RE: meaning of life

From: James Rogers (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 14:49:29 MST

At 03:08 PM 1/24/2001 -0600, Barbara wrote:
>At 06:14 PM 01/23/2001, James Rogers wrote:
>>Many types of cells cannot survive on their own. Ones that can (or
>>collections that can) are individual organisms. Two creatures living in
>>symbiosis are not the same creature. A cell that can choose to
>>disassociate itself from the organism and survive is an individual
>>organism in its own right.
>Actually, the normal human body is made up of several species living in
>symbiosis. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't feel myself at all
>without my intestinal bacteria--though they and the rest of me could live
>apart if we had to.

A large number of species in the world effectively rely on symbiosis.

My point was that at what level of symbiosis do multiple organisms become a
single organism? It is easy to conceive of symbiotic organisms that
co-evolved to the point where they really couldn't survive without the
other. But even in cases of very close symbiosis, there are still two
distinct organisms -- you can kill one without killing the other. There is
a fuzzy point where the boundary isn't clear, but human societies don't
have any such fuzzy boundaries between individuals.

-James Rogers

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:24 MDT