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Skeptic Presents: The Con Academy

Volume 1: Advertising the Con Academy

This is the first video in a series featuring Michael Shermer and Brian Dalton (aka: Mr. Deity). The mission of these videos is to promote critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire.

In this faux commercial for The Con Academy you’ll see how psychics count on the confirmation bias to convince people that their powers are real when, in fact, they are just remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. We also demonstrate how psychic “organizations” con people by taking their money for services that are not real.

—Michael Shermer

Help Us Make More Videos Like This

If you would like to support The Con Academy Videos, please make a tax-deductible donation to the Skeptics Society. With your support, we hope to produce these instructional, educational, and entertaining videos regularly throughout the year for free viewing and use by everyone everywhere to spread the message of the power of science and skepticism to make the world a saner, safer place.

CREDITS: Special thanks to David Cowan, Daniel Mendez, and Jim Robinson for their support in launching this new series of Skeptic videos.

Written and Produced by: Brian Keith Dalton, Pat Linse, Michael Shermer. Featuring: Michael Shermer, Brian Keith Dalton, John Rael, Jen Brown, Matt David, Eduard Pastor, Emery Emery, and Wendy Hughes. Production assistance: Eduard Pastor, Matt David, and John Rael. Shot, Edited, and Directed by: Brian Keith Dalton. Special thanks to: Russell Friedman and everyone at the Grief Recovery Institute in Sherman Oaks, CA. Music by: Videoblocks.com and Final Cut Production music. Shot on Panasonic AF100, Gh2, and Gh3 cameras. The Con Academy is not, in any way, affiliated with The Khan Academy.

1 Comment »

One Comment

  1. Nick Adams says:

    Dear Dr D and Meester Shermer

    I really think using humor as a vehicle for purveying ideas is the key to actually gaining the attention of the target market i.e. those that really NEED the tools off critical thinking.

    I used to be concerned that the circulation figures of the National Inquirer were exponentially larger than the Skeptical Inquirer….but then my daughter and wife taught me that the former is for giggles …the latter needs giggles too …as does the Skeptic Magazine.

    I am a fan of Richard Dawkins and the dearly departed Christopher H….and believe that the radical atheism they attempted to activate reached like minded folk like myself..which I think was their primary goal..but not the people that really need to hear and absorb their pearls of wisdom….I am currently for the first time surrounded by religious subscribers having recently taken up residence in the USA in beautiful Northern NJ bastion of well attended churches, nail salons and spas….the very mention of Dawkins summons up violent reactions..he’s perceived almost as the antichrist..so they don’t listen to his gentle verbal delivery much less read his more strident books…. we only watch Fox is the termination of further discussion….Doc Weissman has a lot to say about protecting our belief structures in his numerous books..and we can’t overlook “the believing Brain” by what’s his name? Lol….but again they tend to be avoided by those that could benefit the most…sad face.

    So how do you crack through their self imposed isolation…I believe the key is humor…but national media vehicles are needed to get at the audience….Penn and Teller, John Stewart, Colbert et al have already made inroads but again their primary audiences are not generally the target market (although Colbert’s satirical right wing anchorman had many fooled initially)…so keep it up …I think you are on the road less travelled and I think it’s the right one…this might make a real difference…

    I would advocate Colbert as the best national medium for seeding satirical copy at present but you probably already do so….

    This approach is one I’ve been advocating for some time…well done..keep it up…folk like you are a shining example to folk like me…you goal should be to become shining examples to the Fox News subscribers also.

    Thanks for your contributions to humanity and mankind…there is hope.
    Kind regards and best wishes
    Nick Adams B.Sc.

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