Maybe I’m just too dumb or too pedantic for social media

Thom descends into a rabbit hole of analytical semantics with a silly Facebook logic game

For Your Consideration

For Your Consideration

I shouldn’t play silly Facebook logic games.

Last weekend I saw this:

“If you get this, you are a critical thinker. I enter a bedroom. There are 34 people. You kill 30. Now, how many are in the bedroom?

A normal person would make a guess, find out if they’re right or wrong and move on. I, on the other hand, descend into an analytical rabbit hole of dissecting every word, spend far too much time on it and end up deciding it is a problem that does not have a correct answer and even write a column about it.

This problem reminds me of the scene in the movie My Cousin Vinny in which the prosecutor tries tripping up the defence’s expert witness (Mona Lisa Vito) by asking her what the correct ignition timing be on a 1955 Bellaire Chevrolet with a 327 cubic inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor.

As she points out, it’s an unanswerable question because “Chevy didn’t make a 327 in ‘55. The 327 didn’t come out til ‘62. And it wasn’t offered in the Bellaire with the four-barrel carburetor til ‘64. However, in 1964 the correct ignition timing would be four degrees before top dead centre.”

In the case of our Facebook meme, the trick part of the question is the poster says, “I” enter a bedroom, but then says “you” kill 30.”

If you don’t catch that, you’re done, but even if you do catch it, the rest of the problem is because the premises are too non-specific.

Let’s break it down, critically, shall we?

The person posting the problem enters a bedroom.

There are 34 people. Where? In the bedroom? Before or after she enters?

You, meaning the reader of the post (i.e., me), kill 30. Thirty what? People? People in the bedroom? Do I kill them from within the bedroom or from outside the bedroom?

Then, there is the philosophical conundrum. Are dead people still people? We call them dead people, but really at this point aren’t they just corpses? Depends on your point of view on what defines personhood, I guess.

As Miss Vito would say, “It’s impossible to answer.”

Well, impossible without making a bunch of assumptions.

Assuming there are 34 people in the bedroom after she enters and assuming I was among the 33 already in the bedroom when she entered and assuming I killed 3o of the people in the bedroom, then the answer is either four or 34 depending on where you land on the philosophical question.

Unfortunately, once you decide on an answer, you never find out if you’re right or wrong because the poster either says ‘no, try again’ if you get a different answer than what they were told is correct or deletes your answer without an explanation of why they think you are wrong.

I shouldn’t play silly Facebook logic games.

The bottom line is, the first line of the problem should not be ‘you are not a critical thinker if you get the answer to this question,’ it should be ‘you’re a critical thinker if you don’t get the question.’

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File)
Interior News seeks messages for isolated Bulkley Valley seniors

Please join us in ensuring no one is forgotten this holiday season

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where one employee is still currently isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was first declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
54 positive COVID-19 cases associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

There’s been a two-person increase in positive cases since Tuesday (Dec. 1)

K-J Millar/The Northern View
8 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northern Health Authority

Since Nov. 27, there have been 191 new cases reported in NHA

RCMP will be out in force for the next four weeks looking for drunk and drug-impaired drivers. (Black Press file photo)
Smithers RCMP counter attack campaign starts

Additional officers and roadblocks will be on the streets throughout the holidays

A COVID-19 exposure has been recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure occurred between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26, 2020. (Centennial Christian School Facebook photo)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Centennial Christian School in Terrace

It’s the first known school exposure in Terrace

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

Most Read