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Debate Info

41
37
Yes No
Debate Score:78
Arguments:47
Total Votes:93
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes (28)
 
 No (19)

Debate Creator

johnbonham32(2428) pic



If a tree falls over in the forest and no one is around to hear it - does it make a sound?

Please back up your answers with an actual explanation. No spammers please.

Yes

Side Score: 41
VS.

No

Side Score: 37
4 points

Does the tree defy the laws of science? No. Why would it?

This is like saying: if nobody happens to be looking at an american flag, is it still red white and blue?

This is stupid.

Supporting Evidence: Sound Waves (www.school-for-champions.com)
Side: yes
4 points

Well, JakeJ. Technically, sound is defined roughly as the sound waves meeting someone's eardrum. Sound is, in fact, the act of somebody hearing something.

Side: No

Ooooh. That's a fantastic argument. I like it.

50characters

Side: No
MKIced(2510) Disputed
1 point

As I just told Mahollinder, even then, when sound is only the act of sound waves hitting ear drums, there will be animals in the forest that will hear it fall.

Side: yes
Zach128(1) Disputed
1 point

The question is does the tree make a sound not if anyone hears it, a sound is just an ocillation of sound waves, they don't have to meet eardrums to be sound.

Side: No
xaeon(1093) Disputed
3 points

"This is like saying: if nobody happens to be looking at an american flag, is it still red white and blue?

This is stupid."

The question you posed causes the same problem. Infact, the question regarding the flag being certain colours is even more tricky, as the colour of the flag depends entirely on the perception of the viewer. Colour is simply an intepretation of light waves. Are the light waves themselves a certain colour? No, they are simply waves of a certain wavelength that our brains convert and perceive as certain colours.

If no one is looking at a flag at any one moment, no one is converting the waves refracted from the surface of the flag into a percievable colour. In this instance, is the flag red, white and blue, or is it simply an object that reflects and refracts lightwaves of a certain wavelength? Think about it.

Anyway, back to the question of a tree falling in the woods. The answer to the question depends entirely on your definition of the word sound. Some definitions include the production of an oscillating wave as being sound, where as other definitions require an actor capable of intepreting the waves and converting them to an audible sound (such as the process undertaken by our eyes and our brain) to be involved in the process.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, has it made sound, or has it simply made oscillating waves which have yet to be converted to sound?

Side: No
wacko(114) Disputed
1 point

The arguement doesnt soley revolve around what the definition of sound is but also on the definition of no one. Is the meaning of no one all living things or just people? This alone will tell you the answer.

Side: yes
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
1 point

I have been rereading this debate, I know it's kind of old now but whatever.

Okay so I now accept that the definition of sound is somebody hearing it. So the tree falls, nobody is around for miles and miles, and nobody hears it. It does not make a sound.

But the wording of the question is kind of misleading. I mean, there's no significant change because nobody hears the tree. The tree will hit the ground and do the same thing weather somebody is there or not. It's nothing that will make me go "ooooo" and keep me thinking like it is meant to do. The question is basically this:

"if nobody hears a tree fall does anyone hear it?"

But it's not worded that way. I think because the question is meant to be some kind of mystical way to make you question the way you look at things.

All that really matters to me is that when the tree falls it makes waves and if I was there I would hear it.

If a flag is perceived as red white and blue, as long as I'm not color blind, I'm going to see a red white and blue flag.

It's just a dumb trick question.

Side: No
JakeJ(3255) Disputed
0 points

As far as I'm concerned, if there is sound waves there is sound, if there are reflections and refract light waves of a certain wavelength there is color.

If nobody is around, to see or hear it. Then nobody sees or hears it.

Does the tree make a sound? yes. Does anyone hear it? no.

If the freaking tree falls it makes sound waves, theres no denying that, all you can do is question the definitions of sound. A waste of time in my opinion.

Side: yes
2 points

Oh I get it, so if an animal doesn't hear the tree fall over it doesn't count >=\.

Well I guess they are just mindless beasts.

On the serious side though, I'm going to go to Wikipedia.

Aaaaaannnd quote:

Sound is a travelling wave which is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in organs of hearing by such vibrations.

That about sums it up.

