Simple math problem could indicate your religious beliefs



Religious belief  – faith in the existence of someone or something that is beyond the ability of science to prove or disprove – is one of the hallmarks of the human race. The vast majority of the planet’s population (75%-99% by some estimates) identify themselves as having some kind of religious belief.

So it’s no wonder that researchers are fascinated with the mental underpinnings of this uniquely human trait. The question “why do people believe?” is right up there with “why do people love?” – for those who study the human brain and try to unravel its deepest riddles.

But a surprising new report by psychologists William Gervais and Ara Norenzayan, of the University of British Columbia,  would seem to indicate that your inclination to be religious can be – at least in part – determined by how you approach a math problem.

Here it is:

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

Okay, now that you’ve given it some thought, I’ll let you in on what this is all about.

It turns out nearly everyone who answers this question come up with one of two possible responses.

Some people say the ball cost $10.

Others say it cost $5.

The mathematically correct answer is $5.

If that was your answer, you are an analytical thinker and – according to results of this study – more likely not to have any religious beliefs.

If you said the ball cost $10 (and I confess to being one of those people), you are an intuitive thinker and thus more likely to hold a religious belief of some kind.

I guarantee that some of you, regardless which answer you came up with, will feel anger, resentment or some other kind of negative emotion after reading the study’s findings. If you proclaim to be an atheist and you said “$10” you’re might feel as though you haven’t lived up to your usual analytical behaviour – the kind of questioning and skeptical nature that led you to your current views on religion. Likewise, if you are religious and said “$10,” you might feel like the study is saying your belief is an indicator of how smart you are.

While I can’t refute any of the correlations the study has presented, I tend to concur with the opinion expressed by our own Phil Tucker on the original post:

I doubt this has much to do with religion — more to do with how much time you spend reading a question before answering, which is usually based on the consequences of a wrong answer which in this situation is next to none.

To be fair, the study’s authors are quick to point out that analytical thought (or a lack thereof) should not be considered the be-all and end-all factor when it comes to how likely someone is to be religious. They freely acknowledge there are many more areas of influence that come into play.

The full study, which was performed using 179 Canadian undergraduates, is available here and it’s well worth a read for those of you who want to learn more about the different ways these psychologists tested their hypothesis.

Now, if it pleases you our readers, let’s perform our own much less scientific survey…

How did you respond to the math question?

[Source: Psychology Today via Boing Boing]
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

P.S.: I have a favour to ask. It has been my experience that any articles here on Sync that touch remotely on the question of religion tend to ignite passionate and sometimes hostile debates over the existence of God or other deities. Given that the study in question did not make any judgement calls about the validity of religion or a lack of religious belief, I would very much appreciate it if comments on this article could be equally respectful. Thanks!

*The original math question from the study was “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” which is mathematically the same as the question above, but changed by the author of the Psychology Today article so that he could track references back to his piece.

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259 comments

  1. Atheist

    Religion dominates the world we live in, it has repressed at least 300 years of science, from Copernicus to Gallio religion is a prison guard for science. Even knows religious officials are battling stem cell research and embreoic science that we could use to cure dieseases. The world would be free to think for itself and create it’s own morals if it weren’t for religion. Religion is basically believe this or be punished for eternity, it gives little freedom of speech and thought.

    Like

    • DaDe

      interesting myth…you should look into Communist Russia during Stalin, True Communism is atheist.

      Also look into Albania after they declared themselves an atheist state in 1967…that law was revoked in 1990.

      Like

  2. Jz

    baseball = Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport( bat + ball ) + ball = 110

    (100 + 5 ) + 5 = 110
    so ball cost $ 5 , easy to get confusion if don’t think what that means baseball ?

    Like

  3. LOL so many wrong explanations!!!

    You are given two answers 10 or 5 for the ball!!!! so if bat is 100 more than ball(5 or 10) the bat is worth 105 or 110, the total is 110, so 5 for ball 105 for bat!!!!!!!!!….you are not given the price for either ball or bat…. just that the bat is 100 more…….. if the ball is free the bat would be 100 just because the bat is 100 more doesnt mean the bat is worth a 100.

    correct answer is 5

    for the religious part they are trying to tell you religous people dont try to figure out how existence happened they just believe… for athesists they are saying they have to beleive things can be explained so thats how the math question works… but is bogus… religious ppl can beleive in science and anaylze how things work… athesists or anyone can never scientifically prove that there is a God or not…

    the theory itself is a question itself whether or not you believe in the existence of a creator or not.

