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The Conflation of “Chance” in Evolution

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posted on 09.01.2020, 11:55 authored by Charles PenceCharles Pence
Literature on the role of “chance” in evolutionary theory exhibits a dizzying array of claims – from “randomness” in genetic drift and mutation to “propensities” in fitness and “contingency” in macroevolution. I argue that much of this diversity is due to the persistent conflation of several senses of “chance,” and a corresponding failure to determine which sense is at issue in any particular biological instance.