The Instigator
Republican95
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
leet4A1
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

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

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
leet4A1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,903 times Debate No: 8552
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (5)

 

Republican95

Con

My opinion on the matter is that: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, than there is no way to prove that a sound is made. I'm not saying that it doesn't make a sound, just that it is impossible to prove that it does. I mean, no one heard it, right? That is all for now.
leet4A1

Pro

I thank my opponent for starting this debate. I am arguing that if a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, it most definitely makes a sound.

My opponent hasn't provided any definitions, so I'm going to go ahead and do so:

SOUND: "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." [1]

If a tree falls in a forest and no creature with ears is in hearing distance, does it still create an oscillation of pressure which transmits through the air? I think the answer to this is an obvious yes. As I move my hand past my ear, I notice that it is enough to generate a sound wave. When I lightly tap on my computer desk, it produces louder sound waves. We can quite simply extrapolate this knowledge to conclude that a tree falling in a forest would not only make a sound every time, it would make quite a large sound. The ONLY way the fallen tree can be said to have not made a sound on its way down is if there is no medium (air) for the waves to travel through. If there were no air, there would be no forest in the first place.

Another aspect we could take into account is retro-actively seeking out the sound. My opponent is arguing that if there are no beings present for the tree's falling, there will be no sound waves produced. We could set up small, sound-sensitive devices which, say, fall over when sufficient force is provided in the form of sound waves. Or we could set up a video camera to see if the tree did indeed make a sound when no one was around. These scenarios fit my opponent's terms, and show that it is not "impossible" to prove whether or not it made a sound.

To be honest, I don't know why this riddle ever got so famous or taken so seriously. I'm open-minded enough to understand the point of view of those who agree with it, and it kind of reminds me of Schrodinger's Cat, albeit without the quantum explanation. If sugar existed but no one was around to eat it, would it still be sugar? If the Sun existed but no one was around to feel it, would it still have a surface temperature of 6000K? I could go on, but the point I'm making is that nature is nature, nature was nature for billions of years before animals capable of hearing came along, and nature will continue to be nature when all animals capable of hearing are gone. Under our definition of "hot", the sun will definitely still be hot whether we are here to feel it or not, and under our definition of "sound", the tree will definitely make a sound whether someone is around to hear it or not. Thinking any differently is an exercise in anthropocentrism.

I'll leave it here for this round, I await my opponent's rebuttal. Thanks.

[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Republican95

Con

Thank you for accepting this debate...I accept your definitions...

I will now begin with the deconstruction...

My Opponent: "If a tree falls in a forest and no creature with ears is in hearing distance, does it still create an oscillation of pressure which transmits through the air? I think the answer to this is an obvious yes."

However, my opponent is not looking at the definition he provided himself with. It reads, in entirety:

"Sound is a traveling 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."

Look at the second line, it, in a nutshell, says a sound isn't a sound unless it is sufficiently strong enough to be heard. So, a sound isn't a sound unless it has the ability to be heard. One could argue that the tree has the ability to be heard, but that is all they can do: argue, their is no way to prove. When I said tree my opponent assumed, like most people, that we're talking giant Californian Redwood or something. Why can't is be a little baby ficus tree falling in mud?

My opponent: "We could set up small, sound-sensitive devices which, say, fall over when sufficient force is provided in the form of sound waves. Or we could set up a video camera to see if the tree did indeed make a sound when no one was around."

Yes, we could do that. However, is that truly "hearing"? The definition of the word hear is, as stated by Wikipedia: "It is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations via an organ such as the ear." We're not the one's doing the hearing, the video camera is. And in the case of the sound-sensitive falling over device, whose to say that a hunter didn't come by and knock it over?

Since the burden of proof is on my opponent, I do not have to establish my own arguments, I just have to rebut his. That is all.
leet4A1

Pro

"Look at the second line, it, in a nutshell, says a sound isn't a sound unless it is sufficiently strong enough to be heard. So, a sound isn't a sound unless it has the ability to be heard. One could argue that the tree has the ability to be heard, but that is all they can do: argue, their is no way to prove."

