I have seldom came across the claim, generally in a humorous or ridiculing way, that Botany is "not a real science".

My problem

While I personally reject this claim, at least in the context of plant anatomy and physiology, I want to better understand that claim.

For example, I can understand why taxonating the unending amount of sub-species of well defined species of trees, can be a waste of time and not doing science, but I cannot understand why a generalization about Botany as a whole is valid.

I would not be surprised to come across a similar claim about viruses (which I understand and I might be wrong, going through evolution much more extensively than, say, humans).

My question

Is there a logical argument according to which at least some part of biology isn't scientific?

  • 1
    This sounds like a specific instance of the Demarcation problem en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_problem . Perhaps that might be a good starting point? Not a direct answer but more a suggestion for where we might start to look for one! – Sofie Selnes Mar 24 at 3:07
  • Your question is hard to answer without some context. WHY does this person think botany isn't a real science (and how do they define "real science")? I don't see why botany shouldn't have equal standing with zoology, which also embraces people who like to classify subspecies. – David Blomstrom Mar 24 at 4:37
  • I seem to recall reading that Robert Rosen has argued that living organisms have non-computable models. The only reference I can find (quickly) this page on researchgate – Nick Mar 24 at 4:51
  • biologists use the 'scientific method' as do other sciences. To extend the argument that it would appear you are asking, why wouldn't parts of theoretical mathematics, cosmology, and quantum theory also be considered 'unscientific?' – Swami Vishwananda Mar 24 at 5:36
  • @SwamiVishwananda please see this post of mine to understand why I think what you said above is wrong: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/70369/…. – JohnDoea Mar 24 at 6:30

I believe saying "Botany isn't a science" is merely meant to be derogatory, not a serious philosophical statement. The speaker simply doesn't respect Botany. It is intended in much the same vein as the assertion "Real Men don't eat quiche".

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