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SCI/TECH: Are Plants Intelligent?

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posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 09:34 AM
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Even scientists sceptical of "plant intelligence" acknowledge that plants are "smart." The question comes down to the nature of "intelligence," and astounding new findings in plant neurobiology challenge the current definition. Plant neurobiologists study how plants investigate and respond to their environments - NASA and the National Science Foundation fund research in plant neurobiology - and The First Symposium on Plant Neurobiology is coming up in May, 2005. Says University of Utah biologist Leslie Sieburth, "If intelligence is the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, then, absolutely, plants are intelligent." Yet the debate continues to rage.


 



www.csmonitor.com
As trowel-wielding scientists dig up a trove of new findings, even those skeptical of the evolving paradigm of "plant intelligence" acknowledge that, down to the simplest magnolia or fern, flora have the smarts of the forest. Some scientists say they carefully consider their environment, speculate on the future, conquer territory and enemies, and are often capable of forethought - revelations that could affect everyone from gardeners to philosophers.

Indeed, extraordinary new findings on how plants investigate and respond to their environments are part of a sprouting debate over the nature of intelligence itself. ..."The attitude of people is changing quite substantially," says Anthony Trewavas, a plant biochemist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a prominent scholar of plant intelligence. "The idea of intelligence is going from the very narrow view that it's just human to something that's much more generally found in life."

...the late Nobel Prize-winning plant geneticist Barbara McClintock called plant cells "thoughtful." Darwin wrote about root-tip "brains." Not only can plants communicate with each other and with insects by coded gas exhalations, scientists say now, they can perform Euclidean geometry calculations through cellular computations and, like a peeved boss, remember the tiniest transgression for months. ...To a growing number of biologists, the fact that plants are now known to challenge and exert power over other species is proof of a basic intellect.

"If intelligence is the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, then, absolutely, plants are intelligent," agrees Leslie Sieburth, a biologist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The First Symposium on Plant Neurobiology



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



The main arguments against plant intelligence are centered around the idea of plant "self-consciousness," and the debate is heated.

On one side, "We now know there's an ability of self-recognition in plants, which is highly unusual and quite extraordinary that it's actually there. But why has no one come to grips with it?" asks Scotland's Dr. Trewavas.

On the other side, "There is still much that we do not know about how plants work, but a big part of intelligence is self-consciousness, and plants do not have that," says Heike Winter Sederoff, a plant biologist at N.C. State.

History of Plant Sciences
Plant Neurobiology


Resistance to proofs of plant self-awareness and intelligence are somewhat mysterious, on a superficial level. At a deeper level though, it becomes clear that this resistance is fundamentally political.

Current US political trends are based on narrow concepts of human intelligence and promote replacing democracy with a "meritocracy" - the ideas have their roots in Galton's eugenics, were developed by Leo Strauss for political/economic application and now, are pushed broadly in US public policy by Paul Wolfowitz.

Sir Francis Galton
Eugenics
Leo Strauss
Strauss and Wolfowitz
Wolfowitz


The politics of "plant intelligence" in a nutshell:
1. Acknowledging plant intelligence involves broadening the current definition of intelligence, and upsetting established dogma;
2. Such a new definition of intelligence would acknowledge more people as more worthy; and

3. In short, redefining "intelligence" would destroy the current strategy to remake democracy in America as a narrowly-defined elitist "meritocracy," where ones' right to vote is determined not by citizenship but rather, by "merit."






ATS: The neo-conservative political ideology (Straussism)
Fears of Terrorism Hide Real Biological Attack, Assault on Voting Rights
Threat Analysis: Genetically Engineered Stealth Bio-weapons
UK, US Criticized by Scientists
100 Million Americans Chronically Debilitated
The Nightmare Power



Related News Links:
abcnews.go.com
www.usatoday.com
news.independent.co.uk
www.larouchepub.com

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posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 09:55 AM
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I talk to my plants and they grow for me



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:03 AM
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You know since the seventies, I remember the talks and findings that plants have feelings has been around.

I remember my mother talking to her plants and they are beautiful, I also talk to them, and I think as them as happy or sad depending of how they look.

I think with can channel energies with them.

By the way I am one of those that are called to be able to grow anything I want.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by marg6043
You know since the seventies, I remember the talks and findings that plants have feelings has been around.


I can't seem to find the thread on it that I created last year, but this was the link about plants having feelings/sensations.

www.sciencenet.org.uk...

Edit: Cr@p! The link is out of date, sorry! I'll do some digging.

