The Fallacy of the Tortoise and the Hare

A Super Bowl commercial tonight featured the classic fable of the tortoise in the hare: A tortoise and a hare race each other, but the hare is overconfident that he’ll win, so he takes his time. Eventually the tortoise acquires a Mercedes Benz and catches up to the hare, winning the race.

We all heard this story when we were young. I suppose it was meant to teach us that we shouldn’t get cocky; rather, if you work hard and stick to a task, you’ll do better than someone who relies too much on raw talent.

But…I have a really hard time believing that a hare would ever lose a race to a tortoise. Turtles are so slow and rabbits are quite fast. Don’t tell me that a hare would ever lose in a race to a tortoise–it’s never going to happen.

Even if the hare were extremely arrogant, he could wait a long time before even beginning the race, and he would still win. More likely he would race to the end in a few seconds and then go have tea with his friends as Aesop would have us believe.

I think this fable should be revised to feature a slow turtle and a fast turtle. There is no hare. It’s simply not a believable fable if you pit a hare against a turtle.

tortoiseandhare