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

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 09 Sep 1999 08:31:32 -0500

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> As such, whether it is true or not, it is probably worth reading
> for people who envision "self-selection" of their own attributes
> (physical, mental, emotional, etc.). The self-selection of
> attributes presumably depends to some degree on how one perceives
> those attributes will be received by those around you. From
> my perspective, a more significant question is, what attributes
> will individuals select, when anyone can select them? Will
> they select the putative biological "norms" that have been most
> successful, or will individuals attempt to distinguish themselves
> from the "norm" in creative, unusual or even freaky ways?

Personally, I'd just as soon tie the perception of physical beauty directly into my evaluation of the female's intelligence and disable all checking of physical attributes. I find it disturbing, even disgusting to believe that my mind would probably have more trouble empathizing with Trinity or Ivanova or Buffy if they were ugly and fat. (Note I say "my mind" rather than "I", and "believe" rather than "know".)

In fact, I'd just as soon go in for asex, but doing that without messing up absolutely everything else will probably take a *lot* more time to set up. It probably can't be done in the flesh.

In short, I'd self-select attributes in accordance with the attributes and beliefs that determine my moral intuitions. (The subjective-morality phrasing is because I know damn well these things are ultimately irrelevant.)

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