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WikiProject Biology (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
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Additional work[edit]

This article has been marked as needing additional work since 2009. I think it's fair to say that it's been improved as much as it's going to be due to that notice, and I think that having that notice on what is otherwise a fairly adequate article looks bad. Would anyone object to its deletion? Mwenechanga (talk) 22:06, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

It may have improved since 2008 (I confess I haven't followed it over that whole time span) but the fact is that the article is still a fairly poor and amateurish account of what a biologist is and does in today's world. The article paints a dusty, outdated picture of botanists, zoologists etc., traditional, 19th and 20th century partitions of biology that are so broad today that they have long ago been subdivided and, paradoxically, the fragments often re-merged again into new disciplines such as molecular biology (now already an ageing term), genomics, proteomics, structural biology and systems biology, to name but a few. These cutting edge topics of modern biology are not mentioned, despite having their own WP articles, and the radical evolution of the subject, which has taken place in little more than the past 25 years is hardly reflected in the article. And there is still only a single citation. Much more work to be done I'm afraid. Plantsurfer (talk) 22:55, 21 May 2013 (UTC)


- *Aristotle; I may be wrong, but I've always been taught that Aristotle was a natural scientist and philosopher who happened to investigate plants and animals. --maveric149

Yes, that's a fair argument. However, that far back, the terms aren't all that meaningful in some cases. Was Euclid a computer scientist? --Robert Merkel
I would argue for including Aristotle here, because his thoughts on living things (even if mostly wrong) were quite influential for many centuries. If you read one of the excellent books by Ernst Mayr about evolutionary theory, you will often see him go back all the way to Aristotle to explain a concept.
Arguably, somebody who "investigates plants and animals" is a biologist, even before the term existed. That doesn't mean that he is only a biologist, of course. Aristotle's philosophy was much more infuential. AxelBoldt
Obviously, I need to do a bit more reseach on this to see what Aristotle wrote on the subject. --maveric149
I think that the term biologist implies someone who applies scientific methods to investigate living things, which is a far cry from Aristotle. Great philosopher, sure, but not a scientist. Mwenechanga (talk)
Aristotle applied empirical thinking, however, which was the equivalent to what it has evolved today as the 'scientific methods' you mention. Science evolved from and is a subset of philosophy in this regard, I think it's fair to regard him as a 'natural scientist' in this regard considering the historical context. The Tumbleman (talk) 23:54, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Article intro[edit]

Hi guys. I've just attempted to expand and improve the intro of the article to more accurately reflect what biologists do and study. I was mainly wondering about the distinction between "basic" (I changed this to "fundamental") and "applied" research. Is there such a significant difference between them that they need to be mentioned separately? I was under the impression that there was less of a distinction, as any "basic" research can often be somewhat applied anyway. I've left it in for now, as it was part of the previous version. Thanks! Cmastris (talk) 22:33, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Specialists section[edit]

It's already been noted that the "Specialists" section is quite outdated and really not very comprehensive at all. I'm proposing that the entire section as it currently stands is deleted and re-done. Instead, I would suggest that there is a relatively short paragraph describing some of the range/types of specialism (e.g. animals, microbes, ecology etc.), but with a clear link (maybe "See also:" at the top) to Biology#Branches. Not only would that means that the list doesn't need to be updated, but the main Biology page is also likely to be updated more frequently than this one.

If anyone has any objections/alternative ideas then please let me know, otherwise I'll probably re-format the section as described above within a week or so. Thanks. Cmastris (talk) 18:28, 18 May 2014 (UTC)