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Truth-telling and Plastic Surgery

Kristi Scott

Dave Ross Show

Posted: Aug 8, 2009

Kristi appeared on Seattle’s Dave Ross show to discuss her JET essay Cheating Darwin: The Genetic and Ethical Implications of Vanity and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. (MP3)


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There are many animals who go through all sorts of displays tricking their mates into thinking they're "hot stuff." Are they cheating Darwin, too? Do we humans have an obligation that they don't?

What got me thinking of this was a letter by a scientist to Nature magazine
which says:
"Your Editorial 'Handle with care' (Nature 455, 263:264 2008)2 notes that many people define 'nature' as a place without people, and that this would suggest that nature is best protected by keeping humans far away. You question the value of this negative definition, arguing that "if nature is defined as a landscape uninfluenced by humankind, then there is no nature on the planet at all".
This may be true. However, if we define nature as including humankind, the concept becomes so all-encompassing as to be practically useless...
In this case, an atom bomb becomes as 'natural' as an anthill.
A dilemma therefore arises. If nature is somewhere that humans are not, we lose sight of the fact that we are just another species intimately intertwined in the complex web of biological systems on this planet. However, if we place ourselves within a definition of nature, the definition then becomes essentially meaningless by extending to everything on Earth. "

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