Is Biology a real Science?

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Abra
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#1
Report Thread starter 15 years ago
#1
I thought i'd make a thread about this to hear some opinions. My interest in this was sparked in the Vet Medicine thread, believe it or not. There is this thread called 'Want to be a vet again HELP' froma student who dropped Biology A Level, ect.

Fundamentally posted this- which started the arguement.
(Original post by Fundamentally)
A level biology is very basic.
If you are having trouble with that, how will you cope with Vet ?
Vet is several orders of magnitude harder."
and someone replied "that's very harsh"

Fundamentally replies with-
(Original post by Fundamentally)
Not at all.

My memory of A level biology was that only the less able did it.
The would-be vets and doctors I knew avoided it and did the real sciences (chem, physics ) maths and further maths instead.

Vet has material is is far harder than basic A level biology.
I fail to understand how someone who cannot cope with so elementary a subject can seriously contemplate vet."
and here goes the argument.

emuron replies 'against' what Fundamentally had to say.

(Original post by emuron)
I fail to see how you can say chem is one of these 'real sciences', even to that degree physics. If at all if you had to class one science as the 'real' science then indeed it would be maths, as essentially everything can be attempted to be explained through mathmatic principals.

If by 'real science' you just mean 'harder science' then again I fail to see this presumption. As everyone is individual and what constitutes as 'real' or hard to paraphrase you is subjective. Example, I find chemistry easier then physics, is it safe to assume that chemistry is not as 'real' as physics?

If by saying that Biology is less 'real' by saying its more subjective as a subject, meaning there are more possable answers then say chemistry, maths or physics where (unless you go into quantum physics etc) there is always a clearly defined answer and method then let me put this forward - Life isn't always clearly defined. By this I mean to me Biology is one of the most relavent sciences to life, it has more pratical applications whereas other sciences have less pratical implications. To me this is reflected in the way its tested as there is always several different ways to treat things in medicine, thus emulated in the exam.

An example from this from another subject is Psychology. Now Psychology is a psuedo science (or quasi what ever you want to call it) as there is not a clearly defined answer. This is reflected in the open answer questions, structure essay responses. Now ask yourself what has more relavence on a day to day scale, Psychology or Maths? I think you would be hard pressed to explain schizoprhenia, or dissociative identity disorder through mathmatics principals. Im sure there is an answer in maths but we havent arrived at that stage yet, thus Psychology will do.

It seems to me these so called 'real sciences' don't effectively reflect real life, they lack humanity.

Well those would be my arguments against what you have said, take em or leave em, rip 'em to shreads or 'whatever'.
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Lou_
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#2
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#2
I don't think biology is simple at all! It is very complex and to be honest, I find it more challenging than chemistry.

I think the problem with biology being classed as a science on its own is that unlike physics and chemistry biology is extremely diverse. Some topics within biology can be classed as a science in their own right. Biology ranges from the very complex study of genetics and structures of cells to looking at organisms as a whole.

I think there is a big difference between 'the study of life' (biology) and the study of the human mind and behaviour (psychology). In psychology there are no straight answers... there are theories for everything and there aren't really any straight answers, whereas in biology there are straight answers (e.g. we KNOW how the heart works, we know how plants create food). Yes there are theories within areas of biology but you could say that about physics too (e.g. in cosmology..theories about the universe).
The example about maths being a science because it will give a straight answer to everything.. I don't think that classing a science based on how straight the answers it gives is right.

That probably didn't make sense but I just don't see how people can call biology simple or refer to is a not a real science. In my opinion it is one of the most important sciences and is extremely relevant to real life.
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Revenged
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#3
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#3
I hate discussions like this... It does seem very pointless... Biology and psychology are sciences... Just because someone thinks they are easier or are without scientific merit mean they are not "real" sciences... In the end of the day they are VASTLY more popular than maths and physics!...
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lil one
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#4
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#4
Biology is defintely the real science. I do maths, chem and bio for AS along with economics, and biology is without a doubt the hardest for me, because we have an awful teacher, and its very hard to self-teach.
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Tom H
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#5
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#5
Does there need to be a distinction made between Biology A-Level and Biology here?

