By in Science

Do Thinking People Really Believe This?

I am a chemist. I received my education at Drexel University and the University of Virginia. I decidedly am not bragging. I'm merely stating fact to show that I at least don't speak via an uneducated tongue.

I was just reading about chemicals found within the Hogweed plant, furanocoumarins . These compounds are toxic to humans and other life forms. These compounds produce phytodermatitis in people.

So what? Well, some scientists try to say plants produce such chemicals as a defense mechanism against predators. Other scientists have said other actions are taken by plants to produce additional desirable effects.

Really? Are plants sentient? Can they think at all? Do they have the power of reason? What enables them to realize there are predators consuming them? And what conscious action can they take to change that?

I'm sorry, but I don't believe thinking people can really believe such "inspired utterances."

Image Credit » Angelicin - a furanocoumarin - PD Image.

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MegL wrote on September 26, 2016, 2:51 PM

No, I don't believe plants are sentient or that they take conscious decisions, I think whoever made those statements was being very imprecise and fuzzy in their choice of language. On the other hand, I do believe that plants and animals change in response to pressures in their environment. Two hundred years ago, there were very few white mice or rats. Any albinos would have been quickly killed and eaten by predators before breeding. These days, there are many albino mice and rats. Plants have been developed to increase flavour, size, maturation speed. This happens in nature too. An inedible plant survives, matures and produces more than a juicy version of the same species. Nothing cnscious or sentient about it.

Kasman wrote on September 26, 2016, 3:11 PM

If by ''sentient'' you mean ''intelligent'' then you are probably correct - plants are not intelligent but they are living organisms (not rocks) and by all the definitions I have seen they certainly are ''sentient'' ( in that it has been proved that plants can experience sensations which could be equated to pain ( and they also respond to numerous external stimuli ( in a way which qualitatively is no different from the ways in which higher lifeforms respond to such stimuli. They react in a different way to animals but, nevertheless, they do react. Returning to the question of intelligence, plants are not intelligent in the way that humans are (obviously) but as far as I am aware no-one has yet come up with a definition of intelligence which everyone else will accept so who really knows! It's an interesting argument and precisely the type of question which intrigues me greatly.

lookatdesktop wrote on September 26, 2016, 11:01 PM

It is still interesting to think about.

VinceSummers wrote on September 27, 2016, 7:19 AM

It's always good to think. The conclusions? Eh. Thanks for visiting, Anthony.

VinceSummers wrote on September 27, 2016, 7:20 AM

Self-awareness. The "I think, therefore I am" kind of thing. And, to be honest, even then... If someone chopped off your hand, could you encourage other humans to, in future, grow regenerative fingers? Or make your fingers, somehow, unable to be chopped?

Last Edited: September 27, 2016, 7:22 AM