Posted on | October 4, 2013 | 24 Comments
There is a puzzle plaguing the very fabric of sanity on Facebook and the rest of social media. The debate over the answer rages on. For those here only looking for the answer, scroll down below the quote box. If you want to try to solve it first, stop reading now.
Solve if you are Genius!
The answer is 3. If your timelines or feeds are like mine you have no doubt seen this puzzle. Another form of this quiz adds “9=72″ in the list of statements and replaces the cartoon Einstein with Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Responses range from potential answers of 3, 6, 9, 14 and 42 (referring to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) to long debates and explanations of how they arrived at their answer. Most people agree on 6. An Internet search has yet to turn up the source of the problem. Apparently one iteration of this puzzle image has over 25,000 retweets on Twitter and over 16 million Twitpic views. It is a defining question of our generation!
As I stated above, the answer is 3. The reason is because the preceding statements are false statements to make you think there is a pattern to mislead you. 9 never equals 72, 8 never equals 56, and so on. 3 never equals anything other than 3. The problem doesn’t set up a premise by saying “If these statements are true then what does 3 equal?” It just presents you with incorrect answers and in an effort to solve the problem we look for a pattern. It’s similar to the kid’s word joke that leads you to the wrong answer so everyone can laugh at you.
What do you do at a green light……..
Raise your hand if reading that you thought “stop” when of course the answer is “go”. It’s the same with the math problem, you are expecting to follow the pattern instead of paying attention to what you are being asked. It’s misdirection, magicians rely on it. Neil Strauss, author of The Game, demonstrates this idea using 3 coins.
Looking over the discussions, responses, and reasoning going on in these threads to try to make the answer be anything other than 3 and defending their own rationalizations, I realized it was sort of a mirror to the way we think. Even when presented with the logical answer we many times will ignore the logic, facts, and truths and argue the incorrect point we believe. We see this all the time. It reminds me of pretty much every political argument that has ever taken place. Even when presented with facts that counter their reality people will emotionally cling to the false belief or point and argue it until they are hoarse. It is something we all have done at one time or another.
Mitt Romney’s recent presidential campaign was famously guilty of this.
Mitt Romney’s campaign said on Tuesday that its ads attacking President Obama’s waiver policy on welfare have been its most effective to date. And while the spots have been roundly criticized as lacking any factual basis, the campaign said it didn’t really care.
“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said at a panel organized by ABC News.
This is a different standard than the one Romney himself has held up for the election-season ad wars. Reacting to attacks by a pro-Obama super PAC, Romney recently told a radio station that “in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad.” huffingtonpost.com Mitt Romney Campaign: We Will Not ‘Be Dictated By Fact-Checkers’
The point is, sometimes we need to take a step back, assess the situation and question what it is we are arguing and be open to the possibility that might be incorrect.
For example, this whole post could be me doing exactly what I observed others doing in defense of their answers. I could be incorrect about the answer being 3 but I’m not.
Because I’m genius.