Biology and Philosophy (5):1-10 (2017)

Ehud Lamm
Tel Aviv University
Statistical reasoning is an integral part of modern scientific practice. In The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom Stephen Stigler presents seven core ideas, or pillars, of statistical thinking and the historical developments of each of these pillars, many of which were concurrent with developments in biology. Here we focus on Stigler’s fifth pillar, regression, and his discussion of how regression to the mean came to be thought of as a solution to a challenge for the theory of natural selection. Stigler argues that the purely mathematical phenomenon of regression to the mean provides a resolution to a problem for Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Thus, he argues that the resolution to the problem for Darwin’s theory is purely mathematical, rather than causal. We show why this argument is problematic.
Keywords Francis Galton  Regression to the mean  Mathematical explanations  Biology and statistics  Evolution and inheritance
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-017-9582-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Taming of Chance.Ian Hacking - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.
Logic of Statistical Inference.Ian Hacking - 1965 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
What Makes a Scientific Explanation Distinctively Mathematical?Marc Lange - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):485-511.

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Citations of this work BETA

Francis Galton’s Regression Towards Mediocrity and the Stability of Types.Adam Krashniak & Ehud Lamm - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 81:6-19.

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