How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution


The dreaded New Your Times Magazine has the article How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution.

The extravagant splendor of the animal kingdom can’t be explained by natural selection alone — so how did it come to be?

What the author of the article, Ferris Jabr, fails to appreciate is something that Nassim Nicholas Taleb pointed out. A description of something observed is on firmer ground than any attempt to explain why it happened. Jabr somehow doesn’t show enough appreciation for the observation of beauty in nature because Jabr is so anxious to know the explanation.

I find it interesting to apply some of the observations in the bird kingdom to the behavior of sexual selection in humans. It seems like the fashions of what women and men find to be attractive in each other changes more rapidly than in the other animal kingdoms. Since we are part of nature, this is natural selection, too, even if a lot of it is in our minds (or the eyes of the beholders).

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