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I.W.'s picture

The Walking Tree

I agree with you in that I don’t think that only humans can engage in "seriously loopy science", but I don’t agree that the Costa Rica walking tree can.  The tree is able to engage in the basic experiments of sending out its roots, but its direction of movement is based entirely on the new observations. The tree is not able to reflect back to consider if it has ever moved in that direction before, and if so what the consequences of that moving to that spot were.   Maybe the soil is rich but easily exhaustible of its nutrients.  If it had moved there before and then been forced to move again due to a severe draining of nutrients, the tree would not be able to factor that into its movement.  It is the ability to integrate past observation into the newly acquired information that makes the "seriously loopy science" work.  With my current set of observations, I don’t know a single plant that is capable of such integration.  Therefore I don’t think that the ability to engage in Professor Groubstein’s "seriously loopy science".

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