Darwinian aesthetics have hardly got off the ground, and much work remains to be done. Nevertheless, I’ve already seen a stiff, knee-jerk resistance to the very idea among older academics in the humanities. It’s odd that the very academics who express outrage that religious conservatives want to keep Darwin out of high school biology classes in the US are themselves unwilling to admit Darwin into their own seminars. Aesthetics approached with intelligible, scientifically valid research techniques would clearly be a threat to the reigning orthodoxies.
But there’s no cause for greying humanists to worry. Culture, the central idea of the humanities as they now exist, makes an enormous contribution to the meaning of art and Darwinian aesthetics has no desire to deny it. Indeed, Darwin saw human beings as culture-creating animals. Darwinian aesthetics only denies that culture is the whole story of art.