The Nature of Scientific EvidenceStatistical, Philosophical, and Empirical Considerations

The Nature of Scientific EvidenceStatistical, Philosophical, and Empirical Considerations

Mark L. Taper and Subhash R. Lele

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226789552

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

An exploration of the statistical foundations of scientific inference, this book asks what constitutes scientific evidence and whether scientific evidence can be quantified statistically. The chapters explore the relationships among hypotheses, models, data, and inference on which scientific progress rests in an attempt to develop a new quantitative framework for evidence. Informed by interdisciplinary discussions among scientists, philosophers, and statisticians, the chapters propose a new “evidential” approach, which may be more in keeping with the scientific method. The book argues that all scientists should care more about the fine points of statistical philosophy because therein lies the connection between theory and data.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Scientific Process

Mark L. Taper and Subhash R. Lele

1 A Brief Tour of Statistical Concepts

Nicholas Lewin-Koh, Mark L. Taper, and Subhash R. Lele

6 Why Likelihood?

Malcolm Forster and Elliott Sober

9 Dynamical Models as Paths to Evidence in Ecology

Mark L. Taper and Subhash R. Lele

10 Constraints on Negative Relationships: Mathematical Causes and Ecological Consequences

James H. Brown, Edward J. Bedrick, S. K. Morgan Ernest, Jean-Luc E. Cartron, and Jeffrey F. Kelly

Part 4 Science, Opinion, and Evidence

Mark L. Taper and Subhash R. Lele

Part 5 Models, Realities, and Evidence

Mark L. Taper and Subhash R. Lele

Part 6 Conclusion

End Matter