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

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Apple Genius, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Apple Genius macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    #1
    I thought there was some special event or whatever going on over at Microsoft today? Something to do with uh... what was it called... you know the "Worst OS Ever"... Visa or something like that??? Oh, I remember! It was something about mousepads...

    Hmph... No, that wasn't it either.


    Whatever it was, no one seemed to care. :eek:
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    It was just like the front story on CNN...no big deal.
     
  3. Apple Genius thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    #3

    Hey, the Top 40 celebrities under 40 is big news buddy! :D
     
  4. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Sarcasmville.
    #4
    If the tree fell over, it would be converting it's potential energy into kinetic energy in the form of momentum. But once it reaches the ground the kinetic energy will mostly be transferred to the ground, some into heat, and a small portion into vibrations, which is sound.

    What were we talking about?
     
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #5
    sound is the interpretation of those vibrations

    without an interpreter, there is no sound

    then no, a tree does not make a sound if there is nothing to interepret those vibrations

    however, we all know intuitively there is a sound that we would hear if we were present
     
  6. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #6
    Actually those vibrations are sound waves. So yes, it makes a sound whether anyone hears it or not.
     
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #7
    sound is merely an interpretation of those "sound", or more accurately pressure waves by a device (such as an ear) that intreprets those waves and converts them to a form our brain understands

    from wikipedia
    emphasis mine
     
  8. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #8
    You're referring to the perception of sound. If a deaf person saw the tree fall, there would still be a sound, the deaf person just couldn't hear it.;)
     
  9. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #9
    lol im referring to what constitutes sound. There is no sound if you cant interpret the pressure waves


    using your example, if a deaf person can't hear it, there was no sound to him obviously as he cant interpret it

    if you were standing next to him, you can interpret it aand thus there is a sound
     
  10. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #10
    From dictionary.com:

    You're suggesting a rose by any other name truly wouldn't smell as sweet.:D
     
  11. Apple Genius thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    #11
    You're right- That why Beethoven could still play when he went deaf.

    Oh, and I finally remembered what the celebration at Yahoo was for... They closed Geocities.
     
  12. Apple Genius thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
  13. iOrlando macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #13
    you could answer that question so many ways its annoying.
    theres no fundamental correct answer. both sides have logical answers.
     
  14. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #14
    lol no, im not denying there are no pressure waves aka sound

    however for sound to exist, an instrument has to interpret the pressure waves as "sound"

    otherwise its just vibrations
     
  15. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #15
    Interesting definition. Flawed, but interesting.

    If a person has a cochlear implant, it can be directed to produce electrical signals that the person perceives as sound, but which are not actually originating from a series of pressure waves. There is also no medium through which the pressure waves propagate. The signal is generated and propagated as an electronic signal, not a pressure signal.

    The definition would also classify as sound a microphone that converts incident pressure waves as producing sound, even if there is no observer of the electrical signal, nor any recording of it.

    I'm also wondering how to classify tinnitus. If you have a person with tinnitus in a perfectly quiet room (no pressure waves), but they perceive a tone or "ringing", is that a sound or not? The definition says no, but the observer will say they hear something. Through a testing process, they would probably even be able to tell you what frequencies they perceive it to be.
     
  16. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #16
    Does the wind stop blowing if there are no anemometers. Does the ground stop shaking if there are no seismometers. Does a tree disappear if there are no eyes or cameras.

    It MAKES a sound. That no one is there to hear it, is irrelevant. The sound still exists.
     
  17. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #17
    not all electrical signals are sound. however, all sound gets converted to electrical signals for us to decipher it

    you are missing the last requirement, the receiver aspect
    from wikipedia
    as there is no source (by the definition of Tinnitus), there is no sound, merely the perception of sound, which is what the wiki describes

    We only know that since its obvious that if we were there we would hear it. If nothing is there to record the pressure waves and interpret it, then by definition is not a sound, although it would be one if one was there to interpret the waves

    your comparison to wind and earthquakes isnt the same

    heres why:
    sound = pressure waves that have to be recorded (by our ear) and then converted to electrical signals so our brains can understand them

    without our ears, there is no sound (obviously as you couldnt hear anything with no ears) as you would lack the means to interpet those waves

    however, the pressure waves are still there...they just arent manifested in the form of sound to the person in question
     
  18. MasterDev macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    #18
    Tree: are you kidding? Jake fell over and he hasn't shut up for about a week.

    Jake: oh yeah, stand there and laugh, is anyone gonna help me up?

    </family guy>

    Okay, I don't remember the original quote exactly, but I found this on the interweb and it's similar, so there. :D
     
  19. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #19
    No. The pressure waves ARE the sound. They are one and the same. Do you know another name for the pressure waves? SOUND WAVES. That's like claiming there's no light if no one sees the photons.

    Any falling tree would make such travelling waves, and thus, make sound. That no one would be there to perceive it is irrelevant.
     
