Don’t Mess With Phil

A proof that Punxsutawney Phil is the most powerful creature on Earth.

First, we state the information given to us.

  1. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, winter will last six weeks longer than if he doesn’t.
  2. The vernal equinox is the first day of spring.
  3. The precise date of the vernal equinox is a function of the Earth’s orbit and the orientation of its rotational axis.
  4. Winter ends when spring begins.

From (1) and (4), if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, the beginning of spring is pushed back by six weeks. From (2), this means that the vernal equinox is pushed back by six weeks. However, from (3), this means that if the date of the vernal equinox changes, it is because of a change in the Earth’s orbit and/or the orientation of its rotational axis.

Thus, it follows that by observing his shadow on Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil pushes the Earth into a more distant orbit, knocks the Earth off its rotational axis, or both. It can safely be assumed that, if any other creature on Earth were capable of these or equivalent feats, it would have done so at least once, and we would have detected the resulting climatological changes.

Therefore, Punxsutawney Phil is the most powerful creature on Earth. QED

3 Responses

  1. The vernal equinox is not the first day of spring. That’s just a myth propagated by the calendar makers. The first day of any season is defined as the first day upon which the weather is characteristic for that season.

    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_170b.html

  2. Hmm. I guess what would be true. But I always wondered what other powers Phil had. Like say some newscaster accidently runs over the groundhog with his SUV, but then does Phil’s spirit give us a nuclear winter and or ice age. Possibly removes what’s left of the ozone layer.

    The other thing about this holiday is, that the media has an effect their cameras produce light and thus create shadows so in effect they are causing this cold to persue.

  3. fluffy: I’ve always considered March-April-May to be spring myself, but as the page you linked to says, there’s no real official day it starts anyway. Given that, I suppose Phil merely has the power to control the weather, putting him on a par with butterflies in Beijing.

    (There are obviously a few glaring holes in my “proof”, but that wasn’t an angle of attack I had anticipated. Interesting.)

    Eric: I think if you kill him, you have to become him. Wasn’t that a plot line on Sluggy Freelance? Something like that, at least. Either way, if a newscaster ran him over, he’d have to face the wrath of the Mayor of Punxsutawney.

    Also, keep in mind that Phil can tell the difference between the sun and camera lights. I mean, he *is* the most powerful creature on Earth; give him a little credit.

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