Re: Art as adaptation (WAS: Robin's Arts Post)

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 18:22:48 -0500

Eric Watt Forste wrote:
> Most of the selection pressure on the shapes of the flowers humans
> tend to select as beautiful results from the need to attract
> insects for pollination. In some cases, flowers go so far as to
> mimic insects in mating postures and release bee sex pheromones
> so as to more effectively exchange pollen with insects. Maybe
> we just happen to have more tastes in common with bees than we
> thought; what the bee sees as sexy, we see as pretty.

I love it! So bees evolve aesthetic preferences to mate with other bees, and then flowers evolve to conform to bees' aesthetic preferences to increase pollination, and then humans evolve to find flowers aesthetic so as to select good foraging grounds. Thus transmitting a set of aesthetic preferences *from* bees *to* humans *across an intervening species*.

My sensawunda for the day. Thanks, EWF!

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