[edit on 23-3-2005 by Jonna]

Here is the thread it was orininally discussed in.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

[edit on 23-3-2005 by Jonna]



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:13 AM
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sorry for not taking your story seriously soficrow in my post above, but imo even though I talk to my plants I don't think we/govt/politics/science should be changing anything now regarding classifying their intelligence. A vegetable is still a vegetable. You know in my opinion the wind, the sun, the moon, the rivers, the oceans, the volcanoes, all are intelligent in their own right but they are still exactly what they are.

If we're going to be fighting for plants lives too, we just might as well all starve to death. The conspiracy here might be to get us all on some sort of synthetic diet, if you're going fight for the vegetables, might as well fight for animals, humans won't eat natural products anymore, they want us to eat things that come out of tubes and pill jars



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:13 AM
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My plants talk to me all the time. I mean I think they know which way the sun is.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:21 AM
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Yes WW thank you. I was about to write that but ya beat me to it


Just how much do we know about Intelligence anyway? IMO Not as much as we'd like to make ourselves believe. How can we compare our experiences with that of a Plant or even an Animal? WE CAN'T! On another note, scientists just discovered that some Microbes communicate using chemicals, should we be saving the Microbes now too? How far will this go?



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:30 AM
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I know nothing of intelligence or its various definitions but plants are certainly sensitive. They respond to various stimuli in various ways. They grow toward the sun and work together and against each other. Does this answer and questions. Well it does for me.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by worldwatcher
sorry for not taking your story seriously soficrow in my post above, but imo even though I talk to my plants I don't think we/govt/politics/science should be changing anything now regarding classifying their intelligence. A vegetable is still a vegetable.

If we're going to be fighting for plants lives too, we just might as well all starve to death. The conspiracy here might be to get us all on some sort of synthetic diet, if you're going fight for the vegetables, might as well fight for animals, humans won't eat natural products anymore, they want us to eat things that come out of tubes and pill jars



Hmmm. I think animals are intelligent and I still eat meat - preferably meat from unmodified intelligent animals. IMO - this is issue not at all about "saving" animals, plants or microbes. As I said, the implications affect how we define HUMAN intelligence.

Current definitions of human intelligence are constrictive - and about to impact a variety of rights we take for granted - from public education to voting rights.

...IMO - the real debate is about the definition of human intelligence - considerations of 'plant intelligence' are at the center of this debate almost coincidentally, but do highlight the growing role of politics in directing scientific enquiry.

.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 10:46 AM
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Good post soficrow.

The late Terrence McKenna fought meticulously to illustrate to the world that plants are intelligent beings. His main focus in his book 'Food of the Gods' was to give examples throughout history of how Psylocilibin mushrooms (although not the traditional definition of a plant) and other leafy substances have a certain unique consciousness that is tapped into a consciousness that is beyond global, but a cosmic consciousness. Not only do these plants have intelligence, but they have a story to tell humanity. A unique tale to give mankind if we would place our materialistic lives aside and listen.

Ancient new world shamans knew of of this secret and combined these knowledgeable plants into various mixes, one of these being a brew known as Ayuscha. In ancient America, plants were the basis of intricate rituals and religions. Taking it back a few thousand years on the other side of the planet, Aryan Indians placed the hallucinogenic 'Soma' as the staple of their religion effigy with ritual sacrifices to the fire god 'Agni'.

Throughout history, plants have created a parternship society placing humans closely with the mother goddess. However, mankind has lost that divine relationship. With the introduction of certain drugs in Europe (sugar, coffee, tea) these plants that were once sacred and a vitale part of ritual use were not being used to serve the selfish needs of the early European market. They were literally being pushed upon society, taxed by the powers, and then consumed by the masses.

Coffee, Tea, and Sugar were the stimulants needed for mankind to shift away from the nurturing partnership society as held strong by ancient man and thrust humans into a 'Dominator society' whose purpose is to dwell in ownership, profit, domination, and control. Coffee, Tea, and Sugar were the necessarily stimulants for this behavior. Later of course came coc aine (although illegal, our government is still gaining enormous profit from the import/export from the Americas.)

Lost are the plants that inspired creativity and thought in early man. Marijuana, Psylocilibin mushrooms, various barks from the African plains..etc. The plants that once whispered inspiration in our ears have now been replaced with corporate greed, possessiveness, ownership. Aspects of humanity that are a part of our existence, but that do not define us.

