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Lecture 2

BIO 1130 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Living Machine, Natural Science, Swarm Behaviour

Course Code
BIO 1130
Jon Houseman

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BIO1130 Notes: September 16, 2013
Looking at the scientific revolution at the time.
Very little biology
Two schools of thought to describe mechanics is applied to the living thing. If you looked close
enough, there is mechanical essences to bring together living things ( Living machines)
Physicalists – with the exception of humans all living things are machines
(Descartes, 17th century)
On the opposite side, a group of thought called
Vitalists – physical and chemical laws apply but living things have a vital force
Natural Science was not a real science but a hobby. There is problem with natural science
compared to physical science.
Physical Science Natural Science
Inanimate objects
Physical and chemical laws
Universal, CO2 gas acts the same way
on earth or on Saturn
No variability, all atoms and molecules
act the same way
Based on empirical observations
Experimentation preferred methods
Deduction based
Single Theory
Single falsification enough to abandon
a theory
Animate objects
More than physical and chemical laws
Not universal
Variability, every human acts, looks and
is different.
Based on historical narratives
Induction most used method
Multiple theories
Single falsification not necessary to
abandon a theory

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Induction: (from specific to general): This animal is an insect and it has wings, therefore all
insects have wings (many multiple observations!)
Deduction: (from general to the specific): All insects have wings and this is an insect. This
animal has wings.
This is what keeps them apart until
Even though they are different, they have the same thinking to get a pattern and process
to get to their conclusion
Anatomy of a science explanation (Theory)
Two parts
-Mechanism or process
Question to be asked
-How (proximate cause)? or Why (ultimate cause)?
Proximate Causes (Physical science –like
Ultimate causes (Natural science- like biology)
Phenotype—morphology and
Mechanical (predictable)
Here and now
Genes in action
Genotype--- Genes and history
(historical evidence)
Variable (probabilistic)
Evolutionary past
Changes in genetic programs
Historical narratives
-Skips down to slide 52…
Stages in an investigation
The Question

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Gather information
Develop a hypothesis and test it
Interpret the results of the test
Go back to slide 45…
Multiple Theories
Food competition
-Theory: with long necks, they are able to reach the highest trees and because of the
better access of food. But a study showed that they were eating at shoulder length.
Sexual Competition
-They fight and the winner of the fight gets the mate. When they fight, they fight in order
to hit the under belly of the other giraffe and with the longest neck, they are able to hit the
underbelly much better.
Their horns on their head
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