Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Teams of rivals   posted by Razib @ 4/11/2007 08:47:00 AM

Rereading some chapters of Sewall Wright & Evolutionary Biology I was struck by the author's contention that Sewall Wright's relatively close relationship with Theodosius Dobzhansky was spurred on by the collaboration between R.A. Fisher & E.B. Ford. What theory Fisher propounded, Ford was reliably keen to find data for. With the rift and rivalry between Wright & Fisher in the early 1930s, Dobzhanksy emerged as an empirically minded confederate who Wright viewed as a possible source of data which would confirm his own hypotheses. The reality (to me) seems that both Wright and Fisher were making grand theoretical assertions beyond the discriminating power of the empirical tests of the time, but it is interesting to human nature playing within science, even as the scientists (Fisher in particular) in question were keen theorists of just that nature.

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