I mean this guy Fundemental says that A-Level Bio is easy, but Medicine and Vet Med are hard. Pretty sure both involve more Biology than anything else...
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datr
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#6
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#6
Biology only became a real science in the last hundred years (maybe fifty). If you define science as the collection of knowledge via the scientific method; this involves coming up with a theory and making falsifiable predictions from it. Then it's only recently that this has really started to happen in Biology (at least to the extent it happens in the other sciences).

Nothing from Biology AS really fits this definition of science though (maybe some of the gene stuff). AS Biology seems to merely documents creatures, organs and processes; a sort of reverse engineering of nature.

Interestingly by the same argument though this would mean maths isn't a science.
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Abra
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#7
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#7
(Original post by datr)
Biology only became a real science in the last hundred years (maybe fifty). If you define science as the collection of knowledge via the scientific method; this involves coming up with a theory and making falsifiable predictions from it. Then it's only recently that this has really started to happen in Biology (at least to the extent it happens in the other sciences).

Nothing from Biology AS really fits this definition of science though (maybe some of the gene stuff). AS Biology seems to merely documents creatures, organs and processes; a sort of reverse engineering of nature.

Interestingly by the same argument though this would mean maths isn't a science.
Good points, but what? (the last point) what are you comparing Maths to?
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suneilr
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#8
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(Original post by datr)
Nothing from Biology AS really fits this definition of science though (maybe some of the gene stuff). AS Biology seems to merely documents creatures, organs and processes; a sort of reverse engineering of nature.
What is genetics? Mostly chemistry. The major bit of biology is chemistry. Most biological processes are just chemical reactions.
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jpowell
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#9
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I'm a mathematician and a physicist, and I think this is a stupid thread.

Mathematics is NOT a science, anyone attempting to say it is the "purest" science is talking nonsense, mathematics does not use the scientific principle. The thing that defines a science is not whether it gives you a straight answer. The axiomatic formulation of mathematics ensures it can give you straight answers, but it cannot tell you anything about the way the universe works, which is ultimately what science is aiming to do.

Biology is as much as a science as Physics, Chemistry or any other field of inquiry that uses the scientific method.

I didn't study A-level biology so I cannot comment on the content of that coruse, but "real" i.e. university and above, biology is not a trivial subject.
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Tom H
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#10
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#10
Most chemical reaction are products of the laws of physics..
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shmoogle
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#11
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#11
maths is realistically useless for people who dont want to take it any further.
sorry my friend you will NEVER use modulus in ur LIFE while shopping in tescos.

chem again extremely useless unless u specifically go into chem eng, sorry folks u will NEVEr need to know the mass of invisible matter /no matter? in ur life.

physics - ...um .. hang on except for an engineer all others who do physics are strange , and frankly ******ed because all they do is speculate about other dimensions and worm holes.

finally biology is the only real practical science that u can apply or use. it teaches u about anatomy most importantly which i will be dealing with directly as a vet , infections disease, metabolic processes its all good. okay maybe the plant stuff is ****e. but still.

so personally when med and vet entry demands chem and people find themselves having to take maths and chem i think its stupid.. u will never use them ever ever again so u just wasted 2 years of ur life.

education these days needs 2 things:

less bull-****
more hands on experience.

get a corpse and prep ur pre-med entries with intensive anatomy and disection, examine them on that and see who can cut it. dump the rest. if they fail stick them microbio or biomed seeing as how they wanted to pursue biology related field in the first place. much better than wasting ur time logging and solving stupid numbers.
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jpowell
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#12
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#12
(Original post by shmoogle)
maths is realistically useless for people who dont want to take it any further.
sorry my friend you will NEVER use modulus in ur LIFE while shopping in tescos.

chem again extremely useless unless u specifically go into chem eng, sorry folks u will NEVEr need to know the mass of invisible matter /no matter? in ur life.

physics - ...um .. hang on except for an engineer all others who do physics are strange , and frankly ******ed because all they do is speculate about other dimensions and worm holes.

finally biology is the only real practical science that u can apply or use. it teaches u about anatomy most importantly which i will be dealing with directly as a vet , infections disease, metabolic processes its all good. okay maybe the plant stuff is ****e. but still.

so personally when med and vet entry demands chem and people find themselves having to take maths and chem i think its stupid.. u will never use them ever ever again so u just wasted 2 years of ur life.

education these days needs 2 things:

less bull-****
more hands on experience.

get a corpse and prep ur pre-med entries with intensive anatomy and disection, examine them on that and see who can cut it. dump the rest. if they fail stick them microbio or biomed seeing as how they wanted to pursue biology related field in the first place. much better than wasting ur time logging and solving stupid numbers.
Mathematics is a tool used in all the branches of science, without it... well it's pointless to talk about what would happen without it, as science as we know it wouldn't exist. Likewise, all the sciences are inter-related and without a proper understanding of chemistry, the biologists wouldn't have an understanding of cellular processes and it would be harder to engineer drugs and chemicals for doctors to use.

