The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Violence is absolutely necessary

You live because of violence. You exist because of violence.

Without violence, within a few days, a week, maximum two weeks, you'd be dead.


The vegans among us decry the violence that produced the meat that was part of my breakfast today. The vegetarians are a bit less strident, but they too say animals should not be used for food.

History is replete with vegetarians, nearly all of whom were that way because of moral issues. Here's a short account of Benjamin Franklin's vegetarian ways. He later resumed eating meat.

Nothing wrong with being vegan or vegetarian.


However, if your motive for not consuming flesh is because you object to the slaughter of animals because they can "think" then SCIENCE! is rapidly proving you to be a hypocrite.

Plants talk to each other. “The evidence that plants release volatiles when damaged by herbivores is as sure as something in science can be,” said Martin Heil, an ecologist at the Mexican research institute Cinvestav Irapuato. “The evidence that plants can somehow perceive these volatiles and respond with a defense response is also very good.”

At least some plants can learn. " She did it again, week after week, and after 28 days, these plants still “remembered” what they’d learned. That’s a long time to store a memory. Bees, she noted, forget what they’ve discovered in a couple of days."

Trees share as well as communicate. In this case, some will say it's the fungus that does the sharing. So? Ask any reputable doctor about the symbiosis taking place in your digestive tract right now. Without the microbes in your guts, you'd likely die.

And, since the target of the Rant Du Jour is the granola crowd, masticate this. Trees recognize and extend special care to their offspring. "So we set about an experiment, and we grew mother trees with kin and stranger's seedlings. And it turns out they do recognize their kin. Mother trees colonize their kin with bigger mycorrhizal networks. They send them more carbon below ground. They even reduce their own root competition to make elbow room for their kids. When mother trees are injured or dying, they also send messages of wisdom on to the next generation of seedlings." This comes from a TED Talk in general and more specifically from


So, are plants intelligent? Define intelligence.

Established: Plants can, do and will react to external forces and can adapt and learn.

What else is necessary for intellect? Self-awareness? Emotional reaction? Some other factor?

Intelligence has to be defined in human terms. Has to be. We have no other terms in which to put it. You can imagine life from a dog's perspective, but you cannot know for certain.

The problem is any attempt to define intelligence necessarily comes pre-loaded with prejudice. As humans, we can only view things from a human perspective. A very limited perspective at that. Our ability to see is abysmal. When the full length of the light spectrum is considered, we're effectively blind. "But by most estimates, we're can see about 0.0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum." We can only imagine what the Mantis Shrimp sees.

Popular Mechanics (go figger) has several excellent articles on alien life and why it could be next to impossible for us to identify it.