Is eating plants wrong?

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  • Plants have no brains or central nervous system -- any communication is electro-chemical and evolutionary rather than based on sentience.


    In the animal kingdom pain is necessary in order for them to run from predators and respond to danger; plants don't need to feel pain as they can't suddenly uproot themselves and scarper from danger.


    However, if you do believe that plants are sentient (they're not), then animals also eat plants, so you do less overall harm to plants by not eating animals.

    Honestly though, would you rather chop up a dog or a lettuce?

  • Plants are sentient they are photo sensitive,they grow toward or away from stimuli and respond well or badly to their environment theyre exposed to.


    Theres growing scientific evidence they communicate and warn each other of danger.

    Dont believe me, search plant communication and read it for yourself on t'internet.


    Just because they dont contain structures we naturally associate with sentient animals doesnt mean theyre not sentient or aware.

    We just havent figured much out about them yet.

  • In animals, sentience is experienced through neural pathways, the central nervous system and the brain -- plants do not have these


    Plants do not have the mechanism for subjective thoughts, self-awareness, or the experience of pain - a signal suggesting a response does not equate to communication in the way we know it -- it isn't screaming.


    Put it this way, as primates we see in colour so we can recognise fruit as our natural primary food source. Fruit "wants" to be eaten to help spread its seeds and reproduce -- but the tree isn't making a conscious decision to grow red apples etc, it's just evolved this desire through millions of years of evolutionary necessity.


    Predatory mammals see in black and white because it gives them superior night vision for hunting -- and other animals experience fear or pain as a signal to escape from these predators.


    Even if there was some level of plant-awareness, there would be no need for a typical plant to experience pain or fear as it wouldn't help -- feeling pain at the experience of being eaten wouldn't serve any purpose.

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  • based on human-centric science

    Because there isn't any kind other kind of science, and "science" isn't a postmodernist construct. :/

    Plants, or some plants, might have certain 'advanced' abilities of which humans are totally unaware (but maybe benefit from), and because of the shape of our consciousness, we are unequipped to even question plants' rights. Do trees sing? That might be the wrong question, maybe I am incapable of thinking the right question to defend them.

    Absolutely - but what would be the evolutionary benefit to feeling pain? What would they do with it?


    Also, what do you mean by consciousness?

  • This is great!


    I've been learning a lot about herbalism and aromatherapy/essential oils in recent years and there is a lot of work that discusses the spiritual essence or life force of plants. Most herbalist will sit and commune with a plant, asking permission before harvesting and will only harvest if they receive a positive response. I know it sounds pretty odd but I've started doing the same since I've started harvesting plants and it's a pretty interesting experience. I was also reading a book regarding physics and essential oils which discussed the different vibrational frequencies that essential oils have. They found that frequencies changed depending on who came into contact with them and their emotions at the time.


    Also, hasn't been research to suggest that plants can release a gas if they are harmed or distressed?


    There is so much about the world that we don't comprehend yet, just because we can't prove something doesn't mean to say that a reaction or event doesn't occur. Quantum physics is mostly (or is it entirely?) theoretical. Scientists have proven that atoms react differently when they aren't being observed but no one knows why yet.


    Perhaps plants are just working on a vibrational frequency that most people are no longer in tune with because we're too removed from the natural world. We know that a lot of old religions believed that everything in and of the Earth had a spirit so perhaps they were the ones that got it right.

  • Because there isn't any kind other kind of science, and "science" isn't a postmodernist construct. :/

    Absolutely - but what would be the evolutionary benefit to feeling pain? What would they do with it?


    Also, what do you mean by consciousness?

    There is postmodernism in science. It's a thought system which looks to deconstruct ideas based on the theory that scientific values have been too heavily influenced or based on westernised belief systems and social constructs.

  • The idea of plants experiencing some form of fear, or pain, or other feelings, certainly brings some interesting points to the fore.


    I remember having an interesting discussion about this with omnivores. and one or two vegans and fruitarians, and the ethics involved, some years ago. Somebody pointed out that when a 'sentient' being is killed suddenly, its pain and suffering stop at once. (This is a creature generally recognised as having a centralised nervous system).


    However, if we boil a pot of vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, it may take several minutes for them to be transformed from living things into dead things. If we bake potatoes in the oven, it possibly takes up to an hour for them to become dead things. If we boil our potatoes in a pot, it is going to take the best part of half an hour for the water to heat up and boil them alive until they are dead. If we keep a lettuce in the cooler and take off only a few leaves a day, it is taking quite a long time before we eat the final piece.


