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Was regression to the mean really the solution to Darwin's problem with heredity?

Krashniak, Adam and Lamm, Ehud (2017) Was regression to the mean really the solution to Darwin's problem with heredity? Biology &Philosophy. ISSN 1572-8404

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Abstract

Statistical reasoning is an integral part of modern scientific practice. In The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom Stephen Stigler presents seven core ideas, or pillars, of statistical thinking and the historical developments of each of these pillars, many of which were concurrent with developments in biology. Here we focus on Stigler's fifth pillar, regression, and his discussion of how regression to the mean came to be thought of as a solution to a challenge for the theory of natural selection. Stigler argues that the purely mathematical phenomenon of regression to the mean provides a resolution to a problem for Darwin's evolutionary theory. Thus, he argues that the resolution to the problem for Darwin's theory is purely mathematical, rather than causal. We show why this argument is problematic.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Krashniak, Adam
Lamm, Ehudehud.lamm@gmail.com0000-0003-2980-7847
Keywords: Francis Galton; Regression to the mean; Mathematical explanations; Biology and statistics; Evolution and inheritance
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Dr. Ehud Lamm
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2017 16:16
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2017 16:16
Item ID: 13263
Journal or Publication Title: Biology &Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10539-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-017-9582-2
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Explanation
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 2017
ISSN: 1572-8404
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13263

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