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Paper: Modeling biology on physics doesn’t really work




Abstract: Most mathematical modeling in biology relies either implicitly or explicitly on the epistemology of physics. The underlying conception is that the historicity of biological objects would not matter to understand a situation here and now, or, at least, historicity would not impact the method of modeling. We analyze that it is not the case with concrete examples. Historicity forces a conceptual reconfiguration where equations no longer play a central role. We argue that all observations depend on objects defined by their historical origin instead of their relations as in physics. Therefore, we propose that biological variations and historicity come first, and regularities are constraints with limited validity in biology. Their proper theoretical and empirical use requires specific rationales. – Montévil, M. Historicity at the heart of biology. Theory Biosci. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12064-020-00320-8 (paywall)

From the paper:

Name baring types are single specimens that define names in systematics. Names are extended theoretically to all the descent of a common ancestor. In this manner, if the classification requires a revision, the definition of names remains stable. It follows that names correspond to specific material objects in biology. By contrast, the speed of light in the vacuum is an invariant of relativistic theories. The International System of Units uses this invariant to define lengths. There is no need to specify which photon we are talking about; all photons will go at the same speed. In the vacuum physics is based on generic material objects, and not on specific material objects. This comparison shows the deep methodological and epistemological divide between biology and physics and how this divide shapes actual practices.

Modeling biology on physics is useful if the biologist wants to pretend to an august Darwinian certainty that is not really available and perhaps not even possible.

as to,,
"the deep methodological and epistemological divide between biology and physics,,,"
First off, the author is conflating the science of biology with the Darwinian hypothesis of common descent, i.e. "all the descent of a common ancestor." Yet, Darwin's theory has nothing to do with the science of biology. As Marc Kirschner stated,
"In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all." - Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005" "While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.” - Adam S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to "Evolutionary Processes" - (2000).
,, Oh well, leaving aside the author's conflating of the science of biology with the hypothesis of common descent, and focusing in on the author's claim that there is a deep divide between the hypothesis of common descent and physics, ,,, in regards to physics itself, I thought evolution was suppose to be 'as certain than gravity'? At least that is what I have been told on several occasions by Darwinists right here on UD,,, Shoot Le Conte claimed that evolution was "far more certain" than gravity,,,
"The law of evolution is as certain as the law of gravitation. Nay, it is far more certain." - Joseph Le Conte - quoted from his 1888 book, "Evolution"
Contrary to Darwinists often comparing their pseudoscience with the hard science of physics in order to try to give their 'theory' some semblance of respectability,,,,
"All science is either physics or stamp collecting" - Ernest Rutherford - considered one of the greatest experimental physicists of all time
,,, aside from that faux comparison of Darwin's theory with physics,,, Darwinists simply have no right to compare their unfounded 'just-so stories' to the hard science of physics or to compare them to any of the other hard sciences either for that matter,
Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection. Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance. https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530
Darwinists simply have no hard experimental evidence to support their grandiose 'just so stories'
“... another common misuse of evolutionary ideas: namely, the idea that some trait must have evolved merely because we can imagine a scenario under which possession of that trait would have been advantageous to fitness... Such forays into evolutionary explanation amount ultimately to storytelling... it is not enough to construct a story about how the trait might have evolved in response to a given selection pressure; rather, one must provide some sort of evidence that it really did so evolve. This is a very tall order.…” — Austin L. Hughes, The Folly of Scientism - The New Atlantis, Fall 2012
As Franklin M. Harold honestly conceded,
",,,we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations." - Franklin M. Harold,* 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 205. ?*Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, USA
In fact, experimental evidence is precisely where the 'deep divide' between physics and Darwin’s theory exists,,,
“I disagree [with Paul R. Gross’ assertion] that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?” - David Berlinski - A Scientific Scandal
Thus, the author may muse that the 'deep divide' between physics and Darwin's hypothesis of common decent is merely some sort of misunderstanding on our part, but the fact of the matter is that his self-admitted 'deep divide' between physics and Darwin's hypothesis of common decent is another sure sign that, when it comes to Darwinism, we are not even dealing with a real science in the first place, but we are instead dealing with a pseudoscience, even a religion for atheists, rather than dealing with a real and testable hard science. Along that line, in 1967 Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich stated that the Theory of Evolution 'cannot be refuted by any possible observations' and is thus “outside empirical science.”
“Our theory of evolution has become, as Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus “outside empirical science” but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training. The cure seems to us not to be a discarding of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory, but more skepticism about many of its tenets.” Ehrlich, Paul and L.C. Birch (1967), “Evolutionary History and Population Biology,” Nature, 214:349-352, April 22, p. 352 https://afdave.wordpress.com/more-useful-quotes-for-creationists/
And as Denis Noble, President of International Union of Physiological Sciences, stated in 2015, “it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.”
Central tenets of neo-Darwinism broken. Response to ‘Neo-Darwinism is just fine’ – 2015 Excerpt: “If, as the commentator seems to imply, we make neo-Darwinism so flexible as an idea that it can accept even those findings that the originators intended to be excluded by the theory it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.” – Denis Noble https://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/16/2659
Related quote:
"In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality." - Karl Popper - The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge
Or as scriptures stated 2000 years ago
1 Thessalonians 5:21 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

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