Biology

∞ generated and posted on 2016.08.19 ∞

The study of life.

Anything that either has or is derived from something that has a mutable, selectable, and replicable genotype along with a phenotype is Biological and therefore a worthy subject of Biological study.

To a degree, but only to a degree, the following no longer is strictly or at least always true (just mostly; from ; emphasis is as found in the original):

The word biology suggests a uniform and unified science. Yet recent developments have made it increasingly clear that biology is a most complex area—indeed, that the word biology is a label for two largely separate fields which differ greatly in method, Fragestellung, and basic concepts. As soon as one goes beyond the level of purely descriptive structural biology [Note that I believe that Mayr is using this term differently from how it is defined in Wikipedia, particularly more broadly to include not just molecular structural biology. but such things as anatomy, i.e., gross anatomy, as well.], one finds two very different areas, which may be designated functional biology and evolutionary biology. To be sure, the two fields have many points of contact and overlap. Any biologist working in one of these fields must have a knowledge and appreciation of the other field if he wants to avoid the label of a narrow-minded specialist. Yet in his own research he will be occupied with problems of either one or the other field.

If a physicist says "ice floats on water," his statement is true for any piece of ice and any body of water. The members of a class usually lack the individuality that is so characteristic of the organic world, where all individuals are unique; all stages in the life cycle are unique; all populations are unique; all species and higher categories are unique; all interindividual contacts are unique; all natural associations of species are unique; and all evolutionary events are unique. Where these statements are applicable to man, their validity is self-evident. However, they are equally valid for all sexually reproducing animals and plants. Uniqueness, of course, does not entirely preclude prediction. We can make many valid statements about the attributes and behavior of man, and the same is true for other organisms.

Note that the definition provided at the top of this page does not attempt to define life. More broadly, then, we can differentiate among those things that are living, those that at one time had been living, and those things that never had been alive.

More broadly still, we can distinguish between those things that are products of living things from those that are not, though with the caveat that certain things, such as carbon dioxide, can be the product of both living and non-living processes.

As a general rule, if something consists of complex organic molecules, particularly what we describe as macromolecules, then chances are fairly good that this entity is a living thing, is the product of a living thing, or otherwise has been synthesized in the laboratory (i.e., by ourselves).

The following is a list (incomplete!) of major concepts associated with the science of biology:


     Biochemistry
          Carbohydrates
          Lipids
          Lipid bilayers
          Proteins
          Enzymes
          Nucleic acids
     Bioenergetics
     Biotechnology
     Cell biology
          Eukaryotic cell (predominantly)
          Cell-to-cell communication (eukaryotic)
          Cell division (predominantly eukaryotic)
          Prokaryotic cell (predominantly)
     Physiology
     Genetics
          Mendelian genetics
          Cytogenetics
          Evolutionary genetics
          Molecular genetics
          Microbial genetics
     Ecology
          Behavioral ecology
          Community ecology
          Ecosystem ecology
          Organismal ecology
          Population ecology
     Evolution
     Taxonomy
     Life's diversity
     Microbiology
          Virology
          Microorganisms
          Disease principles
          Infectious diseases
          Etiologies
          Microbial techniques
          Microscopy
          Disinfection
          Microbial pharmacology
     Immunology

See also:

Alive, Biochemistry, Bioenergetics, Biogenesis, Biology, Biotechnology, Body, Canalization, Cell biology, Descendant, Disinfection, Ecology, Evolution, Expression vector, Fertilization, Generation, Genetics, Growth, Immunology, Infectious disease, Lactoferrin, Life, Life's diversity, Living, Living thing, Macroorganism, Membrane, Microbiology, Morphology, Nature, Offspring, Organism, Parent, Physiology, Progeny, Proximate causation, Reductionism, Replication, Reproduction, Spontaneous generation, Synthesis, Taxonomy, Ultimate causation, Zygote

See in addition "Biology major" and Doing well in biology class.


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