If magic were to exist....

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If magic were to exist....

Postby ave_matthew » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:04 pm UTC

How could one prove it?

I figure you see all those silly tv shows that prove/disprove some sort of magical phenomenon, so sure I don't believe in magic, unlike a theory, you can't disprove magic by showing it doesn't work because it's faith based, and faith and reason tend not to interact, but if we were to accept for a moment the premise that magic did exist, how would we prove it???

*I am assuming that magic would have a detectable force carrying particle, an easily detectable force carrying particle, like a photon, not like the higgs boson/a graviton*
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Robin S » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:45 pm UTC

If it has an easily-detectable force-carrying particle, surely you could just detect it (easily) QED?

You're asking a rather vaguely-worded question, I'm afraid. Until you make the question more specific, a meaningful answer won't exist.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby vqcg » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:50 pm UTC

If 'magic' were some sort of particle that we could detect and aspire to understand, surely that wouldn't be, well ... magic? Just, a new scientific phenomenon.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby TheStranger » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:38 pm UTC

You'll have to give a bit more specific as to what you mean by 'magic'

Magic, as in prestidigitation (the sort you see in Vegas) cannot really be believed or disbelieved... its a fact (a combination of manual dexterity and knowledge of psychology allows a magician to trick people).

Magic, as it throwing fireballs or summoning Mephistopheles to do your bidding could be proven via experimentation (scientific method FTW).
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mathmagic » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:00 am UTC

James Randi has a one-million dollar offer to anyone that can demonstrate what can best be described as 'magic'. It is quite easily testable; if someone says they can do something paranormal (i.e. 'magical'), then all they need to do is *do it*. http://www.randi.org/joom/challenge-info.html
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby ave_matthew » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:26 am UTC

By magic, i did indeed mean the fireball throwing mind-reading kind, and by easily detectable, I meant that it would not require a particle accelerator to reach the energy levels where it was detectable.
And yes, it would be a new scientific phenomenon, and if magic were to exist it would surly be integral to the whole of nature, and not apart from it (which means we probably would have already picked up on it if it did). But we wouldn't stop calling it magic.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mr. Beck » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:16 am UTC

The real question is where does the energy come from? It takes a lot of power to, say, keep a ton of rocks floating. I doubt magicians have an internal fusion source.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby jmorgan3 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:39 am UTC

Mr. Beck wrote:The real question is where does the energy come from? It takes a lot of power to, say, keep a ton of rocks floating. I doubt magicians have an internal fusion source.


It theoretically takes no power just to keep a ton of rocks floating. It's getting them in the air that takes energy.

According to google, it will only take about 3.6 kilocalories to lift a ton of rocks off the ground. Now making the Statue of Liberty disappear, that would take a lot of power.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby phlip » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:46 am UTC

jmorgan3 wrote:Now making the Statue of Liberty disappear, that would take a lot of power.

Not if you do it by somehow turning half of the statue into antimatter... that'd give you a lot of power...

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mr. Beck » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:11 am UTC

phlip wrote:
jmorgan3 wrote:Now making the Statue of Liberty disappear, that would take a lot of power.

Not if you do it by somehow turning half of the statue into antimatter... that'd give you a lot of power...

Once again, it takes more power to turn stuff into antimatter than you get from the reaction. The second law is a bitch.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Patashu » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:21 am UTC

If magic exists, then there must be some consistent mechanism by which it operates that can thus be repeated, tested and observed. IE just like what science does for every other phenomenon, no matter what other names you might apply to it.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Sana » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:39 am UTC

By definition, magic is inexplicable.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby aoanla » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:31 pm UTC

By which definition? Lots of cultures have had explanations for magic - often involving the existence of other intelligent entities which can do stuff for you. The whole airy-fairy "magic is inexplicable and not amenable to investigation" thing is mostly a modern reaction against the success of science in explaining things, relegating "magical" explanations to the gaps...

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mettra » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:56 pm UTC

If magic existed it wouldn't be magic. It would be within the realm of science. As soon as we got to the point where we could measure its presence/effects, there would be a theory for it.

