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Origins 2011 – Abstracts

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O8b: Contributed Orals – Evolutionary Perspectives biodiversity/extraterrestrial intelligence (continued)
Time: Friday, 08/Jul/2011: 3:15pm - 4:30pm
Session Chair: Mary Voytek
Location: Auditorium Pasteur


Viruses Aren't Life, But Neither Are You

Aaron Goldman1, Shawn McGlynn2

1Princeton University, USA; 2California Institute of Technology, USA

We examine the “NASA definition” of life to show that, within such evolutionary definitions, "life" cannot refer to a single organism or even a single population, but must refer to the entire biosphere that has evolved from a single common origin. We argue that, given this perspective, many of the criticisms of this definition of life do not apply.

The A-PR Hypothesis – Autonomy and Pattern Recognition in Evolution

Zann Gill

Microbes-Mind Forum, NASA Ames Research Center, United States of America

The A-PR Hypothesis focuses on two capacities of life: autonomy of individuals as unique participants in their ecosystems, and individuals’ differing capacities for pattern recognition. The A-PR Hypothesis addresses four intersecting challenges: contradictions in definitions of life; debates about the origins of life; arguments about the source of evolutionary novelty and direction of evolution’s arrow, and technology’s aim to build intelligent, self-improving systems.

Information Natural Selection Theory Contributes Defining Life and Intelligence

Jean Vautrin

University Montpellier II, IBMM, CNRS 5247, France

All structures are proposed to result from an informing process submitted to Darwinian natural selection. In this framework life is an improvement of random production of variants due to a sheltering of the replicator (gene) by control of its immediate environment (phenotype and extended phenotype) while intelligent activity is an improvement in the selection of efficient informing variants occurring in an isomorphic space (neuron networks) avoiding the elimination of the variant source (brain).

Multiple Paths to Encephalization and Technical Civilizations

David Schwartzman1, George Middendorf2

1Howard University, United States of America; 2Howard University, United States of America

We propose two potential evolutionary paths for the emergence of intelligent life and technical civilization. The first is the path to encephalization in warm blooded animals, constrained by the climatic temperature. The second is the path to swarm intelligence in so-called superorganisms such as termite colonies, constrained by the atmospheric oxygen level. Cooling climates permit heat dissipation from energy-intensive big brains, high oxygen levels allow insect gigantism and bigger brains.

A Mathematical Model for Evolution and SETI

Claudio Maccone

Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) - Italy, Italy

We provide a mathematical model embodying both the exponential growth of the number of living species, exemplified by Darwinian Evolution, and the Drake Equation typical of SETI studies. Our model is based upon the mathematical properties of the lognormal distribution, that is shown to be the typical probability distribution of all factors making up for the Statistical Drake Equation. The exponential growth is then shown to be the geometric locus of the peaks of all these lognormals.