Causal efficacy and the analysis of variance

Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):253-276 (2006)
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The causal impacts of genes and environment on any one biological trait are inextricably entangled, and consequently it is widely accepted that it makes no sense in singleton cases to privilege either factor for particular credit. On the other hand, at a population level it may well be the case that one of the factors is responsible for more variation than the other. Standard methodological practice in biology uses the statistical technique of analysis of variance to measure this latter kind of causal efficacy. In this paper, I argue that: 1) analysis of variance is in fact badly suited to this role; and.

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Robert Northcott
Birkbeck, University of London


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