Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics

Beauty Explained in Literally Cartoon Darwinist Terms

David Klinghoffer

A colleague pointed out to me this TED talk by Denis Dutton in 2010 in which the late philosopher tries to explain the taste for beauty in literally cartoon Darwin terms. Beauty is nothing more than a strategy for sparking sexual partnerships, as you’re well aware.
As Dutton speaks, he’s accompanied by projections of cute but extremely simple if not crude cartoons illustrating his points. It’s interesting to wonder to what extent his argument would have been undercut, its superficiality made pathetically obvious, if instead of silly cartoons actual representations of great art had been displayed on the screen behind him or, if musical, piped into the auditorium. I would suggest that Dutton’s thesis simply could not survive being juxtaposed with genuine beauty, whether natural or manmade.
I’ve written here before about how ideas of beauty are impoverished under the Darwinian materialist worldview. Dutton proves my point wonderfully.