Marshall Abrams
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Pseudorandom number generating algorithms play crucial roles in computer modeling and statistical modeling, but they have received little attention from philosophers of science. I revisit an argument that the success of practices in evolutionary biology using such algorithms in computer simulations provides evidence that evolutionary processes incorporate objective probabilities. I discuss the kind of stochasticity that pseudorandom number generators provide--what I call "pseudochance"--and argue that the argument from simulation practice, as well as other arguments, supports the view that evolutionary processes incorporate pseudochance. I suggest that similar arguments might be given in other domains of science.
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