Secret Life of ...

dh321 at excite.com dh321 at excite.com
Wed Mar 28 03:17:27 EST 2001


Sorry to cause confusion. The "Secret Life of Plants" I was referring to is
the 1973 bestselling book by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. At the
time it caused a lot of controversy because it got a review in "Science" (if
I remember correctly) which gave it unwarranted scientific credibility. That
resulted in an essay by a prominent plant scientist debunking the book. 

The "Secret Life of Plants" billed itself falsely (and still does) as a
science book but mainly deals with pseudoscientific beliefs such as
beneficial and detrimental effects of music on plants, plants as lie
detectors, and plant communication with humans. Unfortunately, it is in a
large percentage of libraries and is classified in Dewey Decimal and Library
of Congress systems (QK50.T65) as a botany book so sits on the same library
shelf as legitimate botany texts. Most students and adults can't tell the
difference between the nonsense botany in "The Secret Life of Plants" and
valid botany. Just read the glowing reader reviews at amazon.com. Therefore,
it can reinforce plant misconceptions or create new ones. Also, real botany
often pales in comparison to the bizarre revelations in the "The Secret Life
of Plants" so when people learn that "The Secret Life of Plants" is junk
science, it reinforces the sterotype that botany is boring.

David R. Hershey
dh321 at excite.com





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