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From: soveg (
Subject: this post deserves more response
Date: April 13, 2004 at 6:27 am PST

In Reply to: Plant sentience posted by Leo on February 21, 2004 at 8:18 pm:

Hi ya'll.

I'm not sure I belong on this board, as spirituality isn't exactly my strong point, but I can handle philosophy, and this post deserves more points of view. :)

Before we can intelligently discuss the issue, first we need some definitions. If we define consciousness as "awareness of one's surroundings" then certainly plants are conscious. It is easier to simply describe them as "aware of their surroundings" to avoid ambiguous connotations of "consciousness."

I think you misunderstand Darwinism. explain how plants have unconsiously developed poisions, thorns and other mechanisms to avoid being eaten. Or how fruit bearing plants have designed an ingenious way to spread their seeds and survive.

ALL of evolution is unconscious. Evolution isn't "accidental." It's fueled by "survival of the fittest" and natural selection. Even rocks must follow these principles. If weak rocks break and crumble under local conditions, then you will only find tough rocks. It will seem ingenious that only the tough rocks remain (for they are better adapted), but there is no genius needed, for there can BE no weak rocks. Similarly, ONLY the plants with the "ingenius" survival apparatuses will survive under competitive conditions. Those who are more poorly adapted cannot compete. This isn't an accident.

EVERYTHING is subject to the principles of survival of the fittest. Only the cars that run on available fuels will succeed in the marketplace, and those that run more efficiently will be more popular given the needs of the marketplace. But cars aren't conscious.

I'm not saying Darwin's theory doesn't have holes, but you haven't found one of them.

Ethically I do believe that like cases should be treated similarly, but plant awareness is very different from human awareness and is therefore subject to different treatment in similar circumstances. How is plant awareness different? What happens to a plant doesn't MATTER to the plant. What happens to humans (or other animals with nervous systems and mobility) DOES matter. In other words, although plants are aware of their environments, they don't have a sense of good and bad, of pleasure and suffering. What happens to them doesn't matter to them. And this is a BIG difference ethically speaking.

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