Re: BOOKS: Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 17:13:13 -0500 wrote:
> Eliezer writes:
> >I'd be slightly surprised to find that homosexual beauty standards
> >evolve. Right?
> I attended a fascinating panel discussion in June on the topic of the development of body image among gay men and in male photography. Based on the insightful commentary from the panel, comprised of photographers, intellectuals, and psychologists, I can say that, yes, homosexual beauty standards evolve. And not for the same reasons that heterosexual beauty standards evolve. They are simultaneously exploring paths of machismo and androgyny in ways that only tangentially show up in mainstream culture, usually in the realm of fashion such as Calvin Klein ads.

Not *cultural* evolution. Who cares about cultural evolution? You can do anything you want with culture; it's all software.

Let me rephrase: I'd be surprised to find non-cultural innate preferences for homosexual beauty, unless it was a spandrel (= side effect of something that evolved for a different purpose) - probably the result of retargeting the heterosexual preferences. I'd be *very* surprised to find innate preferences that had evolved directly. What's the selection pressure? To the extent same-sex preferences would evolve at all, you'd expect them to evolve out of existence.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way