If You Answer This Math Problem Correctly, You May Be an Atheist

If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

Go ahead.

Do the problem.

.
.
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The wrong answer — the one you come up with when you don’t put any thought into it or simply go with your gut — would be $10.

The right answer — which requires a bit of analysis — would be $5. (The bat costs $105.)

***Update***: Here’s another question that was asked:

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? (Correct answer: 47 days. Wrong-but-tempting answer: 24 days.)

But your answer may say more about you than just your math abilities:

Psychologists William Gervais and Ara Norenzayan, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, predicted that people who were more analytic in thinking would tend not to believe in religion, whereas people who approach problems more intuitively would tend to be believers. Their study confirmed the hypothesis and the findings illuminate the mysterious cognitive process by which we reach decisions about our beliefs.

Their study of 179 Canadian undergraduate students showed that people who tend to solve problems more analytically also tended to be religious disbelievers. This was demonstrated by giving the students a series of questions like the one above and then scoring them on the basis of whether they used intuition or analytic logic to reach the answers. Afterward, the researchers surveyed the students on whether or not they held religious beliefs. The results showed that the intuitive thinkers were much more likely to believe in religion.

That’s correlation, but the study also showed causation:

To test for a causal relationship between analytical thinking and religious disbelief, the researchers devised four different ways to promote analytic thinking and then surveyed the students to see if their religious disbelief had increased by the interventions that boosted critical thinking.

… Subconscious suggestion about thinking apparently gets the cognitive juices flowing and suppresses intuitive processes. The researchers confirmed this effect but also found that the self-reported religious disbelief also increased compared with subjects shown a different image before being tested that did not suggest critical thinking.

Alright, have fun analyzing the heck out of that.

You can check out the full paper here, if you have access to Science or know a good workaround.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Anon

    This is purely anecdotal, but it held true for my wife and I.

  • Anon

    To clarify, she is religious, and I am not

  • kraken17

    Well, I have failed as an atheist.

  • Onamission5

    Me to, and I still don’t understand why.

  • Michael

    Whew… I was afraid I might have to turn in my badge.  Luckily I got it right.

  • Michael

    Ball = X
    Bat = Y

    X + Y = 110
    X + 100 = Y

    X + (X + 100) = 110
    2X + 100 = 110
    2X = 10
    X = 5

    Therefore, the ball is $5 and the bat is $105.

  • Canadian Atheist, eh!

     It’s because $100 more than $10 would be $110, which would put the total at $120. It’s elegant, and everything hinges on the “more than.”

    Good one. Meanwhile, despite my handle, I was not a part of the study (though I really am Canadian).

  • fett101

    I failed initially. It’d be nice if they article had an explanation for us dunces, so here goes.
    So say X is the Bat and Y is the Baseball
    X = 100 + Y
    Y = Y (of course)

    X + Y = 110
    Replace X with 100+Y and you get
    100 + Y + Y = 110
    Subtract 100
    Y + Y = 10
    Thus Y = 5

  • PamEllis

    What is you are just an art major and math stuff ain’t your thing?

  • observerA

    110=(100+x)+x
    Where x is the price of the ball. Solving for x gives you 5 so the bat is 105.

  • Ed Kostreba

    Cost of ball $5. Cost of bat $5+$100=$105. Cost of baseball and bat $110

  • http://www.facebook.com/Magnetix Darl Magnetix Guigayoma

    105 (bat) + 5 (ball) = 110

    Bat (105) costs 100 more than the ball (5)
    105 – 5 = 100

    Asian Atheist here.

    …actually, since this has math in it, I think it’s kind of unfair to allow Asians to take this test.

  • Jasen

    I wonder if believers who get it right would be more likely to deconvert…

  • http://twitter.com/Crommunist Crommunist

    From the title, I thought it was going to be a long, convoluted problem in brackets, multiplied by X, where X = number of gods that exist. Simple for an atheist, tough for anyone else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

    Then you’re likely to be taken advantage of in financial dealings. But in relation to atheism? It simply means it’s less likely that you’re a skeptic. Not that it’s impossible for you to be one.

  • Michael

    Wait… is it considered non-PC to stereotype against yourself???   :  )

  • http://neuralmisfirings.tumblr.com/ Glenn Dixon

    While I am a hard-core atheist, I failed miserably on this one. However, there is a very good reason.

