Meaning of "tell" - like tree in forest sound problem?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Billy T, May 15, 2014.

  1. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I think it true that Einstein's last words were spoken in German to a nurse who did not understand German; but in any case assume that and the existence of God and that shortly before he spoke his last words, God said to him: You have lived a wonderful, productive life and almost discovered the secret of the universe, so I'll explain it to you as you are one of the few who can fully understand it's beauty; however don't tell anyone or you will go straight to Hell.

    But it was so elegant and beautiful, Einstein could not keep it to himself, so he explained it to his nurse just before he died.

    Is Einstein in heaven or hell? - Answer depend on the meaning of "tell." What do you think?
     
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  3. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Heaven.
    Tell means inform. In this instance, no information is communicated.
    Unless the nurse had a perfect memory, in which case she could repeat the sounds to someone who did speak German.
    If God had said "Do not repeat these words", Einstein would be in hell.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
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  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    But the nurse was not informed of anything except Einstein was conscious and muttering something.
     
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  7. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    So, she wasn't informed of anything God said to Einstein.
    She benefited from no increase in information.
    Heaven.

    Even if the nurse spoke German, unless the information was very simple, or she was a closet physicist, she would gain no knowledge.
    If she attained any understanding at all, even that a complete theory was understandable by man or nurse, then it was the fiery pit for E.
     
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I have to agree. However, among people who believe in the existence of supernatural creatures, God is assumed to be extremely intelligent and extremely punitive, not to mention omniscient.

    God would certainly know that the nurse couldn't understand German, and that therefore no actual harm was done. For that matter, even if she did understand what Einstein told her, it would be ridiculously easy for him to wipe the memory from her brain, so--again--no actual harm was done.

    Nonetheless, God is concerned with the things humans want to do and attempt to do, rather than actual results. So it is unlikely that he would cut Einstein any slack just because he screwed it up.

    It's hard to second-guess an imaginary creature, but I'm sure the God that Abrahamists believe in--the one who turns people into pillars of salt and drowns entire armies in the Red Sea--would not withhold punishment on a technicality.

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  9. btr Registered Member

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    Einstein intended to disobey God, and just happened to fail.

    Assuming we're talking about the Abrahamic God, then as per Proverbs 24:9, "the devising of folly is sin," and to hell goes Einstein.

    Then again, perhaps he gets let off with a slap on the wrist.
     
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    So I'm getting the impression that tell requires someone both hears and understands what is said. I.e. Einstein said the explaining words, but as his nurse did not understand, he did not "tell."

    In view of post 6, un read while I typed the above, Einstein intended to disobey God, so perhaps is stuck in purgatory* for all eternity?

    Sort of like if you intend to kill a sleeping man, but the gun fails to fire.

    * a "half-way" home for souls as Einstein did half of the "telling" - spoke the words.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2014
  11. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    precatory = purgatory ?
     
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. Thanks. I misspelled and accepted the spell checkers suggestion. Have fixed by edit the original.
     
  13. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Good point, but the sin would not be telling but trying to tell.
    So, Hell, but on a separate charge.
    God would have known that.
    He did not want Einstein in heaven telling the angels his secrets.
    He didn't want a repeat of the rebellion of 4005 BC
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  14. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    is this a trick question?
    he told the nurse.
    told is the past tense of tell.
    so, i guess einstien burns.
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But the angels would try to ignore the knowledge, or at least to only use it beneficially.

    Does God really want the inhabitants of HELL to know these secrets???

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  16. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    @Fraggle
    The inhabitants of hell know more than those of heaven.
    Innocence is valued in heaven more than experience.
    Ask your wife about Blake.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  17. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    If God would send Einstein to Hell for such a petty reason, He's an evil bastard and you can't believe anything He says. There's no way of telling where Einstein is.
     
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Breaking a promise, especially one made to some one with power is not a "petty" thing. The question is did Einstein break his promise to God or only try to and is the intent to as bad as the doing? As OP says, his breaking his promise or not all hangs on the meaning of "tell."
    It is clear Einstein intended to brake his promise, but did not do a good job of doing so.

    I have a very smart bird (a cockatiel) that I tell many things to each day - a few of which I'm sure she understands. For example, if I am leaving the room she is in, most always she will fly to my shoulder as I go, but if I say: "I'm coming right back." she will wait in the room. If I'm gone more than a few minutes, she will be angry with me when I do return - I lied to her. BTW she is bi-lingual - Wife speaks Portuguese to her. She also speaks to me, in her language, which is mainly changes in tone and volume. When I do something for her she likes, her chirp is softer and recognizably different. It meas either: "Thank you." or "That was nice." - I'm too dumb to figure out which. There is a different chip for: "Please pet my head, I'm waiting." Most things she wants she asks for non verbally. About 80% of the time she will come to me when I call her, but she is very strong willed, so she does not come when she is doing something she wants to. I know she understood my request, but decided to ignore me.
     
  19. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't say anything about promises. Did Einstein even promise anything?

    God said, "Don't tell," and Einstein told. God's threat to send him to hell if he told was ridiculously over the top and inappropriate.
     
  20. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    So where is the tree in the forest question? I wonder how many people actually know the answer.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Sound waves are physical phenomena which exist whether or not there are animals present to sense them. They can move furniture, shatter glass, and even crack glaciers.
     
  22. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    The question revolves around the definition of the word "sound". It's true that the scientific definition is "waves in the air" but the everyday definition is more like "something you hear" so it does depend on a receiver.

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  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    So if your crazy Aunt Martha hears God talking to her privately, that is sound?

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    This is a place of science--at least we Moderators fight a difficult battle to keep it that way--so we should stick with scientific definitions.
     

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