I can only assume it is plain ignorance on your part that you do not know the applications of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in the real world. I don't particularly care to enlighten you on that, I'm not entirely sure you'd understand.
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shmoogle
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(Original post by jpowell)
Mathematics is a tool used in all the branches of science, without it... well it's pointless to talk about what would happen without it, as science as we know it wouldn't exist. Likewise, all the sciences are inter-related and without a proper understanding of chemistry, the biologists wouldn't have an understanding of cellular processes and it would be harder to engineer drugs and chemicals for doctors to use.

I can only assume it is plain ignorance on your part that you do not know the applications of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in the real world. I don't particularly care to enlighten you on that, I'm not entirely sure you'd understand.
okay 3 2 1 GO , give me a practical application of the modulus function in tescos.
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datr
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#14
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#14
(Original post by shmoogle)
maths is realistically useless for people who dont want to take it any further.
sorry my friend you will NEVER use modulus in ur LIFE while shopping in tescos.

chem again extremely useless unless u specifically go into chem eng, sorry folks u will NEVEr need to know the mass of invisible matter /no matter? in ur life.

physics - ...um .. hang on except for an engineer all others who do physics are strange , and frankly ******ed because all they do is speculate about other dimensions and worm holes.
The irony is that you'd never be able to post this if it wern't for these three subjects that you dismiss so easily.
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jpowell
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#15
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(Original post by shmoogle)
okay 3 2 1 GO , give me a practical application of the modulus function in tescos.
That's a pretty poor argument against mathematics. How about the fact that without mathematics you wouldn't be able to work out your shopping bill, and the checkouts certainly wouldn't do it because the computer system they run on needs to be programmed by people who know an awful lot about mathematics (and they'd no doubt need to use the modulus function).
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Abra
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#16
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(Original post by jpowell)
I'm a mathematician and a physicist, and I think this is a stupid thread.

Mathematics is NOT a science, anyone attempting to say it is the "purest" science is talking nonsense, mathematics does not use the scientific principle. The thing that defines a science is not whether it gives you a straight answer. The axiomatic formulation of mathematics ensures it can give you straight answers, but it cannot tell you anything about the way the universe works, which is ultimately what science is aiming to do.
I differ. Maths is beyond this thing we call Science (i assume that's Physics, Chemistry, Biology.) as if Maths didn't exist (and i cannot imagine what this world would be like) these scientific principles wouldn't even exist. Because to understand the roots of Science, you have to understand Maths. Therefore eliminating Maths would eliminate Science. Therefore Maths is superior to science. But since i don't know anything above Science.. i say Maths is a science.
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jpowell
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#17
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#17
You aren't disagreeing with me. You are talking about something completely different.

I said that maths is not science. You said that maths is superior to science. Those two statements are not contradictory. I want no part of the debate as to whether maths is superior to science as it is quite pointless, and is like comparing apples to oranges.
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Abra
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#18
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#18
Maths is superior to Science.

Take out Maths and you don’t really understand Physics, Chemistry, Biology (in that order).

You're point was Maths doesn't follow the 'scientific principles'... but does it have to when it's above all that?
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jpowell
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#19
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#19
I think you misunderstand what maths and science are.

They are not in competition. Mathematics is the study of the logical consequences of axioms. Science is the process we use to understand the universe.

In no sense is "maths the purest science" because maths doesn't make claims about the physical world. Mathematics can be used as a tool in science, or it can be studied for it's own sake.


I really fail to see what you mean by "Maths is superior to Science", that certainly isn't a mathematical claim that can be proven :P.
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Abra
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#20
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#20
I better stop here. You get the last word!
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