Chance and the patterns of drift: A natural experiment

Philosophy of Science 73 (5):642-654 (2006)
Evolutionary models can explain the dynamics of populations, how genetic, genotypic, or phenotypic frequencies change with time. Models incorporating chance, or drift, predict specific patterns of change. These are illustrated using classic work on blood types by Cavalli-Sforza and his collaborators in the Parma Valley of Italy, in which the theoretically predicted patterns are exhibited in human populations. These data and the models display properties of ensembles of populations. The explanatory problem needs to be understood in terms of how likely an observed change, in either a population or an ensemble, would be under drift alone; this is fundamentally a matter of chance. Understood in this way, issues of drift and chance undercut most recent philosophical, but not biological, discussions of the role of "genetic drift.".
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DOI 10.1086/518519
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Peter Gildenhuys (2009). An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.

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