Saturday, April 19, 2008

Flower Power

Here’s one for those of you who like conundrums. In the Chronicle’s Earthweek section today there is an item called “Plants and Morality”:

A Swiss federal committee raised eyebrows in both the scientific and religious communities by professing that plants deserve respect, and that killing them arbitrarily is morally wrong. In a report on ‘the dignity of the creature in the plant world,’ the Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology condemned the decapitation of flowers without reason. But committee member Bernard Baertschi conceded that the sheer pleasure a human might get from picking the petals off a daisy could be reason enough to make it morally justified. The report stipulates that ‘all action involving plants in the aim to conserve the human species is morally justified.’ Only a minority of the group’s members said they objected to patenting plants, with the majority ruling the action did not infringe on ‘their moral value.’

OK, let’s see if I’ve got this right. If I decapitate a flower to save humanity it is not an immoral act. If I decapitate flowers because it makes me happy, no problem. If, however, I go around decapitating flowers because I disrespect the plant world, I’m a murderer. I guess this makes sense, since I wouldn’t want my relationship with flowers to be politically incorrect. About ‘patenting plants,’ I have no idea what they’re talking about.

Have a nice day. I’m going out to smell the roses. I promise not to hurt them.


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