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Old 06-15-2020, 06:06 AM
 
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I found this article about how some botanists signed a statement expressing disagreement with other plant scientists who think plants are conscious:


https://www.the-scientist.com/news-o...onscious-66101


Does anyone know whether or not things have changed significantly since this article was written? Is this still a matter of disagreement among plant scientists, or have they since come to a consensus and if so, is there a credible source someone can point me to that says the consensus exists?


To be clear, I'm not asking anyone's personal opinion about whether plants are conscious or not, but rather whether or not the question is still a matter of disagreement among scientists like it was when the linked article was published last year.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:15 AM
Status: "Once upon a time known as Mike555" (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: El Paso, TX
24,468 posts, read 18,361,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Series Of Numbers View Post
I found this article about how some botanists signed a statement expressing disagreement with other plant scientists who think plants are conscious:


https://www.the-scientist.com/news-o...onscious-66101


Does anyone know whether or not things have changed significantly since this article was written? Is this still a matter of disagreement among plant scientists, or have they since come to a consensus and if so, is there a credible source someone can point me to that says the consensus exists?


To be clear, I'm not asking anyone's personal opinion about whether plants are conscious or not, but rather whether or not the question is still a matter of disagreement among scientists like it was when the linked article was published last year.
The following article, written April 2020, indicates that there is no consensus on whether plants are conscious.
One of the most controversial aspects of Mancuso’s work is the idea of plant consciousness. As we learn more about animal and plant intelligence, not to mention human intelligence, the always-contentious term consciousness has become the subject of ever more heated scientific and philosophical debate.

https://www.theguardian.com/environm...han-we-realise
The idea of plant consciousness is controversial.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:26 AM
 
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Well, I think it all depends on how you choose to define "conscious".

Once you get into an argument where each side defines the critical term as they prefer, there's no way to resolve it.

At that point I usually make a pithy comment about angels dancing on the point of a pin, and go get another drink.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
At that point I usually make a pithy comment about angels dancing on the point of a pin, and go get another drink.
Quote:
“Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff drink.”

― Douglas Adams,
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Sorry, that's what came to mind.

Are there any... respected scientists who believe plant life has any form of consciousness, or only those on the fringe? My last info on the subject was from the post-"talk to your plants" era in which e-meters hooked to philodendra showed... something.
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:50 PM
 
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Add to the confusion the various definitions of panconsciousness and no consensus will ever be reached.

As an aside, I always appreciated the experiment that showed an EEG hooked up to a bowl of jello (instead of the brain of a comatose person) would have sufficient activity that it could not legally be removed from life support. (I guess that would that be a dandy in aspic?)

There is increasing data to suggest that the root of consciousness is at the quantum level. We already know that plants make use of quantum tunneling in photosynthesis. Of course the obverse of the question remains "Is there any real consciousness?" That continues to be disputed as well.
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Old 06-15-2020, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
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Consciousness is not the same thing as intelligence.

All living things have some kind of intelligence. Plants communicate information about insect attacks and respond appropriately to the information that they receive, for instance.

Consciousness is, IMO, poorly defined. Most of us are at the stage where we think we know it when we see it. Can a being be conscious with no central nervous system? I don't see how it can. I think of humans in a vegetative state. If the "higher" functions of the brain are severely damaged or destroyed, what exactly is there to produce consciousness? I'm not ready to say that consciousness sort of free-floats in the universe. As far as we can tell, consciousness is produced by an individual living brain that has a certain kind of organization.
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Old 06-15-2020, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Originally Posted by jacqueg View Post
Consciousness is not the same thing as intelligence.

All living things have some kind of intelligence. Plants communicate information about insect attacks and respond appropriately to the information that they receive, for instance.

Consciousness is, IMO, poorly defined. Most of us are at the stage where we think we know it when we see it. Can a being be conscious with no central nervous system? I don't see how it can. I think of humans in a vegetative state. If the "higher" functions of the brain are severely damaged or destroyed, what exactly is there to produce consciousness? I'm not ready to say that consciousness sort of free-floats in the universe. As far as we can tell, consciousness is produced by an individual living brain that has a certain kind of organization.
I agree with your assessment of consciousness.

Regarding the bolded, some plants, when under attack, will emit pheromones that trigger plants of the same species downwind to respond by releasing toxins into their systems that repel the attacks. There is a grass species that when attacked by a mass of certain caterpillar, become toxic, not only to the caterpillar but to livestock. That one is not communicated but is simply a mass response by all the grass plants in the field that were attacked. There is no conscious or intelligent response involved.

There is a tree in the jungles of the far east that release a toxin into their leaves when the leaves are attacked. There is also a caterpillar that counters that response by cutting the leaf veins before eating the leaves. No conscious intent with either party. Other caterpillars attempting to eat these leaves get zapped by the toxin.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:57 AM
 
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Hmmm, maybe that screaming I heard while eating a stalk of celery was not my imagination.




Quote:
Regarding the bolded, some plants, when under attack, will emit pheromones that trigger plants of the same species downwind to respond by releasing toxins into their systems that repel the attacks.

I believe it was Nature on PBS did episode on plants and self defense mechanisms they deploy.
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
Hmmm, maybe that screaming I heard while eating a stalk of celery was not my imagination.
It's a really, really old idea, predating the groovy 1970s. Roald Dahl wrote a fairly chilling horror story about it in 1949.
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:27 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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This is impossible to prove, since plants cannot communicate. Still when you think of the Venus Flytrap and even the Stinging Nettle, you have to wonder. I keep an open mind. With my 70+ bonsai trees, I try to use directional pruning to shape them, but when I do use wire, I apologize to the tree before starting, just in case. Pruning seems more natural, since wind, ice snow loads and even lightning "prune" trees all the time.
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