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Quick Review: Brilliant Green

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.

Rating: 3/5


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