Campbell Reece defined Biology as “the scientific study of life” in the Seventh Edition of his textbook Biology (1). Needless to say, this statement is vague and written as a conclusive fact. It is difficult to question its veracity or scientific merit because it’s not really saying too much in the first place. Instead, Professor Grobstein began his course by similarly suggesting that Biology is the “science of life,” but he then presented a series of additional questions:
• What is science? Why can't it "get it right"?
• What is life? Can one get it "right"?
• Does science = life? (2)
From the start, Grobstein involved his students in the discussion and made them think. Yes, think about science, not just memorize it and move on. He encouraged us all to actively participate in and ask questions about the study of Biology. He acknowledged the fact that much of science is “theory” and not “fact” and that there still exist hundreds of questions that neither he nor anyone else could answer. According to Grobstein, science is simply a series of hypotheses that have not been disproved. On the other hand, Reece wrote in absolutes. It is as if he felt obligated to answer all of the questions about Biology, and therefore life. Grobstein’s lectures did not attempt to account for the unknown, but did often acknowledge it. Ultimately, Grobstein and Reece’s didactic approaches to Biology differed on three particularly interesting subjects: their definitions of life, their approaches to diversity and evolution, and their attitude towards the human brain.