Adventures in Ethics and Science

Do the math.

After the open house at the college radio station, I paid a visit to a now-defunct cafe that used to be downstairs from the radio station studio and found the following calculation written on the wall:


I’m a little uncertain about the first premise (that girlfriends are the product of time and money). But if that premise holds true, it’s hard to deny the conclusion that girlfriends are evil.

You’ve been warned.


  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    June 13, 2009

    There’s a ± missing, so it’s also possible that either

    -girlfriends = evil


    girlfriends = -evil

  2. #2 Dylan
    June 14, 2009

    Perhaps “Girlfriends = Time * Money” is a lemma proven previously on the wall?

    Or maybe I just like to use the word “lemma” whenever I can?

  3. #3 Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde
    June 14, 2009

    Of course, this logic works for anything that costs time and money. Babies, for example. Golf. Earning a PhD.

    Wait a sec…

  4. #4 Flaky
    June 14, 2009

    @D.C.: That’s not correct. Even if money could be either root of evil (positive or negative), money squared is still evil, never -evil.

  5. #5 bill
    June 14, 2009

    Why does that quotation get mangled so often?

    1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

  6. #6 David L
    June 15, 2009


    OK, fine, so use “love of” in the equation. Since we are potentially talking about love of girlfriends as well, the “love of” part cancels out and you are still left with the same conclusion.

    Yes, I have no girlfriend, presently, why do you ask? (No, I’m not bitter.)

  7. #7 Davis
    June 15, 2009

    Since we are potentially talking about love of girlfriends as well, the “love of” part cancels out and you are still left with the same conclusion.

    Only assuming love, money, and girlfriends are part of an integral domain, which I am inclined to doubt.

  8. #8 Doug Spoonwood
    September 9, 2009

    The premise comes as hilarious, but I’ll grant it. Still, even granting that, and the improper paraphrase “money is the root of all evil,” it still doesn’t work. Who says “the root” means “the SQUARE root.” For all we know it could mean the cube root, the 15-dimensonial hyper-cube root (which would equal n^(1/15), or the 1.01010101… “root of all evil.” It even gets more funny when you think about the saying “for the love of the money is the root of all evil.” There the “root” gets thought of something like a tree’s root, from which the tree springs and which helps sustain the tree. So, more or less, the love of money in some way causes evil. Does a number such as 1.414… get caused by a square root operation? Nope, just equality without causality. In fact, if we did say that a square root operation of 2 causes 1.414…, then by the symmetric property of equality we would have to conclude that 1.414… causes the operation of the square root of 2. Numbers creating functions indeed!

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