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    Default Discuss: Magic, or science?

    You've probably heard this quote before, most notably from the thor movie "magic is just science we don't understand yet." To this end, I have a few examples I thought up that you all might find very interesting.

    A woman mixes strange ingredients over a fire and stirs. Strange colored smoke wafts up. Have I described a witch, or a chemist?

    A man constructs a circle of metal to contain a powerful energy. Have I described an electrical engineer, or a demon summoner?

    A thing exists that you cannot touch or you will surely die. Even being in the same room is risky. Cursed Idol, or radioactive waste?

    A man speaks long words in an unknown, long dead language. He writes with strange symbols. Wizard, or scientist?
    "A necromancer is just a really late healer."

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    You've probably heard this quote before, most notably from the thor movie "magic is just science we don't understand yet." To this end, I have a few examples I thought up that you all might find very interesting.
    Yes, it's just a shortening of one of Clarke's Laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A woman mixes strange ingredients over a fire and stirs. Strange colored smoke wafts up. Have I described a witch, or a chemist?
    Or a cook?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A man constructs a circle of metal to contain a powerful energy. Have I described an electrical engineer, or a demon summoner?
    Why an electrical engineer, why not a nuclear engineer? It's obviously not a demon summoner as a demon is a cultural thing that doesn't exist around the world. Your biases are showing here a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A thing exists that you cannot touch or you will surely die. Even being in the same room is risky. Cursed Idol, or radioactive waste?
    Or an animal? Or a plant? The question is so vague...so vauge.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A man speaks long words in an unknown, long dead language. He writes with strange symbols. Wizard, or scientist?
    Hahahahaha what? Neither? First of all it's not an unknown language if someone is speaking it. What, is every student of Latin suddenly a wizard or a scientist now? How about the last speaker of a language after the culture has died out? Scientist! No.

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A man constructs a circle of metal to contain a powerful energy. Have I described an electrical engineer, or a demon summoner?
    Between the two the latter seems more likely - electrical engineers are relatively unlikely to do the actual wiring. It could easily be an electrician though.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A woman mixes strange ingredients over a fire and stirs. Strange colored smoke wafts up. Have I described a witch, or a chemist?

    A man constructs a circle of metal to contain a powerful energy. Have I described an electrical engineer, or a demon summoner?

    A thing exists that you cannot touch or you will surely die. Even being in the same room is risky. Cursed Idol, or radioactive waste?

    A man speaks long words in an unknown, long dead language. He writes with strange symbols. Wizard, or scientist?
    1. you've described a cook.

    2. an economist making a very valuable coin, the powerful energy is its great value.

    3. lava.

    4. time traveler who is speaking his native language.
    I'm also on discord as "raziere".


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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    My personal take on the magic vs. science issue is that when everybody can learn the special abilities by repeating words, hand gestures or mixing stuff then it's the laws of that universe and you can call it science. If only chosen ones can do it, it's magic.
    To answer your examples I need more information.

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    The thing that you must not touch on pain of death... Could easily be a deadly animal of some variety, or a bean bag filled with sporulated bacteria.
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    Thumbs up Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    You've probably heard this quote before, most notably from the thor movie "magic is just science we don't understand yet." To this end, I have a few examples I thought up that you all might find very interesting.

    A woman mixes strange ingredients over a fire and stirs. Strange colored smoke wafts up. Have I described a witch, or a chemist?

    A man constructs a circle of metal to contain a powerful energy. Have I described an electrical engineer, or a demon summoner?

    A thing exists that you cannot touch or you will surely die. Even being in the same room is risky. Cursed Idol, or radioactive waste?

    A man speaks long words in an unknown, long dead language. He writes with strange symbols. Wizard, or scientist?

    We-ell, in the context you describe, you're right: Magic is insufficiently analyzed science. Science is magic to which you know the trick.

    I've heard that ancient Egyptian magic was, for the most part, of this form. There were no universities in those days, so if someone discovered a neat trick the priestly guild would record it as 'secret knowledge' which only they know how to do. The idea of publishing it so that everyone could do it seemed quite silly to them, who knows what the common people would get up to if they knew, say, that if you mixed three different powders together they'd go boom?