Using my opponent's pseudo-sceptical disposition, there is no way to prove ANYTHING 100%. My opponent is quite right; it can't be proven, but it can be argued. That's why we're here. Please note that my opponent can also not prove his case, and as he is refusing to state arguments of his own, I've got the upper hand.

"When I said tree my opponent assumed, like most people, that we're talking giant Californian Redwood or something. Why can't is be a little baby ficus tree falling in mud?"

The resolution states "a tree". It says nothing of the size of the tree or its growing medium, so for this debate we will assume it is a large redwood falling on hard ground. If my opponent has a problem with this, I suggest he be more specific when stating resolutions.

"Yes, we could do that. However, is that truly "hearing"? The definition of the word hear is, as stated by Wikipedia: "It is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations via an organ such as the ear." We're not the one's doing the hearing, the video camera is."

Exactly. As the video camera is doing the "hearing" for us, it is not truly hearing. Therefore, it can be said that "no one was around to hear" the sound. If we then review the tape and note that there was indeed a sound, your resolution is proven completely incorrect. Now, is there any reason to assume this would not be the case? Would the tree fall in exactly the same manner whether we were watching or not? Would the tree be surrounded by air? Then there is no doubt that the tree would make a sound.

"And in the case of the sound-sensitive falling over device, whose to say that a hunter didn't come by and knock it over?"

"And no one is around to hear it". If there is a hunter within earshot, there is someone around to hear the tree fall.

"Since the burden of proof is on my opponent, I do not have to establish my own arguments, I just have to rebut his. That is all."

I disagree with this entirely. My opponent started this debate, so I feel the burden is on him, or at least shared. I don't really care if my opponent takes this stance and refuses to post his own arguments, as it will only hurt his case and strengthen mine.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 2
Republican95

Con

Let's continue...

Pay attention to my resolution in Round One. It reads:

"My opinion on the matter is that: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, than there is no way to prove that a sound is made. I'm not saying that it doesn't make a sound, just that it is impossible to prove that it does. I mean, no one heard it, right? That is all for now."

I'm not arguing that it doesn't make a sound, just that it's unprovable. My opponent said in Round 2:

"My opponent is quite right; it can't be proven, but it can be argued."

So, my opponent says that it cannot be proved. So, in essence, my opponent has forfeited this debate. Unless he can prove that a tree falling with no one around can make a sound, he has lost.

The closest my opponent came to doing so is with his video camera scenario. However, it is obviously flawed. For, are we really hearing the tree fall? Or, are we just hearing the video camera make a sound? We're not hearing it fall, we're hearing the video camera.

For the fact about the hunter hearing the tree fall. That is against the resolution. As the resolution clearly states: NO ONE IS AROUND TO HEAR IT.

CLOSING: Vote CON. PRO can't prove it, so based on the resolution, he has lost. He admitted to that himself.
leet4A1

Pro

"So, my opponent says that it cannot be proved. So, in essence, my opponent has forfeited this debate. Unless he can prove that a tree falling with no one around can make a sound, he has lost."

Wow. I'm disappointed that a potentially interesting debate about metaphysics has turned into my opponent refusing to post arguments and claiming a victory merely because my side can not be proven 100%. Thankfully, I know the voters of DDO are not going to be fooled by my opponent's assertion that he has won, because he clearly hasn't.

"So, my opponent says that it cannot be proved. So, in essence, my opponent has forfeited this debate. Unless he can prove that a tree falling with no one around can make a sound, he has lost."

This is stupid. What are you even doing here? I addressed the burden-of-proof in second round and gave you one more chance to post something, ANYTHING of substance to this debate, and you continue to claim you won simply because I can not prove the unprovable with 100% certainty. This is not debating.

