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¬¬¬¬Modeling: Neutral, Null, and Baseline

Bausman, William (2018) ¬¬¬¬Modeling: Neutral, Null, and Baseline. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper distinguishes two reasoning strategies for using a model as a “null”. Null modeling evaluates whether a process is causally responsible for a pattern by testing it against a null model. Baseline modeling measures the relative significance of various processes responsible for a pattern by detecting deviations from a baseline model. Scientists sometimes conflate these strategies because their formal similarities, but they must distinguish them lest they privilege null models as accepted until disproved. I illustrate this problem with the neutral theory of ecology and use this as a case study to draw general lessons. First, scientists cannot draw certain kinds of causal conclusions using null modeling. Second, scientists can draw these kinds of causal conclusions using baseline modeling, but this requires more evidence than does null modeling.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bausman, Williamwcbausman@gmail.com0000-0002-7445-8722
Keywords: Reasoning strategies; Null Modeling; Baseline modeling; ecology; neutral theory
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Dr. William Bausman
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2018 17:32
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 17:32
Item ID: 14346
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Ecology/Conservation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2 February 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14346

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