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I Am An Athiest - Who Can't Do Math


Mike D
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Today I was reading an article that links Intuition to god belief (link below):

 

In the article, one of the examples they used to show the differences in thinking between intuitive thinkers and critical thinkers (and presumably show that intuitive types were more likely to believe in god, although it doesn't say that specifically), was the following problem:

 

"A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?"

 

So my first reaction when reading the question was that the answer most likely wasn't .10 cents, not because I knew the answer but because after reading the statement itself and coming to .10, I was very skeptical if it was really that easy. I thought not. But, I couldn't come up with the answer, mainly because if it involves math I just can't do it - for whatever reason anything beyond basic math I have a major mental block when it comes to doing it. Anyway I googled the answer, and even after reading a few websites that explained how the correct answer was arrived, I still couldn't understand how they got the answer and I decided that in my mind the answer was .10 cents. So in addition to my math mental block, when it was explained to me in as plain a language as possible, I still couldn't get it!

 

I was very bothered by this because I don't necessarily consider myself an idiot, yet I can't even seem to solve a very basic problem - even after it is explained to me. So not only does this make me question my intelligence, but it also led to me thinking, how the fuck did I ever end up an atheist? :Doh: The thought process I used to arrive at my beliefs were really almost a reverse engineering of sorts, which I think might be similar to the problem above. But I can't do the problem, ugh.

 

The one thing I do find interesting is that my skepticism of the real answer led me back to the "easy" answer, which I was originally skeptical of. go figure! :lmao:

 

 

Anyway I was curious what answer everyone else got, and if anyone else had a problem either getting the answer or just "getting" the steps to get the answer?

 

Also wondering what other opinions are on the article itself? I actually can't figure out if I am an intuitive thinker or a critical thinker, or perhaps just a morphing of the two into something else?

 

 

 

http://news.yahoo.com/belief-god-boils-down-gut-feeling-104403461.html

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The math problem was supposed to demonstrate that someone who believed in god had better intuition and would add the tax of .05 to the bat which would make it $1.05 and the ball .05. But that depends on what state, county, and city you live in where each adds their own taxes to different items or have higher sales tax than .05. Where I live, the bat would have been $1.07 and the ball .03 cents. So I believe the study in intuition was faulty. A person's intuition is sharpened by experience, not faith.

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The math problem was supposed to demonstrate that someone who believed in god had better intuition and would add the tax of .05 to the bat which would make it $1.05 and the ball .05.

What I got from it is that the intuitive people would only glance at the problem and do basic math, rather than think it through and do "solve for x" or whatever formula is required. I personally didn't even consider tax, since without tax rates there would be no way to know what the tax would be.

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Don't worry about this arcane challenge to your atheist credentials, Mike D, 'cause you know that if a bat and ball would have been referenced in scripture it would likely have been God rewarding somebody with a ball for beating the brains out of infants with the bat.

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I did have to think about it, and it is as a result of how the thing is worded.

 

It leads you to believe the bat is a dollar because the bat is a dollar more than the ball. But if the ball was .10, and you subtract that from a dollar, you would get .90. That's why the ball has to be .05 because 1.05-.05=1.00, and that's the only way for the bat to be a dollar more than the ball.

 

 

 

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The math problem was supposed to demonstrate that someone who believed in god had better intuition and would add the tax of .05 to the bat which would make it $1.05 and the ball .05. But that depends on what state, county, and city you live in where each adds their own taxes to different items or have higher sales tax than .05. Where I live, the bat would have been $1.07 and the ball .03 cents. So I believe the study in intuition was faulty. A person's intuition is sharpened by experience, not faith.

 

 

 

LOL

 

I was about to ask, which country are we in before I could answer the question.

 

 

 

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Also wondering what other opinions are on the article itself? I actually can't figure out if I am an intuitive thinker or a critical thinker, or perhaps just a morphing of the two into something else?

 

 

As far as I can tell the real reason people come up with the wrong answer is because they didn't go back to check that it satisfied the original question.

Basically many people will simply not find it important enough to devote the time to checking the answer against the original question.

 

In my case for example, I'm dyslexic so things like this can easily lead me astray. Its also not easy to self correct as I see the same incorrect phrasing of the question in my mind.

What my dyslexic mind read was the total was $1.10 and the bat was $1 so how much is the ball?

Its only when I re-read the question carefully that I realised I was solving the wrong problem.

Once I understand the real question the answer comes naturally.

 

So while I find it interesting that the good professor has come to the conclusion that one is intuitive thinking and the other is critical thinking he doesn't take anything else into consideration which means IMHO he is reaching false conclusions by compartmentalizing the results into two categories.

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I didn't bother to think it through. It's $1.10 for both a bat and a ball. Sounds like a good deal. Who cares what costs what?

 

And I learned a long time ago that I don't shop based on "X costs this much more than this thing here now solve for this thing." Prices are clearly marked or I get an employee and a cheaper deal.

 

Freaking math mind games for kids (and I did make it through calculus).

 

mwc

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I'll admit I'm no good at math either, but how could the answer not be 10 cents? IF the bat and ball together is $1.10 and the bat is a $1 more than the ball... Somehow it makes no sense that the ball is not 10 cents. Seems anything else is just plain bogus. However, if you are buying the bat and ball together for $1.10, then you paid 55 cents ea for them. So if the bat is a dollar more than the ball, if bought separately, you're getting jipped. Highway robbery.