    I spent 40 years or so as a fundamentalist Christian! I think this proves the main point of this article though…

  • Howler

    Math is stupid, just like religion. 

  • MG

    Despite being rather bad at math, I am, in fact, very good at analysis and logic. Make my living that way, actually. And no matter how overpriced sporting goods may be, there is still no god.

  • http://twitter.com/rabidsi Simon Cooper

    I say this jovially, Hemant, (with only a hint of bitterness) but fuck you and your math making me feel inadequate as a heathen. :(

    I hate math and have always hated math, I just said NOPE! and scrolled to the answers.

  • george.w

    I wanted to say $10, but something in my head was suspicious of the obvious answer. So I figured the $10 had to be split between the bat and the ball for the bat to cost $100 more than the ball. I guess I can stay atheist for another day.

  • Seladora

    I figured it out, but not initially :( 
    I guessed 10, though I knew it would probably be wrong. Do I get points for figuring out anyway? 

  • GeraardSpergen

    1.  I knew it was a trick question, so I was very careful and did it correctly.
    2.  Even if I weren’t an atheist, I’d suspect it were a trick question and would’ve done it correctly.
    3.  Math makes you skeptical of trick questions and perhaps skeptical of other situations as well; ergo Hemant has a powerful ability to influence his students far beyond functions and polynomials.  With great power comes great responsibility.

  • Onamission5

    *cries*

  • Onamission5

    Now that I understood. Thanks for speaking words, lol!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesse.kindwall Jesse Kindwall

    I think the point that everyone here is missing is that’s an incredibly expensive bat.  I’ve seen this problem before, and I think its usually said that the bat and ball together cost $1.10, and the bat costs 1$ more than the ball.

  • http://www.facebook.com/asajoh Ása ‘Freya’ Johannesen

    Oh! The baseball *and* bat are $110. I thought it said a baseball bat was $110 and that it cost $100 more than a ball. I didn’t get why this was a difficult question.

  • edwin

    if the bat is $105.00 and the ball is $5.00 then being eastcoast canadain combined cost would be $126.50. for the set to be only $110.00 the set would have to be less then $96.00 so the bat couldn’t be $100.00 more than ball.

  • Onamission5

    Why you throw extra numbers at me? Me confuseded. LOL.

  • Jeff

    English degree here, and I’m an atheist (no degree in that), and I had no trouble with these after thinking about them a bit.  The trick was pausing to think; the math involved was rudimentary.  Both questions were fun.

  • Canadian Atheist, eh!

    Lol. And if you’re REALLY east coast, you’ll get there half an hour late and the store will be closed!

  • GeraardSpergen

    Maybe she can teach you about indirect objects.

  • DG

    Because of the question, I knew the quick answer wasn’t right.  But not being a math person, I didn’t bother to figure it out.  I told the question to my family, all more math oriented than I am, so they had to do it in their heads.  At first my wife said 10, but I explained she may want to rethink it.  Then she figured it out.  My 13 year old figured it out, after suggesting the ball was free with a 10 dollar coupon.  My 11 year old, bless his heart, had a tough go of it, and we had to tell him so he’d get busy on his homework again.  My 16 year old wasn’t around, but since he’s in honors level math, I wager he’ll get it (I hope so). My 3 year old had no opinion.  

  • Thin-ice

    46 years here as a fundamentalist! Great to be free, isn’t it?

     But I still figured it out, because when someone asks a question like this, you automatically know that the obvious/impulsive answer is going to be the wrong one. And math isn’t really needed, just common sense.

  • stephanie

    What I don’t get is a site full of rather skeptical and (as claimed by the study) analytical thinkers and no one is going on about the real issue-
    Why the heck is someone charging a hundred and five bucks for that baseball bat? That’s highway robbery!!! ;P

  • DG

    Update: My 16 year old got it right.

  • Sapphiremistww

    If you’re an art major you should pick a new major :)

  • ToM e BoI

    $105 (bat) + $5 (ball) = $110
    $105 (bat) – $5 (ball) = $100

    Every day, the patch doubles in size. Taking 48 days to completely cover the pond.
    So the day before, on the 47th day, the patch covered only half the pond.

