Le Programme de la vie

Plein de vie, nous avons tendance à croire que la vie est facile à comprendre. Dans la classification reçue des sciences, les mathématiques sont considérées comme la science reine par excellence, la plus difficile à comprendre, suivies par la physique, la chimie et enfin la biologie. Toutefois, la hiérarchie scientifique est fausse et trompeuse : Nous savons aujourd’hui que la biologie contient plus de mathématiques qu’on ne l’avait cru.

Quand les molécules sont entrées dans la connaissance scientifique de la vie avec la découverte de l’ADN, la biologie a monté d’un cran dans l’échelle des valeurs pour rejoindre la chimie. Puis, avec la reconnaissance des schémas abstraits dictant l’expression de la génétique, la biologie s’est encore rapprochée des mathématiques.

Le terme branché à la mode d’aujourd’hui dans l’étude de la vie est la biologie des « systèmes ». Pendant longtemps, ceux qui étudiaient la nature de la vie et de l’hérédité se divisaient en deux camps : l’ épigénétique , qui met l’accent sur les influences de l’environnement sur les organismes vivants et le préformisme qui met l’accent sur les similarités entre les parents et les descendants. La perspective épigénétique était visiblement erronée parce que quelque chose de stable devait être transmis à travers les générations. Toutefois, la perspective préformiste selon laquelle l’entité transmise à travers les générations était l’organisme au complet fut contredite par l’impossibilité de segmenter les objets à l’infini.

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