    Like

  4. Anonymous

    Technically you could solve it as a linear system, being:

    Bat = “x”
    Ball = “y”

    x + y = 110 (Ball + Bat = 110)
    x – y = 100 (Bat – Ball = 100)

    2x = 210
    x = 105

    Using equation 1:

    105 + y = 110
    105 + y – 105 = 110 – 105
    y = 5

    Since “y” represents the ball, the ball costs $5.

    Like

  5. DaDe

    I think Werner Heisenberg was right on the mark when he said.

    “What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our limited Knowledge.”

    At one time it was a scientific fact that water did not flow on Mars.
    Now it is a fact that water did flow on Mars.

    The topic is meaningless and so is the column

    Like

  6. Sandy Johnson

    There is a fatal flaw in this assumption.
    The flaw is the presupposition that one’s spiritual beliefs (IE Creator) or lack thereof can be tied to whether or not one is an analytical or an intuitive thinker.
    My unthinking reaction was to say the ball cost 10.00, but my brain immediately said – “hold it, Look more carefully at this!”
    I know I have an analytical mind because I analyze daily and have done so almost all my working life because I was in electronic equipment repair which required analysis of problems.
    It it precisely because I am analytical that I am convinced of the existence of the Creator. I have for many years carefully examined the alternative – ‘evolution’ of nature by nature and for nature – and found it to be absolutely impossible. Therefore, I have no alternative but to believe in a Creator. If something DOES exist and if it cannot come into existence by it’s own means, then it must have a cause. The universe simply could not create itself (despite statements by Dawkins and Hawking and many others). The nature and laws of the universe preclude self-creation.
    When you think about it, how in the name of logic could something which does not exist cause itself to exist?!!! Until it exists, it ain’t gonna cause anything, much less itself!!
    Yet these supposedly great minds state that the universe caused its own existence. One has stated that all that was necessary was gravity. But gravity is a property of matter, not a property of nothing at all!!! Now how in the whatever are you going to have gravity before there is anything for gravity to be a property of …that is, to exist as part of???!!!
    I have studied evolutionist claims for many years and have yet to find even one which can be independently verified. When challenged, they always turn to their own unproven presuppositions as ‘proof’ of their latest suppositions. Their credo is that what we believe is ‘science’ because we believe it, so there!! Whether it is possible or logical doesn’t matter.
    Carefully and thoroughly ANALYZE the alternatives and you will find creation is the only possibility, whether of cars, computers, brains, or universes.
    If belief in the Creator categorizes me as intuitive and/or religious in your books, so be it. However, real belief is not merely religion. Religion is a system of hoping that you are right. Real belief is based upon analysis of the only alternatives in the case to distinguish between the possible and the impossible and determining to believe in only the possible. THAT is REAL science.

    Like

    • Clear Thinking

      … how in the name of logic could something which does not exist cause itself to exist? Answer me this: who created God?

      Like

    • Squish

      Good grief. Look, I get that you are a believer and that’s fine, you can think whatever you want. But please, please don’t try to rationalize or defend your belief by claiming it’s rational, scientific or logical. It is none of these things.

      The big question: “Where did the universe come from?”

      The scientist says: “We don’t know for sure, but we’re working on this theory called The Big Bang. It’s actually quite an elegant theory – would you like to know more?”

      The believer says: “What?? You don’t have a solid explanation? How long are you going to take? Theories? What am I supposed to do with a theory? I can’t stand not knowing! So instead of being patient and telling myself that it’s ok that we don’t know yet, I will lean on the existence of a God who I can credit with the creation of the universe and everything else we can’t explain. Ah that’s better, I feel like I’m in control again. Whew. That was a close one.”

      So by all means, believe in God if you want. But don’t suggest that doing so is the scientific and logical thing to do. That’s a perversion of logic.

      Like

  7. Dule Picard

    My goodness, this is how the taxpayers money is wasted in some so called academic areas…….

