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Humanists of Greater Portland Meetup Message Board › Plants that do arithmetic - what does it all mean?

Plants that do arithmetic - what does it all mean?

Beaverton, OR
Post #: 2,194
RE: [Andrew said:] "However, there is other research which leads one to consider a rudimentary sentience of plants, such as the experiments done by Cleve Backster, who attached modified lie detector devices to plants and recorded stress reactions to potential harm"

[Bernie said in reply:] That turned out to be a case of bogus science. It was mentioned in the textbook used for the recent critical thinking class at HGP.
Perhaps it was not bogus. I say that because the print edition of "The Epoch Times" in its July 26-August 1, 2013 issue on page B6 in a Science article called "Primary Perception: A Look Into 'The Secret Life of Planets': An interview with Cleve Backster and a look at his seminal work on primary perception - Part 2 of 2" makes a good case for it not being bogus. It says "But according to Backster in his book the scientists (and others who have tried but failed) did not observe all the proper scientific controls. One particularly important control that Backster discovered was necessary was that one cannot look at the output from the plant (or whatever else one might be monitoring) while it is occurring--observing it in progress blocks the responses." Regarding his book, the article means his book that was published in 2003 called "Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells".

Part one of the Epoch article can be read online here and part 2 can be read online here. I notice that illustration in online version of part 2 is different than in the USA "Northwest Edition" print edition. The online edition says that Backster can be contacted at http://www.primaryper...­ but the print edition has the updated information of saying that Backster died "on July 1, 2013." The domain of http://www.primaryper...­ is currently up for sale.

Isn't it interesting that one month after Andrew and Bernie discuss Backster (on this thread I started) that a newspaper article (one available for free locally) comes out supporting Backster's claims? The timing is interesting.
Regarding this discussion, here is a link to a video that I find very interesting: Cleve Backster - Primary Perception.

Lately there has been talk on the internet about an atheist philosopher who some refer to as a heretical atheist, namely Thomas Nagel. In 2012 he wrote a book called "Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False". The Wikipedia page about his book says "He writes that mind is a basic aspect of nature, and that any philosophy of nature that cannot account for it is fundamentally misguided." That sounds like panpsychism to me, but maybe it is different. I haven't yet read any of Nagel's books. A blog post called "Thomas Nagel Needs Better Defenders" has a quote which says "The positive mission Nagel undertakes in Mind and Cosmos is to outline, cautiously, a possible Third Way between theism and materialism, given that the first is unacceptable—emotionally, if not intellectually—and the second is untenable. Perhaps matter itself has a bias toward producing conscious creatures. Nature in that case would be “teleological”—not random, not fully subject to chance, but tending toward a particular end. Our mental life would be accounted for—phew!—without reference to God."
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