  • Heather

    My final answer was $9, with the bat costing $101. I must be a witch or something.

  • popeyoni

    Because the bat costs $100 MORE than the ball.
    $100 is $90 more than $10.
    $105 is $100 more than $5.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    Then you have to renounce your atheism and become at least a deist

  • Otto

    I passed Calculus II with an A, but I still said the bat was worth a hundred dollars.

    Curse you, lazy brain!

  • Oberon

     Or as I intuited:  $100 – $10 = $90 difference, so that can’t be right.

  • Skwerl

    If you read the whole article, you will see that you don’t have to be good at math to be an analytic thinker. There are other ways to test your analytic skills.

  • Marsha in TN

     I totally agree.  Math sucks, I have had a phobia of it since childhood, and even nightmares.  But am a happy atheist, even though my math skills suck.

  • https://sites.google.com/site/ferulebezelssite/ Ferule Bezel

    I have a couple of objections to the questions.

    1) If they are Canadians, shouldn’t it be a hockey stick and a puck?

    2) The second one is ambiguous.  Is the lake covered at the end of the 48th day or the beginning?  Are these magic lily pads that suddenly double their area at a given instance?  Is the initial size of the patch exactly the area of the pond divided by 2^48?  It seems the answer should be a range that I would have to spend some time on the Kahn Academy site to figure out.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    Business type here. Not afraid of math, which is good considering analytical finance requires algebra.

    I got the answer right but that’s because I’ve seen the problem before. I don’t recall if I got it right the first time.

  • http://twitter.com/Liz_Burgess Elizabeth Burgess

    Part of the problem is a mental heuristic that many of us utilize without realizing it. Heuristics are shortcuts we use to save time when problem solving. The answers we come up with after using a heuristic often seem plausible but are never guaranteed to be correct. If you get the problem right, it’s because you’re taking the extra time to actually think through it and figure it out rather than using information that is easy to get but not at all helpful (Hmmm, go figure!)
    Here’s another example: Jack is looking at Anne, but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?A. Yes B. No C. There isn’t enough information. Our heuristic tells us that we need to know the marital status of everyone in the problem to know the answer but if we take the time to examine it, we’d know the answer was yes.

  • http://twitter.com/WCLPeter Rob U

    smacking head going “stupid, stupid, stupid”

    Even with the walk through I still had to argue it out in my head for fifteen minutes before I realized that if the ball cost 10 bucks and the bat was a hundred dollars more then the bat would cost 110 dollars meaning the combo would be 120.

    I’ve always hated math.  :-D

  • http://mtsmariner.com/ Jeff

    These are good straightforward math questions. With pad and pencil, they only took a few seconds each to solve.

    X+(X+100)=110
    X+X+100=110
    2X+100=110
    2X=10
    X=5
    Ball is $5 (X)
    Bat is $105 (X+100)

    A patch of lily pads in a lake doubles in size every day. In 48 days the lake is completely covered.
    2^48 = lake completely covered, therefore
    2^47 = lake half covered
    47 days

  • Onamission5

    My spouse had to explain it to me, working forward in baby steps. I don’t know how on earth I made it through high school trig, or on to college level probabilities.

    I actually used to be great at math, was in all the accelerated courses, then I hit age 14 and it started taking three or four times as long for me to understand new concepts as it had before, if I understood them at all. Teachers didn’t have the patience, I more or less gave up, and then everything I’d learned prior flew right out of my head.

  • Ericka

    This seems like a very useless paper. Their sample size is way too small and math problems like this may not me the best way to determine if people tend to be analytical or intuitive in how they approach things. My partner got it it wrong but he’s been rejecting religion and dogma since he could speak. On the other hand, one of my uncles has a masters degree in chemistry and still thinks the world is only 6 thousand years old, that Noah’s Flood shaped the Grand Canyon and that people are actually seeing demons when they have alien abduction stories.

    I also find it interesting the most people used the variables X and Y to show their work. I went with a and b when explaining it to my partner. Wonder if that means anything. :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/thomasrl03801 Thomas Lindholm

    That’s funny.  I suck in math, but I actually think math is really cool.  When I finally figured out the answer to this problem (and it took me a while), I smacked myself on the forehead (figuratively) and said, “D’oh!  Of course!”

