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Ugh. I <b>HATE</b> when this comes up in a discussion as a reason why veganism is just as inhumane as eating meat!<br><br>
I also really find it dubious when individual claim that "science proves" that plants feel pain and/or have intelligence but offer nothing in the way of reliable data or information to support the claim. However, recently, someone just offered these two bits of presumably scientific experiments: <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1360138505001718" target="_blank">this</a> and <a href="http://adb.sagepub.com/content/19/3/155.abstract" target="_blank">this</a>.<br><br>
What are some of your responses?
 

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While I disagree, if people bring this up I suggest they can either stop eating, or eat what causes the least suffering, which would be vegan.<br><br>
In nature, where animals are hunted as needed, prey animals are overwhelmed by brain chemicals that they don't experience in stockyards and slaughterhouses. That's the real suffering.
 

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Well, in my purely personal opinion and view: Plants don't have nervous systems the way that animals, human and non-human, do. Therefore I have a hard time believing they feel physical pain. Personally, I do believe that plants are alive, conscious and have spirits, but I do not believe they are sentient and feel physical pain. I believe you can even communicate with those plant spirits as shamans have for ages, but part of communing with a plant spirit a lot of the time involves consuming the plant. Plants are totally different from human and non-human animals and have a totally different purpose in existing.<br><br>
Also, logically speaking, I *do* need to consume plants to survive and be healthy, it's an essential to my continued existence. Eating animals, however is absolutely not. So, say plants do in fact feel pain and suffer, that would be horrible, but as a human, I wouldn't survive without them, so it would be essential and necessary that I eat them, just as it's essential for many wild animals to eat animals lower in the food chain, so I would still eat plants. Meat is not a necessity to my survival as a human though, so morally I can't feel right eating it.<br><br>
Personally I feel like the whole plant argument is generally a cop out. It's irrelevant, we eat plants because we <b>need</b> to, I'm veg because I've made a moral decision not to cause or contribute to unnecessary cruelty to another species because I don't need it to survive. Simple as that, <b>I don't need it</b>, it's unnecessary and so I refuse to contribute to the cruelty. You need plants to survive, you don't need meat to survive so the moral decision lies right there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hm. Interesting (and valuable) answers! Personally, I try to attack the argument from a more empirical basis.<br><br>
I suggested that while plants do exhibit chemical and hydraulic reactions to external stimuli, to equate it to pain is a false equivalency. Pain is a very specific reaction. It is characterized by sensations (which requires nerves and other organs through which those nerves can transmit the sensations) that has mental and emotional components to it. Pain is also an evolutionary response designed to protect the organism from an external danger. That is, it alerts the organism of the danger and causes the organism to recoil and retreat. None of the features of <i>pain</i> are present in plants.<br><br>
I think a lot of the behavior we see in plants and that has been discussed herein is more due to the fact that a plant is alive. I do not discount that plants are alive and as such have worth as living organisms. I do agree that plants can have reactions to external stimuli, both over long periods and short ones.<br><br>
However, the crux of the issue at hand (i.e., whether plants and animals are not so dissimilar with respect to rights and treatment) is not whether they are alive or can react but whether they are sentient and intelligent.<br><br>
Now, I take sentient and intelligent to not only mean that they are self-aware but that they have instincts, motivations, and desires unto themselves and act upon those instincts, motivations, and desires.<br><br>
But, obviously given the reason for the post, I'm open to other ideas.<br><br>
I'm also interested to know whether anyone else has come across research like the two extracts I liked above?
 

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I usually side step the whole argument about whether or not they can feel pain and bring up the point that even if they can it still doesn't make any sense as an argument against vegetarianism. The animals people eat consume a lot of plants before they are slaughtered, if you really believe plants can feel pain the most ethical thing to do is to stop eating eating meat and only eat plants to avoid so much unnecessary plant torture <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:">
 

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I always get sarcastic and applaud their plant-rights activism. Something along the lines of "You should write an essay for harvard about the long-term psychological effects on eggplants in vegetable crisper confinement. They much rather be free in the rest of the fridge."
 

