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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

Weasel Words

  1. Object: Evolve an English word -- any dictionary word -- starting with a random Mother.
  2. Each generation presents fifty children, based on the current Mother.
  3. To play, click on any of the fifty children to make it the new Mother
  4. Each character in each child has an equal chance of mutating. Children having mutations are displayed in red.
  5. A simple strategy: select a child that has more word forming characters in place. It may be unchanged from the Mother. It is possible, even likely, that the winning word will not be one that you were expecting or trying for.
  6. Each generation subtracts one point from your word score.
  7. When a dictionary word becomes the Mother, click Finish to add the word score to your cumulative score.
  8. To play competitively, open a browser tab for each player.
Select mutation rate: 2% 4% 6% 8% 10%
Select word length: 3 4 5 6 7
Generation:  Current Mother:  Cumulative Score:
  Odds:  / Viewed:  = Word Score:
Evolve Your innerHTML:
Completed Words:
Dawkins' Weasel illustrates the cumulative power of selection in a population of imperfect replicators. This game allows you to select the individuals that are allowed to replicate. Each generation is comprised of fifty individuals copied from the Mother. Each individual child is copied letter by letter, and each letter has a chance of mutating during the copy process.
  1. Scoring is based on beating the odds.
    • About 1 three letter string in 30 is an English word.
    • About 1 four letter string in 180 is an English word.
    • About 1 five letter string in 2500 is an English word.
    • About 1 six letter string in 40,000 is an English word.
    • About 1 seven letter string in 70,000 is an English word.
  2. So to beat the odds with four letter words, you need to find a word by viewing fewer than 180 randomly generated strings. Your word score will be 180 divided by the number of mutated strings presented.
  3. Because the process of generating mutations has no memory, mutations may be identical to the Mother, or to a member of a previous generation.
  4. In the original Weasel program, improvement was defined as an increase in the number of characters that match a specified target.
  5. In Weasel Words, improvement is defined as an increase in the number of characters that match any dictionary word.
  6. Improvements defined this way are not all of equal value. Some combinations of characters have more possibilities for further improvement than others.

Based on "Weasel" as described by Richard Dawkins
Weasel Javascript algorithm coded by Wesley R. Elsberry.
Game concept, scoring, coding and design by Midwifetoad

Weasel Words Game concept, scoring, coding and design are the intellectual property of James L. Sowder.
All Right Reserved. The tradename Weasel Words applies to the word game implemented by this web page, and to the underlying concept, the user interface, and the scoring system. This game may not be hosted on any web site without the express permission of the author.