Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Secret Life of Plants

  1. Jun 30, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Life_of_Plants

    A very popular book back in the 1970s, have any papers been published that support the claims, and if so, have they been refuted?

    I remember trying to read it but I couldn't make it all the way through.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2009 #2
    Is this like that movie with Wahlberg last year where the plants poisoned people.
     
  4. Jun 30, 2009 #3

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The Happening? :biggrin:

    Do we have any fans of The Day of the Triffids?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVXEA7_y344
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  5. Jul 1, 2009 #4
    I've always thought that if plants were sentient they would just be bored to death all the time. Luckily for plants I don't believe they really are. :)
     
  6. Jul 1, 2009 #5
    Thee's a guy who shows up at the APS every year (I think) who talks about plants responding to stimulus and sending out N-waves (or somesuch).
     
  7. Jul 1, 2009 #6

    CEL

    User Avatar

    Are these the N-rays, supposedly discovered by Blondlot?
    http://www.skepdic.com/blondlot.html
     
  8. Jul 1, 2009 #7
  9. Jul 1, 2009 #8

    LURCH

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    These discoveries only support the argument I have ahd against vegiterianism all along; it is wrong to eat plants! At least an animal could try to fight back, or run away.

    Plants are living things, just like animals, but they are utterly helpless! And now we have discovered that they are sentient. I'm tellin' ya people; stop eating plants!
     
  10. Jul 2, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I did see this paper published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, which is listed in the Thomson index. The paper was published in 1997, long after the book came out.

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/imp/jcs/1997/00000004/00000003/760
     
  11. Jul 15, 2009 #10
    I remember stumbling across this book back in high school while looking for botany material, I was so excited at first because I thought by "The Secret Life of Plants" it would be describing unique or strange plant species/biology. Oh, how disappointed I was; not to mention the fact that the librarians thought it wise to catalog the book in the botany section. :uhh:
     
  12. Jul 17, 2009 #11
    Myth busters tried this out a while ago. If I remember, they got some strange results. They did the polygraph in a faraday cage and still got strange results. not sure how statistically significant it was though.
     
  13. Jul 18, 2009 #12
    They couldn't replicate those results any more than that one time.
     
  14. Jul 25, 2009 #13
    The hypocrisy of some vegetarians really bugs me. I love the ones who claim to not eat any meat. Never. Ever. Never any meat. Then they throw out "and sometimes fish".

    Kinda like marijuana advocates claiming marijuana isn't addictive. Never. Never addictive. Not at all. And then "not physically addictive".
     
  15. Jul 25, 2009 #14
    Emphasis mine.

    Those four words pretty much sum of the value of that particular substantiation.

    Psychics are pretty lucky in that, given that only they can communicate with astral beings and plants and whatnot, the rest of us can't verify by asking the being in question directly ourselves. It's a neat little arrangement, I figure.
     
  16. Jul 25, 2009 #15
    I can talk to plants, too.

    Very quiet, usually.
     
  17. Jul 26, 2009 #16

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Without the ability to read the actual paper, to me that is not clear. I find it surprising that what is seemingly a reputable journal would publish a paper that is entirely dependent on the claims of "psychics". And it doesn't seem to be an analysis of such beliefs, rather a survey of the "field".

    I realize that it sounds pretty flakey, but that's not enough to go on.
     
  18. Jul 26, 2009 #17
    Ah, I see now. Okay, the blurb said that as a result of impetus created by new claims by psychics and etc. to explore the area further. Got it.
     
  19. Jul 26, 2009 #18
    Anyone with the ability to speak can talk to plants. What's unknown is if they listen and can they respond.
     
  20. Jul 27, 2009 #19
    Maybe they have better things to do than talk to somebody who sits around talking to plants. Just my 2 cents.
     
  21. Jul 27, 2009 #20

    HallsofIvy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That reminds of the line from "Henry V"- "You say you can call spirits? Why, so can I or so can any man! But do the come when you do call them?"
     
  22. Jul 27, 2009 #21

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If we can't read the paper, then we really don't know what they are saying. Perhaps they cite evidence.

    Are you saying that the journal is not reputable, or are you saying that a reputable journal publishes the claims of psychics?

    Look, I'm not defending this stuff, but we hold debunking to the same standards as we do claims. What makes us feel warm and fuzzy has no bearing on our approach.
     
  23. Jul 27, 2009 #22
    I’m not quite sure I entirely understand what you’re saying, Ivan, beyond that, I think, somehow I haven’t said something well enough. I’ll expound some.

    Evidently the reputable journal detected a rise in the interest/conversation/public dialogue about the consciousness of plants as a result in a rise in claims by psychics who claim to communicate with plants. And the detected rise in public dialogue spurred the reputable journal forward to survey literature from a broader scope of society to see how various segments of society perceive the topic.

    And, so, yes, reading the journal article may very well be interesting from the perspective of reading a survey of broader perception about plant consciousness in society at large.

    And, so, yes, I admit to a knee-jerk response to people saying that point-blank quackery inciting serious inquiry wherein I can’t fathom why any wide hearing is even being given to psychics et al in the first place. Further pondering causes me to wonder if by credible people responding to non-credible people the latter are encouraged and lent some sort of credibility by association. Then again, should no one save credulous people respond to psychics et al then those people’s trade would flourish even further.

    However, as you, Ivan, pointed out, the abstract says that it’s an overview of a larger social view, so it’s rather a sociological look at whom is viewing the consciousness of plants and how. It might be interesting to spring the $29.95 to read the article and see. I wouldn’t anticipate any conclusions about the veracity of the plant sentience claims but only a social perception.

    So, I’m not saying that I think the journal’s not credible, and I’m not saying that I think a reputable journal is publishing the claims of psychics. What I attempted to say – in terrible shorthand -- in post #17 was that I didn’t properly digest the sentence in the abstract until you pointed it out to me in your post #16. I hope I did a better job here.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook