At 02:36 AM 1/21/99 -0500, I wrote:
IAN: The key word is "intelligence." I believe that we can say that the collective "life entity" DOES display intelligence (a symptom of "mind"), since evolution is a process of learning, and artificial-learning systems, such as neutral networks, are considered to be (more or less) viable examples of artificial intelligence. So I believe we can say: learning <=> intelligence.
If so, then we can say that the collective life-entity has a measurable intelligence. If we can measure it, then I'd say it exists.
Moreover, the question arises: "What in the process of the evolution-of-species evolves?" In short, where does this intelligence of the life-entity exist, in individuals or the group? If it exists only in the group, then the group entity constitutes a viable entity and "mind."
Do individual members of one species suddenly evolve into a member of a new species? NO! So the evolution of any one individual member of species-type B into another non-B species = 0. Ergo: ONLY THE COLLECTIVE EVOLVES! We've thus isolated the learning-intelligence of evolution to the collective life-entity, and in so doing have measured something major that is ONLY an attribute of the group-entity.
If we are to contend that the collective is, has, or does nothing more than each individual (thus it can just be erased), then we say that there is no process of evolution, just a lot of different individuals. Doing that we've cut ourselves off from real understanding, and thus the no-collective-entity theory is false and antithetical to knowledge.
REV. ROGER WILLIAMS ---> http://www.erols.com/igoddard/roger.htm