Why are flowers "beautiful"?

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    • #14206
      Arham
      Participant

      Hello

      I’m not an expert at biology, but I’m very interested in it, especially in the theory of evolution. As a materialist, sometimes I try to explain to myself things like "beauty" using this great theory. Yesterday I was wondering why flowers are beautiful. This is my guess:

      Flowers are "beautiful" and "aromatic" to attract some animals such as bees in order to be pollinated. Bees exploit their nectar in return. But the question is: Why do flowers seem beautiful to us (humans)? Presumably, we humans don’t pollinate the plants! I guess flowers are interesting to us because we have inherited some of the genes of bees or another animal which pollinate plants.

      I want to know the opinion of experts.
      Sorry for bad English and Thanks.

    • #102518
      BDDVM
      Participant

      Bees and humans both have brains that are based on the same basic building blocks, nuerons or nerve cells. These cells are linked together in networks that have predictable behaviors. First and foremost is threshold behavior. Stimuli must overcome a given amount of intensity before evoking a response. Plants have evolved flowers that evoke a response from neural networks.
      An interesting behavior in neural networks is their lack of sensitivity to the idea of too much stimulus. You can’t have too much beauty.
      You are wrong when you say we humans don’t pollinate flowers. For the last 10000 years or so we have been selecting plants, some for nothing more than their beautiful flowers.

    • #102519
      Arham
      Participant
      quote BDDVM:

      You are wrong when you say we humans don’t pollinate flowers. For the last 10000 years or so we have been selecting plants, some for nothing more than their beautiful flowers.

      Thanks. What about our near ancestors like Homo heidelbergensis, or monkeys?

    • #102523
      Julie5
      Participant

      I’ve always assumed that there’s a Freudian-style/covert reason why men give women flowers as a romantic gesture – because flowers are reproductive organs…

      Sounds somewhat gross when you put it like that (!), but it’s really the otehr way round – human reproductive organs are pretty damn ugly (there was no evolutionary drive to make them beautiful, unlike naked human bodies, because, I would argue, by the time you get around to the reproductive bits you are pretty damn committed!!!!)….so we use flowers’ reproductive organs instead, as a far more aesthetic subsitute.

      However, as to what constitutes beautiful – ie, why we say some things are or are not beautiful, there is a whole cognitive displine of aesthetics, and a lot of it appears to be culturally dependent (eg, fat naked women were considered beautiful in olden days – see Rubens etc! – because most women were thin from malnutriion, whereas slim women are considered beautiful now because most women in the western world suffer from obesity-related diseases).

      However, there are some mathematical underpinnings, such as the golden mean etc, that do seem to unify a lot of culturally dependent things, such as the space between eyes, proportions of nose to mouth, etc etc etc.

      Whatever it is, it’s not a simple or simplistic answer to the question of what makes somethign beautiful, as humans are not simple little souls!

    • #102539
      JackBean
      Participant

      Julie: 😆 quite funny 😀

      you really think that human reproductive organs are ugly? I mean by nature, not due to social rules… Just look to apes, who got big red ass when ready to mate (sorry for my English, if the words used are not correct ones). Just the society made it ugly, just remember to Adam and Eve, who hided their reproductive organs after being "enligthed" by the truth…

      (and look to some aboriginals, who are basically naked, because their ancestors were not enligthed)

    • #102580
      Julie5
      Participant

      Hmm, I think my feminine modesty should kick in at this point!

      Suffice it to say that whereas artists are more than happy to depict beautiful women and handsome men, they don’t tend to focus in on the ‘bits’…. 🙂

      (Right, definitely time for me to bow out of this one!)

    • #103024
      JackBean
      Participant

      sorry, I don’t get it 🙁

    • #103255
      Rap
      Participant

      Hmm – thats a good question. Flowers using bees, hummingbirds, bats, etc. for pollination are designed by evolution to attract these pollinators, and these are the flowers we see as beautiful. Plants that pollinate by the wind (e.g. most trees) do not have beautiful flowers. The smell, the nectar, the bulls-eye arrangement are all designed for pollinators. Bees being small tend to have eyes that are more receptive to small wavelengths (ultraviolet) and flowers have even more elaborate ultraviolet designs on them that cannot be seen by humans without special equipment. But why are they attractive to humans? Humans have no need of the nectar, but they find the sight and smell of flowers attractive. Human smell is designed by evolution. Any smell associated with bacterial danger causes a negative reaction in humans (don’t eat meat that smells, don’t eat poop, etc.). Flowers are designed to give the "opposite" smell to pollinators, and it works on humans too because our sense of smell is designed by similar forces, so I guess I can see why they smell good. Also, carnivores are not interested in smelling good, they don’t want their prey to smell them coming. Cats clean themselves, dogs roll in dirt and deer poop to disguise their smell, human hunters generally avoid perfume. Prehistorically, human males were more likely to hunt than females. Is that why women are more attracted to the smell of flowers than men? But why do they look good? Well, they are designed to look much different than their background, to attract pollinators, and its no mystery why they look different to every other animal with eyes too. But why do humans find them attractive to the eye while other animals (except pollinators) do not? Maybe because humans are the only animals that can make the connection between flowers and abundance of food. Flowers mean springtime, the coming of warm weather, fertile soil, lots of seeds and game, etc. and maybe that’s a connection that other animals don’t have the attention span to make. A similar question is why do two pure sounds with a particular frequency ratio sound pleasing to humans while two sounds with other frequency ratios do not?

