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  1. Genetic Drift as a Directional Factor: Biasing Effects and a Priori Predictions.Ariel Jonathan Roffé - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (4):535-558.
    The adequacy of Elliott Sober’s analogy between classical mechanics and evolutionary theory—according to which both theories explain via a zero-force law and a set of forces that alter the zero-force state—has been criticized from various points of view. I focus here on McShea and Brandon’s claim that drift shouldn’t be considered a force because it is not directional. I argue that there are a number of different theses that could be meant by this, and show that one of those theses—the (...)
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  • Drift: A Historical and Conceptual Overview.Anya Plutynski - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (2):156-167.
    There are several different ways in which chance affects evolutionary change. That all of these processes are called “random genetic drift” is in part a due to common elements across these different processes, but is also a product of historical borrowing of models and language across different levels of organization in the biological hierarchy. A history of the concept of drift will reveal the variety of contexts in which drift has played an explanatory role in biology, and will shed light (...)
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  • Distinguishing Drift and Selection Empirically: "The Great Snail Debate" of the 1950s.Roberta L. Millstein - 2007 - Journal of the History of Biology 41 (2):339-367.
    Biologists and philosophers have been extremely pessimistic about the possibility of demonstrating random drift in nature, particularly when it comes to distinguishing random drift from natural selection. However, examination of a historical case-Maxime Lamotte's study of natural populations of the land snail, Cepaea nemoralis in the 1950s - shows that while some pessimism is warranted, it has been overstated. Indeed, by describing a unique signature for drift and showing that this signature obtained in the populations under study, Lamotte was able (...)
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  • Discussion of "Four Case Studies on Chance in Evolution": Philosophical Themes and Questions.Roberta L. Millstein - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):678-687.
    The four case studies on chance in evolution provide a rich source for further philosophical analysis. Among the issues raised are the following: Are there different conceptions of chance at work, or is there a common underlying conception? How can a given concept of chance be distinguished from other chance concepts and from nonchance concepts? How can the occurrence of a given chance process be distinguished empirically from nonchance processes or other chance processes? What role does chance play in evolutionary (...)
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  • Can There Be Stochastic Evolutionary Causes?Patrick Forber & Kenneth Reisman - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):616-627.
    Do evolutionary processes such as selection and random drift cause evolutionary change, or are they merely convenient ways of describing or summarizing it? Philosophers have lined up on both sides of this question. One recent defense (Reisman and Forber 2005) of the causal status of selection and drift appeals to a manipulability theory of causation. Yet, even if one accepts manipulability, there are still reasons to doubt that genetic drift, in particular, is genuinely causal. We will address two challenges to (...)
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  • Chance and the Patterns of Drift: A Natural Experiment.Robert C. Richardson - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):642-654.
    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 (...)
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