Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller for January 19, 2009

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    ibid Premium Member about 15 years ago

    But are the atmospheric vibrations really sound if there’s no ear or mind to interpret them?

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    iowaweav  about 15 years ago

    Amen, y’all!

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    i_am_the_jam  about 15 years ago

    About time someone got the right answer… And YES, they’re sounds. Interpretation is irrelevant.

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    Horsehead1  about 15 years ago

    I guess that makes Pat Robertson and his fundies crew the passengers.

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    lazygrazer  about 15 years ago

    Work it out: If I’m stone deaf and you have perfect hearing and a tree crashes between us, did it only make HALF a sound or what??

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    PdLorinel  about 15 years ago

    Sound, by definition, requires at least one listener. Just as radio requires both a transmitter and receiver - else you don’t have radio. Sound is the same. The vibrations would still exist, but without a receptor there is no sound.

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    glslightning  about 15 years ago

    Radio waves do not require a receiver to exist, and neither do sound waves. They are determined by their frequency, not whether anyone’s listening to them! Interpretation of the waves will determine what kind of sound they produce, but not their existence!

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    Nebulous Premium Member about 15 years ago

    Without an observer, the tree exists in a state of quantum indeterminancy where it is both standing and fallen. The quantum states of the air molecules around the tree, which would make up the sound, gets even messier. In short, the question simplifies to, “Is Schroedinger’s Cat still cussing him out inside the box?”

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    WCLamb  about 15 years ago

    A perfect example of “the lie told often enough takes on the illusion of truth.”

    The_JAM got it right. Give that guy/gal a banana!

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    cleokaya  about 15 years ago

    If no one saw the tree fall. Did the tree actually fall?

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    Digital Frog  about 15 years ago

    The real question, especially for Danae is: If a booger brained boy says something in the forest, and there isn’t a girl to hear it, is he still wrong?

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    Northwoodser  about 15 years ago

    If a tree fell while no one was around, how long would it take for a group of people with nothing better to do with their time, to start arguing about whether or not it made a sound?

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    strodgers  about 15 years ago

    “Jazzlily says:

    I’ve got a question. Is a tree real if no one SEES it? Same principle as sound, no?” No. Trees are physical, sound needs ears. Vibrations are not sound. Ask water or light vibrations.

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    strodgers  about 15 years ago

    “Northwoodser says:

    If a tree fell while no one was around, how long would it take for a group of people with nothing better to do with their time, to start arguing about whether or not it made a sound?”

    Philosophers.

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    JonD17  about 15 years ago

    my $.02 worth: Sound is a compression waveform created by the vibration of some object. Sound moves through air or other materials. The characteristics of sound are that it has amplitude, wavelength, frequency and velocity. Sound must cause another object to vibrate to be DETECTED.

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    jimeguess  about 15 years ago

    Well JonD17,

    The tree fell. The ground vibrated. Hence the vibration was felt. ‘Smarty-pants’ in panel two is right. Philosophers are idiots who try to reason away science.

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    i_am_the_jam  about 15 years ago

    Yes, I’m a guy, thank you. So, if there’s a lightning storm at sea, with no people there, and a bolt of lightning rings out, it would be mute? Is that what this whole idiotic question is about?

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    Radical-Knight  about 15 years ago

    If you’re deaf and a tree fell next to you does that mean it made no sound just because YOU didn’t hear it? Isn’t that logic (or lack thereof) rather egotistical? . Here’s another one. If you’re at a traffic light and the car next to you has his radio turned up and the base is below the hearing range but you can feel the vibration, is there no sound? what is sound? vibrations? what do you feel, sound? no vibrations. What is the effect of vibrations? (hint: SOUND) Thunder, the rapid distortion and impact of air molecules due to the discharge of static electricity in the air. . Here’s an easy one for those who like to argue …. Which came first the chicken or the egg.

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    oldseadog  about 15 years ago

    Sound waves can only be heard if there is a receiver such as an ear. If no receiver is present, then there is no sound.

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    Radical-Knight  about 15 years ago

    The statement was does it make a sound, not can you hear the sound.

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    m_ortal  about 15 years ago

    The argument stems from a lack of agreement on the definition of “sound.” Same can be said for the chicken/egg debate and abortion. When everyone agrees on everything, we will be Borg, and very, very boring. I hate arguments but enjoy debate. The difference? Civility.

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    margueritem  about 15 years ago

    Here’s an easy one for those who like to argue …. Which came first the chicken or the egg.

    The egg. Certain dinosaurs evolved into birds. (Putting it very simply)

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    Radical-Knight  about 15 years ago

    excellent answer margueritem. From the viewpoint of evolutionists, yes. A christian who claims intelligent design shouldn’t hesitate to reply “the chicken”. The sound question is not a matter a physics rather than a point of view and interpretation. . EDIT: m_ortal your answer was very good also. The answers do relate to civility in allowing the viewpoints of others to be opinions rather than facts. I meant no disrespect to the viewpoints of others. These are two favorite points of debate for those those who can only think within the box.