"The closest my opponent came to doing so is with his video camera scenario. However, it is obviously flawed. For, are we really hearing the tree fall? Or, are we just hearing the video camera make a sound? We're not hearing it fall, we're hearing the video camera."

Umm, for the second time now, the fact that we're not hearing it fall is the part that supports MY case. We don't hear it fall because nobody is around to hear it, right? Yet when we look at the video footage, we would undoubtably see the tree making noise, right? Hence, resolution fail.

"For the fact about the hunter hearing the tree fall. That is against the resolution. As the resolution clearly states: NO ONE IS AROUND TO HEAR IT."

HAHA, EXACTLY. Are you trying to support my case? Therefore, there could be no hunter within hearing range of the falling tree, therefore the device set up to monitor the sound could NOT be knocked over by a hunter as my opponent suggested. Yeesh.

"CLOSING: Vote CON. PRO can't prove it, so based on the resolution, he has lost. He admitted to that himself."

PRO may not be able to "prove" it, but at least I tried. Which is far more than I can say of my opponent, who provided no arguments other than "you can't prove nothin!", and spent the rest of the time trying to pass the burden of proof. And actually, come to think of it, I did propose several ways we could prove it 100%, and my opponent ignored them all. Vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dvhoose 7 years ago
dvhoose
Republican95, if you ever wanna debate this again on the CON side, send me a challenge.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Con's first round was simply wrong, and pro did well in respect to the word "prove", and I fully agree with Pro that the burden should fall equally, at least, when Con is the instigator. Pro gets conduct points in this one, as Con retreated into a safe corner, but was the instigator. I rarely vote on grammar, but "their is no way to prove" (rd2 Con) stood out to me. I would have approached this one differently, but pro did fine. Slight edge, but not by much as Pro had better arguments available.
Posted by Brock_Meyer 7 years ago
Brock_Meyer
C: Con. Con makes his arguments quite clear in round 2. He did not "refuse" to post them.
S&G: Tie.
A: Con. The argument is clear: it is based on the definition of sound that he provides. It is an argument that I agree with: sound is a perception and requires a perceiver in order to exist. In addition, Pro admits defeat prematurely in round 2.
S: Tie.
Posted by iamadragon 7 years ago
iamadragon
Hahaha, what the hell. I was on that site, and I thought it said 4000.
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
And I pretty much did say what you would've said, patsox:

"I could go on, but the point I'm making is that nature is nature, nature was nature for billions of years before animals capable of hearing came along, and nature will continue to be nature when all animals capable of hearing are gone. Under our definition of "hot", the sun will definitely still be hot whether we are here to feel it or not, and under our definition of "sound", the tree will definitely make a sound whether someone is around to hear it or not. Thinking any differently is an exercise in anthropocentrism."
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
Thanks patsox. I can't vote either, so unless someone does my opponent will probably win anyway. Oh well.
Posted by patsox834 7 years ago
patsox834
I just would've said that presence of humans has no bearing on the creation of sound waves, but yeah, pro obviously did a pretty alright job, anyway -- if I could vote, he'd get the full seven from me, but I can't, so yeah.
Posted by leet4A1 7 years ago
leet4A1
"The temperature of the sun is 4000 K, you screw-up."

1. Go here: http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. Read right-hand column where it says "Surface Temperature (effective): 5778 K
3. Realize that I was right and you were wrong
4. Bow to me
Posted by iamadragon 7 years ago
iamadragon
The temperature of the sun is 4000 K, you screw-up.
Posted by patsox834 7 years ago
patsox834
I wish I saw this argument while it was in the challenge period; it's essentially an easy win. I won't say why, though, since the debate isn't over.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by FlashFire 7 years ago
FlashFire
Republican95leet4A1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by ournamestoolong 7 years ago
ournamestoolong
Republican95leet4A1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Republican95leet4A1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:02 
Vote Placed by Brock_Meyer 7 years ago
Brock_Meyer
Republican95leet4A1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by thebishop 7 years ago
thebishop
Republican95leet4A1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:52