APRIL 25-26 / TUCSON, AZ

MACHINA EX MACHINA

On Twitter: #machina2019

WHERE

WHEN

APRIL 25-26, 2019

TUCSON, AZ

HACIENDA DEL SOL

5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road
Tucson, Arizona, 85718

MEETING ROOM

Casa Feliz

(Enter through the main archway and take the first left)

Your name tag and meeting packet will be available from 7:45 on in the reception area of Casa Feliz

ABOUT

Machina ex Machina will be convened to critically dissect the conceptual connections between ‘life’ and ‘complexification’. We will examine both biological and non-biological examples of complex system behavior, with a focus on processes and eras which have resulted in an apparent increase in organismal complexity. The title is intended to evoke the idea that complex mechanistic relationships typically ascribed solely to living systems can also find counterparts in non-living systems. As such, it may be helpful to view examples of organismal complexification as inheriting or responding to both biological and non-biological drivers of complex response. 

RSVP THIS EVENT
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MORE INFO

The tractable history of life records a successive emergence of organisms composed of greater numbers of hierarchically-organized objects: groups of polymers compose cells; groups of individual cells compose unicellular populations or multicellular individuals; groups of populations compose ecosystems. This repeated patterning extends up to the global biosphere, which is composed of groups of biomes. At each of these levels, the relationships between and among objects give rise to emergent features that function according to specific rules of organization. How far back into life’s evolutionary history do the formalisms of such relationships extend? Perhaps most intriguingly, one may ask: are the evolutionary relationships of life templated upon organizational attributes embedded within life’s non-biological, prebiotic roots? If so, the non-biological organizational attributes of the prebiotic realm may have been as complex as, or even more complex than, life itself. This possibility would seem to stand directly at odds with the idea that life, as a holistic phenomenon, has exhibited a steady process of complexification throughout its entire history.

While it is undeniable that some specific clades demonstrate a history of increasing organismal complexity over time, it is also the case that:

  • predicting which clades will increase in complexity in the future is not currently possible, and may be impossible due to the role of chance in evolution;

  • many clades do not increase (and in some aspects may decrease) in complexity through the process of evolution;

  • many factors that enable the continued existence of a population are external to those organisms, residing either within its network of relationships to their ecological cohabitants or to relationships with their non-biological (chemical) environment;

  • some attributes of a changing non-biological system (e.g., planet formation and climate) exhibit prominent roles for chance and contingency, as does the evolution of life.

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Albert Fahrenbach (University of New South Wales)

Betul Kacar (University of Arizona)

Chris Adami (Michigan State University/ ASU)

Daniel Apai (University of Arizona)

Dawn Sumner (University of California Davis)

Joanna Masel (University of Arizona)

Joellen Russell (University of Arizona)

Juan Perez-Mercader (Harvard University)

Luis Zaman (University of Michigan)

Mike Wiser (Michigan State University)

Ryan Gutenkunst (University of Arizona)

Zach Adam (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory)

Paul Gabor (Vatican Observatory)

FUNDERS

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Session 1: Non-biological examples of complex system behavior

Chris Adami (Arizona State University)

Juan Perez-Mercader (Harvard University)

Albert Fahrenbach (University of New South Wales)

Zachary Adam (University of Arizona)

Session 2: Chance, Contingency and Stochasticity in Biogeochemical Systems

Joellen Russell (University of Arizona)

Dawn Sumner (University of California Davis)

 Session 3: Processes and eras which have resulted in increase in complexity 

Joanna Masel (University of Arizona)

Luis Zaman (University of Michigan)

Mike Wiser (Michigan State University)

Ryan Gutenkurst (University of Arizona)

Session 4: Large scale view of evolution, stochasticity and culture

Betul Kacar (University of Arizona)

Daniel Apai (University of Arizona)

Paul Gabor (Vatican Observatory)

SCHEDULE

 

© 2018 Kacar Research Group

University of Arizona, 1007 E Lowell St, Tucson, AZ 85719

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