    But ... looking at it another way, magic and science really aren't related at all. I'll let the Sorcerer RPG talk to this older understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcerer Apprentice
    In this roleplaying game, each player creates and runs a powerful
    sorcerer in the modern-day world. Each character (PC) comes equipped with at
    least one demon he or she has bound and at any time may try to summon and
    bind more demons. The demons have tremendous superhuman abilities; the
    sorcerers themselves have no special abilities or powers beyond their
    knowledge of how to summon, command, and bind them. The Game Master
    (GM) plays the demons as characters.

    The sorcerer is not like magic-using characters in most roleplaying
    games. They are not wizards who channel the harmonious elements of the
    natural world. They do not “cast spells.” They know that the traditions,
    cultures, rituals, and bodies of knowledge surrounding what we call magic or
    the occult are wrong. It is hogwash, flimflam, swindlery, and lies. Instead,
    they break the rules of reality to summon and command beings that are Not
    Supposed to Be Here. They are outlaws -- the ultimate in arrogance.

    Sorcerous magic is powerful, very obviously Not Natural, and has no
    true masters. Demons shriek with malicious delight or lick their brutish lips in
    anticipation as they materialize from Outside and match their power against the
    sorcerer's wits. Sorcerous deeds mix the heady possibility of awesome power
    and the certainty of blood-freezing danger. If you risk all on a crucial bargain
    with a demon, get nervous when it readily agrees . . . what have you missed?
    Looked at that way, magic and science are two entirely separate things. "Science" is working using the natural laws of the world. Even if it's something incredible like bringing light into darkness, or flying through the air, or speaking to a person on the other side of the planet, it's still not magic so long as you can repeatably execute the operation using mechanisms that follow from the basic principles of physical/chemical laws. It may be fantastic and amazing, but it's still not magic.

    Magic is when you go outside the framework of reality altogether. Think of it like the Matrix movies: You're no longer operating according to the rules of the world, you're modifying them on the fly or operating outside them entirely. In essence, this is god mode.

    That's why magic and religion are so closely linked: Religion believes in going outside reality by worshiping or otherwise appeasing otherworldly spirits. Magic accepts this, but instead either compels those spirits to obedience or teaches humans to do what they do. This kind of magic is essentially the imposition of your will on the world. It is not repeatable and it cannot be replicated by experiment, because it depends totally on your own mana, your own raw ability, plus any spirits you can enlist in the work.

    Religion believes in gods; magic believes humans are capable of god mode cheating.

    That's also how magic and religion link with mythic royalty; royalty in these stories have some kind of special bond or special power that allows them to do things in this realm that ordinary humans can't. Even as late as the 17th century people seriously expected Queen Elizabeth to be able to cure diseases simply by touching them, for no other reason than that she was a queen and therefore Magic.

    Of course, if such magic existed we would not be able to prove it, because there would always be the possibility that the operation was not magical, but simply a product of scientific principles we do not yet understand. Thus, magic also has a close similarity to the 'God in the gaps' theory -- the idea that the province of religion and magic start where science ends.

    I suppose you could write stories on either hypothesis. You could write a story in which 'magic' is simply unexplained science, and you could also write a story where magic did unrepeatable things outside the realm of reality altogether. But I think, in either world, you would never be able to convince determined believers that magical phenomena was unreal, or skeptics that it was. The question is simply unprovable either way.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2017-09-21 at 05:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Magic is when you go outside the framework of reality altogether. Think of it like the Matrix movies: You're no longer operating according to the rules of the world, you're modifying them on the fly or operating outside them entirely. In essence, this is god mode.
    If it happens then ipso facto it is within the framework of reality. Anything that occurs is by definition possible because possible just means that something can occur. This overrides and supercedes any and all contrary previously existig theories about the specifics of the rules.

    It may suggest a deeper set of rules for which the previously assumed rules are merely a subset or special case of.

