target="_blank" REL="NOFOLLOW">http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-010-1829-6_14#page-1 <http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-010-1829-6_14>

Bock, W. (1998).The Preeminent Value of Evolutionary Insight in Biological Science. Retrieved from http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/the-preeminent-value-of-evolutionary-insight-in-biological-science

Dieks, D. (2011). Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. Retrieved from http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=mPsWEi2kwQ0C&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=biology+an+autonomous+science&source=bl&ots=yrxoV5bcVh&sig=NDAs-NCklowxI62GMmVakofwC1o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=G652VKr4KMjbuQTUyYKQCg&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBzgK#v=onepage&q=biology%20an%20autonomous%20science&f=false" target="_blank" REL="NOFOLLOW">http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=mPsWEi2kwQ0C&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=biology+an+autonomous+science&source=bl&ots=yrxoV5bcVh&sig=NDAs-NCklowxI62GMmVakofwC1o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=G652VKr4KMjbuQTUyYKQCg&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBzgK#v=onepage&q=biology%20an%20autonomous%20science&f=false <http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=mPsWEi2kwQ0C&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=biology+an+autonomous+science&source=bl&ots=yrxoV5bcVh&sig=NDAs-NCklowxI62GMmVakofwC1o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=G652VKr4KMjbuQTUyYKQCg&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBzgK>

Hansen, N.R. (1969). On the reduction of biology to Physical science. Syntheses, 20(2), 277-289. Retrieved from <http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00413792>
Mayr, E. (1996). The autonomy of biology: The position of biology among sciences, The Quarterly Review of Biology, 71(1), 97-106. Retrieved from http://lamar.colostate.edu/~aknapp/ey505/Mayr%201996%20Autonomy%20of%20Biology%20Q%20Rev%20of%20Biol.pdf
Mayr, E. (1997). This is Biology: The Science of Living World. Retrieved from <http://people.umass.edu/sdestef/NRC%20601/Mayr%201997b.pdf>
Mayr, E. (1998). Is biology an autonomous science? Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/lynnhank/Mayr.pdf
Mayr, E. (2004). The autonomy of biology. Ludus Vitalis, 12(21), 15-27. Retrieved from <http://www.ludusvitalis.org/textos/21/21_mayr.pdf>
Mayr, E. (2004). What Makes Biology Unique? Considerations on the autonomy of a scientific discipline. Retrieved from<https://camscience.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/what-makes-biology-uniqu1.pdf>
Smocovitis, V.B. (1992). Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology, Journal of the history of Biology, 25(1), 1-65. Retrieved from http://people.biology.ufl.edu/bsmocovi/Bettys_Website/Publications_I_files/Unifying%20Biology.pdf


Cite this Document:

"Link Between Physical Sciences And Biology" (2014, November 30) Retrieved August 8, 2022, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/link-between-physical-sciences-and-biology-2152913

"Link Between Physical Sciences And Biology" 30 November 2014. Web.8 August. 2022. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/link-between-physical-sciences-and-biology-2152913>

"Link Between Physical Sciences And Biology", 30 November 2014, Accessed.8 August. 2022,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/link-between-physical-sciences-and-biology-2152913

Related Documents
Biology and Behavior
Words: 2291 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Biology Paper #: 8048746

Biology of Behavior A Multipolar Neuron The Limbic System Behavior is the range of mannerisms and actions that an organism makes, and is seen in conjunction with the environment or themselves. Their environment includes the inanimate items in their physical world, and also the organisms and systems around them. Artificial entities and systems can also exhibit behaviors, as behavior is not strictly the domain of single, individual organisms. There is a strong relationship

Science Tasks Document 2 Of 2 Moisture-Related
Words: 1633 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Physics Paper #: 19085735

Science Tasks (Document 2 of 2) MOISTURE-RELATED HABITAT PREFERENCES IN ISOPODS PROJECT DESIGN PLAN Isopods -- also known as "sowbugs" or "pillbugs" -- are usually mistakenly thought of as insects. In reality they are the only terrestrial species of crustacean, and are evolutionarily more related to crabs, shrimp and lobster than any kind of "bug." This evolutionary relationship to so many aquatic species -- and the dearth of land crustaceans besides the isopods --

Science Definitions Science Is a
Words: 2077 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Disease Paper #: 17935881

In the last fifteen or so years the concerns about vaccinations, and particularly the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccination (MMR) have come to the forefront of societies debates from a limited connection to autism that is most likely associated to the correlation between onset of symptoms of autism and autism spectrum disorders and standard immunization practices. The fear created a general public that was afraid to allow their

Science Fiction & Feminism Sci-Fi & Feminism
Words: 13761 Length: 50 Pages Topic: Mythology Paper #: 33926429

SCIENCE FICTION & FEMINISM Sci-Fi & Feminism Origins & Evolution of Science Fiction As with most things including literature, science fiction has progressed and changed a lot over the years. Many works of science fiction were simply rough copies and following the altready-established patterns of prior authors. However, there has always been authors and creators that push the envelope and forge new questions and storylines that have not been realized or conceptualized before.

Link Between Forensic Psychiatry, Serial Killers and Mass Murderers...
Words: 2461 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Criminal Justice Paper #: 35043145

Serial and Mass Murders: Forensic Psychiatry at Its Best Forensic Psychiatry: Mass Murderers and Serial Killers The status of Forensic Psychiatry has suffered ignominy regarding its ethical standpoint and pragmatic effectiveness for far too long (Arboleda-Florez, 2006). That it has at all been able to gain significance as a super specialty has been mainly due to the diligent and sustained efforts of a few scattered handfuls of them who chose to brave

Organizational Psychology
Words: 1317 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Psychology Paper #: 24113180

Article Review Area: Organizational Psychology Source Jam, F. F., Sheikh, A. R., Iqbal, H., Zaidi, B. H., Anis, Y., & Muzaffar, M. (2011). Combined effects of perception of politics and political skill on employee job outcomes. African Journal of Business Management, 5(23), 9896-9904. Retrieved from http://academicjournals.org/article/article1380363658_Jam%20et%20al.pdf Introduction This review will critically assess the aforementioned paper with regard to subject introduction, intellectual plot, methodology, discussion and outcomes. Further, the article will be summarized followed by an