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growing plant

Tony Travis ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri
Sun Aug 29 19:13:09 EST 1993

grzegorz kruk (gkruk at ie.tcd.unix2) wrote:
: Hello,

Hello, Grzegorz and welcome to bionet.plants.

: When plant grows and above exists branch. Plant omits it 
: growing up to the left or growing up to the right. If external
: conditions on both sides of the branch were the same what would the
: choice of the direction of growing depend on ?  
: Could we say then, that a plant has free will ? Even if you have the
: same enviroment in the garden every plant (the same sort) grows its own
: way, some a bit to the left some a bit to the right. Some of them higher
: and curly. It of course not the same level of the human's free will
: 'cause plants beeing a low level organic form of existence have less
: degrees of freedom. They can not walk out from the garden.

.... and if you balance a pencil on its point the slightest perturbation
to one side or the other makes the pencil fall that way.  So, does the
pencil have free will?

I think not: both systems are exhibiting non-linear behaviour in which
the slightest difference in initial conditions causes dramatic and
unpredicatable consequences.  The well known example of a butterfly
sneezing in the rain forest resulting in global weather models
predicting a hurricane is a case in point.

: If you grow the plant in the basement where are two small the same size
: windows and the plant is between them. The same ammount of light comes
: from the left window as from the right window. Which window does plant choose
: One plant will choose a left one the second one will choose the
: direction to the right one. Isn't it called a free will ?

Same non-linear system, same explanation: nature is deterministic, but
it would take millions of years to describe it according to chaos
theory and in practice it is virtually impossible to predict what will
happen because however accurately you measure the initial conditions it
will not be accurate enough to predict very far ahead.

Perhaps my reply was a little too predictable ...

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri>
Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 715349

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