    • #103285
      skeptic
      Participant

      I will pop in an idea here – merely a hypothesis, since I have no good evidence.

      Perhaps humans have evolved to perceive bright colours as attractive because these are the colours that signal that a fruit is ripe and ready to eat. We are attracted to bright red apples, or blue coloured grapes, or yellow capsicums as they are good to eat.

      Our love of brightly coloured flowers may be just a flow on from this.

      My wife and I love fruit and we always have a fruit basket at home, from which we select our snacks. It is decorative as well as delicious. Right now it contains yellow bananas, orange oranges, yellow apricots, purple grapes, and red plums. The bright colours are attractive and beautiful.

    • #103365
      vk4vfx
      Participant

      "Perhaps humans have evolved to perceive bright colors as attractive because these are the colors that signal that a fruit is ripe and ready to eat"

      I think you hit the nail on the head " skeptic" it is the same as why fruit tastes so good to not only animals but to us humans also because if it were not palatable the fruit would then not get eaten and the seeds dispersed thus ensuring the demise of that particular species of tree they would simply die out.

      As for beauty in the eye of the human that is really complex as it is not only visual it is pheromone based as well, off the top of my head i think we are the only animal that can pick out and distinguish a single face out of literally billions of faces of its own kind, its based on symmetrics for some reason the distance between the eyes and the grouping of all facial features play an important role and are subconsciously analyzed by humans within a split second.

      The comment on the comparison between flowers and human reproductive organs is a good one and i agree, a bit like why a woman wears lipstick as studies have shown it is a "sexual" thing really mimicking the red swollen labia majora at that special time of ovulation bit like the length of a womans skirt relates to what part of the cycle she is in.

      "you really think that human reproductive organs are ugly?" they are in a way but we are genetically hardwired to seek it out, the female reproductive system is a brilliant bit of gear i think but being happily Engaged i am no longer allowed to "seek it out" anymore 🙂

    • #105900
      WinterImp
      Participant
      quote skeptic:

      Our love of brightly coloured flowers may be just a flow on from this.
      […] The bright colours are attractive and beautiful.

      I kind of agree with that! I think there might be something to it. Because if you go or look at any flowershop] and the flowers they sell there you can almost always point a finger at the most colorful one and they will also simultaneously be the best seller. That might just be a coincidence but I do think it stems from the color.

    • #105965
      charles brough
      Participant
      quote BDDVM:

      Bees and humans both have brains that are based on the same basic building blocks, nuerons or nerve cells. These cells are linked together in networks that have predictable behaviors. First and foremost is threshold behavior. Stimuli must overcome a given amount of intensity before evoking a response. Plants have evolved flowers that evoke a response from neural networks.
      An interesting behavior in neural networks is their lack of sensitivity to the idea of too much stimulus. You can’t have too much beauty.
      You are wrong when you say we humans don’t pollinate flowers. For the last 10000 years or so we have been selecting plants, some for nothing more than their beautiful flowers.

      All true, but I don’t think that answers his question. Like him, I would like to know how a good (melatonin?) feeling or effect in us comes from flowers. What has natural selected that response in us? Certainly, it has not been carried on in us because of some highly remote connection to bees.

    • #106332
      Justinaschwarz
      Participant

      flowers are beautiful because they have to be beautiful. It’s natural selection and person’s feeling for beauty

    • #106336
      JackBean
      Participant

      how is that related? What NATURAL selection are people’s feelings?

    • #106337
      charles brough
      Participant
      quote Rap:

      Hmm – thats a good question. Flowers using bees, hummingbirds, bats, etc. for pollination are designed by evolution to attract these pollinators, and these are the flowers we see as beautiful. Plants that pollinate by the wind (e.g. most trees) do not have beautiful flowers. The smell, the nectar, the bulls-eye arrangement are all designed for pollinators. Bees being small tend to have eyes that are more receptive to small wavelengths (ultraviolet) and flowers have even more elaborate ultraviolet designs on them that cannot be seen by humans without special equipment. But why are they attractive to humans? Humans have no need of the nectar, but they find the sight and smell of flowers attractive. Human smell is designed by evolution. Any smell associated with bacterial danger causes a negative reaction in humans (don’t eat meat that smells, don’t eat poop, etc.). Flowers are designed to give the “opposite” smell to pollinators, and it works on humans too because our sense of smell is designed by similar forces, so I guess I can see why they smell good. Also, carnivores are not interested in smelling good, they don’t want their prey to smell them coming. Cats clean themselves, dogs roll in dirt and deer poop to disguise their smell, human hunters generally avoid perfume. Prehistorically, human males were more likely to hunt than females. Is that why women are more attracted to the smell of flowers than men? But why do they look good? Well, they are designed to look much different than their background, to attract pollinators, and its no mystery why they look different to every other animal with eyes too. But why do humans find them attractive to the eye while other animals (except pollinators) do not? Maybe because humans are the only animals that can make the connection between flowers and abundance of food. Flowers mean springtime, the coming of warm weather, fertile soil, lots of seeds and game, etc. and maybe that’s a connection that other animals don’t have the attention span to make. A similar question is why do two pure sounds with a particular frequency ratio sound pleasing to humans while two sounds with other frequency ratios do not?