    Like

  8. Alexander Jablanczy

    11O+O=11O the ball is free and 11O-O=11O so that s out. We need to
    get 1OO for a difference.
    1O9+1=11O
    1O8+2=11O
    1O7+3=11O
    1O6+4=11O
    1O5+5=11O the ball costs 5 and the bat 1O5 therefore it satisfies
    the second condition viz. 1O5-5=1OO. None of the others do nor the subsequent ones in this series.
    1O4+6=11O
    1O3+7=11O
    1O2+8=11O
    1O1+9=11O
    1OO+1O=11O but the difference between 1OO-1O is= unfortunately 9O
    as many people have pointed out and that doesnt satisfy the second
    condition.
    So there is only 1 answer. 5.
    *****************************************
    Descartes has largely been discredited but one statement of his
    is unassailable that the existence of God implies the existence
    of the soul and vice versa. He adds immortality but that to me is
    less certain.
    Albert Szentgyörgyi of Vitamin C Nobel prize fame wrote a neat
    little book What is life? Or rather what is alive. Easy to prove
    that a whole organism man moose mouse violet fly flatworm etc are
    alive. Then he asks the question. Is a limb alive? Then an organ?
    tissue? A single cell? Yes he answers all these are alive. Then
    an organelle then a macromolecule like a protein or a DNA or a
    fat or a starch yes they are still alive. Then a single molecule
    like an amino acid or a sugar or a fat or one nucleotide reluctantly
    he has to answer yes. Then an atom then an electron and there he
    stops not going down to the subatomic level. But he more or less
    concludes that we are nothing more than a dance of electrons.
    Well then a live wire is alive or a crystal as one has electrons
    moving and the other has structures grows decays and gives rise
    to little crystals ie it reproduces. Yet we agree that crystals
    are inorganic minerals not living things.
    So do we come to the silly conclusion that life is undefinable or
    that it doesnt exist?
    I have never met an electron on the street nor a class for those
    politically inclined nor a derivative. Financial or maths?
    I only believe that I can see or touch is rather dumb.
    Descartes BTW demolished empiricism in no time. Sense organs
    deceive us hence unreliable. Cogito ergo sum.
    If we couldnt define life how much harder is it to define a
    thought never mind mind or soul.
    I find the dream time concept of the Australian Aborigines
    delightfully illuminating. There is the everyday material
    reality of rocks beasts birds sand sticks grubs worms and
    then there is everything else. Dreamtime.
    All the music the poetry the song the dance the memory of
    the dead the artwork painting and skills in hunting and
    food gathering and yes the dreams.
    In our terms everything that s worth living for not
    material objects as such but their use. Even science and
    math as well as philosophy and yes even theology. Which is
    of course an attempt at answering the question is there a God
    and if there is one what can we know of him it her?
    They found a manuscript of Mozart or Beethowen scribbled on a
    sheet unknown so far. Does it even exist? You need a musicologist
    and a graphologist and a palaeographer to interpret and rewrite
    the scrawl in modern notation so a period musician can play it for
    the first time in 2OO years. When where does it exist? In the
    skull fragment of the dead and buried composer or in the illegible undecipherable scrawl or the interpretation of the musicologist
    or in the interpretation of the musician playing it for the first
    time or in the connoisseur of classical music who hears it and
    says ah yes that s like Für Elise or Eine kleine Nachtmusic?
    Yes it is Amadeus or Ludwig.
    Astronomy now has numerous beasts of the firmament which were
    unimaginable by Cicero Aristotle even Kepler or Kopernicus.
    Galileo saw four moons of Jupiter for the first time as did
    Leeuwenhook microscopic animalcules. Until then they didnt
    exist. Now radiotelescopes infarared ultraviolet etc
    telescopes see objects invisible in visible light.
    Atheists simply are folk who dont have God receptors.
    They are defective as they cannot access a whole realm of being.
    It s like the deaf who will never hear Beethowen Bach Mozart
    or the blind who will never see a Poussin a Goya a Velazquez an
    El Greco never mind opine on the La Joconde of the Louvre vs. the
    MonaLisa of the Prado just rediscovered. Pity.
    But the deaf offer no opinions on Hindemith or Stockhausen
    nor the blind on Kahlo or Frankenthaler.
    So why do the religion deaf and the God blind offer to have an
    asinine opinion about which they know nothing can know nothing
    as they lack the receptors?
    I have no opinion of many things which I loathe such as rock
    music or despise such as casinos and bingo.
    Or car races or air shows or skidoos and powerboats say.
    They preclude hearing the music of the spheres or contemplating
    the great chain of being.
    Chaqu un a son gout.
    I dont believe in the existence of God at all I simply know it.
    I deduce it from cosmology astronomy biology the periodic table
    gravity psychology cellular molecular medicine epistemology
    ontology chaos theory fractals structuralism.
    All this came into being by chance??? Bru ha ha ha ha.
    All this order is self generated? Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.
    Matter created itself ex nihilo? Ha ha ha ha ha.
    I dont have all the answers nor do I have any hello Socrates
    Descartes

    Like

    • Squish

      “Atheists simply are folk who dont have God receptors.
      They are defective as they cannot access a whole realm of being.”

