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filming with the deity

by Donald Prothero, Jul 17 2013
The "soundstage" of Mr. Deity: cameras and lights crammed into the kitchen, shooting into the living room

The “soundstage” of Mr. Deity: cameras and lights crammed into the kitchen, shooting into the living room

Almost two months ago, I had the opportunity to be part of the latest episode of the hit YouTube series, “Mr. Deity”. For those who have not seen this hilarious series of 3-minute episodes before, you can go to, and most of the previous 5 seasons are freely available on line. The entire production is the brainchild of one man, Brian Keith Dalton. Brian writes the scripts, plays the main role as “Mr. Deity” (of which religion he does not specify), films all the episodes by himself with minimal help, then edits all the digital files to produce a tight, funny, fast-paced mockery of the sillier aspects of religion. As Brian has explained, the use of humor and gentle satire can be much more effective tool to get people to examine the absurdities of their religious dogmas than angry confrontational approaches. The “Mr. Deity” character is no awesome Jehovah, but instead a sloppy, feckless, distracted deity who doesn’t worry about details, and gets mad when humans misinterpret him. He constantly finds himself entangled in the complex web of confusion and contradiction that is the essence of religious dogma. After watching a few episodes, you will find that Brian’s scripts are uniformly laugh-out-loud funny as he and the other characters wrestle with this messed-up world of religion. The cast often includes Amy Rohren as “Lucy”, or Lucifer the Devil; Sean Douglas as  “Jesse” or Jesus; several other minions of Heaven, such as filmmaker Jimbo Marshall as “Larry”, the manager, who do the dirty work that Mr. Deity has no time for; and noted skeptic Jarrett Lennon Kaufman as Timmy the Tech Advisor. There is often a guest skeptic who plays a straight man for Mr. Deity’s sendup of the inanity of each religious idea. Some of these past guests have included Michael Shermer of the Skeptic Society, P.Z. Myers of the Pharyngula blog, skeptic and magician Jamy Ian Swiss, Carrie Poppy of the “OhNo, It’s Ross and Carrie” podcast, and a number of other skeptics and non-believers.

I got to know Brian during a Skeptic Society field trip in January 2012, and he said that he wanted me to be part of a future episode. After some illnesses, and trying to get our busy schedules coordinated, we finally managed to film in May 2013. He sent me the script, and I tried memorizing the lines and learning how to act them. Though I’ve memorized scripts before, I haven’t performed in a play since I was 12 years old. I’ve always been a good memorizer, yet I found it surprisingly hard to master my lines, despite days of rehearsal. Most of my past appearances on camera were to give academic lectures or appear on prehistoric animal documentaries, where I ad lib the lines rather than memorize them. Continue reading…

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The Mysterious Green Room Incident

by Ryan Johnson, Mar 17 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As part of the continuing adventures of the Cast and Crew of The Skeptologists, I would like to share with you a bit of rough-edited never-before seen footage. This was shot during the Pilot of The Skeptologists and for reasons you will soon understand, it was never included in the final version of the pilot. I found the event interesting and it solidified my thoughts about how people interpret events based on their own predispositions.

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The Magic Cube

by Michael Shermer, Jan 20 2009

Readers of will immediately suspect something is up when I ask you to watch a video and tell me if you think I have ESP or not. Of course I don’t believe in ESP and most of you probably do not either. However, when you see this video consider that it might be something related to ESP that is not, in fact, at all paranormal. That is synesthesia.

Synesthesia is the phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sense modality produces a sensation in a different sense modality, for example, touching something and sensing a color. Go ahead, watch this video, and tell me if you think I have synesthesia. Continue reading…

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How to Bend a Spoon with Just Your Mind

by Michael Shermer, Jan 06 2009

Most skeptics know that self-proclaimed psychics such as Uri Geller, who claim to be able to bend cutlery with just their minds, are actually using magic and trickery to do so. Of course, if they could really bend metal with just their minds you have to wonder why at some point they always have to touch the spoon. The answer is obvious to skeptics: because the only way to bend a spoon is by physically bending it! But how? Continue reading…

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Caught On Tape

by Steven Novella, Nov 24 2008

Did you see the awesome video of the Canadian meteor from this weekend? Incredible. The meteor streaked across the night sky, growing brighter as it descended. When it reached the denser parts of the atmosphere it grew bright enough to light up the entire sky. It then may have broken apart – as of this writing the meteorite or pieces of it have not been found.

Continue reading…

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Making Dragons

by Brian Dunning, Nov 20 2008
Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons

Since the beginning of the Skeptoid podcast, people had been asking me for a video version. Tempting indeed, but having been a college filmmaker and done my share of dabbling, I knew that a weekly video podcast would require far more than the limited time I have available for Skeptoid. So this idea stayed on the back burner for a while.

But I finally got fed up with the amount of uncritical praise and attention given to the garbage conspiracy films Loose Change and Zeitgeist on the Internet, and decided that it was time for a counterattack of reason. So I spent a few months of odd hours putting together my thoughts and writing my own garbage film for the Internet, which I called Here Be Dragons. (I wish I’d picked a different title, because that one’s so common, but heck, I was fresh out of creativity by that point.) Continue reading…

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