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Free will and plants

Mark Hovenden mark_hov at antdiv.gov.au
Sun Aug 29 20:21:25 EST 1993

Grzergorz Kruk (plant-biology 29-8-93) writes...

>...Could we say then, that a plant has free will ? Even if you have
>same enviroment in the garden every plant (the same sort) grows its
>way, some a bit to the left some a bit to the right. Some of them
>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.
>If you grow the plant in the basement where are two small the same
>windows and the plant is between them. The same ammount of light
>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 ?

I agree that plants exhibit a fair degree of plasticity with regard
to growth and environmental conditions, to call this "free" will is
ludicrous.  Firstly the environmental conditions will NEVER be the
same at all sites in a garden since the plants growing there will
change the environmental conditions all around themselves.  Isn't
all this stuff at the most basic level of comprehension of how a
plant reacts to its environment?  Secondly the "environment" in
which a plant is growing cannot be viewed as a static system.  The
sun rises in the east and sets in the west (in most observable
instances) if one plant "grows to the right" it may be a sun-rise
plant and those which "grow to the left" sun-set plants.  For all
we know about plant responses some might be of an anti-coriolis
genotype and some might be of a coriolis genotype so that given
exactly the same environmental conditions they will grow to the
"left" or "right" ( how I love the precision of such terms.:;)).

I usually don't respond to such ridiculous postings and I enjoy the
absurd to an extent.  The concept of plant free will, at least
couched in the terms of Kruk, is patent idiocy.

Flame me if you will but I cannot let such wankery go on.

Mark J. Hovenden        	       	    	Ph:     	002 323441
Land Based Biology      	       	     FAX:    	002 323351
Australian Antarctic Division   	     mark_hov at antdiv.gov.au
Channel Hwy Kingston TAS 7050

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