  • Neil

    I’m no mathematician at all (I got through algebra II and intro astronomy with some trig content 20 years ago), but that took about 5 seconds or less in my head.  Then again, I did run a liquor store cash register for four years and dealing with “drunk math” every day is a quick and effective education in basic arithmetic. 

    I really don’t want to sound smug or do any shaming here, but I will preach some “math awareness”.  If these problems give you problems, you should seriously consider a refresher course of some sort or some extra reading and self-teaching, covering at least arithmetic through fractions, percentages, basic statistics and beginning business math. 

    If you can’t fairly easily:

    -compute gas mileage
    -break down utility bills
    -calculate loan & credit interest for both monthly payments and total amounts due
    -calculate savings interest and compare different banks and investments
    -figure out interest on “payday loans”and other legal scams (they’re crap)
    -compute gambling odds or basic stats like sports statistics(when the concepts involved are explained to you)

    -or if you are easily confused by large numbers, large columns of small numbers, or unable to easily make sense of the ledgers of say, a small retail business when they are explained to you…

    …then you are just begging for a steady line of hucksters, ambitious salesmen, and parasites to come a knockin’.  And despite the obvious credibility failings of say, Nigerian email scammers, Amway salesmen, or creationist preachers, many of them will be good, credible-seeming professionals, AND better at math than you.  You are also begging to be regularly overcharged by your phone service provider, cable or internet provider,  and other large, legitimate businesses who just don’t give a damn about you because they don’t have to. 

    I know a lot of math-phobic folks who are skeptics “at heart”, who aren’t “suckers” at all in most parts of their lives, but who still chase economic phantoms, overpay on lots of stuff,  and waste time and real resources on various bullshit because they never learned any better.  You can’t just claim the title of skeptic without doing at least some of the math homework, or you’ll often not really know if you’re being reasonable or not.

    Sermon over.

        

  • Onamission5

    My mom would have solved the math problem in a heartbeat, but she still believes the same things as your uncle. She’s a very linear person, very analytical, she just doesn’t apply that analysis to her religious or socio-political assumptions.

    Me, I generally am an intuitive problem solver, but I’ve been questioning claims about deities since I was four and haven’t believed in any since high school.

  • Onamission5

    I did examine it. I still don’t understand!

  • Neil

    That made me lol, but since it’s a blog by a math teacher, you still have to show your work.  You’d have to mathmatically show that faith and Pascal’s wager are null,
    with no philosophical deduction or calculators allowed!

  • Onamission5

    I drew myself a diagram and everything.

  • Neil

    The coupon kid sounds like me at that age.  Feel free to tell her/him that someone on the internet appreciates the smart-alecness, but they’ll still get overcharged if they can’t magically make coupons appear, and arrested for fraud if they can!

  • GeraardSpergen

    Had to google the answer to your example… excellent.
    Please tell me that illogical people get that one right away.

  • Nascar_interstate

    God told me the answer

  • TheSkydivingSkeptic

    Yeah! I mean it’s not like math has allowed us to pierce the veil of the universe and discover awe inspiring truths about the very fabric of existence. It’s clearly only lead to dark ages, now let me get back on my electricity powered computer to browse the internet, it’s not like math was instrumental in the development of all three of those things.

  • Onamission5

    Never mind, I googled it, and proved to myself that I’m an idiot.

  • Denise

    i’m not an atheists. thank god!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aeisiminger Aimee Eisiminger

    Epic fail.  I will turn my card in right away.  :-)

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I’d love to know if there’s a correlation with the Asch experiment.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    While we’re at it 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gqd_gwWbfjs

    Can anyone explain 1:48 “Now we’ll see if we can use group pressure for some good”

    (That’s rhetorical, but I think it’s a critical point for this blog)

  • Brian Sherson

    This is SO going on my algebra review quiz next year!

  • HA2

     nah. Being an art major does not preclude being a skeptic, being an atheist, or being smart.

  • Kabbut

    While your on the internet, I would suggest checking out the definition of sarcasm.

