Considering "The Failure of Rational Choice Philosophy" (The New York Times' The Stone)
Kantian economics, business leadership, and social responsiblity

Evolution and the Beauty Pageant

Jonathan B. Wight

According to news accounts, Alyssa Campanella, who was crowned Miss USA last night, actually believes in evolution and thinks it should be taught in schools.

[Click to play the clip.]

Forty-eight of the other Miss USA contestants weren't sure, or didn't think such controversies should be taught in schools.

Women who get to the finals of the Miss USA pageant are highly talented and extremely competitive. Is anything to be made from the fact that (aside from the winner and one other contestant) they do not appear to be particularly supportive of science? A disheartening word I received today is that students in Belgium start preschool at … age 2! We thought we had a missile gap, and now we know it is a pre-K gap. How can we ever keep up?

While beauty pageant contestants (as a group) have little to say about evolution, evolutionists have plenty to say about beauty. Beauty affords advantages to procreation by signaling fitness. Interestingly, Adam Smith weighed in on the subject, and argued that our perception of beauty had not as much to do with usefulness as with achieving a standard of perfection for its own sake (The Theory of Moral Sentiments , Glasgow edition, p. 180).


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Someone called my attention to this headline a few days ago: "Miss USA Contestants 'Scared to Death' About Evolution, Nudity Questions" ( - ha!

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