      . . . a brilliant analysis! I might add that I bet women probably gathered flowers for food

    • #106594
      merv
      Participant

      Ok brace yourselves.

      The largest flower in the world is Raffesia arnoldii. It looks and smells like rotting meat.

      How does that work for Julie5’s Freudian theories?

      I suppose it just goes to show that variety is the spice of life. And size isn’t everything.

      You see, there is a God….

    • #107110
      Crucible
      Participant

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzN-uIVk … re=related

      at 2:00 Dan gives a reasonable accounting for "why".

    • #107127
      aptitude
      Participant
      quote merv:

      Ok brace yourselves.

      The largest flower in the world is Raffesia arnoldii. It looks and smells like rotting meat.

      How does that work for Julie5’s Freudian theories?

      I suppose it just goes to show that variety is the spice of life. And size isn’t everything.

      You see, there is a God….

      The "rotting meat" smell and bizarre look is to attract flies, which are its pollinators.

      Flowers do not have to be beautiful (and are not evolutionary selected for it), they just have to attract their pollinators. If the pollinators are birds or bees, then this involves colorful displays, and an aromatic smell. In case of flies, for example, they have to smell bad to attract their pollinators. Natural selection favors flowers that attract their pollinators, not those that are "beautiful".

    • #107151
      charles brough
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzN-uIVkfjg&feature=related

      at 2:00 Dan gives a reasonable accounting for “why”.

      I wish you would have set down here what the professor said about our subject instead of giving us the URL. As an atheist who thinks evolution, I just could not go through another lecture on the obvious.

    • #107153
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote charles brough:

      quote Crucible:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzN-uIVkfjg&feature=related

      at 2:00 Dan gives a reasonable accounting for “why”.

      I wish you would have set down here what the professor said about our subject instead of giving us the URL. As an atheist who thinks evolution, I just could not go through another lecture on the obvious.

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That’s his point.

    • #107172
      aptitude
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      quote charles brough:

      quote Crucible:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzN-uIVkfjg&feature=related

      at 2:00 Dan gives a reasonable accounting for “why”.

      I wish you would have set down here what the professor said about our subject instead of giving us the URL. As an atheist who thinks evolution, I just could not go through another lecture on the obvious.

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That's his point.

      That actually makes sense. Never thought of it that way before.

    • #107274
      charles brough
      Participant

      It is not a matter whether flowers are beautiful or not but why we think they are. It is why our taste for flowers is the same as whatthe flowers evolved for bees to attract them. We are not bees; we do not want their pollen.

      So, why are we still attracted to flowers? The argument was advanced that they signal spring to us and a return to abundance. Also, that the plants depend upon us eating the fruit in order to spread its seeds. Of course, the fruit comes a long time after the flowers, so there appears to be some difficulty with that explanation.

      It seems to me we ought to be able to do better with the question, but I’ve gone as far as I can.

    • #107276
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That's his point.

      Sorry, but this is non-sense. We can percept several tastes (currently we speak about five). One of them we call sweet (but you can call it whatever you want, that won’t change anything) and some of people find this taste pleasurable and for this reason they like chocolate, which taste sweet. However, some other people like salty food more and thus they eat chips etc.

    • #107285
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      quote Crucible:

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That's his point.

      Sorry, but this is non-sense. We can percept several tastes (currently we speak about five). One of them we call sweet (but you can call it whatever you want, that won’t change anything) and some of people find this taste pleasurable and for this reason they like chocolate, which taste sweet. However, some other people like salty food more and thus they eat chips etc.

      Can you explain why it is that you think that Dan gave us nonsense ?

      Your post did not do that.

    • #107286
      JackBean
      Participant

      I’m not citing Dan, I’m citing you.
      My point is, that it doesn’t taste sweet because we like it but vice versa. AKA We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet.

    • #107289
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      I’m not citing Dan, I’m citing you.
      My point is, that it doesn’t taste sweet because we like it but vice versa. AKA We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet.

      Utter nonsense.

    • #107290
      JackBean
      Participant

      why?

    • #107292
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      why?

      Because what you say is nonsense if I don’t agree with it. That seems to be how you use the word "nonsense", so I use it.