    So if there is any kind of 'feelings' at all connected with plant life, it is obvious that any degree of 'suffering' which may exist is extraordinarily prolonged, compared to that suffered by higher life forms at time of death.


    Oddly enough, the omnivores and the fruitarians in our discussion were both open to this possibility, but for some reason the vegans were not.


    So if there is anything in this possibility of plant suffering, both the omnivores and the vegans are wrong, and the fruitarians have it correctly.

  • Predatory mammals see in black and white because it gives them superior night vision for hunting -- and other animals experience fear or pain as a signal to escape from these predators.

    Cats see in monochrome but dogs can see red. Some insects see more colours than humans.

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  • postmodernism may be a ridiculous term (we are running out of terms), but it covers a credible pursuit. All it mean is to re-analyse something which was at one time considered 'modern'* through a new lens / a new angle. There's nothing bullshit about that.

    I think postmodernist ideas are destroying the structure of modern civilisation - but that's for another debate.

  • I heard the documentary one on radio 4, highly interesting about how trees and plants communicaste with each other and the underground mycelium of fungi being the mode of transferring chemical signals and a feeding system for minerals and elements trees need etc, like an underground nsatural internet type thing. If people get to thinking plants are sentient beings and going with their ethics and morals of animals being sentient beings so consider it wrong in their eyes to haver them killed for food, transposing this onto plants and fruit, then a person is not going to eat. Voluntary starvation isnt in my DNA, we are built and coded to survive. Every single morsel a human eats no matter what dietry regime someone lives by, whatever food they choose has been alive at some point, or is a by product of something that was alive.

    I can see how people and science would consider plants as sentient beings as they react and adapt to the conditions they are subjected to so they are sensory as they detect light and dark etc and can react and adapt. The survival tactics some wild plants have is quite phenomenal, like brambles, nettles, docks, japanese knot weed etc, the more you cut them back, the more they grow. Plant life is seriously amazing and complicated scientifically, would it mean that no matter what science uncovers about the sentient side of things, would it mean I would stop eating them, no.

    Most of life on earth is all part of the food chain system, to either be a food source for a means to obtain food for things higher up. Due to the humans success of survival, perhaps overly so, over the centuries, have ensured we are top of the food chain and humans have been quite happy to wipe out or hunt out what would be seen as our predators, weeds of the plant world do the same, nettels, brambles, rhodedendrons, all create their space where its mostly that species and will happily spread to widen their territory. It isnt that long ago since hiumans adopted a choice to eat or not certain available foods, back in the days when humans were true tribes and cave dwellers, if they started to choose not to eat certain things out of some moral/ethical code, then they would have starved and or got very ill and died, it is a relatively modern phenomenon, and mostly derived due to the way humans have devised to rear/grow food stuffs in intensive agriculture and farming live stock. I write this stuff from my own reading and gleaning info I feel relevant for me to know and understand so I can use my own judgement according to the morals and ethics I choose to live by, and that should go for everyone, if someone chooses not to eat plants due to them having the notion plants are full sentient beings, and I respect that choice, and if they feel it is not something they can be involved in eating, then I am curious as to what foods are available that would not be considered as being or have been part of a sentient being plant etc.

  • Purely looking at ethics, as seen through some mostly eastern philosophical ideas, fruit of various kinds would be the most ethical. Because fruit has evolved mainly to be eaten by a variety of beings, and the seeds or stones either spat out or carried through the body, to be deposited and have the chance of life renewed. When fruit is eaten, no plant is harmed - the fruit is meant to be eaten. But if we eat the seeds or the stones, this is (ethically) a bit like eating the egg of a bird; we could be said to be depriving something of the chance of life.


    All this is high ethical stuff, of course, and not practical for living in the world. But interesting to think about. Just as some might make a distinction between eating the leaves or shoots of a perennial plant, which will continue to grow, and harvesting an annual plant before it has reached maturity, which we have now killed..


    I don't let any of this stuff worry me, of course. But I do like to ponder possibilities. Seen through eastern philosophical eyes, we are all beings living here somewhere along the same spiritual path, just at different stages of that path. Perhaps when we have evolved to consider high ethics of things like fruitarianism in a practical, should-I-be-doing-this? sort of way, we may have evolved spiritually to a point where we need to come here no more......?

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