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Author Topic: If a Tree falls In The Forest And No One Is There To Hear It, Does It Make A Sound?  (Read 1676 times)

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Grace_Accepted

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This may appear to be a silly question but upon closer examination, it is actually quite intriguing. At its root, the question is concerned with perception and wonders if sound requires a hearer to actually be a sound? In otherwords, are there are two parts to sound? The transmitter, in this case, the tree, and the receiver, a person in those woods. Once the transmitter disturbs the atmosphere and sends compression waves through it, the receiver's eardrums sympathize with those waves transmitting their energy through the hammer, stirrup, and anvil bones to the cochlea which translates those physical waves into electronic impulse via tiny hair-like triggers. These electronic impulses are then channeled into our brains where they are interpreted as sound. But if there is no receiver, then the physical waves simply fade away through the atmosphere becoming smaller and smaller as they go like the ripples on a pond.

Sound is actually a construction of our brain. All sound is created in our brains based on the electronic impulses received. People may be quick to jump to the conclusion that the tree would make the sound even if the hearer weren't there and yet balk at the idea that there was a sound if their fellow hiker was suffering an auditory illusion. After all, people who suffer from tinnitus don't walk around with ringing heads and yet they are constantly perceiving an audible ringing sound that no one else can hear.

Everything We Know Is That Way

This is true with everything we know and experience. We exist in a warm squishy pitch-black environment encased in a thick bony skull. We have at least 5 major inputs from the outside, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and feel. There are a few others but these are the major ones from which we construct our reality. As we mature, our brains create a "Rolodex" of inputs that are matched to certain feelings, emotions, and meanings. A quick example: When I was a child my mother affectionately called me her little stinker. As a new teacher in my first classroom, I referred to one of my students as a "little stinker." Unfortunately, those words had a different meaning attached to them within that child's brain and they were highly offended by what I thought was an affectionate term.

We receive input from the world around us and our brains began to immediately begin searching the Rolodex to attach meaning to the input. When it can't it is in a homeostatic imbalance that is abhorrent to it. It will furiously try different meanings until it finds one that fits as closely as it can. This is why one can be driving down the road near dusk and see an object in the road that can appear to be a dead horse, then a dead cow, then a small fallen tree, and then oh, it is an old refrigerator box that blew off a truck.

God

Each of us constructs God from our experiences and gives Him meaning according to our collection of experiences just like we supply the meaning to the input from our physical senses. How our earthly father treated us, how our mother treated us, how our prayers correlated to outcomes, our relationship with pastors, teachers, and the church, in general, all play a part in the brain's construction of God.

There comes a point in each person's life where God Himself calls us to a transcendent relationship by entering our very brain and making direct contact with us. He knocks and if we do not ultimately resist he will come in and sup with us. We will then begin a relationship with Him that is closer than any earthly relationship that has ever existed.

If you haven't experienced this yet, when this knock comes, please don't resist.

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patrick jane

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This may appear to be a silly question but upon closer examination, it is actually quite intriguing. At its root, the question is concerned with perception and wonders if sound requires a hearer to actually be a sound? In otherwords, are there are two parts to sound? The transmitter, in this case, the tree, and the receiver, a person in those woods. Once the transmitter disturbs the atmosphere and sends compression waves through it, the receiver's eardrums sympathize with those waves transmitting their energy through the hammer, stirrup, and anvil bones to the cochlea which translates those physical waves into electronic impulse via tiny hair-like triggers. These electronic impulses are then channeled into our brains where they are interpreted as sound. But if there is no receiver, then the physical waves simply fade away through the atmosphere becoming smaller and smaller as they go like the ripples on a pond.

Sound is actually a construction of our brain. All sound is created in our brains based on the electronic impulses received. People may be quick to jump to the conclusion that the tree would make the sound even if the hearer weren't there and yet balk at the idea that there was a sound if their fellow hiker was suffering an auditory illusion. After all, people who suffer from tinnitus don't walk around with ringing heads and yet they are constantly perceiving an audible ringing sound that no one else can hear.

Everything We Know Is That Way

This is true with everything we know and experience. We exist in a warm squishy pitch-black environment encased in a thick bony skull. We have at least 5 major inputs from the outside, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and feel. There are a few others but these are the major ones from which we construct our reality. As we mature, our brains create a "Rolodex" of inputs that are matched to certain feelings, emotions, and meanings. A quick example: When I was a child my mother affectionately called me her little stinker. As a new teacher in my first classroom, I referred to one of my students as a "little stinker." Unfortunately, those words had a different meaning attached to them within that child's brain and they were highly offended by what I thought was an affectionate term.

We receive input from the world around us and our brains began to immediately begin searching the Rolodex to attach meaning to the input. When it can't it is in a homeostatic imbalance that is abhorrent to it. It will furiously try different meanings until it finds one that fits as closely as it can. This is why one can be driving down the road near dusk and see an object in the road that can appear to be a dead horse, then a dead cow, then a small fallen tree, and then oh, it is an old refrigerator box that blew off a truck.

God

Each of us constructs God from our experiences and gives Him meaning according to our collection of experiences just like we supply the meaning to the input from our physical senses. How our earthly father treated us, how our mother treated us, how our prayers correlated to outcomes, our relationship with pastors, teachers, and the church, in general, all play a part in the brain's construction of God.

There comes a point in each person's life where God Himself calls us to a transcendent relationship by entering our very brain and making direct contact with us. He knocks and if we do not ultimately resist he will come in and sup with us. We will then begin a relationship with Him that is closer than any earthly relationship that has ever existed.

If you haven't experienced this yet, when this knock comes, please don't resist.
This is a great post and thread topic. No it's not a silly question as per the thread title but you really didn't delve into the philosophy as of yet, we will. You started with scientific explanations for how and why "sound" is "heard" - forget all that nonsense. Let's focus on the age old question because I believe it has a correct answer.


