Esistono leggi biologiche?


  • Clara Frontali

Parole chiave:

Biological laws, Functional biology, Evolutionary Biology


Given that when we talk about the “existence” of physical laws (such as the law of universal gravitation, or the conservation of energy) we are not talking about ontological realities, but about schematizations and ways of describing the phenomena that we observe, the question arises: is this way of proceeding by models, also susceptible to mathematical formulation,
also present in the biological sciences? Cases of actual laws are illustrated and discussed, valid in Biochemistry (such as the law of Michaelis and Menten) or in Genetics (the laws of Mendel), or of postulates, such as the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology. These cases, however, fall exclusively within that area that E. Mayr defines as “Functional Biology”, distinguishing
it from the field of “Evolutionary Biology”. The latter in fact remains dominated by contingency, due to the disproportion between the number of possible alternative paths that open up at each step and the actual numerical consistency of any living population. This limitation effectively makes a complete exploration of the wide spectrum of evolutionary possibilities – each with an evanescent probability – impossible.