This paper analyses the broad methodological structure of population-biological theorising. In it, I show that the distinction between initial exploratory, hypothesis-generating research and the subsequent process-reconstructing, hypothesis-testing type of research is not being made. Rather, the hypotheses generated in population biology are elaborated in such detail that students confound the initial research phase with the subsequent hypotheses-testing phase of research. In this context, I therefore analyse some testing procedures within the exploration phase and show that, as an extreme form of confusion, statistical null-models are mistakenly given the status of causal population-biological theory.
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