  • Ndonnan

    Phew i got it wrong,Ha.So all the others who got it wrong you might as well join me in church online at darkwoodbrew.com

  • Sulris Campbell

    haha i failed the first one too /cry but i got the second one (i was on guard to your trickery for that one!!  though, i’m not sure what i would have said on the second one if i hadn’t first been shamed into paying extra attention to the second one)  i am going to go sit in the corner in my dunce cap now…  

    it just goes to show the crap that we can miss when were not paying extra attentention to what is going on around us…

  • MarnieMacLean

    I failed but I’ve never been good at math yet came to atheism on my own in early grade school. 

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    This is a good example because it makes us analyze the “what if”s… such as “What if Anne is married?” Well, then Anne is the married person looking at an unmarried person (George), so the answer is Yes. “What if Anne isn’t married?” Then John is the married person looking at an unmarried person (Anne), so the answer is Yes. Regardless, the answer is always Yes. :)

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    I love the thinking of your 13-year-old. That’s something I would’ve said as a kid: take the easy way out and concoct an explanation that makes the assumed answer the true one. :D

  • http://twitter.com/TimidAtheist Timid Atheist

    I am okay with the fact that I forgot Algebra and thus will die if I crash land on Mars.

  • fishorcutbait

    my wife is of asian descent and she is terrible at math
    I had to show her how to solve it.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Agreed, but I’m not sure how you learn that.  I don’t think it’s just the math skills, it’s knowing when to apply them.  Even if you can’t calculate loan interest, you can always ask “What will be the total cost of this loan” and anyone offering the loan will tell you, clearly, in writing.  It never hurts to ask questions, and get 2nd opinions.

    Another good example I came across recently was gas reward cards, and cash back credit cards.  Even with a grocery store rewards card, and getting 3 or 5% back on your credit card, your gas will cost you more at Shell than paying cash at Arco.

  • Chris Clay

    It seems to me that the real difference between an atheist and a believer is when an atheist is told their answer is wrong, then they go and find out why.  When a believer is told their answer is wrong, they just tell you you’re wrong and explain how obvious the “real” answer is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

    that sounds like religion

  • Corrina

    What.

  • DG

    Oh, you have to know that kid!

  • DG

    Heh!

  • http://reedbraden.com Reed Braden

    Makes sense to me. Atheists are busy thinking about the big-picture stuff. We’re the ones educating ourselves about evolution, cosmology, advances in particle physics, etc. When it comes to trickily-worded math problems, I can totally see how an atheist would be more inclined to skim it and answer quickly, compared to a Christian who, since they don’t often busy themselves thinking about the origins of life and the cosmos, have more mental time and energy to expend analyzing the cost of a theoretical baseball.

  • eonL5

    Me too, but since this didn’t require anything too fancy, I got it. Me = quite analytical/logical, no math skillz. Poor intuition, too. It took most of my 50 years to be able to “intuit” things about the people around me.

    signed, lifelong atheist, even though I sometimes wished I could believe in an afterlife.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    And interestingly enough, I was religious as a child. ;)

  • Sharon Hypatia

    And that’s the point of being an analytic thinker . You  might not know
    how to solve it, but you realize your first impulse to say bat $100
    & ball  $10 is wrong. Then you go find someone who can solve it for you. 

    Non analytic thinkers just run with the first answer that pops into
    their mind, have no instinct it’s wrong (that is a big part of their problem), cannot figure out why it’s
    wrong  and may even defend their wrong answer to the hilt.

    I have little problem with the mathy questions but those logic ones give
    me trouble. Took me a while to get it that “married looking at
    unmarried” even when the answer was put up.

    My favorite logic trick has been trying to explain to people since 1999
    why the new millennium didn’t start until Jan 1 , 2001  (not Jan 1,
    2000).  Trips up very smart people and if they don’t get it, it is almost impossible to explain it to them.

  • Parse

    See, my big problem with the lily pad problem is the exponential growth.  If the lily pad starts out at 3 square centimeters, by day 48, it’ll be big enough to cover Lake Superior.  

    Heck, a quick Google search says that a cell is approximately 10-100 micrometers long, so let’s start with the smallest possible size, 10 micrometers by 10 micrometers.  If we’re starting with a SINGLE CELL, by day 48, it’s covering 7 acres.  That’s ridiculous!

