Home » Evolutionary psychology, Intelligent Design, News » Gil, you were asking about Darwinism and music? There is an “explanation” …

Gil, you were asking about Darwinism and music? There is an “explanation” …

Here, Gil Dodgen asks, how does Darwinism account for music? Oh, quite easily: It helps the musician spot the savannah with little Pavarottis, that is, to spread his selfish genes:

Natural selection is one thing, but the stronger, and more entertaining, basis for Dutton’s case for an evolutionary aesthetics is sexual selection, which Darwin explored in The Descent of Man. A clear tenor voice wouldn’t help Pleistocene man outrun a jaguar, but it might ingratiate him with the ladies — remember the guitarist on the stairs in Animal House? — allowing him to spread his genes widely and spot the savanna with little Pavarottis. Dutton describes the possession of artistic talent as “an ornamental capacity analogous to the peacock’s tail” — or to a florid vocabulary. These traits signal a certain robustness or intelligence, which are attractive qualities in a potential mate.

Remember that Darwinism is utterly impervious to reality, so there is no point in disclosing the fact that musical geniuses do not historically have any disproportionate number of children.

(It’s irrelevant that music can put people in a romantic mood. The score for numbers of kids is all that counts, if Darwin is to be believed.)

Darwinism doesn’t shed light on human behaviour, it merely interprets human behaviour according to Darwinism – a very different and much less useful exercise.

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4 Responses to Gil, you were asking about Darwinism and music? There is an “explanation” …

  1. …there is no point in disclosing the fact that musical geniuses do not historically have any disproportionate number of children.

    Yes, especially if they’re castrati.

  2. You’re going to love this:

    On the origin of music by means of natural selection…

    http://phys.org/news/2012-06-music-natural.html

    Do away with the DJ and scrap the composer. A computer program powered by Darwinian natural selection and the musical tastes of 7,000 website users may be on the way to creating a perfect pop tune, according to new research published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    The scientists set out to test a theory that cultural changes in language, art and music evolve through Darwinian natural selection, in a similar way to how living things evolve. They simulated this cultural evolution by harnessing the power of a 7,000 strong internet audience in an experiment that was designed to answer several questions. Can music exist without being the product of a conscious, creative act? If so, what would that music sound like? Does everyone’s ideal tune sound the same?

    Isn’t it just amazing? Natural selection explains everything!

  3. So, as my son learns to play the guitar, I should always remind him that Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, B.B. King, and Keith Richards are all happy accidents of evolution.

  4. I have read the big news about the descent of music on BBC. There the title reads like this: “Music evolution: Is it the end of the composer?” So, they used a computer to algorithmically combine and recombine musical notes and a huge crowd of people to favor one combination over another and they are still talking about random mutations, blind selection and chance results with no conscious intelligent agent. Alas! Whither is fled the scientific gleam?

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