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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Humans Are Not Like Slowly Boiling Frogs … We Are Like Slowly Boiling Brainless Frogs

Joe Romm corrects a misperception about slowly boiling frogs—and humans as well in Humans Are Not Like Slowly Boiling Frogs … We Are Like Slowly Boiling Brainless Frogs::

Even though people keep using the famous simile — "the fatally slow human response to climate change makes us like a slowly boiling frog" — it is not quite right.

As Wikipedia puts it, German physiologist Friedrich Goltz "demonstrated that a frog that has had its brain removed will remain in slowly heated water, but his intact frogs attempted to escape the water." Other 19th Century studies appeared to have different results, but modern experiments (!) show that frogs with brains are in fact smart enough to leap out of water as it is heated up.

Glad that's cleared up now. Brainless frogs indeed is exactly what the oil executives come across as—as do their global warming denier fellow travelers!