Is the Grand Unified Theory really elusive? No, I don’t mean combining General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. I mean some theory which thousand times more subtle and has equal importance as the grand unified theory of physics which would explain everything.
Here I talk about the theory of everything for biology. The theory which would account for each and everything we observe in biology and would explain the cause of experimental data obtained from biology experiments. The first question which pops into the mind is that: is a unified theory for biology even possible? Well, the term surely looks like an oxymoron and that is because biologists, traditionally, have relied hugely upon experimental data (and that is because it was far easier to obtain data and explain it than to make theories, hypothesis and then test the predictions). The end result of this data-driven madness was that biology is now so complex that even two biologists (working in not too-distant fields) are not able to comprehend fully what the other person is working on. The Science’s (or biology’s) ultimate aim is to make natural phenomena comprehensible to the man.
Now, look what has happened. Give a popular science (or biology) journal or even a magazine to a layman, and he won’t understand a word in it. Why? Was this the aim of biologists? Why can’t we compress whole of the biology into one equation and then let it unleash its power? The simplicity of the equation E=MC2 has made it the most famous equation world over. Why can’t we do in the biology what Einstein did to physics?
A majority of you would say that it hasn’t been done because it is not possible. I say, prove that it is not possible. I often wonder why it has not been tried yet. Or maybe I am ill informed about that. But the mere thought of biology not having a common framework is little terrifying. Today, what is needed is a mathematical framework from where we can start the quest for this theory.
I suspect ‘Evolution‘ could be one of the candidates for such theory. But, again, as I said we (biologists) are lacking a sound mathematical (or logical) basis upon which to base the theory. Once we agree on a common platform, then we can try developing evolution as THE ULTIMATE THEORY OF BIOLOGY.
I, myself, am hunting for one such idea which can cause paradigm shift in biological sciences. I imagine one day when biologists will prefer theory and mathematics more than the instruments and patience.
I don’t say that biologists are doing wrong when they do wet experiments. If it were, we would never have any vaccines, dolly sheep, Nature journal, etc. All I am saying that efforts should be devoted to make biology less complex and more compact. And the tool for that could only be mathematics.