Survival of the Beautiful, By David Rothenberg


"The sight of a feather in the peacock's tail," Darwin erupted, "makes me sick." It did not accord with survival of the fittest, which explains why he added sexual selection.

Rothenberg goes further: "Life is far more interesting than it has to be, because the forces that guide it are not merely practical."

He is not however a professor of biology but "philosophy and music" so his exploration of natural aesthetics, ranging from the bower bird's architecture to hidden fractals in Jackson Pollock, will not allure hard-core Darwinians.

The rest of us can enjoy this fertile, quirky book.