      That’s why it’s nonsense. You can re-read my post about Dan’s explanation, for explanation by non- nonsense.
      The answer for why it’s sweet is because of our brain, not because of the food.

    • #107293
      Cat
      Participant

      “Beautiful” is a relative term. Thus, flowers are beautiful primarily because of nurture:

      A mother says to the baby: “Look how beautiful this flower is!”

      Smell and taste are similar. All of us prefer food (both taste and smell) that we were brought up with. While all of us experience taste if “sweetness”, our “likes” of this taste are determined primarily by upbringing. “Too sweet” and “not sweet enough” are all relative to cultural understandings. If it was just influx of sugar translated into liking as suggested by Dan, we should all have similar responses but we don’t.

      I don’t particularly like chocolate cake. It was not part of my diet as a child. I find it a bit too sweet. Similarly, when I tasted Indian sweets, I found that I am unable to eat them – way too sweet for me.

      Sense of smell is also relative. I figure we register “normal” smell of something as what we are used to and “abnormal” as smell that is NOT associated with object emitting it IN OUR EXPERIENCE. While on rare occasions some people find “abnormal” to be good, in most cases we don’t.

      Just to give an example, when I traveled in Europe I found that (in some countries) meat dishes contain too much spice (comparatively) and smell produced does not associate with meat dishes for me. Interestingly enough, even though I KNEW it to be FALSE, my brain seemed to associate spice smelling meat with masked smell of spoiled meat making meals unpleasant. I am sure that everyone living in those countries loves their food proving that association of particular smell to our “likes” is highly subjective.

    • #107315
      Crucible
      Participant

      Some items can taste too sweet. The food cannot intrinsically be sweet or too little or too much sweet.
      We also have sensors for salt, and so we taste saltiness. Some things taste too salty.
      Some people like salty better than sweet.
      Fewer people like anything that tastes more than a tiny bit bitter.

    • #107322
      JackBean
      Participant

      the food contains some molecules, which are recognised by receptors in our mouth, right?

    • #107329
      Crucible
      Participant

      Yes. Molecules that "fit" or "match with" receptors in our mouth.

    • #107331
      aptitude
      Participant

      Let’s take the case of something spicy. There are two mechanisms that have evolved: one is the fact that the food being eaten has evolved the production of capsaicin in order to prevent herbivory. The second one is the body evolving the spicy receptor in order to differentiate between "good to eat" and "possibly poisonous". This is the way I’m looking at it.

    • #107340
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      Yes. Molecules that “fit” or “match with” receptors in our mouth.

      Now it’s little egg/chicken question. We both agree that there are some molecules in food detected by receptors. What was first, the molecules in food which constituent everything alive or receptors, which had nothing to bind to?

    • #107343
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      quote Crucible:

      Yes. Molecules that “fit” or “match with” receptors in our mouth.

      Now it’s little egg/chicken question. We both agree that there are some molecules in food detected by receptors. What was first, the molecules in food which constituent everything alive or receptors, which had nothing to bind to?

      The question is not pertinent to the discussion.

    • #107344
      JackBean
      Participant

      Sorry, I don’t understand.

    • #107346
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Sorry, I don’t understand.

      When did salt evolve, Jack ? I think we can take as a given that we have saltiness detectors which came after salt.

    • #107350
      JackBean
      Participant

      Salt did evolve? Interesting.

      Exactly, first was the salt, then the receptors and then some of our ancestors started to perceive it as salty.

    • #107355
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Salt did evolve? Interesting.

      Exactly, first was the salt, then the receptors and then some of our ancestors started to perceive it as salty.

      Perceive what, as "salty" ? Perceive salt as "salty" ?

    • #107362
      JackBean
      Participant

      no, sugar 🙄

    • #107364
      Crucible
      Participant

      Was it an English-speaking ancestor ? Did he take a grain of it ?

    • #107413
      Crucible
      Participant

      For explanations, saltiness is better than sweetness because it has the same word for the sensation as for the sensed item.

      The magic goes away when it’s just sensation of a relative concentration of salt.
      As well, when we are talking about biological items, then we have "the tango " or "the arms race" or whatever term to describe two competing entities. With NaCl salt, we can assume it was there first, and is not changing along with the life forms, as they hunt salt down, and use it.

    • #107418
      wpseofriendly
      Participant

      Flowers are beautiful for some and maybe not for other, it’s all based on personal perspective. It probably has something to do with color variety.

    • #107448
      JackBean
      Participant

      so you’re arguing just about the word salt or what?

    • #107458
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      so you’re arguing just about the word salt or what?

      No, it doesn’t matter which language or what word – but If the word mirrors the substance, all the better. It’s simpler to get at what you’re thinking.
      I’m exploring your concept.

      So this ancestor, it is a human with language capabilities, or not ?

    • #107462
      JackBean
      Participant

      sorry, but I’m really lost now, where are we 😆 🙄

      OK, so we agreed, that first was salt or sugar, which were perceived by receptors, right? Since even bacteria usually need these substances, they were going for environment with high level of sugar (probably not that much salt, at least not NaCl).