      Oh, well played my friend, well played. That has to be the most creative explanation of why there are people who don’t believe in God. Brilliant.

      But let me ask you something:
      a) How do you explain people who start life believing in God and then change their mind? Were they just faking it all along?
      b) Do you genuinely believe that at some point about 5,000 years ago in our development, we suddenly accessed our long-dormant God receptors? Because there is no evdience that belief in God is as old as the human race, which, if your theory was correct, would be impossible.

      BTW, I love how every time someone who doesn’t understand science throws in the word “chance” as though that can undermine all of the work that has been done on physical theories. All it demonstrates is that you haven’t taken the time or lack the capacity to understand what these theories are all about.

      Like

  9. HAMMER

    What I see here is a trick question.
    It has nothing to do with religion.
    It is obvious that the answer is $105.00
    for the bat, and $5.00 for the ball.
    That being bought and paid for by 1 person.
    If the bat was bought by one person.
    And the ball was bought by a another person.
    The bat could only be $090.00 more than the ball.

    __________________________
    TRY THIS ONE FOR FUN.
    Joe has so many apples.
    Moe has so many apples.
    ————————–
    Moe says to Joe,
    If you gave me one of your apples
    I would as many apples as you.
    ————————–
    Then
    ————————–
    Joe says to Moe,
    If you gave me one of your apples,
    I would have twice as many apples as you.

    HOW MANY APPLES WOULD JOE HAVE?
    AND HOW MANY APPLES WOULD MOE HAVE?

    Like

    • elmo lincoln

      Joe has to have 2 more apples than Moe (in order for them to be equal if Moe gives him one)

      Joe has to have an odd number of apples (in order for the addition of one apple to be twice anything)

      Possible number of apples for Joe/Moe: 5/3, 7/5, 9/7, etc.

      5+1 is more than twice 3-1. (6 and 2)
      9+1 is less than twice 7-1 (10 and 6)
      7+1 is twice 5-1 : So they start out with Joe=7 and Moe=5.

      If Moe gives Joe one apple, Joe=8 and Moe=4

      Now change the names to Adam and Eve, and you’ve got a whole other problem.

      Like

  10. King

    If a ball cost $5.00, how much do you have to add to it to make the bat $100.00 more than the cost of the ball?

    Bat= $105.00
    Ball = $5.00
    Difference $100.00

    The bat cost $100.00 more than the ball.

    Like

  11. novavg

    Why to make it simpler if we can make it more complicated?

    Baseballs vice baseball bat?

    How about the cost for cause of off-road pick up truck?
    How about the cost cause of gluten, sugar and lactose free bread?
    How about the cost of cause of Icarus, Leonardo Da Vinchi = William Shakespeare.

    Any one?

    Like

  12. Pingback: Algebra Confirms the Hero’s Journey « godwillbegod
    • novavg

      I can not even remember when was the last time I was entertained so well. Thank you very much.

      godwillbegod – I am convinced now 100%

      Does The Thinker Rodin wear a helmet on his head? It feels to me as if does. He needs it. Other than that he looks pretty masculine. I like that.

      Who finances such studies, and what are they good for?

      Like

  13. Pingback: Disproving dyslexia | Boattravel
  14. math

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

    well, if the question refers to baseball and ball as the same then the answer is 5

    if there is a linguistic trick in the sens of ball can be any ball not the baseball mentioned in this question …then the resolution of this problem is more like

    baseball + bat = 110 x + y = 110
    bat = ball + 100 y = z + 100

    so if we are looking for how much is the ball worth then we should find the value of z

    so let us replace y by its value in the x + y = 110 equation since y is the common thing here

    thus x + z + 100 = 110 == > x + z = 10

    so baseball + ball = 10 hummmmmmm so the answer would be the whole set of numbers that make up the sum of baseball + ball so since there is no 0 value …NOR a value for a baseball or a ball that is toooo negligible then
    we should not think irrealistically on realistic objects that are manufactured and have a certain value …..

    so we’ll say there is always going to be a value of significance , monetary that can be realistic and dealt with in day to day life for this problem

    so the set of values each item would take would be more realistically to start at 1$ for the one and 9 $ for the other …so ….

    if those values alternate then the solution would be the realistic monetary values each item can take meaning one time it can be 1 9
    the other it is 1.50 8.50
    or 1.55 8.45
    8.45 1.55 etc etc

    etc …
    so please be more specific ….is it is the baseball you want to find the value for or the ball …ha ha ha …so does that mean i have no religious beliefs whatsoever or ….SKEPTICAL ? and picky on everything.

