Is Biology a science? Watch

Scienceisgood
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#21
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#21
Biology is no less a science than who practice philosophy are deemed useful.
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1drowssap
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#22
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(Original post by bertstare)
Of course the medical field is a very applied version of Biology, and making a diagnosis involves far more than just the academic knowledge - but all the academic knowledge doctors do learn is basically just different facets of human biology. Even though Chem is mandatory for going into Med there is virtually zero chemistry content in the course whatsoever
I guess so......
I mean medicine is part of healthcare, which also has lots of social aspects that one has to consider and knowing facts about the human body is just one part of it.
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TheGameOfScience
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#23
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(Original post by XavierMyshkin)
Actually usually the only reason the latter is inhibited is most biologists (and some biochemists) aren't very good at dealing with numbers or at least don't like to. The chemistry of biology is a lot more complicated, which doesn't make the transition easy. Most well trained biochemists probably could work in a very organic chemistry way, even if others aren't so good. Whilst they may even enjoy entry into biophysics. It's not really as rigid as you make it seem and depends on capacity
wait are you talking about biochemists or biologists, because biochemistry is a branch of chemistry, there's a difference between biology and biochemistry, good biochemists could tackle the organic parts of chemistry maybe inorganic too, not physical chem though, like you said but biologists will not be able to do many parts of chemistry because biology hardly contains any chemistry, if it does contain chemistry, its only very brief unless you pick biochem modules.
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RayApparently
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#24
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Well they included it in my Triple Science GCSE programme so I should sure as hell hope so!
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WitnessMO
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#25
yes Biology is a science in its own right.
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Lovinlife2
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#26
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Oh my days, yes, Biology is a Science.
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Changing Skies
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#27
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#27
It's only not a science to some students of subjects like chemistry and physics who long to boost their own superiority.

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Rum Ham
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#28
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Yes I class it as a science, as do most people. Why wouldn't it be classed as a science? :dontknow:

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antipathy
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#29
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Yes, obviously. I think about it like this:

Chemistry is macro Physics, Biology is macro Chemistry.

They're all science, it just depends what scale you're looking at things. Science is merely the reasoned study of things, and acquisition and interrogation of knowledge based on evidence, as opposed to dogma.
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Heimdall
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Does anybody, who feels biology is a true science, then want to counter any of the points I brought up?
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Hype en Ecosse
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#31
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(Original post by Mubariz)
I've always thought Biology has been considered less of a science than the other two.

Chemistry by some, is considered in the same way, some people think it is less of a science when compared to Physics.

But here is the best answer I found online:
The Australian philosopher Colin Leslie dean points out that biology is not a science
A science needs a system of classification through which it identifies the objects of its study

Without a system of classification a science cannot come into existence
Now biology is the "science of life" but
1) biology cannot tell us what life is It can tell us what life does but it cant tell us what it is that makes an organism alive ie the life force
Going by this, Biology cannot be considered a science, but chemistry is.
This uses an incredibly twisted meaning of the word science, and is complete pseudophilosophy. This "life force" and "soul" rubbish is not relevant, and biologists have quite good means of classifying life and non-life. In fact, it's something taught at GCSE level science. The idea that those who study life don't know what life is is ludicrous.

Another online Quote
Defining science:
Science is the study of the real things through the scientific method.

The scientific method steps are:
Observation
Hypothesis
Experiment
Collect data
Conclusion
Law

So in order to a science be considered as such should follow all these steps with no exception.
This is an extremely simplified version of the scientific method, and science is not defined by the creation of "laws". Much investigation in any scientific subject does not culminate in the creation of a law. If we use this kind of definition, the only sciences in the world are physics and chemistry (wherein, still, most investigation does not culminate in a law!).

Another characteristic of the sciences is that they do not contradict, but complement.

Biology doesn't build law, nor objective definitions.
And doesn't follow all the steps of the scientific method.
Another thing is that the "parts" believed to belong to biology that follow scientific method actually are parts of the chemistry, like biochemistry that tries about the process and synthesis of proteins. (advanced organic chemistry)
There are objective definitions in biology - this is self-evident in its study. Knowledge in biology is no more subjective than knowledge in any science.
It does follow the scientific method. You only need to open up any issue of a life sciences journal to see how science is done.
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username1221160
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#32
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(Original post by Mubariz)
Does anybody, who feels biology is a true science, then want to counter any of the points I brought up?
What is meant by "A science needs a system of classification through which it identifies the objects of its study"? Biology is riddled with systems of classification.

As for the second quote: It seems to come down to that biology doesn't build laws and or objective definitions. While it is true that many things in biology can not be reduced to simple laws expressed by mathematical statements, that is true of many things in science because many systems are far too complex to reduce like that. This is also the first time I've heard definition of science that says it has to result in a law.

As for objective definitions, can you explain how the definition of a eukaryotic cell is not objective?
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username1221160
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#33
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#33
(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
This uses an incredibly twisted meaning of the word science, and is complete pseudophilosophy. This "life force" and "soul" rubbish is not relevant, and biologists have quite good means of classifying life and non-life. In fact, it's something taught at GCSE level science. The idea that those who study life don't know what life is is ludicrous.



This is an extremely simplified version of the scientific method, and science is not defined by the creation of "laws". Much investigation in any scientific subject does not culminate in the creation of a law. If we use this kind of definition, the only sciences in the world are physics and chemistry.



