You Are Not Stupid — Social Media Brain Teasers Are Stupid


You have surely come across a few of these on social media. They’re intentionally deceptive “brain teasers,” that have numerous correct answers depending upon the speculation and presuppositions you apply in your approach. Here is the latest example:

What’s your answer?


Here is mine *SPOILER, SCROLL DOWN*

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Indeterminate.

  • “Have six eggs” is present tense

  • “Ate and fried” is past tense

  • Each egg has seven states that qualify their form:

  • Uncooked, raw, intact

  • Broken

  • Fried

  • Inferred: broken and then fried

  • Eaten (partially digested)

  • Eaten after broken, raw

  • Eaten after broken, fried

  • Eaten whole and intact (perhaps a tiny egg that doesn’t necessarily have to be from a chicken)

  • The ultimate question, “How many eggs were left?“ is past-tense, and has serious problems qualifying the state of the egg as well

  • If they mean to imply that the form of the egg does not matter in counting how many eggs “were left?”

  • He could have broken, fried, and eaten the same two eggs after starting with 8, thus leaving him with 6 at present time, and the past tense “were” can refer to shortly before present time, yet after any actions that altered the eggs’ form. But does he mean 6 at present time AND those that are partially digested in his stomach? In that case, there are still 8 eggs.

  • He could mean that it’s implied that he needed to break the egg to fry it. In that case, he broke four eggs, didn’t explicitly state the two that were fried were also broken. He could’ve eaten the raw broken eggs or the fried eggs. Either way it’s still 6 or 8 with the previous logic.

  • If they mean to imply the form of the egg does matter?

  • Does partially digested count as an egg being “gone?”

  • Do they only count remaining eggs which are in their original form - uncooked, intact, and raw?

  • Finally the past-tense of the question is vague. At what point in time are they referring to in the sequence of events? Before eating? After eating? Before breaking? After breaking?

Because of the vague, inarticulate wording, we get multiple “right” answers. Therefore the correct answer is: “Indeterminate.”


When you look at the comments on these posts, you can tell why bottom-feeder “influencers” and radio stations love to push them. Tantalize a person’s ego with puzzles that are indeterminate, watch them fight each other over the answers, and then watch your post go viral. For these reasons I never comment upon or react to such posts, because I don’t want to contribute to more banal distractions clogging up social media.


But the phony social media “brain teasers,” are not new phenomena. Questions like this in school occur all of the time. Perhaps not at the level of stupidity as these memes, but often instructors will have questions in which they claim one “best“ answer. They use the term “best” instead of “correct,” so that they can argue subjectively as to why a more precise student can’t argue their way out of a “wrong” score. This is why the most intelligent people will never be valedictorians. They will choose answers deemed “wrong” by the instructor, when they are in fact correct. They prove their instructor’s questions to be wrong, and they will not get credit for that. And in my experience there are three types of instructors: the ones who love students that poke holes in their test and curriculum, the totalitarians who seek to indoctrinate and actually get angry when students prove them wrong, and the overwhelmed or lazy ones who simply get annoyed that your challenge will make more work and take up their time.


The totalitarians and lazy ones will tell you that your answer is wrong and you should have simply accepted the “common sense” presuppositions that “most people” inferred. Yet the genuinely correct answer is still, “indeterminate.” They dock the points, and then the semi-intelligent stoolie sitting next to you is rewarded for their groupthink, compliance, obedience, and conformity. She becomes the valedictorian.


Is it any wonder why so many successful people are “C” students? They can’t bother themselves with the mundane conformity that shepherds most people with structure they need. It’s a waste of their time, and they sometimes get “wrong” answers that are genuinely correct, denying them those perfect scores. When you’re asking yourself how highly credentialed people in large corporations and government agencies continuously harm people with their incompetence and failures - in healthcare, labor, taxation, economics, criminal justice, and human resource hiring and promotion decisions? Remember this example. The stunningly credentialed “best and brightest” are often in reality the mundane, unoriginal, obedient, and most conforming. Not best. Not brightest. But dirigisme produces the bureaucracy that rewards credentials over results, fluid knowledge, and genuine intellectual capability. We call the credentialed second-hand thinkers functionaries. We call independent, rational, meticulous, critical thinkers a breath of fresh air in the dumbed-down society.


I’m sure that anyone reading Alvarism is one of the latter. To raise the standards for society, it will take an overhaul of the constructivist education brought to us by 100 years of democratic socialist and secular humanist domination of our education philosophy (Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and George S Counts, some of the original culprits). In the meantime, those of us who obtained classical education in Mortimer Adler’s tradition remain baffled and amused on a daily basis at the erroneous thinking and fallacious statements constantly falling out of people’s mouths.


Pick and choose your battles. Preferably take the fight to your school boards, teachers colleges, teachers unions, and state government. Demand that they mandate classical education based upon empiricist, rationalist, and perennial epistemology. Demand that they extirpate constructivist and social reconstructivism from their methods and curricula. If your county will not give you what you are paying for, throw out the school board members, and elect ones that will support competition, classical methods, specialization to meet variable cognitive needs, and school choice. Do not fight each other like the people in the comments section of these phony brain teasers.