Do plants have minds?

66 Replies, 1028 Views

(2024-07-19, 02:36 AM)Laird Wrote: Here's my reading of the train of thought of your post, using your own words as much as possible:

The fate of farmed animals is to be "sliced in two from end to end", "[y]et [...] for much of their lives they are able to roam free", and so "I don't force myself into" refraining from eating their flesh.

If it's a misreading, then it's at least a plausible one. I wasn't trying to spin it.


"Appalled"? Huh. The basis of my views is empathy and respect for all living beings. However badly I might advocate for them, being appalled given their (I'd hope obvious) basis seems like a misplaced (over)reaction.

Sorry, @Laird. I did not need to be so severe or harsh in my response.

At that point I felt misunderstood or misrepresented. These things are not necessarily intentional, but to be misunderstood is one of the deepest pains.

I'd like to let this go, it has blown away in the wind and I hope it will be possible for you too.
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  • Laird
(2024-07-21, 10:57 AM)David001 Wrote: The problem is that if consciousness doesn't have some sort of scale you just go crazy.

I see, so, you propose that to stave off insanity, we make up comforting lies, or, as you put it, we "rationalise what is going on".

(2024-07-21, 10:57 AM)David001 Wrote: Ordinary soil is teeming with all sorts of things. If you turn the soil over with a spade (or a piece of farm equipment) you are likely to kill a fair few such creatures.

For organisms as big as an earthworm[1], that's probably true. I doubt that a spade or plough is going to do anything to most soil organisms given their tiny size though.

In any case, no-till farming can largely avert this problem.

[1] Although some earthworms can to some extent regenerate themselves if their tail part is cut off - not that that makes it OK of course.

(2024-07-21, 10:57 AM)David001 Wrote: It is easy to say that all animal life is equally conscious, but it is utterly impossible to follow that through consistently

If you mean it's impossible to totally avoid killing other life forms in the ordinary course of living our own human lives, that's probably true. There are plenty of ways we can mitigate the risks and harms though, even if...

(2024-07-21, 10:57 AM)David001 Wrote: Every time you walk on open ground you are likely to leave a trail of tragedies like that (except that nobody will see them).

...we don't go quite to the extent of those devout Jains who sweep the path ahead of themselves.
(This post was last modified: 2024-07-23, 07:07 AM by Laird. Edited 1 time in total. Edit Reason: Fix a stray character mistakenly entered with paste of contents )
(2024-07-23, 06:01 AM)Typoz Wrote: Sorry, @Laird. I did not need to be so severe or harsh in my response.

At that point I felt misunderstood or misrepresented. These things are not necessarily intentional, but to be misunderstood is one of the deepest pains.

I'd like to let this go, it has blown away in the wind and I hope it will be possible for you too.

Sure, no problem, @Typoz. I see it fluttering away already.
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  • Typoz
(2024-07-23, 07:06 AM)Laird Wrote: I see, so, you propose that to stave off insanity, we make up comforting lies, or, as you put it, we "rationalise what is going on".
I think you are rather missing my point. We are talking about consciousness, and awkward as it seems to be, consciousness seems to present in all life. We sort of agreed this was true of plants, but somehow the fact that eating them might therefore cause suffering of some sort has got lost.
Whatever the differences we may have about the morality of eating meat, surely the problem is that in reality humans, plants, animals span a vast range of degrees of consciousness, and yet I agree, it superficially feels appropriate to respect each form of consciousness equally.

I think that understanding the real nature of consciousness across all life would be a wonderful thing to achieve.

We won't get there by arguing over a bacon sandwich!

David
I think it is counterproductive to get all too bothered about the inherent cruelty involved in meat eating, and either accept the limitations of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles or accept as a workable tradeoff the often uncomfortable cognitive dissonance involved with knowingly continuing meat eating whether for health reasons or enjoyment or both. We can only hope that efforts to commercialize lab-grown meat production will graduate to a practical non-cruel source. As to plant eating and killing and the apparent life force and probably very dim level of consciousness of plants, I would just not worry about it. In our evolution we were evidently intended by the Designers to have the necessity to survive by killing at least plants in order to survive, and animals as part of a primitive hunter-gatherer life style. It is natural and built into us.
(This post was last modified: Yesterday, 02:43 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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  • Valmar
Curious for folks take on one aspect on the consciousness down to what level/all levels.

It feels like we're a short time away from seeing mechanical entities with enough AI-centric intelligence to easily pass the Turing test.  So they will appear to be conscious to us.  As Laird put it their "behavior" will indicate as much.  Play, laughter, sadness, empathy, etc.  Yet, will we deem these entities to be living beings?  I mean we're almost there today with this type of tech as you all know.

So, what I'm curious about here, is how do we really know any non-human life form is "conscious" in the way we view ourselves to be?  Yes, we see what plainly appears to be fear, reaction to pain, "suffering" as it were in lots of animals.  But how do we know the inner experience is the same/similar to ours?  Again, thinking about a robotic machine programmed to show these same outward signs of fear, pain, suffering, do we put these in a different, perhaps non-moral category while keeping animals in a separate, moral category of consideration?
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(6 hours ago)Silence Wrote: Curious for folks take on one aspect on the consciousness down to what level/all levels.

It feels like we're a short time away from seeing mechanical entities with enough AI-centric intelligence to easily pass the Turing test.  So they will appear to be conscious to us.  As Laird put it their "behavior" will indicate as much.  Play, laughter, sadness, empathy, etc.  Yet, will we deem these entities to be living beings?  I mean we're almost there today with this type of tech as you all know.

So, what I'm curious about here, is how do we really know any non-human life form is "conscious" in the way we view ourselves to be?  Yes, we see what plainly appears to be fear, reaction to pain, "suffering" as it were in lots of animals.  But how do we know the inner experience is the same/similar to ours?  Again, thinking about a robotic machine programmed to show these same outward signs of fear, pain, suffering, do we put these in a different, perhaps non-moral category while keeping animals in a separate, moral category of consideration?

Well without telepathy (or at least psychic empathy) I could say only I am conscious.

The Turing Test is drawn from Turing's paper Computing Machinery & Intelligence, in which he says:

Quote:9. The Argument from Extrasensory Perception

I assume that the reader is familiar with the idea of extrasensory perception, and the meaning of the four items of it, viz., telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis. These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas.

How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming...

...If telepathy is admitted it will be necessary to tighten our test up.

But lacking a telepathy test of course it's entirely possible we'll have people claiming (wrongly IMO) that programs run on a non-conscious Turing Machine somehow makes said machine conscious.

It would be nice to do a verifiable telepathy test, or some other Psi-based test, but we're obviously not even close to being able to do anything like that as a species.

If we believe in evolution it is hard to see where exactly consciousness appears as the idea of vague "sorta" consciousness doesn't really make sense. (It's also yet another reason Physicalism is false)

OTOH even if accepted particle consciousness it wouldn't be clear when the arrangements of particles create an entity that itself is conscious.

I guess for me programs can't be conscious, but animals and plants have some subjective feeling and sense of self? I want to say anything has a soul is conscious, but that I suspect doesn't help at all. Perhaps all systems that can be considered self-propelling agents? That might include androids or some other kind of synthetic life, even if programs on their own lack any such capacity.

I suspect we may have to utilize some measurement from Information Science, akin to Integrated Information Theory...though not even I am convinced that IIT is correct...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 5 hours ago by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 3 times in total.)

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