There are objective definitions in biology - this is self-evident in its study. Knowledge in biology is no more subjective than knowledge in any science.
It does follow the scientific method. You only need to open up any issue of a life sciences journal to see how science is done.
An answer expressed so much more elegantly than mine. Sadly I'm out of rep for the day.
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Heimdall
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#34
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(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
This uses an incredibly twisted meaning of the word science, and is complete pseudophilosophy. This "life force" and "soul" rubbish is not relevant, and biologists have quite good means of classifying life and non-life. In fact, it's something taught at GCSE level science. The idea that those who study life don't know what life is is ludicrous.
No, they do not know what life is, you can just classify what is alive and what isn't.

What makes something live? What made the first thing live? You cannot answer these questions therefore biologists themselves do not really know what they are studying.

Definition of life "Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have self-sustaining biological processes ("alive," "living"), from those which do not"

Clearly a circular definition, now aside from this, scientists themselves cannot fully agree on what the definition of life is, some would say the 7 things "MRSNERG" but some say that you require brain activity etc.

Biologist classify living organisms by a hierarchy of taxonomies: species, phylum etc etc but again biologists cant tell us what a species is or phylums are

(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
This is an extremely simplified version of the scientific method, and science is not defined by the creation of "laws". Much investigation in any scientific subject does not culminate in the creation of a law. If we use this kind of definition, the only sciences in the world are physics and chemistry.
of course it is simplified, I'm not going to write out or copy the whole scientific method

Laws of Thermodynamics, Newtons Laws, Etc

Maths could also be considered, since Maths also has laws etc, I feel that is right

(Original post by Hype en Ecosse)
There are objective definitions in biology - this is self-evident in its study. Knowledge in biology is no more subjective than knowledge in any science.
It does follow the scientific method. You only need to open up any issue of a life sciences journal to see how science is done.
Addressed above

(Original post by Quantex)
What is meant by "A science needs a system of classification through which it identifies the objects of its study"? Biology is riddled with systems of classification.

As for the second quote: It seems to come down to that biology doesn't build laws and or objective definitions. While it is true that many things in biology can not be reduced to simple laws expressed by mathematical statements, that is true of many things in science because many systems are far too complex to reduce like that. This is also the first time I've heard definition of science that says it has to result in a law.

As for objective definitions, can you explain how the definition of a eukaryotic cell is not objective?
Objective bit is addressed above, whether you have a few definitions that aren't objective is irrelevant when the definition of the very thing you are studying (life) is ambiguous.

What is a kingdom, what is a phylum?

That is the difference between Physical sciences and Social sciences.
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username1221160
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(Original post by Mubariz)
.... .

We'll just have to agree to disagree as I really have to get back to revising for my non-science degree.
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tory88
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#36
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#36
It is a science, just not a formal science
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Davelittle
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#37
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Obviously it is
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redtortoise
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#38
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#38
(Original post by TheGameOfScience)
but chemistry can explain nearly everything in biology, it is why a good chemist can easily become a biologist but a biologist can never become a chemist
No it can't, chemistry can only explain biochemistry, a small branch of biology
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Hype en Ecosse
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#39
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#39
(Original post by Mubariz)
No, they do not know what life is, you can just classify what is alive and what isn't.
If we didn't know what life is, we wouldn't be able to say "this is alive" and "this is not". To say that something has life, you need to know what life is first. Just like I couldn't tell you that you have eyes if I didn't know what eyes were.

What makes something live?
Its genes. Life is simply a culmination of functions. There's no magic going on here. No life force, no soul, nothing imbued by a higher deity. What we have are sets of molecules interacting electromagnetically.that produce functions.

What made the first thing live?
Due to the lack of an unequivocal definition of life, you'd have a hard time deciding what the first living thing even was. However, life exists as it is today because its ancestors were better suited than their competition to replicate in the environment. We don't understand the actual chemistry of what happened - what the mechanism of the creation of the last universal common ancestor was, but we can postulate that it was a result of natural selection. Natural selection applies to any kind of replicator, and not just living ones.

That said, our lack of understanding of its origins does not take away from the scientific nature of study of life. Just like cosmologists study the universe, but don't know its origins.

Definition of life "Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have self-sustaining biological processes ("alive," "living"), from those which do not"

Clearly a circular definition, now aside from this, scientists themselves cannot fully agree on what the definition of life is, some would say the 7 things "MRSNERG" but some say that you require brain activity etc.
You can't just say "clearly a circular definition", and not justify it. A circular definition is any definition which presupposes itself. "Life is anything that is alive" would be a circular definition. The definition we have is "Life is a set of X characteristics". Nothing circular there. We just struggle to decide what exactly "X" should be.

Equivocal definitions are a facet of all aspects of science. Biology is not alone in possessing these. That's simply part of the epistemological constraints placed on us by the fact that we're human.

Comparing "MRS GREN" to brain death is misunderstanding the context of the word "life" in both discussions. They're used in two different contexts and carry two different meanings.

Biologist classify living organisms by a hierarchy of taxonomies: species, phylum etc etc but again biologists cant tell us what a species is or phylums are
Taxonomy is irrelevant to the discussion of life. It's a method of classifying organisms, rather than life. Simply Googling the words "species" and "phyla" will tell you what they are. We know quite well what they are. We invented the words.

of course it is simplified, I'm not going to write out or copy the whole scientific method

Laws of Thermodynamics, Newtons Laws, Etc
Yes. Not all science culminates in the production of a scientific law. There are laws within science, but the production of laws are not defining feature of science. This is simply because the definition of "law" can't stretch to encompass all knowledge that the scientific method produces.
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bertstare
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#40
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(Original post by Mubariz)

Laws of Thermodynamics, Newtons Laws, Etc

Maths could also be considered, since Maths also has laws etc, I feel that is right
Isn't this essentially saying that medical research isn't science because it doesn't conclude with a definitive law, and simply gives us recommendations based on best available evidence? Do you really think medical research isn't science?
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