There are many facets to any robust intellectual movement, and skepticism is no different. This is probably because there are many facets to human nature and culture. While at its core skepticism may be a philosophical and academic discipline, it also involves itself with consumer protection, regulation, entertainment and fiction, building community, and humor. If we are going to nudge culture in a more skeptical direction we need to engage with various aspects of culture.
The skeptical movement therefore needs not only academics and scientists, but magicians, comedians, lawyers, artists, politicians, writers, movie producers, and others to be involved. My role generally is as an academic and educator – I write, lecture, and spend my time thinking about things like heuristics, logic, and the interplay of neuroscience and belief (the topic of my talk for DragonCon this year). But I also recognize that academic activities are a great deal of work with little direct effect, and I am occasionally reminded of how effective humor can be in changing culture. Ridiculing the absurd with humor can do more to nudge culture away from nonsense than books of detailed argument.
Therefore I will present four recent videos that do a great job of using humor to show up the ridiculous. The first three have been making the rounds already, but I wanted to bring them together in case anyone missed them. The fourth (in two parts) is our own humble contribution. Enjoy.