    In the matrix example everything that the rebels do in the matrix possible within the framework of the larger setting of zion and the machine city etc (and furthermore everything they do in zion and the machine city (etc) is possible in their world even though much of it is not possible in the real world due to the world of The Matrix apparently having radically different rules of human biology, electrodynamics, thermodynamics, and computer science. [though the part about human biology may not count as that's not really an intrinsic specialization, it's a subset of biology, and then chemistry and ultimately physics, so the main characters uniformly having a biological/neurological defect or maladaptation that causes death in the matrix to kill them in the zion/machine city world doesn't necessarily violate the rules even of our reality unless we know the specifics]) (edit: and Neo's woo abilities like esp and electromagnetokinesis that do violate the rules of our reality can be explained by differences in their world's physics)
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2017-09-21 at 06:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas
    It may suggest a deeper set of rules for which the previously assumed rules are merely a subset or special case of.
    It's called a superset. So if the subset is the "natural world", the superset is... wait for it... supernatural.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Take Rick form rick and morty, choose any of his feats and name one that can't be accomplished by a wizard and his grandson.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Yes, it's just a shortening of one of Clarke's Laws.
    Clarke gets the credit, but it wasn't original to him.

    Charles Fort (1932): "A performance that may some day be considered understandable, but that, in these primitive times, so transcends what is said to be the known that it is what I mean by magic."

    Leigh Brackett (1942): "Witchcraft to the ignorant, … simple science to the learned"
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Yet another thread I can barely touch because of my urge to express religious views.

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    I had a friend in college who studied for a while the Lesser Key of Solomon. If I recall, he did rituals for Stolas and Zepar, for passing a history test and getting laid, respectively. He made a B on the exam, but also ate a plant that was probably poisonous and was fine (Makes more sense if you know him ). In other endeavors, he had a pretty good week. Unfortunately, despite the promising results, nothing was ever conclusive enough to say "Hey, magic works if you do it right." I distinctly remember the line, "What the hell Stolas, I don't risk my immortal soul for a B!"
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    My main point here is that I'm speculating about the science of earlier civilizations. To cite my witch/chemist example, what if the so called witch really was an early chemist?
    And as someone mentioned earlier, the whole Egyptian secrets thing proves my point.

    Of course, another possibility is that chemistry was studied earlier than we realise and these "witches" were simply imitating what they heard chemists could do by haphazardly throwing ingredients into a potion and thinking it would help.
    "A necromancer is just a really late healer."

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    The difference between magic and science is that science exists.

    Obvious answers aside. OP, you seem to operate under a misunderstanding of what science really is. Science, or natural philosophy as it was known before, is a relatively recent thing. Knowledge is not science. Skills, even those related to what we consider "scientific" fields like medicine or architecture, are not science either. Science is a specific process which we use to come to conclusions that broaden our knowledge and make sure that this happens in a way that is logical and consistent with our understanding of reality, as opposed to "this is true because it just is/because I say so".

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Indeed. If magic exists and it us repeatable you can generally do science to it. It might be very difficult to figure out experiments to test the properties, especially when it involves messy things like 'belief', but, in general, if it's repeatable, you can do science to it, as science is merely testing through experimentation.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Are we talking real life here?

    I think in fiction something is magic when not everyone can do it, like in Harry Potter or Wheel of Time or whatever.

    But in D&D, I'd say arcane magic is actually science.

    But if you really want to call arcane magic magic, I guess it's more like doing stuff not physically. Flick a wand or say the right words with the right gestures or exert your will and bam, something happens.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Are we talking real life here?

    I think in fiction something is magic when not everyone can do it, like in Harry Potter or Wheel of Time or whatever.

    But in D&D, I'd say arcane magic is actually science.

    But if you really want to call arcane magic magic, I guess it's more like doing stuff not physically. Flick a wand or say the right words with the right gestures or exert your will and bam, something happens.
    So Put That . . . There from 1980 (!) is magic. Hell, brain-computer interfaces are getting to the point where even the latter could be basically reality.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    I do think it's interesting when "magic" is the result of spirit-based entities (with their own motives and who can be influenced by human actions) over the actions of impersonal natural forces. Storms being brought by the thunder god or cattle being struck ill because of mischievous pixies do create a fundamentally different world than meteorology and germ theory.

