Blog Posts


Silence of the Tomatoes

Click here for Alan’s profile.

As a youngster, Alan Sage—scientist, rapper, and vegetarian—put up a fight against biology class dissections. He ate fish until he was about four years old, when he realized fish had eyes. As an adult, he discovered that plants react to glutamate, a neurotransmitter in the human brain, and this discovery tells us that plants have some evolutionary similarity to humans. His interpretation: Plants can think.

Would you like some ketchup with that?

I wondered what it might mean to vegetarian philosophy if, through due scientific process, the notion that plants can think (and feel?) became a given. What would it mean to committed vegans and vegetarians?

If plants feel as animals do, will we start to think that eating things without eyes is discrimination against those that do?

These questions get to the very heart of why people are vegetarian in the first place. So, I asked this question on my Facebook page: “Are you a vegetarian? Or vegan? Or are you decidedly NEITHER? Why?”

Tell us what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Sherry Austin

    Sherry Austin was nine years old when she admitted, during a class discussion, that evolution was possible. After school a bunch of bullies arrived on bikes at her house to beat her up if she didn’t recant. She didn’t. Forty years later, she had published three books of fiction and was traveling regionally giving a talk for the North Carolina Humanities Council on literary nonfiction about science when a neurodegenerative illness put a stop to that. These days, along with (and sometimes in spite of!) her comic alter-ego Trixie Goforth, she works what’s left of her brain to share her wonder about the natural world revealed to us by science. She values the work of scientists more than she can say. And you can find out more about Sherry at her website.