    • #107473
      Crucible
      Participant

      We’ve agreed that the receptors became existent in our lineage. IF you claim that the receptors, at some point, were also capable of distinguishing at least relative or threshold levels or concentrations, of the substance , I’ll accept that.

    • #107475
      JackBean
      Participant

      yes, probably. Otherwise the ancestor wouldn’t get sugar, right?
      So, we have ancestor, who’s perceiving sweetness and probably likes it, because it’s essential, right? So what more do we want?

    • #107477
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      yes, probably. Otherwise the ancestor wouldn’t get sugar, right?
      So, we have ancestor, who’s perceiving sweetness and probably likes it, because it’s essential, right? So what more do we want?

      Please stay with salt/salty so we don’t need to get tangled in mere words. We can say "salt is essential to get", for this organism. We can say the organism needs salt and has detectors for salt or at least one of the ions. Go on.

    • #107481
      JackBean
      Participant

      I don’t see much difference. Why is sugar/sweet bad?

      OK, so we have ancestor who needs salt and is able to perceive salt by receptors. That’s when "we" started to perceive it as salty. After we had already the receptors for salt.

    • #107484
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      I don’t see much difference. Why is sugar/sweet bad?

      OK, so we have ancestor who needs salt and is able to perceive salt by receptors. That’s when “we” started to perceive it as salty. After we had already the receptors for salt.

      The organism is able to detect salt.

      quote :

      That’s when “we” started to perceive it as salty.

      So a concept was developed ? Something like this ?

      quote :

      Salt tastes of salt !
      quote :

      Blood is bloody
      quote :

      Water is watery

      Stuff like that ?

      Salt is better because you cannot just introduce a descriptive word ( "sweet" for things that are high in sugar ) for the taste or appearance, and thereby hand us an extra twist to the puzzle.

    • #107485
      JackBean
      Participant

      I give it up. I basically don’t know what are we arguing about or whether are we arguing at all or what’s going on…

    • #107489
      Crucible
      Participant

      The problem is that you have animals detecting substances. What you do not have, is the said animals having concepts.

    • #107491
      JackBean
      Participant

      you want to define exactly everything, so how do you define concept?

    • #107492
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      you want to define exactly everything, so how do you define concept?

      An abstraction removing differences, leaving only commonalities – in this way:

      The many things that are detected to contain salt, have many differences – differences which are ignored in pointing to salty items ( items already experienced or tested). Items that are not salty are not mentioned ( in the set of salty items) .

      So we have animals which have detectors> What’s the next step ?

    • #107493
      Crucible
      Participant

      Steps to get in order to be saying that this crystal

      http://www.mii.org/Minerals/photosalt.html

      is the same as this liquid
      http://geotcha.com/wp-content/uploads/2 … n_wave.jpg

    • #107494
      JackBean
      Participant

      experience and learning from olders?

    • #107495
      JackBean
      Participant

      however, how does that relate to the egg-chicken question?

    • #107513
      Crucible
      Participant

      there is no "chicken egg" question.

      The question is : how do you support this ?

      quote :

      My point is, that it doesn’t taste sweet because we like it but vice versa
    • #107514
      canalon
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      there is no “chicken egg” question.

      The question is : how do you support this ?

      quote :

      My point is, that it doesn’t taste sweet because we like it but vice versa

      I think that what JackBean is saying, is that you do not need a conceptualization of saltiness or sweetness or whatever in order to associate emotions to it. i.e the actiation of the salt(sugar) receptor will be linked to the brain as the satisfaction of a need and as such will create a neural pathway that will link this activation of a receptor to a pleasurable sensation.
      The fact that anything that activates the receptor, whether or not they are the right molecule or a neutral inducer (say a sweetener like aspartame) that do not fulfill any need would be a good proof that only the receptor activation is necessary. Concepts and intellectualization are unnecessary burden created by man.

    • #107519
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      there is no “chicken egg” question.

      The question is : how do you support this ?

      quote :

      My point is, that it doesn’t taste sweet because we like it but vice versa

      because it tastes sweet even to people, who don’t like sweet. How do you support "like thereof it is sweet"?

    • #107549
      Crucible
      Participant

      We are animals that need sugars. The "liking or not liking" you mention, is normally a matter of what level of sweeetness is pleasant to a particular individual at a particular time.

    • #107551
      aptitude
      Participant

      I am not understanding this discussion. Are you talking about the evolution of sweet receptors, or how sweetness is perceived?

    • #107553
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote aptitude:

      I am not understanding this discussion. Are you talking about the evolution of sweet receptors, or how sweetness is perceived?

      Not sweet receptors, but sugar receptors. Just like salt receptors. As with light receptors in our eyes – we don’t have cute receptors in our eyes. That part is in the mind.

