Saturday, March 11, 2006

The mathematician meets the psychic

My favorite, must watch, TV show is NUMB3RS. (That the show is on Friday nights at 10pm probably tells you a lot about my social life. LOL) If you've never seen the show, it's your basic solve a crime show. But wonder of wonders, the main characters are - an FBI agent and his brother who is a mathematician and an FBI consultant. One of the major minor characters is a physicist. This is like hog heaven - a prime time TV show with a mathematician using math. (No comments from mathematicians about how good or bad the math may be, that math in any form has made it to prime time is just too good to be true.)

Last night's episode featured a psychic. Huh? How did this guy get involved? The math brother spent most of the show trying to figure that one out. He spent the program railing at the fact that supposedly rational adults were buying into the psychic stuff. When all else failed, he'd just chalk it up to coincidence. The writers wimped out and solved the crime through "good old-fashioned" police work. I guess they didn't want to take a position on either mathematical logic or psychic phenomena.

So...would you have wimped out? If not, who should have solved the crime - the mathematician or the psychic?

And a tag?


vw bug said...

Why can't both solve it correctly? In their own way? I would find that much more entertaining.

MathCogIdiocy said...

I was pretty much waiting for there to be some kind of cooperation between Charlie (the math geek) and the psychic, but it didn't happen.

You can tell that I'm identifying with the character way too much - I felt so bad for him as his logical world seemed to be spinning out of control with everyone going over to the psychic's camp. Poor Charlie. I just wanted to pat his back and say "there, there. Everything will be all right."

Okay, maybe it wasn't his back I wanted to pat....*evil grin*

Rave said...

Funny, I got out of it that Charlie and the psychic both lent their unique abilities which allowed the police to solve the crime.
One ability without the other wouldn't have solved the mystery, but when you use the whole, it worked.

I guess it would be considered logic with intuition is better than just logic or just intuition.

And I love the show, too.

MathCogIdiocy said...

Rave -

I think you've just (inadvertently) illustrated why eye-witness testimony is problematical. For whatever reason, we each "saw" the solution of the crime in a different manner.

I would agree that logic and intuition combined is better than either alone.

Rave said...

Did we see two different solutions?
You said you were 'waiting for the cooperation' of Charlie & the psychic, which didn't happen.
I just said that they both lent their abilities to allow the crime to be solved.

Yes, perception is reality.

And since no two people are alike (even twins), each will have their own unique perception according to their circumstances/life/upbringing/experiences/etc.

Forgive me, I'm not trying to argue...then again, maybe I am...what's YOUR perception? :)