This conversation was led by Randolph Nesse, Foundation Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. Decades of research on emotions have done little to resolve fundamental controversies about their number, nature or functions. Tacit creationism may be responsible. The tendency to view the body as a designed machine encourages expecting to find things that do not exist. Trying to define the number, nature and function of specific emotions is futile because they are components of organically complex systems that are radically different from machines. Tacit creationism also slows progress in physiology and genetics. A fully evolutionary view of the body discourages hopes for simple elegant models, but it can nonetheless advance research by quelling useless debates, dispelling misconceptions and suggesting new questions.
- Nesse 2020, “Tacit Creationism in Emotions Research“