Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Riddle For You

Humor columnist Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post recently commented on a study done by the American Psychological Association that greatly disturbed me.  The study concluded that "the less logical and more intuitive a person is, the more likely he is to believe in a deity."  Mr. Weingarten claims that reading down carefully into the study the words "more intuitive" actually meant "dumber."

Translated, the scientists claim that dumber people are more likely to believe in a god.  That's a pretty heavy duty claim to make.

For example, test subjects were given this  riddle to solve:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10, and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball.  How much does the ball cost?

The study results showed that religious people were more likely to leap intuitively to the wrong, if seemingly obvious, answer of 10 cents.  Nonbelievers tended to reason harder and get it right.

I decided to put the study results to the test, because I do believe in a deity, yet I do not consider myself dumb.  Perhaps you would like to try coming up with your own solution before you look at mine.

Here is my solution:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10  I translated this into equation #1:

       B + b = 1.10

The bat costs a dollar more than the ball.  I translated this into equation #2:

       B = 1 + b

Substituting the value of B in equation #2 back into equation #1, I rewrite equation #1 as:

       1 + b + b = 1.10

Now solve this last equation for b:

      1 + 2b = 1.10

             2b = .10

               b = .05       or    the ball costs 5 cents  

I would like to think that my results blew the study to smithereens, for clearly although I am "a religious person,"  I am also not a dumb person.  I guess right now I just don't like the American Psychological Association.  What do you think?


  1. Your math looks correct to me. Off the top of my head without thinking I would have been wrong, also. Guess I am one of the dumb ones (grin).

  2. We all have a hint of the smarts in us, but not everyone is mathematically inclined. Your formula was correct and so was the answer but for some who had to work numbers most of his career I had the answer by the time you asked the question and I'm a believer.

    It's about time.

  3. I must fall into the "oh-that's-a-math-problem-suddenly-I'm-brain-dead" catargory! Or just plain lazy:)
    Jill: I tagged you on my blog, If you want to go there and do the questions, that would be great!
    God Bless,

  4. You're brilliant, hardly dumb and obviously know your algebra problem solving. :D

    And we are huge Weingarten fans.