IEET > Rights > HealthLongevity > Vision > Virtuality > Bioculture > Interns > PrivacySurveillance > Enablement > Kristi Scott > PostGender
Cheating Darwin: The Genetic and Ethical Implications of Vanity and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

If mating is partly about choosing half the genome of your children, do your potential partners in parenting have an obligation to disclose that they have had so much “work” done on their face and body that they now look nothing like their original phenotype? Will cosmetics and plastic surgery blunt the selection of more beautiful women via sexual selection?

Originally presented at the conference Human Rights for the 21st Century: Rights of the Person to Technological Self-determination, May 12, 2007  Listen to the talk here.

Journal of Evolution and Technology – Vol. 20 Issue 2 – July 2009 – pgs 1-8

Abstract: Evolution continually selects the best genes to proliferate the species. Emerging cosmetic plastic surgeries allow us to bypass our genetic code and cheat our naturally predetermined appearances by altering the perceived external flaws and ignoring the intact internal code where the “flaws” remain. Without these self-identified unwanted physical attributes, people who otherwise might not have been perceived as desirable mates for procreation allow themselves to be perceived as desirable enough to pass on their genes. TV shows are allowing us to witness the advantages over evolution that can be gained with the right amount of time and money. What we see on the outside is not necessarily what we are going to get on the inside, genetically speaking. With more and more people flocking to cosmetic procedures at younger ages, doctors and consumers need to understand and discuss the importance of this dramatic misrepresentation to the opposite sex. While there is a right to undergo the procedures, those who do so prior to having children, and even those who do not, are faced with important affective choices within a number of different relationships that need to be considered for both now and the future.

Read the rest here.

Kristi Scott M.A. is an IEET Affiliate Scholar. Her work centers on the way popular culture presents issues of identity, body modification, cosmetic surgery, and emerging technologies. She has been a freelance writer since 2003 writing for a variety of magazines over the years, most recently as a writer and copy-editor for h+ magazine.


Vanity and cosmetic plastic surgery may be “cheating Darwin”, indeed.

Well… screw Darwin then.

As we advance toward the capability of reingeneering humans and steer evolution toward the paths _we_ want, let’s not be timid.

“Natural” does not mean “good” (ask any cancer patient).

I understand that ““Natural” does not mean “good”“, however, I think it’s important to understand the effects of the decisions we make to make things “good” and the path we choose to create or redefine.

Nobody’s stopping men in midlife crisis from getting hair plugs or penile implants.  So… go for it.

I got the impression from reading the journal entry that Ms. Scott believes that uglier people have worse genes, and better looking people have better genes. (I’m referring to /pre/-cosmetic surgery, of course.) Is that a misimpression? (If any other reader would care to state their opinion on this, that would be nice, too.)

I am not much interested myself, but I am happy these things are available for those who wish to use them.

The actual effectiveness of hair plugs or penile implants is probably still poor, but since there is money to make I am pretty sure it will significantly improve in a few years.

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