One of the cool aspects involved within on-line skeptic forums such as reddit /r/skeptic is the access you gain to a pool of folks who quite often demonstrate a great sense of humor (I’m getting to a point … stick with me).
On one occasion, not too long ago, I stated what could be best described as the bleeding obvious. The following well deserved comment soon came back
In other news, scientists present the first conclusive evidence of a bear defecating in the woods. Film at 11.
Well, its a skeptic forum, so some offered a fun skeptical reply
If no one takes time to verify these absurd claims, then the people that believe bears sneak into houses and use our toilets when we aren’t home will not have legitimate opposition.
Ah now, that was too good a target, so next came this
As a strong and longstanding proponent of that theory, I present to you irrefutable evidence.
(Go on, click the link, its real proof). And of course we then get …
You just blasted my bears in the wood belief to smithereens
Now what is interesting to observe here is the tongue-in cheek humor. Why does this matter? Well, because when faced with the bat-a-loon crazies who are beyond critical thinking, then the very best response is not to rant back, nor yell, or scoff, or ignore. Instead, humor and satire is a far more effective (and entertaining) means to knock a bit of sense into them. Famous examples (within the skeptical community) include:
- The folks who went out and joined the Westborough Baptist folks with weird signs such as “I want Donuts”, or “God hates cats”
So if ever tempted to loose you cool and start yelling (and trust me, there are indeed times when that is oh so true), don’t do it. Instead consider the idea of going off in a different direction, and deploy satire and wit instead.