The act of hearing a sound is picking up this traveling wave, but physics will tell you that even if no one can hear the sound wave from the tree falling, it's still going to be released. So yeah, it makes a sound. An unhearable sound, because nobody is around to hear it, but a sound none the less.

Supporting Evidence: Wikipedia on Sound (en.wikipedia.org)
Side: yes
Philb(3) Disputed
1 point

If you can't hear a sound, then it's not a sound. It's a soundwave, or oscillation if you prefer, but until it can be interpreted in some way it's not a sound.

Side: No
Warlin(1212) Disputed
1 point

I did interpret it though. It's a sound you can't hear. Like if you had earmuffs on and someone clapped their hands too far away to hear. But whatever.

Side: yes
1 point

Well, if there's evidence that the tree has fallen, then it's only logical to believe it made a very loud sound. That probably scared every critter within 1/4 mile out of their hole. Just use deductive reasoning for this one.

Side: yes

How could a tree falling not make a sound when it falls? It's just that you weren't there to hear it! I'd love to know why this question fascinates thousands of people!

Side: yes
4 points

The problem with this question centres around the correct definition of the word 'sound.' In this problem, a different answer will be given depending on which definition you hold. If you define sound as an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a medium (such as air or water) then the answer is yes. If, however, you define sound as the perception of these audible waves by an animal capable of converting these waves into an internal 'sound' (such as a human and how the ear converts these waves, via the brain, into sound) then the answer is no.

You see, if you hold the second definition, and no one was around to convert these waves into an audible sound, then no actual sound was made; only sound waves with potential to become sound.

Hope this helps.

Side: yes

So the potential to become sound is wasted if there is no one there to hear it? Or has it still made a sound no one heard?

Side: yes
Philb(3) Disputed
1 point

People like this question because it's actually referring to something much bigger, which is to say, if you can't physically see/hear/taste/measure something, does it actually exist?

Side: No

Yes, I imagine that is the case but I'm still a bit confused about it for I feel it must exist whether or not you heard it. It's like a bomb going off in Iraq. I didn't hear it but I see the damage it made. I don't think they make a silencer for a bomb as they do for guns and to what end anyway. But having seen the hole the bomb made, I must assume it made a huge noise when it hit. In that case, it does exist...even if no one else heard it either.

Side: yes
1 point

Assuming the tree isn't knocked over by one of those Russian vacuum bombs, yes.

Side: yes
1 point

Due to boredom I decided Id look a bit further into this one. After looking up the terminology for no one to decide on wether this means all living things or just people, all of the dictionaries referred to it as being people only, not all living things. Thus a tree does make a sound as there would be other living things in the forest that would hear it.

Side: yes
1 point

Since it did happen, as you stated above, as the tree hits the ground, the air around it must vibrate as a reaction to the violent collision between earth and the bark. Causing "sound"(The vibration of air) to occur.

Yes, it did make a sound. This is an age old philosophy question I know, but science proves it wrong.

Though, Quantum Physics would say that because there is no actual living thing to observe it, or experience it in any way, it doesn't happen at all. Meaning that there is no way the tree could have actually ever fallen in the first place. The theory of relativity would say the same thing, for since there is no way to experience it live and actually happening for any living being, it never happened.

Side: yes
1 point

Sound is a travelling wave which is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas. If this wave occurs with nobody around to hear it, does the wave still travel? Absolutely. So it makes a sound. It's simply a sound that is not heard.

If a tree exists in a forest, and there's nobody around to see it, does it really exist? Of course. It's simply a tree that isn't seen.

If a cow farts in a farm, and there's nobody around to smell it, does it make an odor? Absolutely.

Existence and reality are not contingent upon our perception. It's egocentric to consider otherwise.

When all of mankind is gone, and animals too, will sounds still exist? Of course. The physics of the world will not change. The waves will still travel, making audible noise, regardless of the ability of anybody to hear it.

Side: yes
1 point

The very definition of sound propounded here is that "it is a sensation in the ear ' is a wrong definition and one that was made up many years ago when science was in its infancy and social beliefs were the law. It is no longer valid. It belongs to those days when it was decreed that the earth was the center of the universe.

Sound, like heat, light, and magnetism are forms of energy and whether humans or animals or any thing is effected by it or not, it exists.

Period.