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    Radical-Knight  about 15 years ago

    1in10 - your poop is acknowledged.

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    alondra  about 15 years ago

    Horsehead1 says:

    I guess that makes Pat Robertson and his fundies crew the passengers

    If by “fundies” you mean fundamentalists, Pat Robertson ain’t one of us.

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    1N10  about 15 years ago

    I hate repeating myself, but my job here is to help move the dialogue forward!

    Unified Poop Theory

    OLDADEYO-DA and юлия, let’s extrapolate shall we.

    So, people with analytical thinking skills such as scientists, who also are very imaginative, would poop on the designated driver, and everyone else in the party, whether they perceived it or not.

    Today’s new word for the binary world [ Poop-o-licious ]. Perceived analytical thinking done creatively.

    How can I make a ring tone out of this?

    In other related news, booger and snot aliens as well as the bad seeds of the universe are ready to take all of the politically conservative right wing radical Republicans back to the home planet. Poop-o-sphere!

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    ibid Premium Member about 15 years ago

    The egg came first. It was laid by something that was almost, but not quite, a chicken.

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    strodgers  about 15 years ago

    “jimeguess says:

    Well JonD17,

    The tree fell. The ground vibrated. Hence the vibration was felt. ‘Smarty-pants’ in panel two is right. Philosophers are idiots who try to reason away science.”

    No, Philosophers deal with reasons. Reasons that scientists cannot figure out. Philosophies such as reasoning about what makes existence developed into sciences. Newton was not a scientist, he was a philosopher of science, the word scientist is maybe an late 19th century word. Read Bertran Russels “The Problem with Philosophy”.

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    cynic_critic  about 15 years ago

    This thread purely comes down to definition; How to define sound?

    1) something that is heard by human ears, recording systems etc.

    OR

    2) a physical phenomena, which is actually vibrations of air molecules.

    If you choose definition 1) the sound doesnt exist, but the tree certainly fell.

    If you choose definition 2) the sound does exist and the tree still feel.

    There’s nothing philosophical. Its just how you interperate an imperfect word from a natural language. In a sense both arguments are right depending on you base assumption of how you define sound. Arguing the definition of an word created by human’s results in little philosophical gain.

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    cynic_critic  about 15 years ago

    to answer plus 4’s question from a genetics point of view, an egg is genetically equivalent to the fully grown chicken that the egg grows in to. So at fertilisation, you get a small change in the species genetic make up.

    As Radical Knight points out, Christian or non genetic view points differ.

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    Pat Elvin  about 15 years ago

    When you’re done with the falling tree and the chicken/egg problems could you address the one about the refrigerator light. When the door closes is it on or off?

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    1N10  about 15 years ago

    Oh my God!

    Did you just see that!

    Radical-Knight PRO Commented on my commentary, before I could post my comment.

    Which poop came first my comments or the poop poop heads Radical-Knight PRO and cynic_critic?

    I’m so confused!!! And what if the first thing to hatch from an egg wasn’t a chicken at all but a variation on the Bush administration a { de-evolved Turkey }.

    Or would that be poop-o-turkey, I’m so confused.

    If there’s no one there to smell the poop does it really stink? If a bear poops in the woods, what about the Pope!

    “I WANT TO BE SEDATED”

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    wndrwrthg  about 15 years ago

    elfinelvinPro says:

    When you’re done with the falling tree and the chicken/egg problems could you address the one about the refrigerator light. When the door closes is it on or off?

    Well, when the CLOSES, the light is on. When the door is closed and if the switch is working properly, the light is off.

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    evil.c  about 15 years ago

    The Chicken/Egg problem is actually:

    Which came first, the chicken or the chicken egg?

    To which you need to decide can only a chicken lay a chicken egg or is it a chicken egg if it contains a chicken but was laid by a nearly chicken.

    and now we can continue :-)

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    gigabyte03  about 15 years ago

    Gweedo Murphy: Absolutely freakin’ Zen perfect! I could not have written, good sir, in a dozen years such an excellent response. -Mrs. Tubbsbottl nods in silent assent.-

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    Wildmustang1262  about 15 years ago

    Which one does the science to do with the sound and vibration in the forest, fact or not? Of course it should be fact.

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    Northwoodser  about 15 years ago

    OK the tree fell but there was so much arguing that I couldn’t hear it, even though it scared the chicken enough to make it lay an egg.

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    okzack  about 15 years ago

    If no one is around to hear a sound that breaks a glass, is there no sound?

    Answer: Sound has many definitions. More than the two obvious and simplistic ones implied by the comic strip. It’s a matter of context.

    One thing certain, however; this is a great comic strip. I love both girls.

