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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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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 Ex Nihilo 20(4) (Sep/Nov): 20-21. http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/3746.asp

Response:

  1. Dawkins's 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's simulation to evolution as a whole are a misreading of his book.

  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.

References:

  1. Dawkins, Richard, 1986. The Blind Watchmaker. New York: Norton.
  2. Lenski, R. E., C. Ofria, R. T. Pennock and C. Adami, 2003. The evolutionary origin of complex features. Nature 423: 139-144. http://myxo.css.msu.edu/papers/nature2003/ See also: National Science Foundation, 2003. Artificial Life Experiments Show How Complex Functions Can Evolve. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030508075843.htm

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created 2003-7-6