Q: If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?
If you answered $10 then you are a religious person. If you answer $5, then you probably are an agnostic, or an atheist.
That is, according to a new research published in tomorrow's edition of Science, which seeks to prove that religious persons are usually more intuitive --hence, they would have rushed to answer $10-- whereas people who are more analytical in their thinking --and would have answered $5-- tend to steer away from religion.
The problem with this argument, aside from being heavily biased, is that it's ultimately stupid. Just look at all the comments posted on Boing Boing, a very popular website among the geek blogosphere, who usually are pretty critical --even aversive-- to any concept pertaining to religion or speculation regarding fringe subjects outside the predominant materialistic paradigm. Many of the comments from people who claim to be anti-religious admit they didn't get the correct answer, whereas some religious folks did get it right.
The bat would cost $105, BTW.
Back in High School I used to be very good at Math. I mean exceedingly good, to the point that many of my friends would always want to sit next to me during tests, not because they wanted me to give them the answers --ours was the kind of teacher that cared more about HOW you solved the problem, and cheaters were easy to spot-- but because we used to corraborate our answers with each other.
I still remember fondly how my best friend Pepe was having trouble with one of the problems, so he raised his hand and asked "Professor, can I go to your desk? I have a doubt regarding one of the questions."
—"Mister Pérez, you know very weel that I don't clarify things during tests."
—"Ok so, can I ask Miguel then?"
(Don't worry, the teacher was more amused than angry; he knew we were both good students.)
But the point is that I've always had what some would call a religious mindset —for lack of a better term— when dealing with the 'bigger questions'; at the same time, I've considered myself to be a right-brained kind of individual, and I'm aware that my intuition is a great tool when it comes to face many problems in my life and professional career.
...But not ALL of them! Just the same as trying to apply an analytical methodology would probably get you nowhere during some critical situations, specially if you don't have enough data --that's where intuition excels: to fill in the gaps and leap from A to D while skipping C & D entirely.
So, if you got the answer to the baseball bat wrong, don't sweat about it: you don't have to go burn your copy of The God Delusion and join a convent. It just means that, like many religious or non-religious folks at there, despite your über-skeptic nature and rationality you're still a fallible human being —and you suck at Math ;)