[Marxism] Fwd: How Can We Apply Physics to Biology?

Louis Proyect 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.

full: http://nautil.us/issue/35/boundaries/why-physics-is-not-a-discipline



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