I'm pretty sure we would stop calling it magic. If we don't call time dilation or quantum mechanics magic, I don't think we'd call any observable phenomenon magic. I think this is the nature of the word itself at play here.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby ave_matthew » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

Perhaps Quantum mechanicis is magic? in as much as that magic is often considered outside the bounds of human experience (shamans often call on "spirits/gods", because they themselves are unable to work magic, only communicate and convince those who are), quantum mechanics is mathematically simple enough, but conceptually near impossible, whose to say that magic would not be the direct manipulation of individual wave forms, moving something would be as simple as changing the properties of it's wave form to disallow it being somewhere else, forcing it to be where you want it to, with a bit of loss, this is outside the human experience, because surly no human mind could co-ordinate such a large and complex transition, but an "omniscient being" (read a sophisticated enough computer)could, then, all you would need to do is tell it what you wanted.

**Note this post makes the as far as I know untrue claim that it is possible to directly interact with a particle-wave's waveform.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Sana » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:22 pm UTC

aoanla wrote:By which definition? Lots of cultures have had explanations for magic - often involving the existence of other intelligent entities which can do stuff for you. The whole airy-fairy "magic is inexplicable and not amenable to investigation" thing is mostly a modern reaction against the success of science in explaining things, relegating "magical" explanations to the gaps...

I do not mean that it cannot be explained. What I mean is that once magic has been explained, it ceases to be magic and becomes science. Therefore all science thusfar previously used to be magic.

Going back to the original question:
ave_matthew wrote:If magic were to exist....
How could one prove it?

The exact approach depends which magic you want to prove. Do you want to prove the magic which causes a giant ball of fire to appear in the sky? Or perhaps you'd like to explain the magic which causes water to rain down from the heavens and convert seeds into fruit.

We can prove magic the way we have been proving it for 200,000 years since the dawn of man.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby toysbfun » Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:02 am UTC

Patashu wrote:If magic exists, then there must be some consistent mechanism by which it operates that can thus be repeated, tested and observed.

What if there isn't? What if we can consistently see the result, but there is no causal mechanism underlying it?

mathmagic wrote:James Randi has a one-million dollar offer to anyone that can demonstrate what can best be described as 'magic'. It is quite easily testable; if someone says they can do something paranormal (i.e. 'magical'), then all they need to do is *do it*. http://www.randi.org/joom/challenge-info.html

While this is a fairly sensible approach, it doesn't account for possible magic-users that (a) don't want the general public to know *real* magic exists. Of course, I might be interested in trying to locate and infiltrate any magic-users' culture for a million dollars.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Klotz » Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:30 am UTC

If magic were to exist than it wouldn't be magic. It would be science!

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby seladore » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:40 am UTC

As someone said above, magic is by definition outside the laws of science and inexplicable. It's not that it is 'airy fairy' to define it this way, this is just what it is.

Have you seen some of the things science can do? We can levitate objects, fly through the air, fly through space to land on some of the lights in the sky, teleport particles across many miles, use seeing tools to look at the universe just after it was created* and to look at individual atoms, send invisible messages through the air that create voices and images...

This is all 'magic', it's just magic we can do based on our understanding of the natural world, which behaves logically and consistently. So, for convenience, we decide not to call it 'magic' because that would get confusing.



* created. Not 'Created' (or even CREATED). Less capitalisation = more science.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Korandder » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:16 pm UTC

Arthur C. Clarke wrote:Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


Larry Niven wrote:Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby aoanla » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:50 pm UTC

seladore wrote:As someone said above, magic is by definition outside the laws of science and inexplicable. It's not that it is 'airy fairy' to define it this way, this is just what it is.


My point was that the meaning of the word "magic" does not, by all definitions, include the idea that it is "outside the laws of science" - indeed, this definition requires a concept of "science" to exist, which generally didn't when the majority of people believed in magic. So, yes, if you're using the sense of magic that includes the concept that it is outside of science, then by definition you can't study it without making it not magic anymore...

