Those Weasely IDCists!

A couple recent comments here at TSZ by Patrick caught my eye.

First was the claim that arguments for the existence of God had been refuted.

I don’t agree that heaping a bunch of poor and refuted arguments together results in a strong argument.


Second was the claim that IDCists do not understand cumulative selection and Dawkins’ Weasel program.

The first time I think I was expecting more confusion on Ewert’s part about the power of cumulative selection (most IDCists still don’t understand Dawkin’s Weasel).


In this OP I’d like to concentrate on the second of these claims.

I’ve never doubted the power of cumulative selection. What I ask is, where does that power come from and how does the Dawkins Weasel program answer that question? I’m capable of coding a version of the Weasel program. But I’m also interested in the mathematics involved. I’d like to see if we can agree on what is involved in the coding and how that affects the mathematics involved. What is the power of cumulative selection?


A string with a length of 28 characters. Each position in the string can assume one of 27 different values. 27^28 would be the size of the sequence space. Call it the search space.

Many critics of ID claim that evolution is not a search. But “the power of cumulative selection” is dependent upon this view of evolution as a search. After all, the Weasel program is a search algorithm. My view is that the Weasel program incorporates and relies on information that is coded into the program to make the search tractable. The “power of cumulative selection” is an artifact of the design of the program. We lack justification to extend this “power” to biology.

So are there people here who can explain the mathematics and the probabilities and make the necessary connection to biological evolution? Is it a mistake to think that Dawkins’ Weasel program tells us anything about biological evolution.

307 thoughts on “Those Weasely IDCists!

  1. But does it pass Mung’s test!!???

    Mung has a test? I thought he was pestering us for a test, since he doesn’t even know the Weasel requirements.

  2. Here’s what I actually said about my program:

    Mung: Let’s discuss whether the following is or is not an example of cumulative selection:

    You’re welcome, Patrick.

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