    Like

  15. Laurie Broughton

    Not having read all the previous comments I don’t know whether I am merely duplicating anyone’s message, but it seems to me that all this shows is that there are more non-mathematicians than mathematicians and that there are more atheists/agnostics than religious people. We are not looking at correlatable data.

    Like

  16. Gordon

    Many years ago I had the pleasure to meet a long time friend of Albert Einstein who shared with me that, in his latter years, Einstein was working to mathematically prove the existence of God. It was this man’s opinion that, if Einstein had lived another two years, he would have done so. I admire Einstein most because he used numbers to produce benefit that help many better understand both the visible and invisible world/universe in which we all live regardless of our individual or collective labels. I believe that how one lives, not what one believes, is what matters most. I subscribe to the old notion that science and religion both have a meaningful contribution to make to our understanding of the world/universe in which we live–but neither is as absolute or as definitive as many claim.

    Like

  17. james

    trick tricky!!!! I thought $10 at first and tried to figure out how the heck anyone came up with $5????

    Sneaky wording…bat is $100 MORE than….

    $110 total minus the $100 MORE than, leaves you with $10…

    split the $10 over the 2 items (1 bat/1 ball) = $5 so ball cost $5 bat cost $105 ($100 MORE than…..)

    I suck incredibly at math, though I am very analytical, but I understand it this way. On the fence re God.

    Like

  18. A Highschooler who knows her math

    You people are all stupid, did any of you do algebra in school.
    Here’s the FULL AND UNDERSTANDABLE way.

    Let x be the price of the ball.
    Therefore, as the bat is $100 more than the ball, the bat is (x + 100).

    Bat + Ball = 110
    (x + 100) + x = 110
    x + 100 + x = 100 <- no need for brackets b/c there's only addition
    x + x = 110 – 100 <- Move (subtract) 100 to the other side.
    x + x = 10
    2x = 10 <- Group like term
    (2x/2) = (10/2) <- To isolate x, divide 2x by two. What is done on one side must be done on the other as well obviously.
    x = 5

    Therefore, the ball is worth $5. IF this is not convincing enough, use the five in the built equation.

    x = 5 therefore:
    ( x + 100) + x = 110
    (5 + 100) + 5 = 110

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Easy does it, no need for insults. The problem is not that people can’t perform algebra (though I suspect many can’t – you wouldn’t believe how fast you forget that stuff once you leave school) it’s that people miss the important mathematical property of the words “more than”. If you’re not used to word problems like this, it’s all too easy to assume that the formula is ball+bat=110, then try to subtract the “100” from the total in an attempt to get the ball’s value. Of course that is wrong, but that’s the whole point of the exercise. Maybe the researchers should have conducted the study with a group of highschoolers who had just finished learning how to convert word problems into math expressions – I bet they would have got some very different results!

      Like

  19. Q

    X + Y = 110
    X = Y + 100

    (Y + 100) + Y = 110
    2Y + 100 = 110

    2Y = 110 – 100
    2Y = 10
    Y = 5

    Where X = Bat, Y = Ball

    Q.E.D.

    Like

  20. John L.

    This little quiz really points out the sorry state of education in our society, rather than inclination towards religous beliefs. More people have completed college than ever before, yet as a whole, the country is dumbing down year after year.

    Like

  21. mom

    Too bad all of you couldn’t put that brain power to better use… Who cares what the correct answer is? The point is about how you figured out the problem. You guys have analyzed this stupid question waaaay too much. Do you need to be right a little too much? … geez.

    Like

  22. mom

    … Your reactions to this silly question reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    “What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    African or European?…”

    “You do realize that a five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut? So assuming it can beat it’s wings forty three times a second to maintain air velocity, I really think you should stop asking stupid questions and go and boil your bottoms, you sons of silly persons!”

