A review by cavalary
Verde uimitor by Liliana Angheluță Nechita, Stefano Mancuso, Alessandra Viola

informative medium-paced


[EN: (RO below)]
I ended up reading this book after the librarian recommended it when I borrowed another, which was also one that I had a relatively low interest in, since I couldn’t find the ones that I was actually curious about. And it’s short and easy to read, and it does contain some interesting information. Plus that arguing against anthropocentrism and all the situations when, even among the scientific community, facts are rejected or distorted in order to fit established positions is always good to see.
The problem, however, is that the book is light on actual facts, and when it comes to the boldest claim, that plants are intelligent, I’d say that the only potential argument is in fact in another chapter, when that experiment demonstrating that mimosa pudica is capable of learning is mentioned. The other sections, aiming to prove that plants sense, react and communicate, are backed by far more solid arguments and interesting pieces of information, but those claims aren’t controversial, or at least they shouldn’t be in this day and age, those being pretty obvious facts for anyone who just looks around. But the chapter about plant intelligence starts by stating that, since so many definitions of intelligence exist, the one that was chosen was the one that fits, which sounds very much like putting the conclusion before the arguments. Or, ahem, distorting facts in order to fit an established position… Which wouldn’t otherwise result from them.
I mean, of course the ability to solve problems is a basic function of life, but that doesn’t necessarily imply intelligence. And a line can most definitely separate intelligent behavior from what may be described as living automatons. And stating that some plant functions may be similar to those of the simplest, most primitive, animal brains should probably count as evidence against the claim that they’re intelligent. And that may also apply to the fact that plants dominate Earth, since evolution does tend to lead to greater complexity and intelligence, but it’s driven by a need to change, the particularly successful species tending to remain unchanged and simpler.

Am ajuns sa citesc aceasta carte dupa ce bibliotecara mi-a recomandat-o cand am imprumutat alta, care era tot una care ma interesa destul de putin, intrucat n-am putut sa le gasesc pe cele legat de care chiar eram curios. Si e scurta si usor de citit, si contine ceva informatii interesante. Plus ca e mereu bine sa vezi argumente impotriva antropocentrismului si tuturor situatiilor in care, chiar si in comunitatea stiintifica, datele sunt respinse sau distorsionate pentru a se potrivi pozitiilor dinainte stabilite.
Problema, insa, este ca aceasta carte este saraca in date propriu-zise, iar in privinta celei mai indraznete afirmatii, cum ca plantele sunt inteligente, as spune ca singurul argument potential este de fapt in alt capitol, cand este mentionat acel experiment care a demonstrat ca mimosa pudica este capabila de invatare. Celelalte sectiuni, care doresc sa dovedeasca faptul ca plantele simt, reactioneaza si comunica, sunt sustinute de argumente mult mai solide si informatii interesante, dar acele afirmatii nu sunt controversate, sau cel putin n-ar trebui sa fie in epoca asta, acelea fiind realitati destul de evidente pentru oricine pur si simplu se uita in jur. Insa capitolul despre inteligenta plantelor incepe cu afirmatia ca, intrucat exista atat de multe definitii ale inteligentei, cea aleasa a fost cea care se potriveste, ceea ce suna foarte mult ca punerea concluziei inaintea argumentelor. Sau, ahem, distorsionarea datelor pentru a se potrivi pozitiei dinainte stabilite... Care altfel n-ar rezulta din ele.
Adica, sigur ca abilitatea de a rezolva probleme este o functie de baza a vietii, dar asta nu implica neaparat inteligenta. Si o linie cu siguranta poate separa comportamentul inteligent de ceea ce ar putea fi descris ca automatoni vii. Si afirmatia ca unele functii ale plantelor pot fi similare cu cele ale celor mai simple, mai primitive, creiere animale ar trebui probabil contorizata ca o dovada impotriva celei ca sunt inteligente. Si asta s-ar putea aplica si faptului ca plantele domina Pamantul, intrucat evolutia tinde intr-adevar sa duca la mai multa complexitate si inteligenta, insa este manata de o nevoie de schimbare, speciile care au un succes deosebit tinzand sa ramana neschimbate si mai simple.