How to Boil a Frog

No frogs were harmed in the making of this photo

“The title is based on the premise that if a frog is placed in boiling water it will jump out but, if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.
‘How to Boil a Frog’ is aimed at people who are wondering whether anything that they might do will actually make a difference. …at St Mary’s Parish Rooms, Saffron Walden at 8pm on Thursday April 28.”
(Saffron Walden Reporter)


And that seemed funny enough, and then I thought, I wonder whether there is even any truth to the boiling frog story …

I am sending your question to Dr. Victor Hutchison at the University of Oklahoma to see what he says. … Vic’s answer was as follows: “The legend is entirely incorrect! The ‘critical thermal maxima’ of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so.” Naturally, if the frog were not allowed to escape it would eventually begin to show signs of heat stress, muscular spasms, heat rigor, and death.  (From “THE LEGEND OF THE BOILING FROG IS JUST A LEGEND” by Whit Gibbons, University of Georgia)

But for a fuller analysis see:

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2 Responses to How to Boil a Frog

  1. Brian S says:

    Just one more thing that Al Gore got wrong then?

  2. Pingback: How to boil a journalist | Scottish Sceptic

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