    • #107559
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      We are animals that need sugars. The “liking or not liking” you mention, is normally a matter of what level of sweeetness is pleasant to a particular individual at a particular time.

      yeah, but that’s all the discussion about, that we like the cake because it is sweet

    • #107562
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      quote Crucible:

      We are animals that need sugars. The “liking or not liking” you mention, is normally a matter of what level of sweeetness is pleasant to a particular individual at a particular time.

      yeah, but that’s all the discussion about, that we like the cake because it is sweet

      The above is why I tried to get you to talk about salt.

      How about cute babies, then ?

      The original question would relate to "why" babies are cute.
      Your answer would then be "we like them because they are cute" – but that does not say why they are cute – or why we like cute things. There is no inherent cuteness or beauty in a colour, in a shape, or arrangement.

    • #107568
      JackBean
      Participant

      what would the salt change about that? We still like or dislike it, because it’s salty, not the other way round 🙄

    • #107573
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      what would the salt change about that? We still like or dislike it, because it’s salty, not the other way round 🙄

      Because when you switch words, from "sugar" to "sweetness", you seem to have a mental glitch happening

    • #107574
      JackBean
      Participant

      really? What’s so nonsense about "we like salty food because it is salty or we dislike salty food because it is salty"?

    • #107575
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      really? What’s so nonsense about “we like salty food because it is salty or we dislike salty food because it is salty”?

      Sorry, I edited to make the comment less abrasive.

    • #107576
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      really? What’s so nonsense about “we like salty food because it is salty or we dislike salty food because it is salty”?

      It’s fully nonsense. Why not just eat salt ?

      We like cute babies because they are cute. That’s your total input. Where are the cuteness receptors in the eyes ?

    • #107578
      JackBean
      Participant

      you’re making me sick of this. I will never eat any sugar or salt anymore. Happy now?

      quote Crucible:

      quote JackBean:

      really? What’s so nonsense about “we like salty food because it is salty or we dislike salty food because it is salty”?

      It’s fully nonsense. Why not just eat salt ?

      why not?

    • #107579
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      you’re making me sick of this. I will never eat any sugar or salt anymore. Happy now?

      quote Crucible:

      quote JackBean:

      really? What’s so nonsense about “we like salty food because it is salty or we dislike salty food because it is salty”?

      It’s fully nonsense. Why not just eat salt ?

      why not?

      Strange that it’s a rarely done, considering how much we like it, isn’t it ?

    • #107580
      Crucible
      Participant

      Jack, where are the cuteness receptors ?

    • #107581
      JackBean
      Participant

      don’t try to change subject. The first topic was sweet. I have even change it to salt because of you, so stay with it, OK? Then we can move on.

    • #107582
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      quote JackBean:

      you’re making me sick of this. I will never eat any sugar or salt anymore. Happy now?

      quote Crucible:

      It’s fully nonsense. Why not just eat salt ?

      why not?

      Strange that it’s a rarely done, considering how much we like it, isn’t it ?

      and what do you think chips are? Just substitute for pure salt. Maybe people don’t do that anymore, since they have enough salt from other sources, but animals eat salt often.

    • #107583
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote :

      and what do you think chips are?

      "Chips" does not equal "salt". Marine fish do not swim in chip water.

    • #107584
      Crucible
      Participant

      One reason for using "cuteness", as well, is that you seem hung up on receptors on the tongue equaling perception of "sweet" or "salty".

      It is more difficult to deal with ( when in that mode of muddling things), when the example is something "cute".

      We don’t have cute receptors in our eyes, do we ?

    • #107585
      JackBean
      Participant

      and what do you think we perceive with salt receptor? Color of the sky?

    • #107586
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      and what do you think we perceive with salt receptor? Color of the sky?

      is perception done by receptors in tongue ?

    • #107587
      Crucible
      Participant

      Jack, is it now possibly going to be your contention that colour does not affect taste perception ?

    • #107588
      JackBean
      Participant

      no, that was just sarcasm 🙄

    • #107590
      Crucible
      Participant

      So you think perception of tastes occurs in the tongue ?

    • #107621
      Anonymous
      Participant

      In my opinion its all about color… Flowers catch our eye just as anything beautiful does. So I would agree with Winterimp.

    • #107637
      JackBean
      Participant

      Crucible: just tell me one thing. If you think that the food is sweet because we like it, why
      1) are there people, who dislike sweet food?
      2) do we perceive different food, which we like as sweet, salty etc.? Why don’t we perceive it all as sweet?

      Then can we move on.

    • #107643
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Crucible: just tell me one thing. If you think that the food is sweet because we like it, why
      1) are there people, who dislike sweet food?
      2) do we perceive different food, which we like as sweet, salty etc.? Why don’t we perceive it all as sweet?

      Then can we move on.

      Which of the 2 or 3 , is the 1 thing you want answered ?

    • #107644
      JackBean
      Participant

      Do not quibble away. Just answer it.

    • #107668
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Do not quibble away. Just answer it.

      You’ve avoided answering how having a receptor for salt equals having a perception of saltiness.

      We can not only detect salt when it reaches some level in the food, but we can also roughly perceive it’s relative level, in foods.