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My main response is similar to what the others have posted.<br><br>
I try to live my life as cruelty free as possible. Even if plants did have feelings, we, as humans, need to eat to live. Eating the plants vs. animals (who eat plants) is the path of least harm and more ethical.<br><br>
Though I take better care of my plants than some people do their animals (sad), I don't believe they have feelings of any sought.
 

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I say that from a purely physiological standpoint, it makes NO sense for plants to be able to feel pain. They lack the ability to fight back or flee.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Werewolf Girl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079799"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I usually side step the whole argument about whether or not they can feel pain and bring up the point that even if they can it still doesn't make any sense as an argument against vegetarianism. The animals people eat consume a lot of plants before they are slaughtered, if you really believe plants can feel pain the most ethical thing to do is to stop eating eating meat and only eat plants to avoid so much unnecessary plant torture <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:"></div>
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I like this one!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>vegansarawr</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079903"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I always get sarcastic and applaud their plant-rights activism. Something along the lines of "You should write an essay for harvard about the long-term psychological effects on eggplants in vegetable crisper confinement. They much rather be free in the rest of the fridge."</div>
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Haha. I'm totally using this next time someone tells me plants feel pain.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Werewolf Girl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079799"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I usually side step the whole argument about whether or not they can feel pain and bring up the point that even if they can it still doesn't make any sense as an argument against vegetarianism.</div>
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I think it would be better not to side-step the issue. If people have really messed up and nonsensical beliefs, they should be corrected or challenged on them.
 

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Well plants obviously don't have the same physiology of animals, but that doesn't mean that they don't have alternative systems for processing information..<br>
All organisms may need some form of consciousness in order for their cells to function properly.<br>
There maybe other forms of matter other than ordinary baryonic matter, that can form much more intricate systems undetectable using scientific means. Systems that may exist within a plant that enable it to function, and may lead to it having some form of consciousness, although plants may not need to feel pain, as they can't react, but they may need it to react at a chemical level.<br>
I have read that pain in humans can trigger healing processes, as well as getting us to react bodily to the situation causing the pain.<br>
But 'pain' probably wouldn't be the right word with plants, but instead just a stimulus that was meant to provoke the healing process.<br><br><br>
Anyway, it might be a complex question,so I think that answering that eating animals products would lead to more plants being eaten, is a good answer.
 

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Another approach goes like this ..<br><br>
"So you <i>really</i> believe that plants feel pain too?"<br><br>
"Does that make it as wrong to harm plants as it is wrong to harm animals?"<br><br>
"So harming more plants than we need to harm is <i>definitely</i> a wrong thing to do?"<br><br><br>
A third grade level understanding of how the food chain works (Dear God; <i>Purleeeeze</i>!!!) is enough to hoist the b'stards on the petard of their own stupidity from there ..
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079969"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think it would be better not to side-step the issue. If people have really messed up and nonsensical beliefs, they should be corrected or challenged on them.</div>
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Absolutely. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:"><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Well plants obviously don't have the same physiology of animals, but that doesn't mean that they don't have alternative systems for processing information..</div>
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Information processing is not intelligence or consciousness. A calculator processes information. A chemical reaction processes information.<br><br>
It is dynamic and intentional information processing, in an adaptive sense, that is intelligence and, necessarily, consciousness with the respective pleasure and pain inherent in that.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
All organisms may need some form of consciousness in order for their cells to function properly.</div>
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Not at all, plants are a great example.<br><br>
You could possibly make the argument for some very primitive cellular consciousness, but that would not be consciousness on the part of the plant. It would not be a systemic consciousness. The behavior plants show is a simple emergent simulant response behavior.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
There maybe other forms of matter other than ordinary baryonic matter, that can form much more intricate systems undetectable using scientific means.</div>
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And there might be elves and faeries. Rocks might be super-intelligent. Maybe we're all in a computer program... or maybe you're the only conscious being in existence and the rest is a figment of your imagination.<br><br>
Framing moral behavior in terms of far fetched 'maybe's that stand without any evidence or reason to believe them over any other 'maybe' is simply not moral behavior; it's a wild guess, it's random behavior.<br><br>
In order to behave morally, we have to behave responsibly and use the best information we have. Sometimes we may be wrong, but objective scientific information is the only thing we have that isn't flat out random and biased beyond any coherency, so the chances of us being right are far higher than with any guess. Choosing a less likely moral course than a more likely one is, in itself, immoral.<br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Systems that may exist within a plant that enable it to function, and may lead to it having some form of consciousness, although plants may not need to feel pain, as they can't react, but they may need it to react at a chemical level.</div>
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Reacting at a chemical level- like a science fair volcano- does not require pain. Pain, by its very nature, is that which guides the adaptation of a neural network through the evolution of thought. If a reaction is completely static, it can not involve pain.<br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I have read that pain in humans can trigger healing processes, as well as getting us to react bodily to the situation causing the pain.</div>
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You may be confusing the hormonal cascade, which is the result of painful stimuli, with the feeling of pain.<br><br>
It doesn't help that our language is ambiguous on these points, or that reporters are scientifically illiterate.<br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
But 'pain' probably wouldn't be the right word with plants, but instead just a stimulus that was meant to provoke the healing process.</div>
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Yes.<br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079972"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Anyway, it might be a complex question,so I think that answering that eating animals products would lead to more plants being eaten, is a good answer.</div>
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I think it's a pretty simple question; and with a pretty simple answer. But it can be hard to explain.<br><br>
The latter may be easier to explain, but it is inaccurate. See Sevenseas' comments above.<br><br>
Dispelling the myth at its roots is probably more effective a treatment. Otherwise, all we are doing is mitigating the symptoms.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>silva</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079777"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
In nature, where animals are hunted as needed, prey animals are overwhelmed by brain chemicals that they don't experience in stockyards and slaughterhouses. That's the real suffering.</div>
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Anecdotal only ..<br><br>
My personal impression from having spent much time in a slaughter house is this: Those same brain chemicals kick in fully.
 