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    JonD17  about 15 years ago

    Fenyugreek Tubbsbottl lll says:

    Gweedo Murphy: Absolutely freakin’ Zen perfect! I could not have written, good sir, in a dozen years such an excellent response. -Mrs. Tubbsbottl nods in silent assent.-

    Speaking of zen; what is the sound of one hand clapping?

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    sdvogel  about 15 years ago

    Much like time, which is a function of speed and gravity, sound (in the sense of vibration) exists independently of observation. However, there would be no noise. That is the explanation for the pro/anti rap feud. Noise is a matter of observation. I think the original is “would it make a noise?”

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    ChadSexington  about 15 years ago

    the difference is sound and noise - Sound is vibration transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas; particularly, sound means those vibrations composed of frequencies capable of being detected by ears whereas noise is the detection of said vibration by an ear

    so does a tree make a sound? yes…but no noise

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    logos53 Premium Member about 15 years ago

    I’ve never posted anything before, but this is classic! I teach philosophy and am tempted to have my students read these comments. I basically agree with the definitions approach; the traditional question is a pseudo-problem. Oh, and let’s not start a pseudo-war between science and philosophy too!

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    alexjohnc3  about 15 years ago

    It depends on how you define sound, but I think the definition that isn’t dependent on whether or not it’s observed makes the most sense.

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    Digital Frog  about 15 years ago

    Beautiful, Thanks Hog.

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    wndrwrthg  about 15 years ago

    This garden universe vibrates complete. Some we get a sound so sweet. Vibrations reach on up to become light, And then thru gamma, out of sight. Between the eyes and ears there lay, The sounds of colour and the light of a sigh. And to hear the sun, what a thing to believe. But its all around if we could but perceive.

    The Word - In Search of the Lost Chord - The Moody Blues

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    i_am_the_jam  about 15 years ago

    From Webster’s: SOUND: n. Mechanical vibrations transmitted through an elastic medium, traveling in air at a speed of approximately 1087 ft. (331 m) per second at sea level.

    Can we all call this topic closed, please?

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    Radical-Knight  about 15 years ago

    Thank You friends and fellow commenter’s alike. This has been very enlightening and I thank everyone for their free and candid views and opinions. Good Night all.

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    DerekFrench  about 15 years ago

    I had a college professor who argued that a sound is a psychological phenomena. So even though the vibrations may be present when the tree falls, if there is no person to hear it then there is no sound… I always found that interesting.

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    atchius  about 15 years ago

    Dear The_JAM: No topic is ever closed completely… ;-)

    Unfortunately Webster’s is a name that a lot of other dictionaries have hijacked, since it is not legally trademarked.

    My search on the Merriam-Webster website reveals the primary definitions of ‘sound’ to be “a particular auditory impression” or “the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing”, which would lead us to believe that a tree does NOT make a sound if it falls in the forest and nobody hears it.

    Oxford English says the following, in its characteristically cryptic style: “…the sensation produced in the organs of hearing when the surrounding air is set in vibration in such a way as to affect these; also, that which is or may be heard; the external object of audition, or the property of bodies by which this is produced.”

    So you can see that it is most certainly a matter of definition. Try and be a little more open-minded. I prefer to think of sound as something which just not objectively exist in a material sense, much like darkness. Darkness cannot be measured and does not have a corresponding particle or wave. It’s merely a word we use to refer to part of our sensory experiences.

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    Logicman  about 15 years ago

    Definition smefinition, the real question is can we really assume the tree fell if no one saw it fall? Maybe it GREW on the ground? REAL science minimizes assumptions! Forget about logic until you can narrow the postulates down to the basics! :)

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    iowaweav  about 15 years ago

    grazer says:

    Work it out: If I’m stone deaf and you have perfect hearing and a tree crashes between us, did it only make HALF a sound or what??

    Posted: about 24 hours ago

    Doesn’t matter…cuz you just messed your pants, and they can hear me laughing all the way in town!

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    iowaweav  about 15 years ago

    margueritem says:

    Here’s an easy one for those who like to argue …. Which came first the chicken or the egg.

    The egg. Certain dinosaurs evolved into birds. (Putting it very simply)

    Posted: about 14 hours ago

    Umm..can you define ‘egg’ please? Oh..and never eat the squiggily thingy near the yolk!

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    edrush  about 15 years ago

    I say the prize goes to Northwoodser: “OK the tree fell but there was so much arguing that I couldn’t hear it, even though it scared the chicken enough to make it lay an egg.”

    I wonder if Wiley Miller reads all these comments. The text to the right on this pages says “Non Sequitur is Wiley Miller’s wry look at the absurdities of everyday life.” Well, this discussion has certainly been one.

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    Stonebruise  about 15 years ago

    Almost every one of the comments on this strip has ignored the most compelling part of it. The last frame. Will science become the designated driver again now that the politics of the last 8 years have been relegated to the forest?

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    clbrown  about 15 years ago

    A tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound

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