Island Biogeography, Species-Area Curves, and Statistical Errors: Applied Biology and Scientific Rationality

Abstract
When Kangas suggested in 1986 that wildlife reserve designs could be much smaller than previously thought, community ecologists attacked his views on methodological grounds (island biogeographical theory is beset with uncertainties) and on conservation grounds (Kangas seemed to encourage deforestation and extinction). Kangas' defenders, like Simberloff, argued that in a situation of biological uncertainty (the degree/type of deforestation-induced extinction), scientists ought to follow the epistemologically conservative course and risk type-II error (the risk of not rejecting a null hypothesis that is false), rather than type-I error. (This is the risk of rejecting a null hypothesis that is true). Kangas' opponents, like Noss, argued that, in a situation of scientific uncertainty, scientists ought to risk type-I, rather than type-II, error. This essay argues that there are different types of rationality appropriate to science and applied science and, therefore, in cases of applied science (like conservation biology), the more conservative course of action is for scientists to risk type-I error. The essay argues further that, on grounds of scientific rationality, Kangas, Simberloff, and others were correct in risking type-II error, but that, on grounds of decision-theoretic rationality, Noss, Waide, and others were correct in risking type-I error.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,392
External links
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

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Agnieszka Lekka-Kowalik (2010). Why Science Cannot Be Value-Free. Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (1):33-41.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (1994). Of Nulls and Norms. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:280 - 290.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-05-29

Total downloads

6 ( #207,107 of 1,102,932 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #84,785 of 1,102,932 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.