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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CF011.1:

Dawkins (1986) 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.


Gitt, Werner, and Carl Wieland, 1998. Weasel words. Creation Ex Nihilo 20(4) (Sep/Nov): 20-21.


  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.


  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. See also: National Science Foundation, 2003. Artificial Life Experiments Show How Complex Functions Can Evolve.

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created 2003-7-6