What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich

Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604) (2010)
Abstract
The statistical interpretation of the Theory of Natural Selection claims that natural selection and drift are statistical features of mathematical aggregates of individual-level events. Natural selection and drift are not themselves causes. The statistical interpretation is motivated by a metaphysical conception of individual priority. Recently, Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich (2009) have argued (a) that natural selection and drift are physical processes, and (b) that the statistical interpretation rests on a misconception of the role of mathematics in biology. Both theses are contested.
Keywords genetic drift  natural selection  population genetics
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