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Why are flowers "beautiful"?

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Postby Justinaschwarz » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:36 am

flowers are beautiful because they have to be beautiful. It's natural selection and person's feeling for beauty
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Postby JackBean » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:55 pm

how is that related? What NATURAL selection are people's feelings?
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby charles brough » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:13 pm

Rap wrote: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
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Postby merv » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:17 am

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....
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby Crucible » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:56 am

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

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

Postby aptitude » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:50 pm

merv wrote: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".
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby charles brough » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:07 pm

Crucible wrote: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.
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby Crucible » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:18 pm

charles brough wrote:
Crucible wrote: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.
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby aptitude » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:19 pm

Crucible wrote:
charles brough wrote:
Crucible wrote: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.
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby charles brough » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:02 am

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.
Last edited by charles brough on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby JackBean » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:10 am

Crucible wrote: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.
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Re: Why are flowers "beautiful"?

Postby Crucible » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:57 pm

JackBean wrote:
Crucible wrote: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.
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