Humanity needs to get back to our roots…literally.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 12:00 PM
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I plants were really smart, they would stop producing oxygen for the lousy humans that cur the rainforests


I suggest reading the Deathworld sci-fi series of Harry Harrison, where plants and insects conspire against the human invaders...


[edit on 23-3-2005 by Silenus]



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 12:05 PM
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Yo Simulacra that was tight...


Cosmic indeed...Yunnan has so many different species of plants. If you are a plant love you should probably know about Yunnan, China.

Place is remarkable...First time I ever saw weed trees with tree trunks bigger than my arms....bout like this big

|___________________________________________|

that's a big weed tree trunk....

My aunt in southern Sichuan has this plant that moves when you touch it. That's gotta be some defense mechanism but if you touch it for a couple times in a row it doesn't move back like the first time.

It's like you startled it, then it knows you are petting it and relaxes...that's like consciousness to me!



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 12:11 PM
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There was a scientist back in the Eighties that studied the intelligence of plants. I can't remember much about it, but his experiments involved hooking up several different plants to monitor their electrical activity, then he would boil some tiny animals alive (shrimp?), and study their reactions. If I remember right, everytime he killed the critters, the plants had a major surge in electrical activity. I also remember that he published his results, but I don't remember where or when exactly, but I know it was pretty amazing.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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So if plants are intelligent and have feelings, what are we going to eat now? We are kind of running out of options since animals and fish are now off-limits according to the PETA


Odd

posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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That was an interesting article, with a lot of potentially profound implications... but I really don't get what Straussism has to do with thinking plants. Doesn't that seem a bit forced to you?



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 03:19 PM
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of couse they are,
having a farm and trying to get rid of of so called weeds I can assure everyone that they have a strong survival "instinct" and certainly a smart way of getting their seeds out. As well we could look into all the plants who have thorns for protection- roses/blackberrys for example. I find it very intesting that trees will be the winners when it comes to the lifespan comperisation with humans- if we as intelligent beings not cut them down.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 03:39 PM
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Some scientists say they carefully consider their environment, speculate on the future, conquer territory and enemies, and are often capable of forethought - revelations that could affect everyone from gardeners to philosophers.


Though i'm having qualms with this, one wonders if plants nuerological processes can concieve emotions..

Deep



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 04:10 PM
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Originally posted by Jehosephat
So if plants are intelligent and have feelings, what are we going to eat now? We are kind of running out of options since animals and fish are now off-limits according to the PETA



This is NOT about plant or animal rights. ...Most early cultures attributed great powers and abilities to plants and animals - and recognized that eating same conferred the powers. ...We are likely the only culture that does NOT want to eat good things.


Another case of fanatical divide, methinks. ...The real question is "What is intelligence?" not "How can we maintain our illusions about our innate God-given superiority?"



Originally posted by Odd
That was an interesting article, with a lot of potentially profound implications... but I really don't get what Straussism has to do with thinking plants. Doesn't that seem a bit forced to you?



Nahh. Not forced. ...Originally stream of consciousness maybe but in the end, logical.


...Despite the acknowledged weaknesses in intelligence testing - it's still used. Despite the fact that several different kinds of intelligence are known and can be measured, they are ignored. Why? And why not change the definition of intelligence to accommodate new scientific breakthroughs? ...Something is being protected by the inaccurate erroneous dogma - what is it, beyond a few egos?

.....There IS an ongoing strategy to redefine democracy as meritocracy and test "voter competence." This strategy is rooted in Straussism. Acknowledging "plant intelligence" opens a can of worms that quickly leads towards debunking Straussism. ERGO - it's Straussism that's being protected. (Simplistically speaking, more or less.)


Back to the breakdown - The politics of "plant intelligence" in a nutshell:

1. Acknowledging plant intelligence involves broadening the current definition of intelligence, and upsetting established dogma;

2. Such a new definition of intelligence would acknowledge more people as more worthy; and

3. In short, redefining "intelligence" would destroy the current strategy to remake democracy in America as a narrowly-defined elitist "meritocracy," where ones' right to vote is determined not by citizenship but rather, by "merit" and "mental competence."

.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 04:14 PM
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Well I tell you what plants are for beauty and for food and I think they know that so that is why they will reproduce for our benefit.



posted on Mar, 23 2005 @ 04:31 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
Well I tell you what plants are for beauty and for food and I think they know that so that is why they will reproduce for our benefit.





There are scientific words for this kind of relationship - like interdependence - meaning we all work together, intertwined, to form the whole. ...It doesn't bother me to think the things I eat are intelligent or powerful - in fact, it makes me feel our world is very special.

.



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