  • MariaO

    Here is a problem that should be easier for a Theist than an Atheist.
    Question is: according to which principle are the numbers 1-15 ordered?
    8, 11, 15, 5, 4,14, 9,1, 7, 6, 10, 13, 3, 12, 2 

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    Alphabetically!

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    You nailed what my gut had said but my analytic brain wasn’t able to articulate.  The main point is realizing that the easy answer is wrong.  My (LDS) cousin said “you get a discount if you buy both”.  She knew $10 was wrong, but didn’t know how to figure out the mathematically correct answer.  But I would put that in the analytic/skeptic camp, not the intuitive camp.  Like DG(?)’s son and the coupon.

  • MariaO

    That is the non-mathematicians reply ;-)
    But I admit I gave a big clue. If you do it in math class without hints, very few get it – at least of the ones that like math.

  • Tom

    Ah, it’s been a while since I’ve had a reminder of how poor my math skills are. According to the premise of the study, I approached the problem intuitively, thus it could be predicted that I am a believer–I am not. Yet, when it comes to religion and many other concepts, I am in fact analytical and logical to a fault. Unfortunately, I no longer have access to that website, so I can’t read the full paper. I understand the relationship between analytic thinking in general, but I would like to see the math component explained causally. Obviously, for the ones who failed the math question but are nonreligious, the correlation is weak.

    Even with the various explanations in the comments, I still can’t understand it.  I understand the explanation itself of It’s a shame really. I actually love the concept of math, but I’m terrible at it. Here’s a harder challenge: dumb down the explanation enough that even I can understand it.

  • Norf

     The answer is yes because Jack (married) is looking at Anne (unmarried). I know Anne is unmarried because she’s looking at George. She wouldn’t be looking at George if she was married.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

    While the full paper requires a subscription, there’s also some on-line supplemental material that apparently doesn’t. (This isn’t that uncommon for Science, by the way.) It doesn’t give you all of the information from the main article, and isn’t as light a read as the already quite technical journal piece, but still has some interesting details about the studies for people who can’t access the main article.

  • Onamission5

    As it was explained to me–

    The bat is $100 *more* than the ball. So if the ball was $10, then $100 more than $10 (10+100) would equal $110, making the total price $120. That’s why 10 is the wrong answer.

    The ball costs $5, because 100 more than 5 is 105 and 105 + 5 = 110.

    Does that make sense? 

  • Star Chunks

    I got the answer wrong and I’m an electrical engineer. I’m quitting my job first thing on Monday and going to bible school.

  • http://twitter.com/Liz_Burgess Elizabeth Burgess

    Haha you’re not an idiot. A professor had to explain it to a class of 80 rationally thinking psychology students and many of them found it difficult to grasp. It’s the heuristic! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/Liz_Burgess Elizabeth Burgess

    Exactly! :)

  • GodVlogger

    Here is an BETTER explanation of what the results show.

    It’s not just that the atheists used a more analytical thought process to analyze this problems. The more important point is that atheists were more likely to get the CORRECT ANSWER!!

    Kind of like atheists do about religion.

  • Rpjohnston

    Assuming a start of one lilypad 6 inches in diameter, the area is 28.27 inches. Doubling to two lilypads after the first day and continuing for 47 more days yields 2^47 lilypads, or 1.407 10^14. 28.27 x (1.407 x 10^14) = an area of 3.978 x 10^15 inches. Assuming 15% inefficiency in area covered (I have no idea how much water would be uncovered in an optimal pattern of perfect and identical circles, but this seems like a reasonable guess), that’s 4.574 x 10^15 square inches, or 3.812 x 10^14 square feet.

    This sounds like a pretty big lake to me, but I’m absolutely terrible at estimating scale, can anyone give me a comparison?

    I got the first one wrong, as I was looking for a logical trick rather than a mathemetical one – I knew the answer wasn’t $10, but settled on parsing the sentence as a baseball bat AND a baseball [each] cost $110, rendering the rest of the sentence moot. (It makes sense by computer logic: if(baseball_bat AND baseball) = $110… will be True only if each of those variables are equal to $110). I got the second one right though.

  • Ashley Will

    your answer made me literally laugh out loud

  • Ashley Will

    I didn’t get it correct right away either but my husband did and he had to explain  it to me! T_T

  • kullervo

    Found both answers obvious, but then I was raised an atheist so I have an advantage.

