برمجة الحياة

بما أننا أحياء نرزق، فإننا نتصور أن فهم الحياة وإدراك كينونتها أمر سهل. وفي التصنيف المقبول للعلوم يأتي علم الرياضيات على رأس قائمة أصعب العلوم وأكثرها استغلاقاً على الفهم، ويليها في ذلك علم الفيزياء، ثم علم الكيمياء، وأخيراً علم الأحياء. لكن هذا التدرج العلمي زائف ومضلل: فقد أصبحنا الآن ندرك أن علم الأحياء يحتوى على قدر من الرياضيات أكبر مما كنا نتخيل.

فحين دخلت الجزيئات إلى مجال الفهم العلمي للحياة مع اكتشاف الحمض النووي (DNA)، قفز علم الأحياء خطوة إلى الأمام على مقياس الصعوبة. ثم مع التعرف على المخطط البياني التفصيلي لكيفية تعبير الجينات عن نفسها، قفز علم الأحياء مرة أخرى إلى مرتبة أقرب إلى علم الرياضيات.

والتعبير السائد اليوم في مجال دراسة الحياة هو "بيولوجيا الأنظمة". ولمدة طويلة كان الذين يدرسون طبيعة الحياة وعلم الوراثة ينقسمون إلى معسكرين: أنصار التطور الوراثي التعاقبي الذين كانوا يؤكدون على التأثيرات البيئية على الكائنات الحية، وأنصار التشكل الوراثي المسبق الذين أكدوا على أوجه التشابه بين الآباء والذرية. ولقد كانت وجهة نظر أنصار التطور الوراثي التعاقبي مخطئة على نحو واضح، لأن شيئاً ما ثابتاً لابد وأن ينتقل عبر الأجيال. لكن وجهة نظر أنصار التشكل الوراثي المسبق التي تقول إن الكيان ينتقل عبر الأجيال بانتقال الكائن الحي كوحدة كاملة كانت تتعارض مع استحالة تجزئة الأشياء على نحو غير متناه.

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