The Instigator
imabench
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
InVinoVeritas
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
imabench
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,199 times Debate No: 21132
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

imabench

Pro

In honor of me winning 100 debates, I felt like I should give DDO some form of thanks for helping me achieve this, so here is my thank you.........

A debate that has been long overdue........

I believe if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it it DOES make a sound, the Con is arguing why the tree falling does not make a sound.

3 rounds only, 5000 characters should be enough

Enjoy :)
InVinoVeritas

Con

Hey, big boy. Long time, no debate. What's shakin'? ;)

Anyway, let's get this show on the road. Lay down those sweet arguments all up on me.

Debate Round No. 1
imabench

Pro

What makes sound? Sound is basically any pressure difference between two places in a medium such as air. In simpler terms though sound is caused by any thing that causes the air around the object to move.

That being said, there are many things that cause sound to happen as the tree hits the ground. The first of which is the creaking sound that come from the part of the tree that is cracking. The cracking sound you here is the parts of the tree still holding it together being pulled apart or smashed together, causing sound waves to be emitted.

The next sound you hear as the tree falls is the swooshing sound it makes as it falls, the air lying within the space between the ground and the falling tree is forced out of its position as the tree pushes through it. The sound of the tree falling in the forest causes the familiar swooshing sound that all things make as they move fast through the air.

Lastly there is perhaps the biggest sound of all, the tree smashing into the ground. The sounds emitted from this comes from any branches and twigs snapping, the tree shuddering to a stop, the ground being impacted and severely condensed under the weight of the tree. All of this causes numerous variations of sound to be emitted from the falling/fallen tree.

Well then how come no one can hear it?

All sound waves are inversely based off of their intensity, the stronger the sound is, the farther it will travel. The reason why the sound waves arent heard by anyone is because as distance increases, the intensity of the sound decreases. By the time it reaches human ears the sound of the distant fallen tree has weakened to such a point that it cannot be picked up by human ears.

If a tree falls and nobody is around to hear it, it does make a sound........ However the distance between the tree and human ears is so vast that the sound waves vanish as it moves further away from its origin. The sound was still made, it simply was not strong enough to go a vast distance for it to be heard by a human.
InVinoVeritas

Con

(I would like to note that, due to the nature of this debate, Pro has full burden of proof. If his resolution ("If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it it DOES make a sound") is proven to be invalid in any case, then Pro fails to fulfill his burden of proof.)

I would like to present two arguments to refute the opponent's case:

Philosophical approach:

Sound is an oscillation of pressure going through various media (liquid, gas, or solid) that is "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." [1]

Humans rely on their sense of hearing to perceive sound. When the ability to hear a sound is taken away, there is no way for one to prove that the sound was produced, contrary to the opponent's resolution.

In the words of philosopher George Berkeley, "To be is to be perceived." All things that we believe exist are derived from what we perceive. If we do not perceive the sound of a tree falling, then we cannot say with certainty that it does make a sound.

Scientific approach:

If a tree were to hypothetically fall in space, no sound would be produced (regardless of the presence of people nearby); this is due to the absence of molecules to propagate sound waves. [3] The location of the tree was not defined by the opponent.

Indeed, we have yet to find a definite region in space where a tree can grow. However, the definition of "fall" does not necessarily imply natural development of the tree. If a tree were flown into space on a space shuttle and dropped out of the ship, it would constitute a fall. For reasons explained, a sound would not be made, based on current knowledge of known space.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com...
Debate Round No. 2
imabench

Pro

These are the arguments the Pro has given.

1) If all humans theoretically couldnt hear, no sound would be produced
2) If a tree fell in space no one would hear it.

- 1 - There are already sounds emitted that humans cannot hear, but that does not mean they do not exist to begin with. Dogs, Bats, a few Marine mammals all communicate and can hear high pitched sounds that human ears cannot pick up, but through the use of certain equipment we can detect that the sounds being transmitted.
http://www.lsu.edu...

take a dog whistle for example. To humans, we cant hear a thing, however the dogs can hear it. That doesnt mean the sound never existed, it was just to high or low of a frequency (in this case too high) for humans to hear. It still exists.

- 2 - A tree in space has not happened yet, and it wont for sometime, and trees cannot grow in space, but I will still address the Con's argument.

"The location of the tree was not defined by the opponent."
I apologize, allow me to do this right now.

If a tree falls and the location of the tree is either on the Earth's surface or in the outer space surrounding the Earth's atmosphere but within its gravitational pull, and it falls but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a tree is falling, then be definition of fall it is "Dropping or coming down freely under the influence of gravity." Since the tree is in outer space beyond the Earth's atmosphere but is thus within its gravitational pull (since it is falling) the falling tree would soon enter the Earth's atmosphere.

When anything enters Earth's atmosphere, it collides with the particles in its atmosphere which is a medium for transmitting sound waves. So as the tree is incinerated as it falls into Earth's atmosphere, sound waves are transmitted just like any meteorite.
http://science.howstuffworks.com...

Therefore, when a tree falls as defined above, it does make a sound, it just is not intense enough to travel the vast distances to human ears.

I thank the Con for a very entertaining debate :D
InVinoVeritas

Con

1. My logical argument is actually that there is no way to prove a sound was made without a firsthand human account.

2. Like I said, a space shuttle can fly into space, and the tree can be thrown out. It would "come or drop down suddenly to a lower position," [1] one of the definitions of "fall" in the dictionary, at some point, it can be inferred. And it would not make a sound as a result due to the fact that it is in space, where sound is not possible.

The opponent's change in definition is not acceptable. His initial resolution still stands. Nothing about the Earth's surface was initially stated. If the opponent wished that to be involved in the argument, he should have mentioned it in the resolution.

Thank you.


Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by MikeyMike 2 years ago
MikeyMike
lol Ima have to give this one to Con, she got real technical, and since u didn't specify where the tree falls, she should actually win this debate.

Lol it was a dirty but clever method.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
16kadams
Well duh!

Inabench debate me later I want to lose to you for once.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 2 years ago
RoyLatham
imabenchInVinoVeritasTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The condition in the resolution is that no one is around to hear it. Therefore, the resolution applies to ordinary earth trees for which no one is around. Con accepted sound as creating a pressure wave, which is fatal to the Con position. Better to try to define sound as that which is heard, an equivocation on "sound."
Vote Placed by Doulos1202 2 years ago
Doulos1202
imabenchInVinoVeritasTied
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Reasons for voting decision: this appeared to turn into an argument of semantics but Pro's argument stands.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 2 years ago
Maikuru
imabenchInVinoVeritasTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments fall short. First-hand perception is not necessary for certainty. As Pro points out, we are certain of the existence of many things without being able to physically perceive them immediately, and Con gives no reason why this case should be unique. The 'tree in space' argument is abusive and accomplishes little. Arguments to Pro.