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It’s Okay to Call Genetic Drift a ‘Force’

posted on 09.01.2020, 12:34 authored by Charles PenceCharles Pence
One hotly debated philosophical question in the analysis of evolutionary theory concerns whether or not evolution and its various component parts (selection, drift, mutation, and so on) may be considered to be “forces” in the traditional, Newtonian sense. Several compelling arguments assert that the force picture is incoherent, due to the peculiar nature of genetic drift. I consider one of those arguments here – that drift lacks a predictable direction – and show that it fails to demonstrate that a view of genetic drift as a force is untenable.