Stop Trying to Boil Frogs Alive! It Won’t Work!

Something else my Sunday School teacher was wrong about – you can’t boil frogs by slowly turning up the heat on them.  

According to armchair biologists, if you stick a living frog in a frying pan (who first thought of doing this?) and gradually turn up the heat, the frog will never notice the temperature increase due its cold-blooded nature and it will burn alive, boiling from inside out by its own blood. (Pastors think nothing of providing this grotesque image to families with children.)  In the same way, these people tell us that we have the heat turned up on us, so to speak, when we accept things in our lives that we shouldn’t; it starts small, but allowing a few bad things to happen will eventually lead to a society that forsakes all morality!

Anyway, the part about the frog is false. Completely false. There is actually a branch of science that concerns itself with cold-blooded animals and how they react to heat changes and one of their scientists, Dr. Victor Hutchison, has been widely quoted as calling this a pure myth. Believe it or not, scientists have actually performed this experiment only to see the frog jump out of the water when it was uncomfortable.

“Hmm, it’s getting hot in here, I wonder if I should leave? Nah, I’ll wait it out and see if it gets better. I wonder if these garlic cloves should worry me…

But this is also untrue from a more rhetorical standpoint.  If slight changes kept us from noticing things, then no one would notice when their body gained weight or when gas prices rose.  (Click here for Dilbert’s take on this sort of logic.)  People are more perceptive than that.

So, pick a different analogy next time.  Preferably one that doesn’t involving asking people to imagine animals dying.

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