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well as good as I think science is at answering questions about the way the Universe works, I don't think it is the only way; not for me anyway....but I accept that it is for some people.<br><br>
There may be fairies and elves, and also the scientific method might be the only way to form a world view. Pick your fairy.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079969"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think it would be better not to side-step the issue. If people have really messed up and nonsensical beliefs, they should be corrected or challenged on them.</div>
</div>
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Well, the thing is I've never heard anyone use that argument who <i>actually</i> believes it. It's always used as a way to distract from the main issue and attempt to make the veg*n in the argument feel guilty and question themselves. Pointing out that even if plants felt pain it wouldn't justify eating animals usually gets people to give up on that tactic.<br><br>
If the person I was talking to made it clear that they did believe plants were sentient I'd discuss it further for sure, so far that hasn't happened though. The closest I got was a guy who had some Buddhist leanings and believed everything was imbued with consciousness in the form of spiritual energy, and I'm not sure how to debate that from a logical standpoint...
 

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Somewhat related: For the 8th grade science fair, my project was "Do plants have feelings?". In traditional science fair fashion, I made everything up the night before the board was due, but my "results" came out to be, yes, plants <i>do</i> have feelings. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br>
I may just have fueled the omni fire with that presentation.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blobbenstein</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3079991"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
well as good as I think science is at answering questions about the way the Universe works, I don't think it is the only way; not for me anyway....but I accept that it is for some people.<br><br>
There may be fairies and elves, and also the scientific method might be the only way to form a world view. Pick your fairy.</div>
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Your analogy doesn't work. Science is not a guess, nor is it equal to a guess.<br><br>
This is a common misunderstanding.<br><br>
Science is not a series of 'facts' or any mere body of information, but a methodology of reducing (and ideally eliminating) subjective bias based on preconceptions from observation of our world. It is the opposite of a guess; it is the elimination of the influence of guesses on our perception of facts.<br><br>
It is founded only on logic, and the premises that:<br><br>
1. There is a true reality (if there isn't, there's no point in believing anything nor any harm in it, so this is a safe assumption)<br><br>
2. People believe different things, which sometimes conflict logically (thus not all beliefs are true)-- an evident conclusion of that being that humans have biases that can influence perception in a number of ways (if it is not a bias which can be controlled for, but instead the influence of some kind of 'divinity', then we have no free will and as such our actions are irrelevant anyway- making this another safe assumption)<br><br>
Given those premises, in order to have the best chance at believing what is true, we use scientific methodology to control for those biases.<br><br><br>
Scientific methodology can be applied to anything (even things considered supernatural- it can even give us insight into things like witchcraft, magic, and theology), but where it is not applied, all we are left with are assumptions- and following only those assumptions without caring what is actually true is fundamentally closed minded.<br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">"Upon this first, and in one sense this sole, rule of reason, that in order to learn you must desire to learn, and in so desiring not be satisfied with what you already incline to think, there follows one corollary which itself deserves to be inscribed upon every wall of the city of philosophy: Do not block the way of inquiry.<br><br>
Charles Sanders Peirce, "First Rule of Logic"</div>
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Where science and logic cease to give us answers, it's anybody's guess, and so you could argue that formulating a tentative world-view outside the bounds of the answers we have gained from science is not counter-productive to science and logic themselves.<br><br>
