Word Game

Casey Luskin is a talking head for the Discovery Institute. He is one of those people with no understanding of Biology yet is totally convinced that evolution couldn’t happen, didn’t happen, and isn’t happening now. Pharyngula shreds Luskin’s latest screed, but one thing Luskin does in his article is propose a challenge –

So here is my “Information Challenge”: For the sake of the argument, I will grant that every stage of the evolutionary pathway I requested above will survive, and thus I’ll give natural selection every possible benefit of the doubt. What I need is a step-by-step mutation account of how one sentence evolved into the other wherein the sentence remains functional – i.e., it has comprehensible English meaning – at all stages of its evolution. In short, I request to see how:

“METHINKSDAWKINSDOTHPROTESTTOOMUCH”

can evolve into:

“BUTIMSUREDAWKINSBELIEVESHEISRIGHT”

by changing the first sentence one letter at a time, and having it always retain some comprehensible English meaning along each small step of its evolution. This seems like a reasonable request, as it is not highly different from what Darwinists are telling me can happen in nature.

Now this isn’t at all how genetics works. If we were to make his task more like genetics, you could both add and delete letters, as well as create a duplicate of some section of the sentence, make incremental changes to that which may or may not make sense, and then have the modified duplicate replace the original later on.

Still, Luskin’s challenge seems like little more than a word puzzle and doesn’t seem impossible. Here is a start of a solution.

Here is a solution:

  1. ME THINKS DAWKINS DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH.
  2. BETH INKS DAWKINS; DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH
  3. BETH INKS DAWKINS; DOTS PROTEST TOO MUCH
  4. BETH INKS DAWKINS; BOTS PROTEST TOO MUCH
  5. BE THINES DAWKINS; BOTS PROTEST TOO MUCH
  6. BE THINES DAWKINS; BETS PROTEST TOO MUCH
  7. BE THINES DAWKINS; BETI PROTEST TOO MUCH
  8. BE THINES DAWKINS; BETI POO TEST TOO MUCH
  9. BE THIN, IS DAWKINS; BETI POO TEST TOO MUCH
  10. BET HAN IS DAWKINS; BETI POO TEST TOO MUCH
  11. BUT HAN IS DAWKINS; BETI POO TEST TOO MUCH
  12. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; BETI POO TEST TOO MUCH
  13. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POO TEST TOO MUCH
  14. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POO TEST TOR MUCH
  15. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POO TEST TOR MUCK
  16. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST TOR MUCK
  17. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST TO RIUCK
  18. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST TO RIGCH
  19. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST TO RIG H.H.
  20. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST TO RIGHT.
  21. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST IO RIGHT.
  22. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI POV TEST IS RIGHT.
  23. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI IOV TEST IS RIGHT.
  24. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SETI IEV TEST IS RIGHT.
  25. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS; SET SIEV TEST IS RIGHT.
  26. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS SET SIEVE. EST IS RIGHT.
  27. BUT IAN IS DAWKINS SET SIEVES. ST IS RIGHT.
  28. BUT I AS IS DAWKINS SET SIEVES. ST IS RIGHT.
  29. BUT I AS IS DAWKINS SET SIEVES. SE IS RIGHT.
  30. BUT I AS IS DAWKINS SET SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  31. BUT I’M SIS DAWKINS. SET SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  32. BUT I’M SIR DAWKINS. SET SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  33. BUT I’M SIR D. AIKINS. SET SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  34. BUT I’M SIR D. AIKINS. SEE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  35. BUT I’M SIR D. AIKIN. SS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  36. BUT I’M SIRE AIKIN. SS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  37. BUT I’M SIRE D. IKIN. SS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  38. BUT I’M SIRE D. IKIN. NS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  39. BUT I’M SIRE D. AKIN. NS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  40. BUT I’M SIRE DAK. KNNS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  41. BUT I’M SIRE DAK. KINS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  42. BUT I’M SURE DAK KINS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT.
  43. BUT I’M SURE DAWKINS BE SIEVES. HE IS RIGHT
  44. BUT I’M SURE DAWKINS BELIEVES HE IS RIGHT

So the challenge is, keep modifying the last sentence to make a new sentence that makes sense. Since it is evolution, it is allowed for the sentence to branch. The goal is to get the sentence BUT IM SURE DAWKINS BELIEVES HE IS RIGHT or even better CASEY LUSKIN IS A QUOTE MINING CRACKPOT. I will track the changes/branches in the main post if people make changes in the comments.

