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Claim: Plants are conscious!

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It’s hard to know how to address a claim like this when we don’t have any handle on human consciousness:

Plants are conscious, according to LINV director Stefano Mancuso, an arboriculture professor at the University of Florence. Mancuso’s case for plant consciousness hinges on evidence that they are aware of their existence, of their surroundings, and of the passing of time. Among other things, Mancuso quotes the renowned physicist Michio Kaku and argues that, if consciousness is the ability to build a model of yourself in relationship to space, others, and time, then plants therefore must be conscious, because of their sensitivity to chemical and physical stimuli, to their competitors, and between themselves. Plants even deserve rights, Mancuso writes in his book La Nazione Delle Piante, where he drafts out an eight-article plant constitution for the “only, true and eternal powerful nation of the planet.”

Intriguing but controversial studies into plant consciousness have been conducted by Monica Gagliano, a researcher in plant behavior at the University of Sydney. In 2014, Gagliano tested the Mimosa pudica (nicknamed the “shy plant” or “sensitive plant”) for its ability to change its threat response—curling its leaves—after multiple false alarms. Researchers dropped the plant repeatedly until it eventually “learned” there was no real threat and stopped curling its leaves, at least in the team’s interpretation.

Sofia Quaglia, “Is Plant ‘Intelligence’ Just a Human Fantasy?” at Gizmodo

The disorder here seems to be confusion between intelligence and consciousness. Plants can be intelligent, like animals, but consciousness includes a first-person sense of self.

Expect more crazy. Salad is murder, did you know? That time of year.

See also:

Scientists: Plants Are NOT Conscious! No, but why do serious plant scientists even need to make that clear? What has happened? Quite simply, the need to see humans as equivalent to animals has now spread to the need to see us as equivalent to plants.

Can plants be as smart as animals? Seeking to thrive and grow, plants communicate extensively, without a mind or a brainSeeking to thrive and grow, plants communicate extensively, without a mind or a brain

Is salad murder? If we think plants are “equal organisms” with respect to humans, it’s not clear whether salad is or isn’t murder. Or whether murder is even a serious ethical problem.

Researchers: Yes, plants have nervous systems too. Not only that but, like mammals, they use glutamate to speed transmission


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