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Plant dignity

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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MedMae
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Joined: March 14th, 2008, 9:46 am

Plant dignity

#1 Post by MedMae » May 12th, 2008, 10:50 am

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/09/plant_dignity/

Interesting idea.

One major problem I see with this is that they have made making plants infertile illegal. This leaves no protection for the environment from genetically engineered and selectively bred plants and their potential ability to take over. The best way to prevent this is to make them sterile so they can't.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

Firebrand
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 9:05 am

Re: Plant dignity

#2 Post by Firebrand » May 12th, 2008, 5:21 pm

I don't get it. What do they mean by the "dignity" of plants? Dignity is hard enough to define when it comes to human beings.

:puzzled:

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Alan H
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Re: Plant dignity

#3 Post by Alan H » May 12th, 2008, 11:18 pm

Surely it's an April fool joke?
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MedMae
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Re: Plant dignity

#4 Post by MedMae » May 13th, 2008, 8:03 am

Alan H wrote:Surely it's an April fool joke?
Unfortunately it appears not.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

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Jumile
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Re: Plant dignity

#5 Post by Jumile » May 13th, 2008, 11:37 am

After reading that article, as far as I'm concerned it's official: mankind is doomed.
Matt
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DougS
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Re: Plant dignity

#6 Post by DougS » May 13th, 2008, 10:44 pm

Firebrand wrote: Dignity is hard enough to define when it comes to human beings.

:puzzled:
Interesting comment and very true. The dignity of plants reminds of when people talk about the dignity of embryos and foetuses. It make no sense to me.

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tom
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Re: Plant dignity

#7 Post by tom » July 25th, 2008, 12:12 pm

What about human dignity first?

And the dignity of animals?

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erasmusinfinity
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Re: Plant dignity

#8 Post by erasmusinfinity » October 11th, 2008, 12:33 am

Plants don't have dignity.

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Paolo
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Re: Plant dignity

#9 Post by Paolo » October 11th, 2008, 1:43 am

Do animals have dignity?

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erasmusinfinity
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Re: Plant dignity

#10 Post by erasmusinfinity » October 11th, 2008, 4:46 am

It depends on the particular species.

Most farm animals do.

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jaywhat
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Re: Plant dignity

#11 Post by jaywhat » October 11th, 2008, 6:52 am

According to last night's 'The One Show' (BBC 1 at 7pm) the loss of a 'loved' plant does cause some grieving for some people some of the time in some places.

As for dignity - I would not say that farm animals have more or less dignity than wild ones - but I do understand the idea of dignity as applied to animals. A sort of animal dignity. A cat dignity for cats, even a snail dignity. Depends what one sees as the meaning of dignity.
Chambers Dictionary has among its meanings - grandeur of bearing or appearance.
I suppose to apply a human constuct to animals and/or plants is a tad anthropomorphic.

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Paolo
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Re: Plant dignity

#12 Post by Paolo » October 11th, 2008, 7:41 am

jaywhat wrote:Chambers Dictionary has among its meanings - grandeur of bearing or appearance.
In that case, I think an old tree has considerably more dignity than a sheep.

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erasmusinfinity
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Re: Plant dignity

#13 Post by erasmusinfinity » October 11th, 2008, 12:48 pm

Well yes, Paolo. A certain amount of subjectivity goes into what we call dignity.

Perhaps it would be better to evaluate whether or not and the degree to which a particular being can suffer.
Then, examine the matter whether or not and the degree to which we have a responsibility to that being to either not inflict such suffering and/or work to prevent such suffering in the world.

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erasmusinfinity
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Re: Plant dignity

#14 Post by erasmusinfinity » October 11th, 2008, 12:50 pm

jaywhat wrote:According to last night's 'The One Show' (BBC 1 at 7pm) the loss of a 'loved' plant does cause some grieving for some people some of the time in some places.
Sure. But of course that is a grieving in the part of the person who has become emotionally attached to the plant and not the plant grieving itself.