  • Khoroshchokh
  • Joel Pelissier

    Religion involves deeper aspirations that go beyond basic math,unless you are dead inside.An atheist is basically a pile of inanimate matters that came together by accident;at least that is how he sees it. Some people aspire toward more.

  • Rpjohnston

    Testing something. It appears my comment from last night was not posted…sigh.

  • george.w

    “Religion involves deeper aspirations…”
    I prefer aspirations that don’t hinge on wishful thinking.

    “that go beyond basic math, unless you are dead inside. An atheist is basically a pile of inanimate matters that came together by accident; at least that is how he sees it.”

    OK, two things. First, that is very insulting. It fits stories about atheists told by religious people. Second, you seem not to be aware that many atheists are former religious people.

  • Onamission5

    If by deeper aspirations, you mean magic and wishes, with no basis in reality whatsoever, sure. If by dead inside you mean unwilling to swallow silly claims without concrete corroberation, yet completely capable of normal human emotions, then again, sure.

    Just wondering, who peed in your cheerios and then made you eat them?

  • amycas

     I did this in my head and thought I was wrong for a second, so I wrote it down, and realized I was right. hehe I’m actually not too bad at algebra.

  • amycas

     I think she meant because it’s virtually useless.*

    *not always, but I do have a sister and a brother-in-law with art degrees. She is going back to school for a different degree now and he still can’t find a job in graphic design after about 4 years of searching.

  • amycas

     That doesn’t work. If the ball is $9 and the bat is $101, then the bat would be $102 more than the ball.

  • amycas

    haha you were primed by the first question to get the second question right. I wonder if there are any studies out there to demonstrate this effect?

  • amycas

    lol That’s the opposite of what my boyfriend did a few years ago. He was in bible school, got the answer to this question correct and promptly quit to go become an engineer.*

    *I may have skipped some key details about his deconversion.

  • amycas

     As someone who suffers from major depressive disorder, it’s incredibly cruel for you to tell me that I’m dead inside. I take medication to keep thoughts like that at bay, please don’t encourage that.

    By the way, I was more depressed when I was religious than I am now as an atheist, but I really don’t think my religion has to do with it. The depression is almost entirely a bad chemical thing-a-ma-jig in my brain.

  • Joel Pelissier

    There is an undescribable  peace and joy to be found in God.
    That is the basis of true faith.That life ,that reality is foreign to people who are atheist.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    There is an indescribable peace and joy to be found watching your child’s reaction the first time he pours vinegar on baking soda.  That life, that reality, is foreign to people who have never given a child vinegar and baking soda.

    (in case you think I’m being glib, I’m not).

  • http://www.letreasonreign.wordpress.com/blog SteveInCO

     Don’t feel too bad.  We were given this problem in 6th grade.  I was the only one in class who got it right.  The teacher actually “corrected” his answer book to the 10 & 100 dollar answer after the class protested the correct answer.

  • http://www.letreasonreign.wordpress.com/blog SteveInCO

     you mean $92, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003293001320 Diana Winters

    Curses! Got it wrong. How do I get my self-esteem back up now?

  • Kfll

    Or…..the lily pad takes 1 day to cover half the pond. If it takes 47 days out of 48 to cover the first half of the pond, and 1 more day to cover the second half, then 1 day is also a correct answer.

  • Kfll

    The atheist paradox it simple. An atheist can not prove that God exists. Therefore, the opposite must be true. A believer, on the other hand, can not prove that God does not exist. Therefore, the opposite must also be true.

  • Tim

    Another equation

    Ball = X

    Bat = Y

    First line of statement says..

    Ball + Bat =110

    Second line statement says..

    Ball + 100 = Bat

    Combine two equation in one line statement..

    Simple algebric adding left hand side and right hand side from both the equations mentioned above

    Ball + Bat +Ball + 100 = 110 + Bat

    2Ball + Bat + 100 = 110 + Bat

    2Ball = 110 – 100 + Bat – Bat

    2Ball = 10

    Ball = 10/2

    Ball = 5

    Cost of Bat = 110 – cost of Ball

    i.e.., Cost of Bat = 110 – 5

    Cost of Bat = 105

    Hope it is clear..

    Tim..


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