Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bernanke on beauty

Via Krugman (via Leiter), I glanced through Bernanke's speech at Princeton. Toward the end of the speech, there is this line (quoted by Krugman at the top of his post): "physical beauty is evolution’s way of assuring us that the other person doesn’t have too many intestinal parasites."

It's nice to know that Bernanke believes in evolution, but this line strikes me -- a complete non-scientist, admittedly -- as sort of dumb. First, physical beauty has a subjective component. Second, to the extent that physical beauty is not subjective but 'objective', wouldn't evolutionary pressures of the sort implied by Bernanke result in lots of physically beautiful people? But there aren't lots of physically beautiful people. On the contrary, they're rare. Maybe Bernanke should stick to economics.    


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't grok that one, either.

LFC said...

I think it was what is sometimes called a throwaway line.