    In most settings though, yes. Magic is just another form of technology. In some, magic is an add-on to existing scientific laws. (E.G: In Shadowrun, it's an extra area of research but hasn't fundamentally overturned the other laws of physics in conditions where a mage or spirit isn't currently exerting an influence.) In others, it's just another fundamental element or force in how the world works (E.G: Most D&D settings. Even if you take a FRish/5Eish attitude that mortal spellcasters need a special interface in order to influence this underlying cosmic force.)

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    It's called a superset. So if the subset is the "natural world", the superset is... wait for it... supernatural.
    Except if you look up what "natural" means it means... "thing that exists". If it happens, it is natural.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    I prefer science

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Well, what the quote points out is in fact the merely dialectical issue of science vs. magic. It's simply a problem of definitions, not real dichotomy.

    In RL, there are many definitions of magic that rely on knowledge more than on mere belief. For example, there were many Native Americans who used the bark from a certain tree to treat headaches. It wasn't that they merely believed it was useful. They knew it, because they used it for generations. It was knowledge for them. But when the Spaniards came from the other side of the world, they saw it was the High Priest the one who gave the sick a tea from that tree. So, to Spaniards, it was simply the "magic of the Shaman". As it turns out, when analyzed in a laboratory, the bark from that tree has high concentrations of a similar substance that is the active compound of what we know as aspirin. So, in the end, the uneducated tribes from America were using simple chemistry before Europeans stopped believing in spontaneous generation.

    Point being, magic vs. science is merely a matter of perspective. You can't say the Native Americans were doing Science, because they weren't applying any kind of method, other than (maybe) trial and error. They didn't know the precise quantity of the bark needed to treat a specific headache (I suppose), but it's safe to assume they could easily estimate how much was too little, and how much was, well... too much. But it wasn't just "a belief" either, because the effect of the bark was easily verifyiable and could be observed. They probably called it "magic" themselves, but it wasn't a belief or a matter of suggestion. Chemistry was certainly involved. What is certain too, is that Spaniards got it all wrong, because it wasn't a matter of belief in the least; and just because a priest was involved, it wasn't a matter of religion either. The Native Americans simply lacked the word "science"; and again, for them, science, religion and magic were pretty much related, simply because of a matter of language.

    Also, I personally know a whole set of philosophies on magic that aren't related to Religion or don't even require you to invest in any sets of religious beliefs in the least. Religion is a personal philosophy that deals with certain aspects of life that can't be verified and aren't observable by any method we know of (gods, soul, afterlife, destiny, etc.). Religion ultimately relies solely on belief and nothing else, because it can't be objective.

    What we call science, is exactly the opposite: it relies on a method, and deals with entities/concepts that are in some way observable, quantifiable and verifiable. It relies on knowledge AND a method, and can't be subjective (otherwise, it stops being "science").

    Magic is a mix of both, but is also neither. If anything, "magic" is more closely related to philosophy, except that it isn't about searching for knowledge or finding truths (as is the point of Philosophy, grossly speaking). Much like Science, it's about solving the problems of people. Except that it doesn't need the practitioner to know about the process involved. Magic is about knowledge, but knowledge about recipees, not methods or process. There's also involved a certain belief that you don't need objectivity in the least in order to suceed.

    That is precisely why, in a hypothetical society where technicians have zero knowledge of how a computer works; we say they are performing "magic" whenever they repair a software. They may be unaware of the process involved, but there's a chance they may succeed in repairing a programme. Then again, they have no way of knowing the result of their work except by trial and error, because they simply are unaware of what's really going on. Much like the shamans of the past, they are in fact, "wizards" tinkering blindly with the nature of reality; without a real way of finding the truth of it.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    I'm reminded of a Marvel Avengers cartoon where iron man is helping out Dr. Strange. Strange is running low on juice to stop Dormammu's minions from coming onto the prime material plane during Halloween. So Iron Man has his AI try to replicate the energy strange is using and the AI says he can approximate it to be some sort of elecromagnetic energy (or something).

    I'd say that magic would probably just be a type of energy we don't have a grasp on scientifically, but if it was studied enough with the right instrumentation it could be possible to replicate it.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Except if you look up what "natural" means it means... "thing that exists". If it happens, it is natural.
    Google disagrees:

    1. existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.

