Are plants intelligent?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Blind Hemingway, May 10, 2012.

  1. [video=youtube;KLhgtqd1M2g][/video]

    We've all heard stories of plants responding to positive attention from humans, and botanists have discovered amazing behavior in some plant species -- but what could it mean?

    *Waits for vegan jokes too appear.*
  2. Life is life...
  3. Venus fly trap?
  4. No central nervous system. Plants are not intelligent. Venus fly traps and other related carnivorous plants close their traps when an insect triggers a set of cells to rapidly change water volume, swelling the trap shut.
  5. have none of you seen that twilight zone episode where the plants told them who the murderer was.
  6. I believe that all things have a vague concept of life, not just a living thing- but holding some concept of self-preservation, and intelligence.
  7. If you pull a leaf off a plant, or cut a branch, chances are the cells in the severed part don't know that they've been sentenced to death. Yet they still continue to manufacture chlorophyll, attempt to turn sunlight into glucose, uptake water, expel oxygen .. they run and run and run until there are no more nutrients, and then they keep going while everything fails around them until the last cell finally dies.
  8. Actually, you're slightly wrong, there.

    When a plan is damaged in some way, it will try to shunt its nutrients from that area if if knows it cannot save it.

    When I think of intelligence, I think of a couple of things- can they recognize when they are damaged? Can they adapt to major changes? Can they react to danger?

    Yes, plants can.

    I took a freakin botany course my first semester in college, and I have the great MISFORTUNE to learn just have FREAKING WEIRD plants are. My professor heard me humming once, and told me to sing something in the green house, in the tropical area.

    That area freaks me out. It was like a entire jungle, condensed into a 12X24 glass section. I love plants, don't get me wrong. BUT EVERYTIME I WENT IN THERE AND DIDN'T HUM.... A leaf would fall from the tree in the center- real pointy-ass leaf, and as it fell, it would strike me.

    Do I think plants are intelligent? Yes. Do I think they have feelings and emotions, a sense of self? I'm not sure on that, and I don't want to find out.
  9. The question that really needs to be asked is "How can intelligence be defined?", at least in my opinion. If you have a precise and complete definition of what is considered intelligent, then sorting every species is going to be made much easier. But in order to establish the concept of intelligence, one must carefully weigh actions and decide if they are a sign of intelligence or not, and there is the point where everything gets difficult. It is very hard to separate a conscious, thought-out decision from an impulsive or lucky one that just happened to have a result, especially if it is impossible to communicate with the animal or plant in question. For example, some scientists thought that animals were just as intelligent as humans because they were capable of opening doors and such tasks, but they failed to consider that the results of their actions may just be coincidence.

    Then there is the other end of the spectrum, which is that even human action is just a series of conditioned reflexes, and is not a sign of intelligence, that every human achievement is just a result of chance. If one takes the time to think about it, then it becomes clear that a lot of human actions are, in fact, just conditioned reflexes, for example the way we act is determined by our experiences. If a human gets shocked by electricity because he touched a pole, they will likely not touch that pole again. If a human has an unpleasant experience with a particular event, they will try to avoid it instinctively. If one starts to think about it, then everything a person does is related to some stimulus, but can one call thoughtless reactions intelligence?

    In conclusion, until someone comes up with an exact, and universal definition of intelligence, one can argue about the intelligence of plants endlessly.
  10. A plant has a more autonomous response than intelligent response. From what I vaguely learnt scores of years ago, a plant is not clearly structurally compartmentalized; even primitive worms like C. Elegans have a nervous system. Plants can't learn, at least, I have not seen any example of one that could.

    There are examples of polymers with small capsules that rupture when punctured. These leak monomers and are polymerized by light to heal the wound. This is a completely passive system with no intelligence behind it.

    Is that the response of the 'mother' plant or the amputee? What if I chopped a fledgling branch off, or just pulled a leaf off? How does the leaf react to injury?, section 3.3, and references.
  11. Its a possibility that they are.

    Just like Iliana, I'll go with the Venus Fly Trap.

    Those things could almost be called human, the way they capture their prey.