This is often called the "god of the gaps", but it applies to any unevidenced assumption we fancy for lack of evidence.<br><br>
This you could argue is fair, since we don't *have* anything better to base our views on in that case; as long as the assumptions are humble enough to move over if such a time comes that science does provide answers.<br><br>
My statements on morality apply to a competitive situation- choosing an assumption in spite of objective evidence (not in having an assumption for lack of it).<br><br><b>It is immoral to choose to believe an element of a world view which is less likely to be true in place of another available more likely element and act on that belief in such a way that it could be morally catastrophic were the more likely element true instead.</b><br><br>
Yes, I know, it's a mouth full. But I hope you understand what I'm saying.<br><br><br><br><br>
The only alternatives to tentatively accepting conclusions of science (in the same sense of statistical certainty that they can be concluded) are:<br><br>
1. Total existential skepticism (necessarily including dialetheism, because following any acceptance of logic is the prudence of scientific methodology)<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">[of such a person] Why does he not just get up first thing and walk into a well or, if he finds one, over a cliff? In fact, he seems rather careful about cliffs and wells.<br>
-Aristotle</div>
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and:<br><br>
2. Blind trust in assumptions to be true in spite of evidence to the contrary (fideism- beyond being closed minded, see the second premise above, and why this is a safe assumption to not follow. Fideism usually also admits dialetheism, but may not always do so).<br><br><br><br>
Perennial philosophy and some other metaphysical systems that attempt to found themselves in rationalism are almost a middle ground, wherein there is an attempt at a more objective methodology being applied to theology and the transcendent. These are an imperfect attempts, but where they would admit that and welcome more objective methodology and logical analysis, they are at least scientific in spirit (to the extent something can be scientific in motivation, even if it falls short of an ideal). Where they fail to admit that, they are fideism.<br><br><br>
Anyway, with regards to the two alternatives mentioned (possibly excepting some forms of perennial philosophy and metaphysics, which deserve more discussion), this is not answering questions about how the universe works- it is ignoring the question, and just saying how you think it works respectively (failing to actually answer the external truth of the matter).<br><br>
In either case, those responses are both closed minded (whether dialetheism or fideism) because they deny any new information (an assumption has no need for facts), and only adapt based on emotional convenience.<br><br><br>
I would note also that some of the most intelligent of classical theologians likewise rejected the premises of dialetheism and fideism, Thomas Aquinas (and the Catechism of the Catholic Church), and Avicenna perhaps chief among them.<br><br>
Modern theology takes great pains not to put itself at odds with the concepts of science, and throughout antiquity theology has overwhelmingly attempted to ally itself with logic.
 

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I don't see anything in either article that says plants feel pain but I can only view the abstracts.<br><br>
When people say this I assume it means one of the following, all of which signal the conversation is pointless.<br><br>
1) "I have too low an IQ to comprehend facts."<br><br>
2) "I am too ignorant and arrogant to accept there are other possible ways to live one's life than my own."<br><br>
3) "I am just spouting nonsense to embarrass, bully or humiliate you because I something is broken inside my soul and I'm too afraid to actually work on my issues."<br><br>
4) "I feel guilty/inferior to you for eating animals so instead of addressing that I am going to divert the discussion into something you are allegedly doing wrong."<br><br>
If I reply at all it's usually reflective listening, "You feel uncomfortable when you think of eating animals. You alleviate that discomfort by changing the subject to pointing out dubious negative things others are doing."
 
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