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Paolo
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Re: Plant dignity

#15 Post by Paolo » October 11th, 2008, 1:55 pm

There is a lot of concern about suffering, but life tends to involve quite a lot of it for everything. I think a bit of suffering is acceptable, as long as it doesn't go on for long... Actually, what the hell is this "suffering"? Surely it's not something in it's own right - don't you need a stimulus - something to be suffering from? I am currently suffering from a sore head (entirely self-inflicted so I don't expect sympathy), so forgive me if I seem a bit terse.

Can we ditch unspecified "suffering" perhaps? How about suffering from physical harm, or suffering from the effects of overcrowding. That way we can forget about the everyday suffering that cannot be excluded from just being alive.

Gottard
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Re: Plant dignity

#16 Post by Gottard » October 11th, 2008, 4:02 pm

The best way to respect "plant's dignity" is to leave them alone and NOT genetically modify them.
Plants too have the right to enjoy their sexual life!
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clayto
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Re: Plant dignity

#17 Post by clayto » October 12th, 2008, 10:47 am

The notion of 'plant dignity' seems to be a nonsense to me (I am open to being shown otherwise) though as always it depends on what the word is intended to mean and its implications. I would associate dignity with consciousness and self awareness (though this might include past and future 'potential' as in the case of babies, some mental disability / illness --- big topic). It looks to me like a 'political ploy' to be used in opposition to technologies such as genetic modification. 'Animal rights' is another such political device, as are 'human rights' --- but such devices can be valid or non-valid, good or bad (depending on your perspective). 'Animal rights' has a fundamentally greater claim on validity than 'plant dignity' for the (obvious to many) reason that unlike plants (as far as we know) animals have brains, nervous systems and varying degrees of consciousness including consciousness of pain and suffering. Although I can relate to claims (though I don't necessarily share them) that some animals have / should have rights not to have suffering inflicted on them unnecessarily which (in the perspective of some) might include suffering through loss of dignity (I say 'might') I cannot see this relating to plants.

It might be claimed we can have 'respect' for plants, such as for ancient trees threatened with destruction by a building project ---- but this respect is a human experience, not something possessed by plants, just as we may be said to have respect for the humanly placed stones of Stone Henge or the naturally developed rocks of Mount Everest (not respected enough?). Respect for 'nature' in this sense is not the same thing as 'plants having dignity'.

Chris
clayto

Gottard
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Re: Plant dignity

#18 Post by Gottard » October 13th, 2008, 8:45 am

Indeed Chris,
I believe it to be a "political ....or a rather industrial ploy" to lobby/orientate the audience's perception on the subject. The acceptance of genetic modification is their aim in my opinion.
My sentence meant to be "sarcastic".
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clayto
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Re: Plant dignity

#19 Post by clayto » October 13th, 2008, 11:31 am

Well, as it looked the opposite way round to me (as someone who does not object to genetic modification) are you suggesting that interests who favour genetic modification are deliberately putting forward an absurd idea, to discredit their opponents? Say, a bit like a subtle 'straw man argument'? If so, we would need to know more (including about who originated the idea) before deciding which way round it is.

Chris
clayto

Gottard
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Re: Plant dignity

#20 Post by Gottard » October 13th, 2008, 3:19 pm

Chris,
the author of the article "Lester Haines" appears to be a "generalist" journalist and I assume that the source of this article does not come from himself - he presumably just reported it.
I know (by following economic E.U. matters) that the US are exercising heavy pressure on Europe to convince us to accept genetically modified products. The two parties are at loggerheads at present because the E.U. insists that the indication "gen. modified" must be shown on the package while the U.S. maintains that this is unfair while it is just an excuse to protect the European Industry.
Among marketing strategies commonly used by the industry there is one consisting in "throwing a stone on the pond" and wait for reactions; marketing campaigns then ensue (on telly and press) to promote the most appropriate "message".
I just wanted to warn we readers to be careful when reading those "outbursts" and try to analyze what there is behind, if possible!
That is why I said "plants' dignity consists in leaving them alone" i.e. do not modify them.
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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