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Posts Tagged ‘Mathematics’

Truth and Popular Opinion

Monty Hall paradox illustration
Image via Wikipedia

Truth and popular opinion often don’t walk hand in hand.  While most will agree with this general statement, its surprising how many people and even how many Christians allow popular opinion and the opinion of experts concerning origins to supersede the clear creation account found in the Bible.  There are many examples that could be given of this practice, but this one I found particularly interesting.

There is a type of problem called the Monty Hall Problem.  Three doors are presented to a contestant with a prize behind one.  The host knows the location of the prize, but the contestant does not.  After the contestant selects a door the host opens another door that does not contain the prize.  At this point the contestant is given a choice.  He can either stay with his original choice or switch to the other unopened door.

The majority of people when presented with this problem don’t understand reasoning behind the proper choice.  Even some experts in the field of mathematics get this wrong, and only relent when shown the results of thousands of computer simulations.  Incidentally, pigeons figure out the best choice after about 30 tries, but most people dont’ figure it out after 200 tries.  It’s not that people (including me in this instance) mis-understand the facts, it is simply that they don’t use proper reasoning to determine the correct answer.

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