Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Persuasion (not about the book) (09/01/11)
- TITLE: Boiling frogs
By Graham Starling
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It’s an experiment that was conducted quite a few times in the nineteenth century. There are a number of scientists today who refute the truth of it, but maybe they’re boiling their frogs too quickly.
As a metaphor, it does well to describe how slow change is accepted far more readily than swift change.
Some years ago in the UK, the petrol companies put their prices up by about ten per cent overnight. There was public outcry, the newspapers railed about the injustice of it all, the haulage firms more or less went on strike because of the very sudden increase the change was going to make to their overheads. Panic buying hit the shops as an overexcited media told the general public that normal deliveries would not be made to the supermarkets. Shelves emptied of bread, cereal, milk, all the staple foods.
Within a week, it was over. The petrol companies backed down and withdrew the price increase. Lorries were back on the road and the supermarket shelves filled up again leaving the man panic buyers with freezers full of bread and milk, cupboards full of cereal, feeling just a little foolish.
Over the next three months, petrol prices went up five times. Only a few pence at a time, but by the end of those three months, the price was higher than it had been after the crisis. No-one batted an eyelid. No-one said a word. The frog was boiled.
In the media today, there are signs that the heat is being turned on. Comedy shows regularly make fun of the church, of God, of Christ. Small jokes of the sort that wouldn’t offend, but they’re getting worse.
In programs about science, the church is portrayed as an obstacle to progress, and I guess we have to accept that there are times, even today, when that is the case. Popular theories such as the Big Bang and Evolution are presented as fact. They are strong theories, it has to be said, but they are still incomplete, flawed, unproven.
In science fiction shows, religion, especially Christianity, are referenced as relics of the past, crutches to a time of ignorance when we weren’t enlightened enough to understand the human condition or the universe around us.
It’s subtle, subliminal, sneaking into our minds without us noticing. The thin end of the wedge is in the crack and digging deeper with every gentle tap of the hammer. Things are heating up, and here’s hoping we’re not so cold blooded as to let it happen without reacting.
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