      Variations in the personal preferences, regarding the enjoyed levels or amounts or concentrations, is another matter.

    • #107684
      Crucible
      Participant

      here’s another talk that can inform the debate.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtzjIvgr … digest_sat

    • #107752
      JackBean
      Participant

      I see, so it is that the food is sweet or salty, whatever, because we like it, but yet we are able to perceive level of sugar or salt in the food? Isn’t that contradictory?

    • #107765
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      I see, so it is that the food is sweet or salty, whatever, because we like it, but yet we are able to perceive level of sugar or salt in the food? Isn’t that contradictory?

      No.

    • #107767
      JackBean
      Participant

      No? How so?

    • #107772
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      No? How so?

      I don’t see it as contradictory. If you do, please point out how so, in order that I may reply to your concerns.

    • #107775
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      I see, so it is that the food is sweet or salty, whatever, because we like it, but yet we are able to perceive level of sugar or salt in the food? Isn’t that contradictory?
    • #107776
      JackBean
      Participant

      So, the more we like it, the more sweet it is?

    • #107790
      Crucible
      Participant

      If what I wrote is self-contradictory, please show how so, rather than switching the subject again without even acknowledging that your query was responded to.

    • #107793
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      I see, so it is that the food is sweet or salty, whatever, because we like it, but yet we are able to perceive level of sugar or salt in the food? Isn’t that contradictory?
      quote JackBean:

      So, the more we like it, the more sweet it is?

      seriously, I don’t know what else to write. I’m leaving. Congratulation, another debate won by beating opponent with plenty of posts rather than showing something valuable.

    • #107796
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      quote JackBean:

      I see, so it is that the food is sweet or salty, whatever, because we like it, but yet we are able to perceive level of sugar or salt in the food? Isn’t that contradictory?
      quote JackBean:

      So, the more we like it, the more sweet it is?

      seriously, I don’t know what else to write. I’m leaving. Congratulation, another debate won by beating opponent with plenty of posts rather than showing something valuable.

      Absolute rot you’re talking, Jack.
      You never did answer the questions. You only switched subjects and made new demands. BY contrast, I answered your questions even when you switched subjects. Once this is pointed out, you offer that kind of garbage response.
      What was contradictory ? You will not respond.
      In any case, I see no reason to make this an accusation thread. If you cannot respond with logic, I can accept that.
      The weakling option of closing the thread is always open to you.

      Bye !

    • #107797
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote charles brough:

      It is not a matter whether flowers are beautiful or not but why we think they are.

      I’d agree; they are beautiful TO US. They have no intrinsic beauty, it’s all about us thinking they are beautiful – so why is that ?

      quote :

      It is why our taste for flowers is the same as whatthe flowers evolved for bees to attract them. We are not bees; we do not want their pollen.

      So, why are we still attracted to flowers? The argument was advanced that they signal spring to us and a return to abundance. Also, that the plants depend upon us eating the fruit in order to spread its seeds. Of course, the fruit comes a long time after the flowers, so there appears to be some difficulty with that explanation.

      It seems to me we ought to be able to do better with the question, but I’ve gone as far as I can.

      There does seem some difficulty with the attempt at explanation – maybe it would be better not to first make up any story about what in particular it is that bees are attracted to, by flowers.

      Assuming when we talk about a flower’s beauty we are talking about visual cues – although there are no doubt others that might attract. So we must be talking about colour and form ?

    • #107812
      JackBean
      Participant

      you started with the video and saying, that the food is sweet because we like it, not me. The contradictory is, that we can perceive level of sweetness although it is sweet because we like it.

    • #107827
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      you started with the video and saying, that the food is sweet because we like it

      Not quite true. I showed the video and said that Dan offered a reasonable answer for "why", and then someone asked for my short report on what Dan was saying. Then you claimed it was rubbish and that you were responding to my words only. I don’t mind defending it, but n o need to stretch things to what they were not.

      quote :

      The contradictory is, that we can perceive level of sweetness although it is sweet because we like it.

      But my statement that you replied to, did not contain the word "sweetness" at all. I talked about "saltiness" only in reference to your avoidance of discussing how it is that having a receptor equals perception, to you.

      You’re inventing things. I said

      quote :

      You’ve avoided answering how having a receptor for salt equals having a perception of saltiness.

      We can not only detect salt when it reaches some level in the food, but we can also roughly perceive it’s relative level, in foods.

      Variations in the personal preferences, regarding the enjoyed levels or amounts or concentrations, is another matter.

    • #107833
      JackBean
      Participant

      OK, so: The contradictory is, that we can perceive level of saltiness although it is salty because we like it.

    • #107843
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      OK, so: The contradictory is, that we can perceive level of saltiness although it is salty because we like it.

      We can perceive something as salty. We perceive something as sweet, because we have BRAINS that make us like it, and words that denote that it is of that thing we like. Why. is that contradictory?

      quote :

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That's his point.
    • #107844
      Crucible
      Participant

      Try thinking of bitterness. It’s not that we like bitterness, it’s that we do not like it. Same deal though. Our brains make us averse to it to some degree, and we call it bitter.

