David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (1):39-68 (2002)
The debate between the Mendelians and the (largely Darwinian) biometricians has been referred to by R. A. Fisher as ‘one of the most needless controversies in the history of science’ and by David Hull as ‘an explicable embarrassment’. The literature on this topic consists mainly of explaining why the controversy occurred and what factors prevented it from being resolved. Regrettably, little or no mention is made of the issues that figured in its resolution. This paper deals with the latter topic and in doing so reorients the focus of the debate as one between Karl Pearson and R. A. Fisher rather than between the biometricians and the Mendelians. One reason for this reorientation is that Pearson's own work in 1904 and 1909 suggested that Mendelism and biometry could, to some extent, be made compatible, yet he remained steadfast in his rejection of Mendelism. The interesting question then is why Fisher, who was also a proponent of biometric methods, was able to synthesise the two traditions in a way that Pearson either could not or would not. My answer to this question involves an analysis of the ways in which different kinds of assumptions were used in modelling Mendelian populations. I argue that it is these assumptions, which lay behind the statistical techniques of Pearson and Fisher, that can be isolated as the source of Pearson's rejection of Mendelism and Fisher's success in the synthesis.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Charles H. Pence (2011). “Describing Our Whole Experience”: The Statistical Philosophies of W. F. R. Weldon and Karl Pearson. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (4):475-485.
James Justus (2011). Evidentiary Inference in Evolutionary Biology. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):419-437.
Denis M. Walsh (2013). Descriptions and Models: Some Responses to Abrams. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):302-308.
Francisco Louçã (2009). Emancipation Through Interaction — How Eugenics and Statistics Converged and Diverged. Journal of the History of Biology 42 (4):649 - 684.
Similar books and articles
Jacques Poitevineau & Bruno Lecoutre (1998). Some Statistical Misconceptions in Chow's Statistical Significance. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):215-215.
A. G. Cock (1973). William Bateson, Mendelism and Biometry. Journal of the History of Biology 6 (1):1 - 36.
Davis Baird (1983). The Fisher/Pearson Chi-Squared Controversy: A Turning Point for Inductive Inference. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 34 (2):105-118.
Margaret Morrison (2006). Unification, Explanation and Explaining Unity: The Fisher–Wright Controversy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):233-245.
Lester E. Krueger (1998). The Ego has Landed! The .05 Level of Statistical Significance is Soft (Fisher) Rather Than Hard (Neyman/Pearson). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):207-208.
Sahotra Sarkar (2004). Evolutionary Theory in the 1920s: The Nature of the “Synthesis”. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1215-1226.
Sahotra Sarkar (2004). Evolutionary Theory in the 1920s: The Nature of the "Synthesis". Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1215-1226.
Andrés Rivadulla (1991). Mathematical Statistics and Metastatistical Analysis. Erkenntnis 34 (2):211 - 236.
Johannes Lenhard (2006). Models and Statistical Inference: The Controversy Between Fisher and Neyman–Pearson. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):69-91.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads20 ( #86,258 of 1,102,844 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #120,475 of 1,102,844 )
How can I increase my downloads?