Similarities as Evidence for Common Ancestry: A Likelihood Epistemology

  title={Similarities as Evidence for Common Ancestry: A Likelihood Epistemology},
  author={Elliott Sober and Mike A. Steel},
  journal={The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science},
  pages={617 - 638}
  • E. Sober, M. Steel
  • Published 2017
  • Computer Science, Biology, Philosophy
  • The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Darwin claims in the Origin that similarity is evidence for common ancestry, but that adaptive similarities are ‘almost valueless’ as evidence. This second claim seems reasonable for some adaptive similarities but not for others. Here we clarify and evaluate these and related matters by using the law of likelihood as an analytic tool and by considering mathematical models of three evolutionary processes: directional selection, stabilizing selection, and drift. Our results apply both to Darwin’s… Expand
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