Abstract: Skepticism of the building block hypothesis has previously been expressed on account of the weak theoretical foundations of this hypothesis and anomalies in the empirical record of the simple genetic algorithm. In this paper we focus on a more fundamental cause for skepticism—the extraordinary strength of some of the assumptions undergirding the building block hypothesis. As many of these assumptions have been embraced by the designers of so called “competent” genetic algorithms, our critique is relevant to an appraisal of such algorithms. We argue that these assumptions are too strong to be acceptable without additional evidence. We then point out weaknesses in the arguments that have been provided in lieu of such evidence.