You do me too much honour, sir... I don't think deep thoughts about the feelings of trees.Dendrias wrote:I started this thread with the intent of giving Nico some starting point for something he wouldn't want to say in the other thread. Nico, somehow, disappeared and the suspension literally pulled my feet away. Because of that, I forgot to post the answer to Nico's question. Perhaps, we can get him back in here, when the idea of trees is being touched, again.Nico wrote:I think you need to define what you mean with 'feeling' and 'pain' first.
In that other thread that was mixed up in very confusing ways, sometimes meaning 'physical reaction to damage', sometimes 'emotional stress', and mostly something that that kept changing meaning. So, could you define as exactly as possible what you mean by those terms first?
Nico, in the face of what I think about the existence, reality or whatever of qualia,
"pain" is the fact that "it hurts",
"feeling" is the fact that someone is feeling something somehow. And that's the question, isn't it? What is meant by "feeling"? To ask for a definition of it is, imho, to divert a question into a labyrinth of useless definitions. Like "define define", for example.
The fact that I made that connection was not intended, though, to keep You, Nico, away from the topic. I'm still very interested in what You think. That's why I started this thread for. If my choice of connection did indeed keep You away because it was made impossible to share Your thoughts in this thread, feel free to voice Your thoughts in here, may they be off-topic or not.
My intention with these questions was not to come up with strict definitions, but more about "what does everybody mean with those terms?", because in the other thread everybody seemed to mean something else by 'feelings'. And some people even kept changing their meanings from post to post, and I can't discuss like that, because my answers depend on what is meant.
My reason for asking to move the subject here is not a philosophical one.
The thread became too silly for me. When people claim that they find brains in animals guts, so that trees must feel pain, or something along those lines, then I switch off. There is a limit to how much stupidity I can handle. (For godsake, just turn around the animal 180 degrees, the part where you find brains is the top end, the part where you find the sh*t is the bottom end). I can't really say things like that in a thread where every opinion is supposed to be equal. Something that I don't agree with anyway, because spreading stupidity, ignorance and falsehood should always be punished with tar and feathers.
That is why I wanted to continue here, Skeptical Druidry is self-cleaning in that respect. (and the proof of the pudding is those people didn't follow us here).
As to the content of the matter:
I go a long way in accepting that we share properties with other lifeforms. Our DNA clearly shows that, and I'm sure that at the cellular level we will find more common properties. Because the deeper we look, the further we look back in time, just like in astronomy where we look back in time further and further the deeper we look.
To get a rough idea of what qualities we share with other lifeforms, we could look at our common ancestors.
The time of our common animal ancestor (apes/primate) is not nearly as far back as the time of our common ancestor with regard to plants and trees.
For that we have to go back to the cellular level, to a time that multicellular organisms probably didn't even exist. Before the time that chlorophile emerged, the organic stuff that does photosynthesis and that defines plants as plants, and the rest of us as animals. Because our common ancestor was neither plant, nor animal, just a cell. And we can't share more with trees than what was basically present in that single cell. Most of it encoded in the DNA.
That cell didn't have emotions, no brain, no feelings, no senses.
Animals evoluated to become complex multicellular biological structures, with high energy requirements, totally dependent on other lifeforms for nourishment, moving freely over the planet, needing complex mechanism to do all that. Like senses, brains, warning-systems, emotions. Even intelligence, fantasy, spirituality.
Plants went into another direction, a lot more independent, they only need light, carbondioxide and minerals from the soil. Simple and efficient, without the need for complex steering mechanisms and survival strategies.
The factor of evolution also meant something else, interdependency.
Plants and trees produce a strong corrosive and deadly poison. They spread so far and wide that they totally poisoned the entire planet. The atmosphere changed, and only the ocean remained safe for animals. Until the animals changed, adopted, evoluated, to withstand that poison. Up to a point where they became totally dependent on that poison that plants produce. It is called oxygen. This is just to show how far trees and humans are separated, both in time as in makeup. We (animals) had to evoluate to be able to even live in the same space with them. But we did that, we adapt, and that IS a quality all life shares, because life that didn't adapt has gone extinct.
The same evolutionary force of adaptation, also means that both animals and trees must adopt to changing circumstances. And sometimes that may lead to a common factor that can't be traced back to our common ancestor (that cell). Perhaps like the build-in flexibility of our bones and their branches, caused by all of us living on a planet with a certain gravity.
Things like emotions, awareness, intelligence belong to the animal line of evolution, you can more or less trace it back. Like primates have more of it than rats, who have more of it than snails, who have more of it than bacteria.
I don't rule out that there could still be something unknown and unexpected at the cellular/DNA level. Like, does something happen when many many cells form an single organism? Do you then get some sort of complex network with unexpected properties? But that is pure speculation, and it is a mistake to equate that to our perception. We perceive with our senses and brains, and trees just don't have all that.
Disclaimer: I say all this from the top of my head, it is not proof, just education and common sense.