Friday, January 23, 2009

The List: The 7 Greatest Fictional Skeptics

Most of us interested in science or skepticism are also huge pop culture nerds. In the vast murky stew of our cultural landscape there are quite a few excellent skeptical archetypes.

7. Adrian Monk - Monk

Adrian Monk solves crimes not with gun play, but with a rational and methodical attention to detail. Despite his many quirks, and full blown obsessive compulsive disorder, Monk is able solve crimes his more credulous and careless peers.

He is also terrified of milk.

6. Velma Dace Dinkley - Scooby Doo

Despite the fact that her foes were usually in costumes, and no one seemed to notice the talking dog, Velma would never jump to any conclusions paranormal conclusions.

Sadly Velma was fired for fashioning Scrappy Doo's skin into a new ascot for Fred.

5. Encyclopedia Brown - Encyclopedia Brown Series

A boy genius who solves mysteries with his considerable intellect and ability to see through con games. Donald J. Sobol's creation taught children to think critically, instead of glorifying martial heroics.

4. William of Baskerville - The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco's meticulous Franciscan friar is a man out of time. Searching for empirical evidence in an era reliant upon faith and portents William epitomizes Occam's Razor.

3. Hercule Poirot - Agatha Christie's Poirot Series

The great Belgian former police detective Hercule Poirot uses his "little grey cells" to suss out tiny clues to seemingly impossible situations. Blunt and crafty, but always a gentleman, Poirot was possibly the first psychological profiler.

He also sported a superb mustache in his David Suchet incarnation.

2. Cadfael ap Meilyr ap Dafydd - Cadfael
Yet another monk who challenges the conventions of his day. Cadfael is shrewd and intelligence with no lack of street smarts. Sir Derek Jacobi's portrayal of Cadfael with a myriad of facets, portrayed a rare rational mind in 12th century England.

Later, Cadfael regenerated into Sam Tyler.

1. Lisa Simpson - The Simpsons

I think most of us can empathize with Lisa. It can be very hard to be one of the lone voices of dissent in a sea of fools. Intelligent, talented, and sarcastic, Lisa Simpson is someone all of us want to emulate.

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