Slow boiling frogs

Slow boiling of a frogIt is generally believed that a frog placed in cold water and raise the temperature so gradually that the increase in heat is not perceptible to the frog at any given moment, the frog will make no attempt to escape from the vessel in which is heated. In fact the story gets extended to believe that the poor frog starts enjoying the cozy warmth that it dozes happily and dies without even opening its eyes! Sadism, indeed!

But why slow heating? It is at once conceded that if you put the same frog in boiling water it will quickly jump out!

This anecdote is generally used to illustrate an axiom that you can introduce any change in the system very gradually such that the folks affected by it do not perceive the change immediately and react against it. It also means that you will get cooked without your knowledge if you just wallow in the comfort of the present environment if you resist change.

What about the veracity of the “slow boiling frog” theory? Snopes discounts it and votes an outright “False”. This is what Snopes has to say about this belief:

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.

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