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Question for both religious and non-religious.

#1bsballa09Posted 6/21/2011 12:55:12 PM
It's a 2 part question. Kind of mixes philosophy in it. Does the universe has a point if no [intelligent] life existed to acknowledge the universe exists, and does the universe exist if there is no [intelligent] life to acknowledge it exists? Kind of like how if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
#2FelixTrapperPosted 6/21/2011 1:06:38 PM
The tree question has always interested me.

Isn't it true that the tree falling down would just create sound waves, which would travel outward, strong at first, then slowly fading over time?

And isn't the "sound" simply the interpretation of said waves, compiled by the complex inner workings of things such as the human (or animal) ear?

If no one is around to analyze the waves, they are there, but are never "converted" into 'sound' as we define it.

Similarly, if no one exists in this universe, if it is not seen or felt by its inhabitants, does it really exist anyways? I can quickly answer the first question--no, the universe would have no point without someone or something to acknowledge it. The second question is a bit more complicated. It is subjective based on your definition of existence. Much like I would tell you a tree does in fact -not- make a sound as it falls in a desolate forest, as no one can register that sound, but others would argue otherwise. At this point it becomes almost purely semantics.
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Slowly recreating Final Fantasy 6 into 3D, one block at a time.
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#3shockwavepulsarjimPosted 6/21/2011 1:09:51 PM
A better question is at what point does philosophy become completely pointless?
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bibere humanum est, ergo bibamus
#4FoxTheSwiftPosted 6/21/2011 1:14:50 PM
To answer number one, I'd say that whether life has a point or not as an objective fact is not a truth reachable by humans, and it doesn't really matter whether it is objectively true or not anyways so much as whether we each individually think it is true or not. I do think though that the universe exists without anyone to perceive it. After all, when we look at stars, we are looking at things that had no one perceiving them as they existed because of the time it takes their light to reach us.
#5kozlo100Posted 6/21/2011 1:16:20 PM
I don't know that the universe has a point, per se, even with intelligent life in it. Though I am fairly sure that a universe with no intelligent life could still be said to exist. Observation does have an effect on the nature of reality, but I don't believe you can say a lack of observation negates it.
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The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication. -- Philip K. Dick
#6Adito99Posted 6/21/2011 2:20:11 PM(edited)
A better question is at what point does philosophy become completely pointless?

When it talks nonsense. Luckily this is an excellent example of where philosophical thinking can clear up a lot of confusions. On that note...

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

What do you mean by sound? If you mean vibrations in the air then the answer is yes. If you mean brain machinery interpreting sound waves into the subjective experience of sound then the answer is no. Problem solved.

Remember that words are tools that we assign things to. Sometimes we assign inconsistent concepts to them and that's were we get confused when we're confronted by a situation that fulfills one of the concepts but not the other. But this confusion is simply in how we use language, not in reality.

Does the universe has a point if no [intelligent] life existed to acknowledge the universe exists, and does the universe exist if there is no [intelligent] life to acknowledge it exists?

This problem can be dealt with in much the same way. What do you mean by a "point"? If you mean value judgments made by sentient creatures then the answer is no. If you mean some objective sense of "point" where things have value no matter whether sentient creatures make value judgments then the answer is yes (assuming value can exist in this way).

EDIT: Missed the second part of your statement. This issue can be solved in exactly the same way as whether falling trees make sound. Just substitute "the universe" for "sound" in my previous argument.
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Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
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#7RetrotasticPosted 6/21/2011 2:16:04 PM
If God exists it wouldn't matter if there were intelligent life around to experience the universe or not it would still be here. If there isn't a God then I suppose nothing would really exist, whos going to know either way?
#8ledzepfan15Posted 6/21/2011 2:18:40 PM
If you mean vibrations in the air then the answer is yes. If you mean brain machinery interpreting sound waves into the subjective experience of sound then the answer is no. Problem solved.

Just because we can't hear it, doesn't mean there isn't sound. Our brains just can't pick up on those frequencies.
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"If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. And if you tire, you die." - Saulo Ribeiro
#9FelixTrapperPosted 6/21/2011 2:35:37 PM
^ That's wrong.

He prequalified his statement by specifically defining sound to be your brain interpreting sound waves into the experience of sound.

See, like I said in my first post, it's all semantics. Humans created language, not the universe. It could care less if we bicker about what "sound" is. That is what you want to do. To avoid that, we can try and be extremely specific and defining of our words before presenting an argument, but apparently even that isn't foolproof.
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Slowly recreating Final Fantasy 6 into 3D, one block at a time.
http://www.youtube.com/user/GDKT0486
#10Adito99Posted 6/21/2011 3:01:35 PM
Just because we can't hear it, doesn't mean there isn't sound. Our brains just can't pick up on those frequencies.

Giant mostly covered this one (thanks btw) but I also wasn't precise enough. Replace "If you mean vibrations in the air then the answer is yes" with "if you mean vibrations in the air that would be picked up by a human brain if a human was present then the answer is yes."
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Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2561/goodvsevil.jpg