    2.of or in agreement with the character or makeup of, or circumstances surrounding, someone or something.
    While super- as a combining form means:

    above; over; beyond.
    "superlunary"
    to a great or extreme degree.
    "superabundant"
    extra large of its kind.
    "supercontinent"
    having greater influence, capacity, etc., than another of its kind.
    "superbike"
    of a higher kind (especially in names of classificatory divisions).
    so the supernatural is a natural thing not made by humankind that is greater, higher or more powerful than most other natural things. or something in extreme agreement with the character or make of someone or something. both definitions fits a lot of supernatural stuff, the first definition being magic and monsters in general while the second definition fits the principles of sympathetic magic to a T.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    A woman mixes strange ingredients over a fire and stirs. Strange colored smoke wafts up. Have I described a witch, or a chemist?
    I'm not sure, but we're all waiting for dinner, so can she please finish the stew she said she'd make?

    A man constructs a circle of metal to contain a powerful energy. Have I described an electrical engineer, or a demon summoner?
    Certainly not an electrical engineer, the copper's very unlikely to be in a circle (now if you had said a loop I might agree with you, at least for an electrician). Definitely not an electronic engineer, silicon isn't actually a metal if I've remembered my periodic table correctly and is almost never circular by the time you can use it.

    A thing exists that you cannot touch or you will surely die. Even being in the same room is risky. Cursed Idol, or radioactive waste?
    Why choose? Cursed idol made from radioactive waste!

    A man speaks long words in an unknown, long dead language. He writes with strange symbols. Wizard, or scientist?
    My old vicar would have sworn blind this was a priest with the gift of tongues. Really it could be almost anybody who managed to teach themselves ancient Sumerian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Hell, brain-computer interfaces are getting to the point where even the latter could be basically reality.
    Isn't the main problem right now keeping the things clean? Not that connecting them up or using them is easy, but if they aren't kept clean then the connections will just degrade and you have to connect it up again. For most people with our current technology I see controlling devices with our faces to be more useful than our brains because I'm not convinced we could do sensory input with the things.

    Still getting a DNI when they're viable though, because I'm a science fiction nerd transhumanist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheManicMonocle View Post
    You've probably heard this quote before, most notably from the thor movie "magic is just science we don't understand yet."
    Or as it is stated more often: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (Also in some cases: from a really big gun.)

    In fiction the difference is the type of setting and how much words they spend trying to act like they justified what is currently happening. A warp core breach requires many more engineers running around pressing buttons trying to contain is than an ancient destruction curse on the entire temple does, even if the effect is exactly the same.

    In reality the most notable difference is the method of working. Most people who claim to be doing something with science build on what works, and will eventually let stop working on theories that get disproven by experiment after experiment. People who claim to be doing magic (or alternative medicine) tend to build on what they claim should work, and any evidence to the contrary only strengthens their belief. There are some crossover cases, but they tend to get fired, eventually.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2017-09-25 at 05:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Except if you look up what "natural" means it means... "thing that exists". If it happens, it is natural.
    Sure, and next I suppose you'll tell me "metaphysics" is just physics.

    As a matter of fact, no common use definition of "natural" neatly reduces to "things which exist", nor does supernatural neatly reduce to "things which do not exist". The words only have such meaning in context of the particular philosophical argument you, Bohandas, and countless other have tried to make. (I don't remember who originated it, but it's old as dirt.)

    That argument is, and has always been, obtuse, and Bohandas just happened to illustrate why by talking about "deeper sets" and "subsets". Because that's the concept which "supernatural" as a word is meant to point at. Redefining each "deeper set" as natural along the way is just engaging in moving semantic goal posts. And such semantic trickery will cease to have utility if we ever find tiniest reason to believe in reality-outside-reality, including world-as-simulation, non-interacting multiverse, world-as-a-hologram and several other theoretical scientific concepts in addition to religious and mythological ones.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2017-09-25 at 06:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    If magic is real, then the answer to the opening post is that we do not know. Not enough info.
    If magic is not real, then it is likely some scientific thing not understood (or some dude doing random stuff and getting lucky.)

