"Goldsmith said there are two classes of people who dread ridicule--priests and fools. they cry out that it is no argument, but they know it is. It has been found the most potent form of argument. Euclid used it in his immortal Geometry; for what else is the reductio ad absurdum which he sometimes employs? Elijah used it against the priests of Baal. The Christian fathers found it effective against the Pagan superstitions, and in turn it was adopted as the best weapon of attack on them by Lucian and Celsus. Ridicule has been used b y Bruno, Erasmus, Luther, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire, by nearly all the great emancipators of the human mind."
--G.W. Foote (From his essay "On Riddicule," Seasons of Freethought, pg. 269)