Randolph M. Nesse, M.D.

nesse@umich.edu @RandyNesse on Twitter and FaceBook

How to frame and test an evolutionary hypothesis about a disease.
Diseases are not traits shaped by selection so they do not have direct evolutionary explanations. But traits that make a species vulnerable to disease need evolutionary explanation, and several may be needed!

New Resources

Nesse, RM (1984) An evolutionary perspective on psychiatry. (a new posting of my first article about evolutionary psychiatry)

Book Review: Problems of Living: Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychiatry and Cognitive-Affective Science by Dan Stein.

Evolutionary Psychiatry 40 minute 2021 talk for Abertay University (talk starts at 3 minutes).

Evolutionary Medicine Needs Engineering Expertise a 2021 article for NAE Perspectives about control theory & disease.

Tacit Creationism articles

Why is group selection still such a problem? BBS, 1994 and sadly still relevant.

Why Bad feelings are usually normal but useless. Video of a 12 min talk for HBES 2021.

Podcast on evolutionary psychiatry with Renee Garfinkel for the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Twitter threads on evolution and psychiatry

Video of 52 Living Ideas MeetUp discussion about Good Reasons for Bad Feelings, 2021

Video of Grand Rounds, Tufts University Department of Psychiatry, 2021

Podcast Varför mår vi så dåligt? (in English) with the Stockholm psychiatrist/author/podcaster Åsa Nilsonne about evolution and desire.

Psychology Today adaptation of book chapter on psychiatric genetics.

Lecture on Evolutionary Psychiatry for a class at Oxford University

Article on Tacit Creationism in Emotions Research Video now posted.

Podcast from the Jordan Harbinger show

Podcast by Thoughts on Record about how evolutionary thinking can help psychotherapists

Video from 2020 Grand Rounds at the U Arizona Department of Psychiatry

Podcast on The Smoke Detector Principle for Big Biology

Full Book Information Here

The Economist "Books of the Year" Buy on Amazon

  • This book will surely change the face of medicine -- and deservedly so. —Robin Dunbar

  • This is a wise, accessible, highly readable exploration of an issue that goes to the heart of human existence. —Robert Sapolsky

  • A bold book that would have made Darwin proud. Cutting-edge and compassionate at the same time —Lee Dugatkin

  • It is no exaggeration to say that he opens the door to a new paradigm in thinking about human beings and their conflicted lives. —Michael Ruse

  • A provocative book full of intriguing explanations about human nature in all its strengths and weaknesses. —Carl Zimmer

  • Someday nearly all psychiatry will be identified as evolutionary psychiatry. If so, Randolph Nesse’s book should be seen as the field’s founding document. David Barash in The Wall Street Journal


Click here for a list of articles by topic

Here is a link to most articles in a web folder

Highly Cited

Click here for a list of articles by topic

Here is a link to most articles in a web folder

Book: Why We Get Sick
Book: Evolution and Commitment