    Like

  23. Cam

    Obviously Clear Thinking isn’t thinking clearly at all. You state religious people “are not open to seeing reality as it is”. This implies there is a “one” reality which is the basis of most religions.
    Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (there can be no objective event, once you observe an event you distort it) clearly explains why this is not the case, as does Quantum Physics.

    My favourite Einstein quote:

    “A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it’s beauty……. we shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

    Like

  24. Matt

    I hope this article is not trolling. How could anyone say the ball is $10 and the bat is $100? That means the bat is only $90 more than the ball, how could the majority of people get it wrong? lmao it’s obviously 105-5=100

    Like

  25. Jay

    Since the question states that the bat is 100 dollars more than the ball, the bat could have easily been any of the following: 101, 102,or any number up to 109 and the ball could have been any of the following: 1 dollar or any number up to 9 dollars. Why is it that the purported numbers are 105 dollars and 5 dollars for the bat and ball respectively?

    Like

  26. Roger Aube

    I too thought that the ball would be worth $10. Then realized (after seeing the answer) that of course, I was wrong.

    if ball is 0 bat is worth 110.

    if ball is 5 bat is worth 105.

    if ball is 10 bat is worth 100.

    The bat is worth 100 dollars MORE than the ball, in other words, it has to be worth at least 101 dollars.

    Spiritual but not religious.

    Spiritual but not religious.

    Like

  27. Alon

    It just reminded me of high school math 436 algebra so I made the Bat 100+x and x be the baseball. So I would always have 1 variable that I could calculate. That was more based on memory and having continued studying mathematics. I personally am semi religious. I celebrate all the Jewish holidays but I more spiritual. I follow traditions because I was raised that way. I do believe in a higher power that we don’t understand. But I don’t necessarily think it controls us or the universe. I just think there is some force that maintains a certain balance on the planet and the universe. It think love and faith are very important for us on this planet. But where we fit in the universe, I don’t think we are more than a blip.

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

    Bat:100+X , Baseball:X

    Baseball+bat=110

    100+x+x=110

    100+2X=110

    2x=110-100

    2X=10, X=10/2=5 the baseball is 5 dollars

    Like

  28. Dave

    Although I could easily work this out in my head, this is what would be the correct equations;
    A(Bat) + B(Ball)= 110
    A(Bat)- B (Ball) = 100

    If A- B = 100 then A = B + 100

    So into first equation plug in for A, B + 100.

    That equation would then be (B + 100) + B + 110.
    Minus 100 from each side of the equation leaves 2B = 10 or an answer of B=5.

    Like

    • Hi Ya

      The real question goes like this:

      If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much did the hot dog and drink cost at this ridiculously overpriced concession stand?
      And which deity did you swear to when you got the bill?

      :)

      Like

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  30. voiceofhindu

    BALL and not BALLS – Your knowledge of English would have solved the problem right away. Am I religious = YES!

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  31. J

    This has nothing to do with religion, neither does the math problem and determining your faith. First you’re shown a mathematical problem. Some with basic math and only seeing basic arithmetic. Some with more advanced math skills see it in a form of an Algebraic question. What you didn’t see is the psychology problem thrown throughout the entire statement and question. You chose to believe what someone has told you about the answer. Which is actually a psych question of positive suggestion, with negative re-enforcement. The question and statement about faith is designed to piss you off to leaning to one side of someone’s equation and the whole statement of how you answer this question is the trick. This is a psych major question, not a mathematician question. Congratulations, you’ve all been been duped by a 3rd year psych major with access to web publishing. The answers trigger an emotional response. That was the point. It’s clearly evident with the answers in the comments. All I learned is you all fell for it. That is the definition of stupidity because you couldn’t see what the purpose of the question with the presumed answers were for. You all only seen the math question, instead of the real question, which is: why did you answer a math question to see if you have faith or not? None of you asked why was the question asked.

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  32. Skid Row Trash

    All this about Athiests and Religious and spiritual.

    What am I if I believe that all of the religions on earth are based on long ago visits from “aliens”? I don’t believe in gods or deities, I believe that perhaps these “gods” and “deities” were in fact aliens of some sort and believed to be immortals yet they were just a different species entirely and seemed “magical” at the time. One of the most blatantly obvious clues for this is that many ancient texts always have things in the sky floating or flying, and when you ask someone where is heaven, they say it’s up in the sky…. Well, the sky is just a layer between Earth and Space, if something appears in the sky it came from outside of the Earths orbit and does not just appear in one of the spheres around our planet. But anyways..