    Now, perhaps there are 'spiritual' or 'metaphysical' laws that one could understand, test, and utilize in a scientific way, by which I mean using the scientific method to test hypothesis and theories, etc.*. If such is possible, then... well, I guess the answer is a philosophical question based on the definition of magic and science, and if the two are contradictory. If magic is real and scientifically testable, then magic can be done either scientifically or not, just like chemistry could be done via standard and trained practices or by a dude combining chemicals for unknown reasons and hoping it works out.

    Or, it's possible (for the sake of argument) that magic is real and not reproducible via the scientific method**... in which case I guess it's magic and not science, at least by almost all definitions of science. (Such also applies for miracles, if you differentiate between magic as manipulations of the natural world and/or unholy forces, and miracles as channeling of holy force. Though I can see most would like lump all such metaphysical <whatever-noun-makes-sense-here> into one category.)

    *I'm not a scientist, so forgive me if I'm misusing the terms, but I hope the point is clear.
    **or perhaps some of the relevant 'input' are so nuanced that it is essentially impossible to be reproducible. For example, if the practitioner's internal spiritual or mental state/motivations are a primary 'ingredient', then it could be impossible to really test. Perhaps magic only works if done for a certain cause, so you can't test it since doing it for the sake of testing it invalidates the spell. If our laboratory is our own soul/mind/body, then it is hard to test things in any reproducible manner.

    I'll also add that it's possible that magic, even if real and reproducible, might always have some negative side effects, like the spiritual equivalent to exposure to radiation. That's not really relevant to the subject, but I feel like it's responsible to mention it lest I accidentally encourage someone to try practicing magic.
    I guess, though, the concept of spiritual contamination does make magic slightly harder to test, just like a 'mundane' experiment causing some unintended contamination could invalidate independence of multiple trials. Hard to test if magic works if any practitioner is contaminated by something upon a successful trial--at least, it might make reproducing independent trials difficult.

    It's fun to get the chance to seriously discuss metaphysical subjects like this. And rather intellectually challenging to do so without making reference to real-world religion. But a fun challenge.

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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Google disagrees [on the definition of natural]
    Take it one step further.


    Natural

    1. That exists and evolved within the confines of an ecosystem.

    2. Of or relating to nature.

    3. Without artificial additives.

    4. As expected; reasonable.
    Nature
    1. (uncountable) The natural world; that which consists of all things unaffected by or predating human technology, production, and design. e.g. the ecosystem, the natural environment, virgin ground, unmodified species, laws of nature.

    2. innate characteristics of a thing. What something will tend by its own constitution, to be or do. Distinct from what might be expected or intended.

    3. The summary of everything that has to do with biological, chemical and physical states and events in the physical universe.

    4. Conformity to that which is natural, as distinguished from that which is artificial, or forced, or remote from actual experience.

    So, in the end, we end up with two defintions of natural and nature: "Unaffected by humans" or "Part of the physical world".
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    Default Re: Discuss: Magic, or science?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    So, in the end, we end up with two defintions of natural and nature: "Unaffected by humans" or "Part of the physical world".
    I think, if we want to cover all possible points of discussion, we should consider magic both as 'part of the physical world' (i.e., laws of reality that are 'built into' the world, and thus can be observed and potentially manipulated) and it as external (akin to what pendell posted from the Sorcerer RPG, which I guess means magic is bringing something external to the physical world to the physical word(?)). I think the 'unaffected by humans' part is likely a definition not too relevant to this discussion, since we are discussing magic as something humans can manipulate, but maybe I'm misunderstanding something about how the word 'unaffected' is being used.

    I'm inclined to agree with Frozen_Feet (if I follow the discussion accurately) that some of these semantics isn't really important. The meaning of supernatural verses natural, and if that distinction is even a real distinction--I don't see how much it plays into whether we can scientifically test magic. At least, unless the definition of supernatural include something such as not being testable--but if humans can do supernatural stuff, then (presumably) we can try to test it (whether or not such testing is possible & scientifically valid or not).

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