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Sensational Science, Archaic Hominin Genetics, and Amplified Inductive Risk

Havstad, Joyce C (2021) Sensational Science, Archaic Hominin Genetics, and Amplified Inductive Risk. [Preprint]

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Abstract

More than a decade of exacting scientific research involving paleontological fragments and ancient DNA has lately produced a series of pronouncements about a purportedly novel population of archaic hominins dubbed “the Denisova.” The science involved in these matters is both technically stunning and, socially, at times a bit reckless. Here I discuss the responsibilities which scientists incur when they make inductively risky pronouncements about the different relative contributions by Denisovans to genomes of members of apparent sub-populations of current humans (i.e., the so-called “races”). This science is sensational: it is science which empirically speculates, to the public delight’s and entertainment, about scintillating topics such as when humans evolved, where we came from, and who else we were having sex with during our early hominin history. An initial characterization of sensational science emerges from my discussion of the case, as well as diagnosis of an interactive phenomenon termed “amplified inductive risk.”


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Havstad, Joyce Cjhavstad@gmail.com0000-0003-1923-7860
Additional Information: Forthcoming in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.
Keywords: ancient DNA; ethics; genetics; human evolutionary history; inductive risk; paleoanthropology; paleontology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Anthropology
Specific Sciences > Archaeology
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Dr. Joyce C. Havstad
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2021 04:11
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2021 04:11
Item ID: 19199
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Anthropology
Specific Sciences > Archaeology
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 17 June 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19199

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