Are random drift and natural selection conceptually distinct?

Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):33-53 (2002)
The latter half of the twentieth century has been marked by debates in evolutionary biology over the relative significance of natural selection and random drift: the so-called “neutralist/selectionist” debates. Yet John Beatty has argued that it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the concept of random drift from the concept of natural selection, a claim that has been accepted by many philosophers of biology. If this claim is correct, then the neutralist/selectionist debates seem at best futile, and at worst, meaningless. I reexamine the issues that Beatty raises, and argue that random drift and natural selection, conceived as processes, can be distinguished from one another.
Keywords Beatty  Brandon  Carson  causal relevance  chance  conceptual distinction  discriminate sampling  evolution  Hodge  indiscriminate sampling  natural selection
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DOI 10.1023/A:1012990800358
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Robert A. Skipper & Roberta L. Millstein (2005). Thinking About Evolutionary Mechanisms: Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):327-347.

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