Side: yes
1 point

if you wasn't there to here it . doesn't mean it did not happen . Also you were not born in the WW2 , can you say it didn't happen ?

Side: yes
0 points

it depends on what 'sound' means...............................................................................(sorry about all the dots, it cuz the minimum length for an argument is 50 characters)

Side: yes
-1 points

yes but noone knows about it .thts like saying if your in the woods and you scream and noone is around to hear you did you even make a sound

Side: yes
Nichole(689) Disputed
1 point

Think of it this way. Assume there were 2 people at a distance in the woods. They have no idea there is another person in the woods with them. One screams, the other hears them, and then the one that heard the screams and realizes they're not alone in the woods (but the other that screamed still thinks they're alone) is suddenly killed and makes no sound. So, now what? One person heard that scream, but is now dead and can't report that the sound was heard. What does that conclude?

Side: yes
3 points

One person heard that scream, but is now dead and can't report that the sound was heard. What does that conclude?

There's a goddamn murderer in that forest. ;_;

Side: No
Pandaru(-1) Disputed
0 points

This argument is invalid, there can't be a living being experiencing anything according to the question.

Side: No
7 points

Sound is what happens when the vibrations in the air hit auditory systems. So, no: the tree falling does not make a sound. It does make noise, however.

Side: No
Pandaru(-1) Disputed
2 points

Sound is the vibration of the air particles. Physics state that even though no one actually sensed and perceived the sound, it still occurred.

Side: yes

Is there a difference between sound and noise Mahollinder or is it simply perception?

Side: yes

The difference is perception; "sound" is "noise" reaching some kind of ear.

Side: yes
MKIced(2510) Disputed
1 point

Well you have to admit that even though no humans are around to hear the noise it makes, there are certainly some woodland creatures around who have auditory systems, so yes it makes a sound.

Side: yes
Mahollinder(893) Disputed
1 point

The tree falling makes a noise; it causes the air to vibrate. That's the only thing it does. It does not make a sound. Sound is the result of that noise reaching an ear or some other auditory unit. That is, the only way a tree could make a "sound" is if the tree-itself was vibrating air traveling towards and reaching an auditory unit like an ear.

Side: No
1 point

When a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it does it make a sound? No, there exist no ears for the sound waves to be transformed into sound. Nothing seen ,nor there is a sound, for there is no nose for the odorless molecules to attach to and therefore there exist no color, for there is no retina to decode light frequencies. Looks, it doesn't look like anything for there is no brain to put it all together by detecting, form , color, texture, size, smell, taste or vision. The derivation of the secret. since the entropy of the black hole happens to depend on the surface area of its event horizon and not by its volume than our 3rd dimension must be a projection using the illusion of projected illusion as a hologram may still be, used as if it were really there since we can make sense of this, so to speak but in truth the 3rd dimension does not exist. The bell paradox rings out, thus apparently separate molecules like created proton pairs copy the other when one is changed because in truth they are still the same thing in the projector room. What does the tree looks like if the universe is holographic then, the tree in the forest rather seen or not is at heart an interference pattern brought to mind only when we tune it in. Our model of reality, this is the mystery of the realness of sleeping dreams revealed, we tune in into the interference patterns rather awake or asleep, to bring alive the reality projected, all is one, everything connects everything else through overlapping interference patterns and so nothing is separate at all as it seems, but one large all encompassing whole. Instant recall, memory too seems to be holograph presiding everywhere in the brain every piece associated with others related instantly broadcasting so many connections. Any part of a holographic plate contains a whole, The whole universe contained in a grain of sand , eternity in a moment, the universe rumbling when an electron vibrates. The ultimate , we are part of everything ,we are the cosmos, we are life, we are love, we are all that is, we are the creator of the dance as well as the dancer.

Side: No
Pandaru(-1) Disputed
1 point

Sound is the vibration of the particles in air. Not the sensation and perception of the vibrating particles.

Side: yes
1 point

No.

Information isn't coherent until it's observed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

Side: No
1 point

Good video above.

Reality, at the quantum level, seems to exist in a state of all possibilities being in superposition with all others (quantum science). The act of observation (consciousness) predetermines reality. If anything even exists without a consciousness prerequisite, the state of everything would be all possibilities (including the null) at the same time.

Side: No