is the "slowly boiling a frog" analogy BS?

It’s a favorite cliche in political speeches… you can’t throw a frog in boiling water cuz it’ll recognize the emergency and hop out… you have to put it in warm water and SLOWLY apply the heat so it’s caught unawares and boils before he knows it.

The application of the story, presumably, is the idea that you can achieve a lot if you’re willing to have slow, almost imperceptible progress to a goal.

But isn’t the analogy BS? I mean, even if you were increasing the heat VERY slowly, there’s a point, before boiling, where a frog is gonna realize it’s uncomfortable and hope out? I suppose if you spent a year increasing the temperature 1/100 of a degree at a time it could adjust, but that’s arguing the opposite extreme?

According to this it is.


So we can file it along with lemmings supposedly leaping off cliffs.

What is that “slowly boiling a frog” phenomenon called?


The application is usually the opposite. All kinds of horrible things can happen if they happen slowly. No one thing is bad enough to draw the line but before you know it, you’re the frog.

Ferinstance, steady erosion of civil rights, or increase in sexual permisiveness, or pork budgeting, or partisanship, or hypercompression, or whatever. Everything sucks, but it never stops, because we’re like the frog that doesn’t notice that it’s slowly dying.

Or, um, global warming :slight_smile: