Home‎ > ‎The Old Chestnut Tree‎ > ‎

Boiled Frog, Anyone?

(Not only is this illustration overused, it's also completely bogus - at least, according to Snopes.com, the urban legends tracking website.)

If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away to escape the danger.

But, if you plunk a frog into a pot-full of water at room temperature, then gradually heat the water until it starts boiling, the frog will just sit there contentedly, enjoying its little froggie steam-room, until it's too late.

The frog's survival instincts  are geared towards detecting sudden changes, not gradual ones.  Or, so the story goes.

It would be a great illustration of the perils of complacency - if it were true.  Which it's not.  Frogs may not be the brightest bulbs in the animal kingdom, but they're not that dumb.

If you've ever used this illustration in a sermon and are now kicking yourself for your mistake, take heart. You're not alone.

It could be worse.  Think of how you'd feel if you'd used it for a book title!  (See Exhibit B, to the right.)

George Barna's a respected pollster and a very bright guy, but it seems he got snookered on this one.  And very publicly, too.