Frogs and Sentient Beings

Eric Church

PureInsight | October 1, 2006

[] I once heard
a story about a science experiment in which a frog is in a bucket of
water. The water is gradually warmed up BUT, because the changes are
only gradual, the frog stays in bucket, even as the water approaches
boiling. The frog dies.

For some reason this story has stayed in my mind for probably 15 years,
while billions of bits of other useless and useful information have
come and gone. So I gave some more thought to this image of the frog.

Are we like this frog? I can remember being taught about the danger of
global warming back in high school in the 1970s. It has been 30 years
and the rush to self-extinction only accelerates. In America, NASA
scientists are forbidden by the government to talk about global

Here in Australia the government will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Is it the case that when people form a community their intelligence is
not much above that of a frog? The frogs go blithely on about their
business. The attitude is "get it while you can." Apparently they will
gladly hop to oblivion so long as their affluence is assured.

And the water just keeps getting hotter. This is not a new scenario. A
quick search of the web shows that others have come to the conclusion
that "the boiling frog" is the perfect metaphor for out times.

One thing I do not understand.  Perhaps someone can explain it to
me: People spend decades saving up for a house to call their own -
ideally a house on the beach. So they do think long term.

Global warming is an effect that also takes decades. As ice caps melt
and sea levels rise, the house that people saved up all their lives
for, perhaps even hoping to pass it on to their children, is below the
high water mark. Is this an example of irony?

Or is the psyche of these people somehow deeper and darker and more
tragic than this?. Do we actually crave the irrational? Are we already
in some kind of Hell, deliberately trying to make it hotter?

By the way, it turns out the "boiling frog" is not a real science experiment at all

Apparently, frogs will hop out of water before it starts boiling.

So that makes us even stupider than frogs.

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