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Evolution and Warfare, a NIMBioS Investigative Workshop


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The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis

(NIMBioS) is now accepting applications for its Investigative Workshop,

" http://www.nimbios.org/workshops/WS_warfare>Evolution and Warfare,"

http://www.nimbios.org/workshops/WS_warfare> to be held September

16-18, 2015, at NIMBioS.

 

*Objectives: *Warfare is a widespread and arguably universal practice of

human societies. While war's origins continue to be debated, warfare has

occurred in most historically documented societies, from

hunter-gatherers to nation-states. Its prehistoric traces can be found

in fortifications, weapons, mass graves, and skeletal trauma. Given that

it is a major source of mortality, warfare has potentially acted as a

powerful source of selection for both biological and cultural evolution.

In a reprise of the past – and in contrast to force-on-force,

hierarchically organized wars among great powers – conflict today takes

a number of decentralized forms, from urban gang fights to livestock

raids, and from clan warfare to leaderless resistance and terrorism.

Suggestive parallels exist between current patterns of warfare and those

that typified subsistence-level societies. Consequently, examining

psychological mechanisms that evolved under ancestral warfare conditions

may shed important light on what motivates individuals during modern

decentralized wars and why people resort to violence in intergroup

conflicts. Given the availability of data from contemporary societies

and the great damage caused by violent conflict, advancing our

understanding of such conflict is both tractable and important. In this

workshop, we will begin working toward an integrated approach to the

study of warfare under decentralized or only loosely controlled

conditions, combining empirical data, evolutionary theory, and

mathematical models. We envision developing working hypotheses to answer

several key questions about between-group conflict in general, and the

nature of ‘decentralized warfare’ in particular. These hypotheses will

be informed by evolutionary theory using data from diverse conflict

settings. Our hypotheses will be articulated in a framework amenable to

formal modeling that will point the way toward a multi-level predictive

understanding of warfare.

 

*Location: *NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 

*Co-Organizers:

*

 

* Biology: Michael L. Wilson

http://www.cbs.umn.edu/explore/departments/eeb/faculty-research/directory/michael-wilson>,

Univ. of Minnesota

* Anthropology: Luke Glowacki http://scholar.harvard.edu/glowacki>,

Harvard Univ.

* Defense Analysis: Anna Simons http://faculty.nps.edu/asimons/>,

Naval Postgraduate School

* Mathematics: Sergey Gavrilets http://www.tiem.utk.edu/%7Egavrila/>,

Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

 

 

For more information about the workshop and a link to the online

application form, go to http://www.nimbios.org/workshops/WS_warfare

 

Participation in the workshop is by application only. Individuals with a

strong interest in the topic are encouraged to apply, and successful

applicants will be notified within two weeks of the application

deadline. If needed, financial support for travel, meals, and lodging is

available for workshop attendees.

 

*Application deadline:* May 17, 2015

 

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis

(NIMBioS) (http://www.nimbios.org) brings together researchers from

around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to

investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life

sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation,

through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The

University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

 

#

*****************************

Catherine Crawley, Ph.D.

Communications Manager

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)

University of Tennessee

1122 Volunteer Blvd, Ste. 106

Knoxville, TN 37996

e ccrawley@nimbios.org

t +1 865 974 9350

f +1 865 974 9461

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