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Thread: Maths Versus Biology

  1. #1 Maths Versus Biology 
    Forum Sophomore BioHazard's Avatar
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    Alot of doctors/biologists hate maths, alot of physicists/mathematicans hate biology. I have observed this in alot of people,I don't know if it's a rule though, I just would like to confirm this belief by your own experiances with the matter.


    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  3. #2  
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    I love both, I love maths because its predictable rational and predictive, and I love biology because its observational.
    I believe its a bad idea to try and separate areas in science, as both are still part of the same universe, everything is intertwined.

    Im in medical school and there are quite a few theoretical physics graduates now studying medicine; so it is possible to like both!
    But I know there are people who like biology as its the "least scientific" compared to chemitry/physics etc (that is not my view)
    Similarly I think many mathematicians look down on biologists (in various fields) as they think their methods are superior without realising the complexities that actually exist in nature.

    I wouldnt consider what you say a rule.


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  4. #3  
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    I always liked math and physics better because it seemed like biology was more about memorizing facts. Most people seem to like one or the other but we definitely need to have some who know both.

    Thomas Young was a physician in the early 19th century, but he seemed to prefer to do physics in his "spare" time and made a lot of discoveries in that field. His knowledge of optics helped him make some discoveries about how the eye focuses and the three color theory of light perception.

    A lot of premature babies died until somebody that knew about surface tension of liquids figured out that they were smothering to death because the sufaces of their lungs were sticking together. There is a surfactant produced later as they develop that allows them to breathe.
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  5. #4  
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    When I picked my major i was really torn between math and biology.
    I love them both.

    I ended up picking genetics because it is the most 'mathematical' of the biologies ... in my opinion.

    So, NO! Not a general rule!
    It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong. --- Isaac Asimov
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  6. #5  
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    So...I'm not the only one who loves Biology and hates math? Wow! I thought it was only me and this one other person I met at FSU.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

    http://www.atheistthinktank.net/thinktank/index.php

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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    So...I'm not the only one who loves Biology and hates math? Wow! I thought it was only me and this one other person I met at FSU.
    i don't exactly hate maths, but i see it more as a tool whilst biology is a vocation (at least to me it is)
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  8. #7  
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    I always thought that some minds are preset to understand Specific things more than others. The maths vs. Bio thing is so obvious that three of my university bio books have promotions on the frontpage for online maths tutorial courses!
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    just think of this : Charles Darwin was pretty poor at maths but his cousin Francis Galton was quite a whizz at it

    now think - who has the more lasting legacy ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
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    Darwin was poor at maths? great!
    Now I'll read his biography thats been collecting dust on the shelf
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
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  11. #10  
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    I dread le Maths. I grew up with a poor foundation in mathematics and in the latter part of high school, never really cared about mathematics. Almost 8 years later and I'm getting pre-requ's done for med school and let me tell you, I still hate le maths. I think the worst problem was that none of my high school math teachers ever really made the math we learned practical so I found it useless. Low and behold, I enter the real world and realize how much of a profound impact it has. It truly is the foundation of life and everything around it.

    Needless to say, I'm pursuing a molecular bioscience post-bacc degree with weak math foundations (our curriculum only requires 2 classes in the maths, one calc for life science and another that is pretty much learning how to use the mathematical methods given in DNA analyses).

    So I guess in sum, yes I hate math and love bio rounded classes.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I never needed math as a professional biologist other than knowing that a manuscript with a maximum of 2,500 words should not have more than 2,500 words. And a maximum of 4 figures means 4 or less figures.

    Luckily MS word counts the words for you. You only have to decide then if 3495 is more or less than 2500.

    I don't hate math, because it is non-existent in my life. If it wasn't then I would hate it.
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  13. #12 hi 
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    i take math as a very pure science where as biology is a kind of an applied science. so math should be there to understand biology.
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  14. #13  
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    I'm no mathmatician or physicict but I plan on going down that path after I finish high school. I hate biology... Actually I'm not even taking it this coming year in grade 11... It kinda makes me angry because biology is the only science my school offers AP for.
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  15. #14 This is the truth 
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    people who do math think that biology is very dull subject full of stuff to remember. They just don't make any effort to understand what biology really is. they have prejudged biology.

    And at the same biologist shouldn't hate math, if they are real biologists. I mean most of the concepts in bio chemistry is based on mathematical derivations.

    :wink:
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  16. #15 Math is an important tool for biologists. 
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    It's true that biology has a reputation as the place to go in science if you're not good at math. But biologists are missing out if they don't get a real foundation in subjects such as probability and statistics. This is especially true in genetics, as others have pointed out (for example: inheritance, the genetic code).

    In genetic analysis class I had to grit my (engineer's) teeth as the professor kept making math errors.

    And most papers showing experimental results use statistics like the chi-square test to validate their results.

    just my $.02.
    "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.", Groucho Marx
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  17. #16 true 
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    absolutely true. i completely agree with you.
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  18. #17  
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    Mathematics is the language of science. Failure to grasp the mathematical straw makes one illiterate in the field. Biology may not require the level demanded by astrophysics or meteorology, but without the basics, one is seriously constrained.
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  19. #18  
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    Not really ophiolite. What you do is just to ask for help from real statisticians. But only if you actually have statistical data.

    And if you want a computer model you ask someone else too. Most work merely involves description, even though some of it looks really fancy and is trying to hide the fact that it is descriptive.

    I merely wonder if math couldn't be helped if they started to describe more then to theorize. Or is that called physics?

    :wink:
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Not really ophiolite. What you do is just to ask for help from real statisticians. But only if you actually have statistical data.
    My mathematic skills are abyssmal. I view this as a major limitation. [Had those skills been adequate I would have taken a degree in astronomy, not geology.] If the maths were merely a tool then I would agree that we could ask a 'machinist' (the statistician) to use that tool on our behalf. However, the conclusion of our studies could be so wholly changed by correct statisitical interpretation that this should, in my view, lie at the heart of any research.
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  21. #20  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Not really ophiolite. What you do is just to ask for help from real statisticians. But only if you actually have statistical data.
    My mathematic skills are abyssmal. I view this as a major limitation. [Had those skills been adequate I would have taken a degree in astronomy, not geology.] If the maths were merely a tool then I would agree that we could ask a 'machinist' (the statistician) to use that tool on our behalf. However, the conclusion of our studies could be so wholly changed by correct statisitical interpretation that this should, in my view, lie at the heart of any research.
    I think we are mostly afraid to do proper statistics because we will learn then that we have NO results. :wink:
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I think we are mostly afraid to do proper statistics because we will learn then that we have NO results. :wink:
    This is true in 84.3% of cases with a standard deviation of 2.09.
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