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I'll admit I'm no good at math either, but how could the answer not be 10 cents? IF the bat and ball together is $1.10 and the bat is a $1 more than the ball... Somehow it makes no sense that the ball is not 10 cents. Seems anything else is just plain bogus. However, if you are buying the bat and ball together for $1.10, then you paid 55 cents ea for them. So if the bat is a dollar more than the ball, if bought separately, you're getting jipped. Highway robbery.

 

$1.00 - .10 = .90. So if the bat costs a dollar, and the ball costs ten cents, then the bat is only ninety cents more than the ball, not a dollar. In order for the bat to be a dollar more than the ball and for it to come out to $1.10, the bat has to be $1.05 and the ball has to be .05.

 

The key word in this problem is more The bat costs a dollar more than the ball.

 

 

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I'll admit I'm no good at math either, but how could the answer not be 10 cents? IF the bat and ball together is $1.10 and the bat is a $1 more than the ball... Somehow it makes no sense that the ball is not 10 cents. Seems anything else is just plain bogus. However, if you are buying the bat and ball together for $1.10, then you paid 55 cents ea for them. So if the bat is a dollar more than the ball, if bought separately, you're getting jipped. Highway robbery.

 

$1.00 - .10 = .90. So if the bat costs a dollar, and the ball costs ten cents, then the bat is only ninety cents more than the ball, not a dollar. In order for the bat to be a dollar more than the ball and for it to come out to $1.10, the bat has to be $1.05 and the ball has to be .05.

 

The key word in this problem is more The bat costs a dollar more than the ball.

 

 

 

As opposed to most reading it that the total is a dollar more than the price of the ball.

 

 

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Three men go into a hotel.

 

The man behind the desk said the room is $30 so each man paid $10 and went to the room.

A while later the man behind the desk realized the room was only $25 so he sent the bellboy to the 3 guys' room with $5.

 

On the way the bellboy couldn't figure out how to split $5 evenly between 3 men, so he gave each man a $1 and kept the other $2 for himself.

 

This meant that the 3 men each paid $9 for the room, which is a total of $27 add the $2 that the bellboy kept = $29. Where is the other dollar?

 

 

 

(Sorry. Couldn't help it.)

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I'll admit I'm no good at math either, but how could the answer not be 10 cents? IF the bat and ball together is $1.10 and the bat is a $1 more than the ball... Somehow it makes no sense that the ball is not 10 cents. Seems anything else is just plain bogus. However, if you are buying the bat and ball together for $1.10, then you paid 55 cents ea for them. So if the bat is a dollar more than the ball, if bought separately, you're getting jipped. Highway robbery.

 

$1.00 - .10 = .90. So if the bat costs a dollar, and the ball costs ten cents, then the bat is only ninety cents more than the ball, not a dollar. In order for the bat to be a dollar more than the ball and for it to come out to $1.10, the bat has to be $1.05 and the ball has to be .05.

 

The key word in this problem is more The bat costs a dollar more than the ball.

 

I suffer from the same problem as Mike here. Even your explanation confuses me and I just can't work it out. I've always known I had a hole in my brain when it comes to these types of problems though. Something of a math dyslexia.

 

What I know is despite the fact that it is math, it is unrelated to logic. Logic comes easy to me but performing algebra is like pulling teeth. My father and my brother are very mechanically oriented and can do algebra quite easily yet I quite easily notice logical inconsistencies they just can't see and seem to be able to connect the dots they just can't keep track of.

 

This makes me think this is a poor atheism determinant test. It doesn't measure the part of the brain that works out the same types of problems that relate to the more philosophical god question.

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I suffer from the same problem as Mike here. Even your explanation confuses me and I just can't work it out. I've always known I had a hole in my brain when it comes to these types of problems though. Something of a math dyslexia.

You just made my day Don. Since I know you're smart I don't feel so bad anymore :grin:

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I'll admit I'm no good at math either, but how could the answer not be 10 cents? IF the bat and ball together is $1.10 and the bat is a $1 more than the ball... Somehow it makes no sense that the ball is not 10 cents. Seems anything else is just plain bogus. However, if you are buying the bat and ball together for $1.10, then you paid 55 cents ea for them. So if the bat is a dollar more than the ball, if bought separately, you're getting jipped. Highway robbery.

 

$1.00 - .10 = .90. So if the bat costs a dollar, and the ball costs ten cents, then the bat is only ninety cents more than the ball, not a dollar. In order for the bat to be a dollar more than the ball and for it to come out to $1.10, the bat has to be $1.05 and the ball has to be .05.

 

The key word in this problem is more The bat costs a dollar more than the ball.

 

I suffer from the same problem as Mike here. Even your explanation confuses me and I just can't work it out. I've always known I had a hole in my brain when it comes to these types of problems though. Something of a math dyslexia.

 

What I know is despite the fact that it is math, it is unrelated to logic. Logic comes easy to me but performing algebra is like pulling teeth. My father and my brother are very mechanically oriented and can do algebra quite easily yet I notice logical inconsistencies they just can't see.

 

I agree with you because I love algebra and I have to work hard at logic. :D

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I finally understand it BTW, even though I read the statement like 10 times the "more than" didn't connect with my brain. Although even when I re-read the statement again, I still interpret it as $1 is the absolute cost of the bat, not a cost relative to the price of the ball.

 

It seems the test is biased on some level because if you have some sort of reading comprehension issue, or if you just suck at math, you will either get the wrong answer or you won't get any answer at all. So if someone concludes those people can't (or don't) think critically, doesn't seem very accurate.

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