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The outcome of Dawkins' WEASEL program was prespecified (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (The outcome of Dawkins' WEASEL program was prespecified (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CF011.1:

Dawkins [1996] demonstrated a program that starts with a random string of letters and, via random copying errors, evolves it into the phrase "Methinks it is like a weasel" in just a few generations, demonstrating the power of natural selection unaided by intelligence. But intelligence is involved in predetermining the target sentence.

Source:

  • Gitt, Werner, and Carl Wieland, 1998. Weasel words. Creation 20(4):20–21


CreationWiki response: (Talk Origins quotes in blue)

1. Dawkins' simulation was plainly stated in his book to demonstrate selection, not evolution. It was intended to show the difference between cumulative selection and single-step selection. Attempts to apply Dawkins' simulation to evolution as a whole are a misreading of his book.

True, but it is Evolutionists that have applied Dawkins' simulation to Evolution as a whole. The above claim is just a response to these Evolutionists.

It is rather strange that Dawkins has elsewhere insisted strongly that natural selection cannot plan ahead--what is a predetermined target sequence other than a pre-planned goal? Yet Dawkins, in an interview commenting on The Blind Watchmaker,[1] maintains that natural selection cannot think ahead, and must deal with what is able to be selected upon: "...[we can't say] well, if we hold out for another million years, that should set us up splendidly to evolve in another million years' time..."[2]

2. Other evolution simulations do demonstrate all the salient features of evolution [Lenski et al. 2003]. They do include a fitness function, but simulating fitness is part of simulating evolution.

This is irrelevant to the claim in question since it deals only with Dawkins' simulation.

See also

References

  1. Dawkins, Richard [1986]. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-393-31570-3.
  2. citation needed: Holt biology textbook
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