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Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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life

Postby rahoofat » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:52 pm

how does reductionism differfrom systems in
biology
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Re: life

Postby TheMatrixDNA » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:09 am

rahoofat wrote:how does reductionism differfrom systems in
biology


Hi, rahoofat,

It is great that young people are becoming interested in natural systems. If you go to Wikipedia and write “systems biology” everything is there, like this:

System biology, as a paradigm, usually defined in antithesis to the so-called reductionist paradigm (biological organisation), although fully consistent with the scientific method. The distinction between the two paradigms is referred to in these quotations:

"The reductionist approach has successfully identified most of the components and many of the interactions but, unfortunately, offers no convincing concepts or methods to understand how system properties emerge...the pluralism of causes and effects in biological networks is better addressed by observing, through quantitative measures, multiple components simultaneously and by rigorous data integration with mathematical models" Sauer et al.

"Systems biology...is about putting together rather than taking apart, integration rather than reduction. It requires that we develop ways of thinking about integration that are as rigorous as our reductionist programmes, but different....It means changing our philosophy, in the full sense of the term" Denis Noble.

And there is this also: Institute for Systems Biology
http://www.systemsbiology.org/

But… I will add my opinion, if you understand my non-native English:

The Humanity is in need of young people interested in natural systems. As said the wise president of Tchecoslovack, Vaclav Havel: “With the reductionist method we have the knowledge of the smallest particles and atoms in the human body, but something very important is missing because the antique diseases continue making humans suffering. I think we need now beginning to search the connections among the parts, the systemic approach…”

I think that a lot of diseases, like cancer, Alzheimer, etc., are product from that excess of information beyond the sum of information of all parts, which are the system identity. But, unfortunately , the systemic approach that began with Margullis, Fritjof Capra, etc., and got a big step with Ludwig von Bertalanffy , the author of General Systems Theory was deviated from the logical approach towards cybernetics and mathematics, artificial or manmade systems. Why? The problem is that Biology is seeing the world as pictured by Physics and its produced Cosmology, which models must be wrong because the cosmological evolution has no evolutionary link with biological evolution.

Ok. I am not scientist, merely a naturalist philosopher, but I tried to see the Cosmos from the biological viewpoint because I believe that biological systems are evolutionary product from the state of the world about 4 billion years ago, so, the life’s properties must be hidden into astronomic and atomic systems. My personal calculations has as result a new cosmological model where there is the ancestral of DNA, which I called “Matrix/DNA”. The formula of Matrix is in my website “The Universal Matrix of Natural Systems” (Google it, if you are interested), and it is the perfect formula of a natural closed system. By the way, the formula are suggesting a lot of opportunities for research from biology to technology, good for new students, and we , as the Humanity, need trying every rational possibility. Cheers…
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Re: life

Postby sansara » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:18 pm

Thank you for your reply Matrix.

The reductionist approach breaks a system into it's smaller constituent elements, generally looking at components in isolation. IE: a pizza is pepperoni, tomatoes, crust, sauce, cheese. Systems biology looks at the same components in relation to each other and the role they play in emergent phenomena.

My textbook defines the "goal of systems behavior is to construct models for the dynamic behavior of whole biological systems."

There no absolute line of distinction between reductionist approach and a systems approach to a question, both are important, they philosophically bleed together, and both perspectives are used in research. The difference is one of scale; A chemist can validly claim that biology is a chemical reaction, though they would miss out on much of what biology studies- the systems of cells, organs, organisms, populations, and communities. it is good to have both approaches available when you want to understand nature.
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