      It’s also a fact that these words are related to goodness and badness. Something is sweet if it’s nice for us and bitter if it’s not.

    • #107847
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote Crucible:

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That's his point.

      thanks for bringing it up. So I didn’t start with the sweetness, did I? You’re obviously trying to manipulate the discussion with plenty of other examples just to get your approval, don’t you? why don’t you stay with the original one?

      well, I like bitter. Why doesn’t my brain tell me, that it is sweet, if I like it?

    • #107848
      JackBean
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      Crucible: just tell me one thing. If you think that the food is sweet because we like it, why
      1) are there people, who dislike sweet food?
      2) do we perceive different food, which we like as sweet, salty etc.? Why don’t we perceive it all as sweet?

      Then can we move on.

    • #107851
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      quote Crucible:

      We love chocolate cake because it tastes sweet. < This is backwards. It tastes sweet because we have brains that make us love it. We have sugar signal detectors. We call the signal "sweetness". That's his point.

      thanks for bringing it up. So I didn’t start with the sweetness, did I?

      No and nobody said you did.

      quote :

      You’re obviously trying to manipulate the discussion

      Naturally and of course ! And you are not ?

      quote :

      with plenty of other examples just to get your approval, don’t you?

      I don’t understand what you are saying here. I do give other examples, yes.

      quote :

      why don’t you stay with the original one?

      Because you tangled yourself with that one. More examples give opportunity to show the same phenomenon when dealing with the "substance" and the "descriptor" words. That is, to look at the situation with examples where the descriptor of the sensation is a word derived from the word for the "substance" ( salt/saltiness) , and examples where the words differ ( sugar/sweetness), examples where no substance, ion, or molecule, is actually received by receptor( cuteness), and so on.

      quote :

      well, I like bitter. Why doesn’t my brain tell me, that it is sweet, if I like it?

      Why should it ?

    • #107854
      JackBean
      Participant

      because the chocolate is sweet, because we like it. I like tonic, so why doesn’t brain make it to taste sweet?

    • #107855
      Crucible
      Participant
      quote JackBean:

      because the chocolate is sweet, because we like it. I like tonic, so why doesn’t brain make it to taste sweet?

      because it’s not sweet – it’s bitter. It only has to taste good. For you, bitter is sweet to taste 😆 though not tasting sugary

    • #107898
      canalon
      Participant

      I am a bit lost in that discussion. And I would say that crucible is the one generally losing me.

      The fact that something taste the way it is is a truly unique experiment for each individual, just as any perception. I cannot share anyone perception. All I can say is that I find that a perception that is common when tasting a number of substances or viewing different objects is named a certain way and we share that. If I remember correctly there was some things done showing that naming things can actually interfere with perception (i.e. people with different grouping of colors :when does blue end and green starts, this kind of thing, had a different perception of the world and would be more aware of some distinctions and less of other). But when it comes to associating emotions (pleasant, not pleasant) there is probably both an innate component (The receptors for bitterness are usually associated with rejection, because alkaloids are usually stimulating those receptors), but this perception can be educated an modifies consciously over time. And I am pretty sure that this interplay between innate and acquired is true for all perception.
      With that I am not sure what was my point, but that is Okay, I just read the thread again, and I am not sure there was a point to it anymore….

    • #107900
      Crucible
      Participant

      At least you are recognizing that having receptors is not having a perception. I’m working on Jack to try to get that admitted.

    • #107940
      JackBean
      Participant

      maybe if you wrote it as canalon said, than OK. But I’m still saying, that chocolate doesn’t taste sweet, because we like it, but vice versa.

    • #107942
      Crucible
      Participant

      How about if I give you an example, instead ?

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/322/5901/606.abstract

      quote :

      …increase feelings of interpersonal warmth (or coldness), without the person’s awareness of this influence. In study 1, participants who briefly held a cup of hot (versus iced) coffee judged a target person as having a “warmer” personality (generous, caring); in study 2, participants holding a hot (versus cold) therapeutic pad were more likely to choose a gift for a friend instead of for themselves.
      quote :

      But I’m still saying, that chocolate doesn’t taste sweet, because we like it, but vice versa.

      OK. I am not one who believes that It’s necessary to change your opinion. I can only offer the evidence and the reasoning, but if that fails, your case can be abandoned with not too much hardship.

      quote :

      maybe if you wrote it as canalon said

      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xj0fo_ … rel-page-6

    • #115998
      priysad3631
      Participant

      Bee pollinated flowers are normally blue or yellow, but not red. What is the reason behind this?

    • #116119
      leesajohnson
      Participant

      A subjective response without factual basis, but I feel they very vividly represent the nature of love. Firstly, flowers are beautiful. They are vividly colored, beautifully scented, and come in innumerable varieties. However, they are delicate, easily tainted or ruined, and, even when carefully cared for, last only for a time before they are gone.

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