Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Jeopardy" Bans Bible Category

Found this interesting article over at Tominthebox News.

July 5, 2007 LOS ANGELES, CA - In a surprise move this past Monday, the hit TV game show Jeopardy banned the "bible" category from any future programming.

TBNN was contacted on Tuesday by numerous elderly folks complaining about Jeopardy's decision. For example, Mabel Simmons of Tampa told us, "This just isn't right. I watch Jeopardy every weeknight, except Wednesdays of course, and I love the bible category. I usually know most of those answers. I have no idea about categories such as 'movies,' 'music,' or 'magazines,' but I know the bible. Can you nice young men at Tominthebox do something about this?"

We at TBNN felt like we had to respond.

Unfortunately, we had no success in speaking with Alex Trebek. We were told by his staff that he was simply too busy writing answers to talk with us. Despite four attempts at phone contact, we got nowhere.
Jeopardy staffer Davis Sikes told us that he could speak on behalf of the game show. We began by simply asking why Jeopardy was dropping the "bible" category.

Mr. Sikes responded, "The reasons are quite complicated, and it is difficult to get into all of that right now. We at Jeopardy try to serve all of our viewers and players with a nice variety of answers that will best meet their needs. We greatly appreciate everyone who watches our show."

We thought about that for a minute, and then realized that he had dodged the question. We said, "Thanks. But tell us why again the "bible" category in particular was dropped?"

Mr. Sikes clearly wanted this issue to go away. He finally simply responded, "We dropped it because no one knows the answers. We ran a statistical analysis of all of our different categories. 'Bible' consistently registers the lowest number of correct responses. In fact, only 22% of the 'bible' questions are answered correctly. The next lowest category, 'molecular thermodynamics', fell at 34%. We just had to get rid of the 'bible' category."

TBNN was not willing to buy into this simplistic answer. We, therefore, analyzed the last three years of Jeopardy and found some amazing results. The key finding was that different groups of people who participated on Jeopardy knew far different amounts of the bible. TBNN results show that Jeopardy participants who described themselves as Protestant answered "bible" questions with an accuracy rate of 77%. The other groups are as follows: Jews - 33%, Catholics - 18%, Muslims - 11%, Atheists - 9%, Agnostics - 7%, and Other - 6%.

After compiling these results, we quickly called Mr. Sikes with the results. At that point he came clean. Mr. Sikes admitted, "O.K., the reality is that some people know the answers to the 'bible' category. However, we kept receiving complaints from our Jewish and Catholic participants in particular. They told us that it was simply unfair for them to have to answer 'those bible questions.' They kept using words like 'intolerant' and 'biased.' One young lady even told us we were guilty of a 'hate crime' by making her think about the bible. Well, that got us pretty scared. So we dropped the category."

We thanked Mr. Sikes for his candor. As we were about to hang up, he told us one more interesting thing. "We ran those same statistics that you did," said Sikes, "but we broke down Protestants even farther than you did at TBNN. As far as denomination goes, Baptists and Presbyterians tied for the highest percentage of 'bible' questions correct with 86%. Episcopalians came out at the bottom with only 35% correct. Interestingly, one other group that crossed several denominations obtained the highest score - 98% correct. They call themselves 'Calvinists'."

We simply replied, "Thanks."

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