    I believe religion is a scam and is also used to control the masses of humanity who follow it. I am against religion, yet I believe spirituality is not a bad thing.

    I am not trying to insult anyone, just curious.. Where would I fit into in this? What am I called?

    Also, I guessed at first that the ball was $10.. I thought about it more and realized in fact that it was $5. I am not good at math and have failed multiple times in my life, and also I found the question wording to be double sided.

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  33. Ron

    The question is not about whether or not god exists – it’s about the statistical probability of a person’s belief in the existence of god based on their answer to a mathematical problem.

    It’s not knocking religion, it’s just inferring that analytical people are more likely to ponder the existence of god which seems like a waste of time really because I intuitively believe that analytical people are more likely to ponder the existence of god.

    That does not mean that analytical people won’t believe in god, just that they are more likely to think about it rationally rather than accepting it on faith.

    Everyone can believe what they wish, what none of us should be doing (religious or not) is to demean or debase others because their beliefs are different than ours.

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  34. TonyCB

    I answered $5 (working it out mathematically). Intelligence has nothing to do with religious beliefs. Too much in society has to do with mind games and that is what this is. Have a laugh and move on, let’s not waste time with this silly column.

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  35. tari101

    omg!! ppl, and you wonder why all the young ppl that know you, wish they didnt at times. for goodness sakes, who cares if you have faith, religion or spirituality. good for you and keep your looong winded formula to yourself for christsakes, jeezus..i needed a two bag tetley, some codiene and a moment of confession just to get to the bottom of all your “holier than thou” sputter. God bless you all, ya dummies lmao

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  36. Jeremy E. Laughery

    The cost of $5 is an outcome that is derived directly from algebra.

    The rational for the $5 ball:

    Let x be the cost of a ball and let y be the cost of a bat. Then,

    x+y=110 (1)

    y=x+100 (2)

    2*x+100=110; x=5, y=105 (3)

    Equation 3 says that the total cost was $100 in addition to twice the cost of the ball.

    The question is therefore flawed in its logic because the question did not include the correct wording, causing ambiguity.

    The less ambiguous wording should be:

    If a ball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 in addition to the cost of the ball, how much does the ball cost?

    The ball cost $5. Refer to equation 3 above. How many would answer this correctly? The outcome relies directly on one’s experience with word problems being converted to algebra.

    How does this directly correlate to religion? Some people react and relay on their intuition (their conscience and beliefs which are subject to change from day to day). This is defined as religion or reacting from the gut, not logic.

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  37. Purple Coin

    if bat-100=ball, ball+100=bat
    bat + ball = 110
    if bat=100, ball=0 total=100=wrong
    if bat=110, ball=10 total=120=wrong
    if bat=105, ball=5 total=110=right
    therefore, ball=5.
    The ball costs $5, and the bat costs $105.

    I am nine years old and I figured it out.

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  38. jfw

    I am not religious, and as far as a god made the universe he must be at least 14 billion years old . Some people need a crutch to lean on in life I will get mine just before I enter the pearly gates just incase i am wrong. I hear he very forgiving

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  39. Saf

    Let “x” represent the base ball
    Let “y” represent the bat

    1. x+y=110
    2. y-x=100

    y=100+x
    Sub “y” value into 1st equation.
    x+ (100+x)=110
    x+x=110-100
    2x=10
    x=10/2
    x=5

    Therefore the ball is $5 and I am very religious.

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  40. freddy

    Hello guys,

    Do never apart the religious thinking from analytical thinking. The Major mission in synchronising mathematical representations (dead fleshes) with a successful, problem solving and yet thankful personality style (formulas section of religion math) which basically means formulas over formulas is to find a universal applicable solution to every and all individuals life without a minor concentration issue in his/her state of happiness. All the religious math science must end up with the solution: “there is only god and no other god other than that same god”

    Also, don’t start from word (signifier) always start from signified to maintain rightous thought process. (Worldly things are always blame for failures :)). remember the order: One Purpose, one meaning to that one purpose, one word for that one meaning. Flow is given by God. So, don’t fall into fallacy of putting yourself into God’s role when analyzing. Example: Purpose: drinking, Meaning: for drinking, word: cup. Now, if you think a Cup is for cleaning your ass after the toilet then you better listen one more time before thinking/judging

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