Explainations of sentences

  1. I think Dawkins is protesting because what he says is wrong
  2. Beth draws pictures of Dawkins while he complains about it
  3. Beth draws pictures of Dawkins because he doesn’t look good in digital prints
  4. Beth draws pictures of Dawkins; Robots complain
  5. [imitation of old English]Are you Dawkins? Robots protest too much
  6. Are you Dawkins? The wagers being placed suggest otherwise.
  7. Are you Dawkins? Your friend Beti is complaining
  8. Are you Dawkins? Your friend Beti is doing lots of fecal test.
  9. [pirate talk] Dawkins is thin. Beti is still doing fecal test.
  10. I bet Han Solo is really Dawkins. Enough with the fecal test Beti
  11. Han Solo is really Dawkins. Enough with the fecal test Beti
  12. Actually Ian is really Dawkins. Enough with the fecal test Beti
  13. Actually Ian is really Dawkins. I don’t think the Search for Extra Terrestrial Life is going to find anything.
  14. Ok, Ian is really Dawkins. And the SETI institute is spending TOO much time writing reviews of crappy TOR fantasy novels.
  15. More of the same
  16. Ian is Dawkins. SETI is validating the Point Of View of the characters in crappy TOR fantasy novels.
  17. Ian is Dawkins. SETI is testing the POV of the characters to someone named Riuck.
  18. Ian is Dawkins. SETI is testing the POV of the characters to the band Rigch.
  19. Ian is Dawkins. SETI is using POV tests to rig the Hardware Heroes Lottery.
  20. Ian is Dawkins. SETI uses POV test to right some wrong.
  21. Ian is Dawkins. SETI POV test input/output, correct?
  22. Ian is Dawkins. The SETI POV test is correct.
  23. Ian is Dawkins. The SETI Initial Orbit Verification test is correct.
  24. Ian is Dawkins. The SETI IEV test is correct.
  25. Ian is Dawkins. We should continue to use the current Suspected Illegal Entry Vehical test.
  26. No matter what Dawkins says to Ian, it goes in one ear and out the other. The establishment is right.
  27. No matter what Dawkins says to Ian, it goes in one ear and out the other. [IM] The street is on the right.
  28. Dawkins and I both put our sieves down. [IM] The street is on the right.
  29. Dawkins and I both put our sieves down. The south east is to the right.
  30. Dawkins and I both put our sieves down. He is correct.
  31. But I am sister Dawkins. Put down your sieves. He’s right.
  32. But I am Sir Dawkins. Put down your sieves. He’s right.
  33. But I am Sir David Aikins. Put down your sieves. He’s right.
  34. But I am Sir David Aikins. See my sieves. He’s right.
  35. But I am Sir David Aikin. The Nazi SS will ignore what you say. He’s right.
  36. But I am Sire Aikin. The Nazi SS will ignore what you say. He’s right.
  37. But I am Sire David Ikin. The Nazi SS will ignore what you say. He’s right.
  38. But I am Sire David Ikin. The National Semiconductor ignores what you say. He’s right.
  39. But I am Sire David Akin. The National Semiconductor ignores what you say. He’s right.
  40. I am Sire Dak. The KNNS radio station never listens to me. He’s right.
  41. I am Sire Dak. My relatives never listen to me. He’s right.
  42. I’m sure Dak’s relatives never listen. He’s right.
  43. I’m sure the Dawkin’s never listen. He’s right.

8 thoughts on “Word Game

  1. Dang it, when I started I didn’t realize he had moved the word Dawkins by one letter. Oh well, so it will take a little longer.

  2. I added some at lunch today. As long as old english, pirate talk, and the occassional IM are allowed, this looks doable.

  3. You should be able to write a program that randomly changes one letter, checks to see if it still makes a word, discards it if it doesn’t, keeps it if it does, and repeats, giving weight to words in the final sentence.

    And yes, old english, pirate talk and IM are allowed: “having it always retain some comprehensible English meaning along each small step of its evolution” means that those fit the criteria

  4. I considered writing a program to do it and see how it evolves into different sentences, but the “having it always retain some comprehensible English meaning along each small step of its evolution” makes the algorithm a little tougher.

    It’s not too bad looking up obscure words or algorithms to see if it would still make sense to someone.

  5. So not only did you rise to the challenge and succeed in only 44 generations, but you did so with greater constraints than are actually placed on evolutionay processes. If anything, this demonstrates quite nicely that Luskin’s full of shit and that there are MANY ways to solve this kind of puzzle, both in this contrived variant and in the real world.

  6. Nice! Of course, the whole challenge falls completely apart when one recalls that evolution by natural selection (to be precise) has NO pre-determined end goal.
    A more realistic challenge would be to trace the mutation of the first sentence to a sentence completely unrelated as through a game of Telephone.
    Good effort, though.

  7. A more accurate puzzle would allow me to change, add or delete one letter each generation or swap the order of one or more groups of letters.

    I thought about mutating the sentence in several different directions to make it more of an evolutionary tree, but I couldn’t think of an easy way to format it for the web.

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