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Dan_Lyons's avatar

This tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to perceive its majestic demise; does it make a sound?

Asked by Dan_Lyons (5517points) April 19th, 2014

That’s right. The age-old question. Give us your reasoning.
I don’t even think that there is a right or wrong answer.

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26 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

That quantum cat says “Yes and no.”

Blackberry's avatar

Yes. This question is so lame. The fall will still create soundwaves. Also, animals and insects will hear/feel it too.

Berserker's avatar

Philosophy aside, by logic it makes a sound. We do not have to be there to hear the tree fall to know that it’s supposed to make noise. This question has always bothered me because it seems to imply that only human confirmation is valid for things happening, at least the philosophical side of it.

If I’m to turn it around though, I’m basically saying that science is always right. Which is not what I’m trying to say, but come on, a falling tree isn’t a mystery. Things do not need our approval to happen.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, but it falls pun intended upon no ears.
It is heard by the other forest dwellers.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Wait! My seismograph just detected a blip. Was that a tree falling in the forest? Or did someone just finish eating a couple of Bean Burritos?

whitenoise's avatar

If this tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to perceive its majestic demise, is it still to blame on ‘all men’?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Of course. No explanation needed – it’s simple physics.

flutherother's avatar

The trees that fall when no one is looking are usually chopped down by leprochauns.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Haven’t you seen the Geico commercial? “A little help here.”

ragingloli's avatar

You have to answer 4 questions first:
1. By sound, do you mean the creation of sound waves within the carrier medium during the impact?
2. Or do you mean the interpretation of those sound waves by the brain?
3. If 2, do you exclude all the animals that live in the forest?
4. If 2, but not 3, are animals also absent from the forest?

JLeslie's avatar


I guess the argument against it is if sound is not heard is there sound? Like a sound that dogs can hear, but humans can’t. If we can’t hear it, does it exist?

I say yes.

ninjacolin's avatar

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it.. did it even fall?

Cruiser's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Did you hear that?? Did you hear what I just did? It wasn’t a tree falling but it was definitely loud! Did it actually happen? O_o

Coloma's avatar

If Coloma sings in the woods and nobody is around to hear her, is she really singing? lol

gailcalled's avatar

I have trees fall over in my woods all the time; often they are little twerps and not majestic at all.

Berserker's avatar

If Vikings majestically go out to conquer some land, and then kill everyone and there are no survivors, is there proof that the Vikings were actually buttholes? Maybe they just got there.

Coloma's avatar

I like how this morphing into other offbeat theories. Saplings and Vikings. haha

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Since no one is there to see it is it even rendered? That would be a horrible waste of computing resources.

Afos22's avatar

No it doesn’t make a sound

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Cruiser I heard it. It’s a miracle! I can hear!!!

@Coloma If no one mods a thread, will it always morph?

Coloma's avatar

@Dan_Lyons I think so, yes.
If a mod does not mod going off topic can off topic really exist?

Dan_Lyons's avatar

^^ Yes, if existence is the topic!

Cruiser's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Age old question is then solved! Now we can focus on an even more challenging question….“what is the meaning of life?”

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Cruiser Seems to me there are as many different meanings to life as there are individual persons!

Cruiser's avatar

@Dan_Lyons The only one that has taken root with me is that ‘life is too short’

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Agreed. Too short, but oh so sweet. Filled with adventure and sprinkled liberally with treasures and surprises.
I think this is the best life in which I have existed so far.

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