Archives - Biology: Page 41
Author: blogiversity (Thu May 19, 2005 3:08 pm)
Title: Ernst Mayer
Ernst Mayer was one of the most loyal and strong defenders of Darwin’s theory in the twentieth century.
Mayer past away at 100 years old on February 3, 2005 at his home in Bedford, Massachusetts. He was considered amongst the most renowned biologist of our times; a brilliant scientist whose work in the field of biology helped built a solid foundation for this science. Mayer’s work on the philosophy and history of biology established the grounds for its autonomy from the physical sciences.
Mayer thought that in order to understand biology properly one needed to look at it from an evolutionary perspective. He argued vehemently in favor of the autonomy of biology as a science basing his reasons in the fact that many key biological explanations can’t be reduced to the laws of the physical sciences. Some biologists have a tendency to believe that their science can be completely explained in terms of the physical sciences. To Mayer’s, biology based entirely in the laws of chemistry and physics couldn’t account for the historical causal explanations related to an organisms function and morphology. Neither could it explain adequately the concept of ecological competition.
The dependency of this science on a historical narrative perspective helps grant its autonomy from the other physical sciences. Mayer’s view of biology from an integral holistic point of view made him critical about reductive interpretations. His concern about the philosophy of biology came because of the pressure to deconstruct this science from the fields of physics and chemistry. Some biologist came to think that physics had the necessary scientific constructs to be capable of explaining biological structure and function. Mayer, on the other hand, looked at biological organism through the eyes of evolution paying attention to organization and genetic programming.
Mayer’s profound appraisal and scientific regard of Darwin’s theory led him to conclude that it was the most influential scientific theory of the twentieth century. Mayer’s work deserves to be admired because of his contribution to the field of biology and his personal example as a teacher and dedicated scientist.