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1 March 2013 Explanatory, Predictive, and Heuristic Roles of Allometries and Scaling Relationships
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Abstract
Allometries and scaling relationships have become popular among biologists. One reason for this popularity is the generality of these relationships, which has provided authors hope that allometries and scaling relationships represent biological laws or explanatory generalizations. In this article, I discuss three roles of allometries and scaling relationships: the explanatory, the predictive, and the heuristic. I argue that allometries and scaling relationships often function successfully heuristically—that is, discovering or elucidating patterns from data rather than making accurate predictions or giving illuminating explanations. The heuristic role is not to be overlooked. A science or discipline without interesting objects of explanation lacks the potential to progress and mature.
© 2013 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
and Jani P. Raerinne "Explanatory, Predictive, and Heuristic Roles of Allometries and Scaling Relationships," BioScience 63(3), (1 March 2013). https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2013.63.3.7
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