  20. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #20
    pressure waves are only sound if you have the instrument to decipher those pressure waves.....if not, those pressure waves are just pressure waves

    i am not denying the fact that there are pressure waves at all

    once again, your analogy falls flat as all i am saying if you dont have a means to interpret those waves, it cant register as sound

    i am not arguing there is not light, just like i am not arguing there is no pressure waves

    for instance: if we all had NO ears, we couldnt hear any sound as we lack the tool to interpret those pressure waves. That however, does not say those pressure waves dont exist but it isnt sound as we cant interpret them

    from wiki again..
    emphasis mine
    only if there was a means to decipher it....like our ears can it be considered a sound.

    otherwise its merely pressure waves.

    thats the entire point. there HAS to be a means to interpret those pressure waves to be considered a sound

    from the defintioon of sound
    emphasis mine



    a more appropriate analogy

    1) our eyes only see a certain spectrum correct.
    2) we call this light.
    3) our eyes lack the ability to see all ends of the spectrum. you follow me?
    4) can you see infrared with our eyes? no
    5)therefore to us, we can not interpret those wavelengths. my argument is not to say those wavelenghts do not exist but rather since we do not have the ability to see those wavelengths, we dont interpret it as light just like the sound argument
    6) however, say we have infrared goggles, a means to interpret those frequencies. we can now see infrared since we have a means to interpret those wavelengths

    In summary
    Everything that vibrates the air creates the potential for sound, regardless of what conscious being is there to perceive it in the first place. If there is nobody is there to perceive it occurring, then it could not exist as sound, only vibration.

    Sound is a subjective interaction with matter. All that sound is, is vibrations through a medium, without humans to perceive it, those vibrations that we call sound, when the tree fell, would make vibrations, but "sound" as we know it, couldn't exist, since no conscious being was there to interpret those vibrations.
     
  21. fungus macrumors regular

    fungus

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Location:
    @unclefungus
  22. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #22
    A sound doesn't stop being a sound just because no one is in earshot.

    Not saying it must BE heard, just that it POSSIBLY for it to be heard. (although if you ask me, that's a definition of audible, not 'sound' )

    Dukebound - I'm not sure how or why you think a sound needs to be perceived to exist.

    An MP3 isn't a sound - it has to be played to make a sound.

    But a sound IS a sound and perceived or not - it remains a sound.

    If a flash goes off in a forest but nobody sees it - does it make light. (answer yes).

    There is NO difference. None.

    This has to be the weirdest argument I've ever heard. Are you sure you're not just being a flaming troll about this?
     
  23. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    FL
    #23
    If MacRumors posters are shouting at each other through cyberspace, do THEY make a sound?
     
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #24
    if nothing can interpet those pressure waves, then all it is are pressure waves

    sound is the interpretation of the pressure waves. in order to interpret it, you must have an instrument to achieve it

    i agree as you are proving my point

    if there are no means to interpret the pressure waves, it cant be a sound. however, once you have a way to interpret the pressure waves to something you can understand (aka noise) it is a sound

    i am not saying that

    i am saying that to be classified as a sound, you need a means to interpret the pressure waves

    if there are none, then its not a sound, only pressure waves

    i agree

    a sound consists of 3 things
    1) source
    2) medium
    3) reciever

    a mp3 if played has the device as the source, the air as the medium and our ears as the reciever

    this situation in question has the following

    1) source (the tree falls down and causes vibrations in the air)
    2) medium (these vibrations travel in the air)
    3) receiver (there is none to interpret the pressure waves)

    So the scenario has conditions 1 and 2 met but not 3. As a result, the vibrations are not interpreted as sound as there is nothing around to interpret them. As a result, the vibrations remain as vibrations that have not been interpreted
    without a receiver (such as ears), its merely vibrations in the air

    a sound is the interpretation of those vibrations
    i do not think you understand.

    if a tree falls down, it makes vibrations in the air which is obvious

    to be a sound however, you need something to pick up those vibrations and interpret it


    yes there is as i am not arguing light doesnt exist just as i am not arguing when a tree falls down, vibrations in the air dont exist...they do

    however to be a sound, you need a receiver
    yes im dead serious

    i really am baffled why you are having a hard time grasping this concept

    once again, to be a sound, you need to have a receiver

    Example 1:
    a deaf person cannot hear as they lack the means to interpret the pressure waves so there is no sound to them

    however, if you are standing right by them, there is a sound as you have the equipment (ears) to interpret the pressure waves


    Example 2
    : a dog whistle

    Can humans hear a dog whistle? as in does blowing a dog whistle create a sound for humans? No

    why?

    The human ear lack the ability to intrepret the pressure waves created by the dog whislte and as a result, to the human, there is no sound, merely uninterpreted pressure waves

    However, if you had a dog with you he could hear it. Why?
    The dog can hear it as he as the ears with the ability to interpret the pressure waves as sound to him


    It is all about the reciever aspect and its ability to decipher the pressure waves. Otherwise they are vibrations in the air that go uninterpreted as shown in my 2 examples

    Note: I am not denying the existence of the pressure waves as your examples try to correlate to (with flashes and light and what not)


    if you dont understand that, then i do not know what to say:confused:

    for your defintion
    you need the means to interpret the pressure waves. EXACTLY what the definition says
    vibrations. exactly as sound waves ARE vibrations in the air.

    However, it is only a sound when you have the means to interpret the vibrations. otherwise, they remain soley vibrations in the air if there is no means to interpret the waves



    I am not saying that if a tree falls down there are no vibrations in the air. Just that to be considered a sound, you need a receiver
     
  25. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #25
    If the qualification for sound is a receiver and the question is "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?".

    Then what if a recorder was there to record the sound then played back later. The sound did exist even though no one was around to hear it. As it can be reproduced later.

    The receiver could also be an animal. It is not a person but if the tree fell the sound would be heard by a nearby animal likely spooking them.

    In either instance even though no one was around to hear the tree fall. There is a receiver to hear the sound. Thus all qualifications have been met.

    Source, medium, receiver
     

Share This Page