Happy Groundhog Day

It is Groundhog Day,  the day when a groundhog is forced from its heated burrough for our fun and entertainment.  The idea is:  if it is a sunny day and the groundhog sees its shadow and retreats to its burrough in fear – winter will continue for six more weeks.  However, if it is cloudy day, the groundhog will not see its shadow and winter will soon end.

In 2008, no less than 14 groundhogs of note were watched carefully on February 2nd.  Now, if there was any truth to this myth, wouldn’t they all give the same prediction?  Ten of these groundhogs “predicted” an early spring while the four remaining groundhogs “predicted” six more weeks of winter. That is better than pure chance!  I think we can all agree that the groundhogs clearly “predicted” that February 2nd, 2008 was a cloudy morning in most places where people were watching groundhogs.

Skeptics can use groundhog day.  The next time you encounter someone with a questionable belief, ask them if they believe that a groundhog can predict the duration of winter on groundhog day.  If they don’t (boy, I really hope no one actually does but I am sure I would be surprised) ask them to explain why not and use those reasons as a model to examine what they do believe. 

02. February 2009 by Pat
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