Software života

Život je nám vlastní, a proto máme sklon věřit, že je snadné jej pochopit. V uznávané klasifikaci věd se za královnu a nejobtížněji pochopitelnou disciplínu považuje matematika, následovaná fyzikou, chemií a konečně biologií. Tato vědecká hierarchie je však mylná a zavádějící: dnes už víme, že biologie zahrnuje víc matematiky, než jsme si kdy mysleli.

Když s objevem DNA do vědeckého chápání života pronikly molekuly, biologie vystoupila o příčku výš, k chemii. S pochopením abstraktních schémat, jež předepisují, jak se geny projevují, pak biologie vyšplhala ještě blíž k matematice.

Trendovým výrazem ve vědách o životě je dnes biologie „systémů“. Po dlouhou dobu byli ti, kdo studovali podstatu života a dědičnosti, rozděleni na dva tábory: epigenetiky , kteří zdůrazňovali vlivy životního prostředí na živé organismy, a preformisty , již kladli důraz na podobnosti mezi rodiči a potomstvem. Pohled epigenetiků byl zřetelně chybný, neboť cosi stálého se napříč generacemi přenášet muselo. Avšak představu preformistů, že entitou přenášenou napříč generacemi je celý organismus, popírala nemožnost dělit objekty donekonečna.

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