Weighing the risks: Stalemate in the classical/balance controversy View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

1987-09

AUTHORS

John Beatty

ABSTRACT

The classical/balance controversy continued along these lines throughout the first half of the sixties. Then, at about the same time that the classical position lost its leading advocate, the balance position received striking new support from Harry Harris, and independently from Dobzhansky's former student Lewontin, and Lewontin's research partner, Jack Hubby.80 These developments served more to reorient the controversy than to end it — and the resulting “neoclassical”/balance controversy is different enough to be grist for another mill. Social policy considerations no longer play a role in keeping the dispute alive. This particular respect in which the issues have changed is, as Diane Paul suggests in her contribution to this volume, as striking as any other.82 There is, however, little danger of our forgetting that this was once much more than just a narrowly technical controversy — the additional social policy issues were far too blatant. However, although blatant, they were by no means the only, or even the most important, issues. In choosing to concentrate on the social policy considerations, I do not mean to suggest that the empirical issues were irrelevant, or simple and straightforward, or otherwise uninteresting. That is by no means the case. What I have tried to show is that there was much more to the classical/balance stalemate than just the empirical underdetermination of the theoretical issues, and that the empirical issues cannot be treated adequately without taking into account the social policy considerations that were involved. Dobzhansky and Muller both appealed to the dangers of misguided social policy that might have resulted from prematurely resolving their controversy in the other's favor. They called for high empirical standards on those grounds, more than once seeking to forestall the resolution of their dispute in this way. More... »

PAGES

289-319

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/bf00139457

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/bf00139457

DIMENSIONS

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