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203 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2008 :  09:49:11  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
Many of the great thinkers that have advanced civilization through "proven results," not rhetoric, have put forward a very simple rule that is "probably" a necessary condition for getting at the truth, which should be the aim of all serious inquiry. The truth is that which can be demonstrated in a straight forward manner to any rational audience "as working." The rule is "keep it simple." An explanation should be the simplest possible to fully describe the effect under consideration. The simple explanation quality of a theory is usually described by scientists as the theory being beautiful or elegant.

To that end. My understanding is that: "magic is that, which has no physical explanation, known or unknown. Science is that which tries to explain all phenomenon in a physical context in an experimentally repeatable way.

To the best of my knowledge, magic has never been demonstrated in any way, and I believe that magic is not real. On the other hand, the validity of science, which is the dialectic opposite of magic, is demonstrated all the time and is the only tool that has ever been developed that enables us to interact with reality in a proven and consistent way.



203 Posts

Posted - 01/30/2008 :  17:35:08  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
In an ongoing discussion on the topic, I've made the following comments:

In reference to Clarke's statement about a very advanced technology seeming like magic:

In order to make progress and distinguish promising avenues of thought
that "go" somewhere as opposed to dead ends, it is best to distinguish
things at the lowest possible level. The reason for this is that words
are not well suited to describing reality because they are based on
our subjective sense of what we experience. This is why great
scientists like Feynman have often said that one can not really
understand nature without the language of mathematics. This is because
logical errors in mathematics are more apparent than in "logic by words."

This may seem round about, but it demonstrates why what Clarke said is
profound. To emotional, subjective beings, like us, the interpretation
of seeing something we don't understand is to think the phenomena is supernatural.
Supernatural (magic) only because we don't understand it. Such a statement can not
be made in mathematics, because such a statement is illogical and clearly false.
The correct response by more rational beings would be curiosity. Clarke's statement is more a
description of subjective human nature than it is any phenomenon that
we might observe.

Someone followed this comment by saying: "Quote: "Though, you still must "talk" to me by words, for I only see the mathematical principles- I cannot compute;-)." To which I responded:

The wonderful thing about nature is that it has a sense of humor. In
fact you do compute--all the time. What you see, what you hear, how
you move, how you think--the joke is that you are a big computation.
So the tail wags the dog. The joke is that the inefficient language
that we use to state all of these irrational wrong things is really a
highly imperfect facade for the calculations inside the brain that
produces it. It is this part of us that is closer to our true nature,
which is just nature. That is where the magic really is.

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The Jarillion

United Kingdom
18 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2008 :  17:08:20  Show Profile  Email Poster  Visit The Jarillion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I would define magic and the supernatural more specifically as things which defy explanation, have no laws, no underlying understandable system to them.

In contrast the universe is full of things which whilst not understood remain understandable, measurable with answers even if they have yet to be found.

Science Fiction tends to play with some of the possible answers to these questions, even though they may be proven wrong in future.

I remember a Dr Who serial where guerillas from the future travelled to the present to prevent world war 3, only to discover they were instigating it. Events then play out to prevent the war, so the post war future is not ours. Later copyists of this plot stated that it didn't make sense, dumping it in the fantasy bin. Of course the plot did make sense if one assumed that there were two universes of block time which could have been one had a different choice been made. The point I'm trying to make is that much SF seems to be fantasy if you can't get your head around it.

Also if you define magic as something not understood I would think a majority of people therefore live in a magical world.


Edited by - The Jarillion on 02/22/2008 17:10:30
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203 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2008 :  12:29:42  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote

" Also if you define magic as something not understood I would think a majority of people therefore live in a magical world."

They do, and they vote. Remember that song: "When you believe in things you don't understand, that's superstition." Great song.

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