I agree with your final statements. I could go on forever . . and that's what forums are for, yet the middle portion of your OP is bountiful in discussion material. We are all individually shaped be each single person's own personal experience and developmental learning. Forgive me if I don't do the "legwork" to establish the veracity of what I submit but living life as a halfway intelligent person, much of what I say is self evident.


So, we are all shaped by our own personal experiences which means there are roughly now close to 8 billion different perspectives on life and life's meaning and purpose. I would go so far as to say that in so many words we are all brainwashed by parents, teachers, experiences, environment and revelations. No two people believe 100% the same. We "identify" with groups and ideologies and worldly and theological concepts all mixed together.


It's all a bit too much to absorb if you ask me and we are "encouraged" to figure everything out in a single lifetime and that's only IF we are blessed with a full lifetime and/or the "time" within that lifetime to ponder the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16 KJV -

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.



Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Grace_Accepted

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Good reply,

The main thrust of the piece is that our brains create meaning out of the stimuli it receives through our senses.  For instance we hear a sentence ond our brin registers the person facial expression, voice tone and words.  It combines these to create a meaning based on past experience with those things. The meaning does not originate outside of the persons brain but is synthesized in it.

Another example is that of a rare mental disorder where a person cannot interpret facial expressions.  Those that suffer from this disorder are usually socially oucast and isolated because they are constantly exhibiting inappropriate responses to the stimuli they receive.   They cannot tell if someone is angery, happy or mad based on their facial expression because their brains do not have the apparatus to interpret that input.

In a sense we are all trapped inside our brains and our relationships with other people our really our own construction or best guess based on the way our brain interprets the signals it receives from our senses.   Everything we are aware of is actually coming to us via electro/chemical signals which the brain sythnthasizes into what we think of as reality.

We perceive light but there really is no light where we dwell.  We hear sounds and yet all is silent where we dwell.  The same goes for tastes and smells etc.  Everything we experience is simply electro/chimical signals experienced split second intervals and recorded in our short-term memory where the brain can process it into meaning.

If humans were created without eyes, there would be no color, no light, and no visual concepts.  It makes you wonder if we are missing a lot because we do not have the recptors for it.
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patrick jane

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Good reply,

The main thrust of the piece is that our brains create meaning out of the stimuli it receives through our senses.  For instance we hear a sentence ond our brin registers the person facial expression, voice tone and words.  It combines these to create a meaning based on past experience with those things. The meaning does not originate outside of the persons brain but is synthesized in it.

Another example is that of a rare mental disorder where a person cannot interpret facial expressions.  Those that suffer from this disorder are usually socially oucast and isolated because they are constantly exhibiting inappropriate responses to the stimuli they receive.   They cannot tell if someone is angery, happy or mad based on their facial expression because their brains do not have the apparatus to interpret that input.

In a sense we are all trapped inside our brains and our relationships with other people our really our own construction or best guess based on the way our brain interprets the signals it receives from our senses.   Everything we are aware of is actually coming to us via electro/chemical signals which the brain sythnthasizes into what we think of as reality.

We perceive light but there really is no light where we dwell.  We hear sounds and yet all is silent where we dwell.  The same goes for tastes and smells etc.  Everything we experience is simply electro/chimical signals experienced split second intervals and recorded in our short-term memory where the brain can process it into meaning.

If humans were created without eyes, there would be no color, no light, and no visual concepts.  It makes you wonder if we are missing a lot because we do not have the recptors for it.
Yes, I agree. We would be lost without our five senses. Just to answer, I say that a tree falling always makes a sound whether anyone is there to hear it or not.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Bladerunner

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Good reply,

The main thrust of the piece is that our brains create meaning out of the stimuli it receives through our senses.  For instance we hear a sentence ond our brin registers the person facial expression, voice tone and words.  It combines these to create a meaning based on past experience with those things. The meaning does not originate outside of the persons brain but is synthesized in it.

Another example is that of a rare mental disorder where a person cannot interpret facial expressions.  Those that suffer from this disorder are usually socially oucast and isolated because they are constantly exhibiting inappropriate responses to the stimuli they receive.   They cannot tell if someone is angery, happy or mad based on their facial expression because their brains do not have the apparatus to interpret that input.

In a sense we are all trapped inside our brains and our relationships with other people our really our own construction or best guess based on the way our brain interprets the signals it receives from our senses.   Everything we are aware of is actually coming to us via electro/chemical signals which the brain sythnthasizes into what we think of as reality.

We perceive light but there really is no light where we dwell.  We hear sounds and yet all is silent where we dwell.  The same goes for tastes and smells etc.  Everything we experience is simply electro/chimical signals experienced split second intervals and recorded in our short-term memory where the brain can process it into meaning.

If humans were created without eyes, there would be no color, no light, and no visual concepts.  It makes you wonder if we are missing a lot because we do not have the recptors for it.
Yes, I agree. We would be lost without our five senses. Just to answer, I say that a tree falling always makes a sound whether anyone is there to hear it or not.

Scientifically, a sound WAVE is made when that tree falls and every living creature (including us) would hear it if we were there. Each will of course hear it differently as some do not have ears but rely on the waves themselves.

The simple answer to your question.....is it will be Heard by many.

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
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Grace_Accepted

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But if nothing had ears or sensory apparatus we would not label them sound waves.  The original question posed was hypothetical and supposes that no one was there to hear it.

Why are we willing to say it still makes a sound but not willing to conceded to the reverse.  Is someone with tinnitus hears ringing we don't assume an actual sound is being made.  Yet if we ae told a bell rung but we did not hear it we assume it did make a sound.

The end game for all of this is that only God is directly real if He lives in us.
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