A Controversial Field
Plant neurobiology has become a contentious issue among experts since it was first introduced to the world in 2006. The understanding of plant neurobiology is that plants are capable of handling complex information despite lacking brains.
The thinking behind plant neurobiology implies that they somehow feel pain, sorrow, or happiness. However, Taiz wants to disprove that theory and says the chances of plants possession consciousness are “effectively nil.”
Ruling It Out
Taiz says there is nothing in a plant that resembles a complex animal brain. Although some are capable of very complex behavior, that doesn’t mean they can feel anything, according to Taiz.
Some plants with wounded leaves can send warning signals to other parts of the plant, and others emit harmful chemicals that prevent predators from munching them. The Venus flytrap can even count the number touches that come from an insect, but that doesn’t suddenly give them some sort of brain. Taiz simply rules all of those features out as sentience.
Besides from the biology, Taiz says from an evolutionary point of view it wouldn’t make sense for plants to be conscious. He asks what the use of consciousness would be to a plant that lives a sedentary life in the ground. Taiz thinks that if a plant were to worry about being eaten by a predator it wouldn’t have enough energy to do anything about it, let alone survive.
Taiz believes plants have plenty to do already with sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to worry about being conscious too.