CAN PLANTS FEEL......PAIN??????
Administrador del Nodo
Postmaster at neubio.sld.ar
Sat Dec 23 15:15:08 EST 1995
After my first answer to Jeroam's
original question, where I advised him to wait some 400
million years to see again the natural selection of phy-
siological mechanisms for producing differentially pain
and other subjective characterizations in (again, proba-
bly) non-photosyntesizing organisms of Plant or Fungi
descent which already arrange ion concentration/disper-
sion currents (i.e., in roots and other specialized mo-
bile parts) resulting in glial-like graded potentials,
I tried to perform on Medline a search under Plant Physio-
logy crossed with any word-term of electromagnetics. I
found a lot of interesting references. But I possess not
enough knowledge of "botanic" (indeed, Planta and Fungi)
electrophysiology so as to arrange them into a coherent
picture. So, just as William (Thomas) and Sandra, and as
A.-P. Solari <Solaris at cicei.ulpgc.es> who answered by
private e-mail, I also find that we need expert advice
from a Plant and Fungi electrophysiologist, in order to
achieve a broad and actualized panorama of the complexity
of spacetime potential-patterning arrangements in non-animal
organisms. From a rapid perusing of some 1500 abstracts,
I concluded that plantal electrophysiological orchestration
is far more complex than usually supposed by biologists
working in other fields. No doubt: we need specialized help
to orient ourselves in it.
Perhaps someone can point to an e-mail forum where I can
re-post Jeroem's question and our subsequent opinions.
(Please answer to this forum). Or knows of some expert.
Regarding the behaviourist part of William Thomas' answer,
namely his mention of a definition of pain as an aversive
sensory response, I would like to remark its transitoriness.
Such too much exogenist criterium is a practicality, instru-
mental only while we still cannot point out the immediate
physicochemical mechanisms producing differentially the
variegated one-witness characterizations. (I will not enter
here into the discussion of their general nature, as e.g.
modulation of the hysteresis losses in the coupling among
the conformation of background fields and the configuration
of macromolecules in the sentient, or neurocognitive, paren-
chymae; a central issue thoroughly analyzed in regard to
non-Turing automata.) Once we become able to agree on such
mechanisms, any coarser approach as signaling pain via aversive
responses (unable of discriminating subjectivity) shall become
Pain sensu stricto is only the emotional experience William
signals, which cannot be relegated as merely "associated"
concomitancy. It IS the physical one-witness fact of pain,
regarding whose study of course our hylozoist tradition has
not the gnoseologic troubles affecting other neurobiological
Hoping any of you can identify such botanic electrophysiological
forum (or expert) to re-post Jeroam's question, receive my greetings
on occassion of the ritual preachings to survive the new solsti-
tium and putting the new Sun again in orbit around our biosphere.
Cyberkisses for everybody!
Prof. Mariela Szirko,
<postmaster at neubio.sld.ar>
Centro de Investig. Neurobiologicas, Ministry of
Health & Welfare, Argentine Republic; and
Lab. of Electroneurobiological Res.,
Hospital "Dr. Jose Tiburcio Borda", Municipality of Buenos Aires,
Office: Phone/Fax (54 1) 306 -7314
e-mail <postmaster at neubio.gov.ar>
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