It is undoubtedly the case that one day he could flip the light switch and no lights could come on; his radical skepticism was warranted. That said, each of the thirty-odd times I was present for it, the lights did in fact come on.
Sounds about right. The basic principle could be even earlier in a very crude form.
Doing something stupid that hurts and then not doing that anymore. Tell your friends not to do the same stupid thing and if they don't believe you, they can see for themselves. Untill the stupid thing becomes accepted as a stupid thing.
@Kyriakos I just saw your edit, thanks for the effort.
To the cartoon. I had a philosophy professor in college who would very pointedly look at the lights every time he turned on the light switch, as though no number of instances of the lights coming on when he flipped the switch would convince him that the next time it would be true too.
Oh, the possibilities... maybe he wanted to make sure they worked properly? If they're dimming or flickering, it can really be annoying.
Maybe he just didn't like them. I can relate, as I have a problem with fluorescent lights. The humming tends to put me to sleep - very annoying when I'm sitting in a panel room at a hotel, the discussion is interesting, and all my brain wants to do is go to sleep. I must have missed about half that panel, and "woke up" after I was back out in the hallway.
Or... maybe your professor was secretly part of the wizarding world and still trying to fathom the ways of electricity (Harry Potter reference; magic and electricity don't mix, which is why candles, torches, fires, and the lumos spell are used for light).