Sunday, 8 June 2014

Repology 101: Repetition

It would be quite nice to say that repology is the science of copying - covering reproduction, replication and repetition. However, repetition is a bit of an odd-one out here - it doesn't necessarily involve copying.

Of course many types of repetition do involve copying. Any type of repeating voluntary animal behaviour, for example, involves repeated copying of information from memory neurons to motor neurons.

However, there are some types of repetition which do not involve copying - for example: spinning objects repeat their earlier configurations repeatedly - yet typically nothing is being copied during the process.

The phenomenon of repetition brings the domain of repology into question. The term 'reps' is often used as an abbreviation for 'repetitions' - raising the question of whether repology should include repetition.

I think we are better off with repology being the science of copying. Copying if of significant scientific interest - since it is part of the foundations of genetics and evolutionary theory. Repetition that doesn't involve copying seems to be a quite different topic. I think it is worth excluding it.

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