[Marxism] Fwd: How Can We Apply Physics to Biology?
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 23 06:58:03 MDT 2016
Mayr made perhaps the most concerted attempt by any biologist to draw
clear disciplinary boundaries around his subject, smartly isolating it
from other fields of science. In doing so, he supplies one of the
clearest demonstrations of the folly of that endeavor.
He identifies four fundamental features of physics that distinguish it
from biology. It is essentialist (dividing the world into sharply
delineated and unchanging categories, such as electrons and protons); it
is deterministic (this always necessarily leads to that); it is
reductionist (you understand a system by reducing it to its components);
and it posits universal natural laws, which in biology are undermined by
chance, randomness, and historical contingency. Any physicists will tell
you that this characterization of physics is thoroughly flawed, as a
passing familiarity with quantum theory, chaos, and complexity would reveal.
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