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At Mind Matters News: Eric Holloway’s Weasel Libs — a variant of Mad Libs, in honor of Richard Dawkins


Eric Holloway looks at Richard Dawkins’ famous Darwinian evolution-only Weasel program in light of epigenetic information.

To demonstrate what is wrong with fully naturalist assumptions like those of Richard Dawkins’ Weasel program, I developed Weasel Libs, modeled on Mad Libs…

When we apply a Mad Libs “epigenetic” approach to Dawkins’ claims about how life’s information can be created, we quickly see a glaring flaw…

You may have caught it…

Exactly! We will never get a dialogue between Elon Musk and the Twitter board.

The reason is that the overall structure of the Weasel Lib is set in stone. The mechanisms of random variation and natural selection can only come up with variants within those constraints. There is no way that filling in the blanks created in the passage will change the interlocutors from Hamlet and Polonius to Elon Musk and the Twitterati, simply because the names themselves are not blanked out.

Eric Holloway, “Dawkins’ Weasel program vs the information life acquires en route” at Mind Matters News (May 23, 2022)

Enjoy. Comment here.

You may also wish to read: Can computers –- and people — learn to think from the bottom up? That’s the big promise made in a recent article at Aeon. A simple word ladder puzzle shows why Michael Levin and Rafael Yuste’s ambitious project cannot succeed.

My dad used to read stories to us with epigenetic variations determined by feedback. We especially enjoyed a story about an Indian chief named Brave Eagle. As Dad tried various random nouns, we made it clear which ones we enjoyed, and those choices stayed in the nounome while other nouns changed. So Brave Eagle was always Brave Letter. polistra
When I was a kid me and my siblings loved when mom would buy us mad libs. We would laugh a lot filling them out and reading them back. The blanks had underneath what type of word to use in the blank. Andrew asauber

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