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby danpilon54 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:39 pm UTC

Also, if magic were to somehow exist and also not be explainable by any physical laws, then why do so many other things obey physical laws? One of the axioms of science (maybe not officially, but definitely for most if not all scientists) is that all physical processes obey physical laws. These laws might not be completely deterministic, but there is at least some way to make sense the phenomenon. If all things obey physical laws, then so does magic if it exists. To admit that it can exist and not obey physical laws forces you to throw out all current physical laws. If I ever witness something that appears to be "magic", I will know it is much more likely that it is something obeying the laws the physics, just physics I don't understand. That is much more likely than all of physics being wrong.

If magic obeys physical laws, there is nothing to distinguish it from science, and is therefore science.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mettra » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:42 am UTC

danpilon54 wrote:Also, if magic were to somehow exist and also not be explainable by any physical laws, then why do so many other things obey physical laws? One of the axioms of science (maybe not officially, but definitely for most if not all scientists) is that all physical processes obey physical laws. These laws might not be completely deterministic, but there is at least some way to make sense the phenomenon. If all things obey physical laws, then so does magic if it exists. To admit that it can exist and not obey physical laws forces you to throw out all current physical laws. If I ever witness something that appears to be "magic", I will know it is much more likely that it is something obeying the laws the physics, just physics I don't understand. That is much more likely than all of physics being wrong.

If magic obeys physical laws, there is nothing to distinguish it from science, and is therefore science.


This is really well-stated. Better than my meager attempt. I see some uninteresting semantic arguments in here, but this goes past all that. Science in general is the study of physical phenomenon. The most implicit axiom that exists is that the universe* is a physical universe. In other words, there aren't two classes of phenomenon that happen in the universe: physical and unphysical. All phenomenon (according to this implicit axiom) works according to one set of physical laws. To be semantically careful, I'll say that if a phenomenon is found to work on another set of physical laws then there is an underlying mechanism that tells you which set of laws to use.

If this isn't true, the consequence (as so wonderfully bluntly stated above) is that the universe is unphysical - that 'everything we know is wrong/useless'. If, at any moment, a fundamentally unexplainable/unknowable phenomenon takes place, then science is pointless since all the rules could possibly change without any underlying pattern. One might philosophically argue that fundamentally unobservable phenomenon like this could exist, but that's no concern to science - science is concerned only with observable phenomenon.

*when I say 'universe' I include any 'other' universes and/or the multi-verse - everything that exists
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mabus_Zero » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:09 am UTC

I submit, for your consideration, the Platonic Theory of Conceptual Archetypes, better known as his Theory of Forms.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby jmorgan3 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:21 am UTC

Mabus_Zero wrote:I submit, for your consideration, the Platonic Theory of Conceptual Archetypes, better known as his Theory of Forms.

Did anyone else read this in Rod Serling's voice?
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Mabus_Zero » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:48 pm UTC

jmorgan3 wrote:
Mabus_Zero wrote:I submit, for your consideration, the Platonic Theory of Conceptual Archetypes, better known as his Theory of Forms.

Did anyone else read this in Rod Serling's voice?


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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:24 pm UTC

danpilon54 wrote:Also, if magic were to somehow exist and also not be explainable by any physical laws, then why do so many other things obey physical laws? One of the axioms of science (maybe not officially, but definitely for most if not all scientists) is that all physical processes obey physical laws. These laws might not be completely deterministic, but there is at least some way to make sense the phenomenon. If all things obey physical laws, then so does magic if it exists. To admit that it can exist and not obey physical laws forces you to throw out all current physical laws. If I ever witness something that appears to be "magic", I will know it is much more likely that it is something obeying the laws the physics, just physics I don't understand. That is much more likely than all of physics being wrong.


Having read a couple of books on actual magick, I'll try to convey my incomplete understanding. The basic idea is that magickal phenomena are based on the will of minds. Essentially, a strong enough belief in some aspect of reality can conform reality to reflect that belief.
The problem here is that, unlike most physical phenomena which (supposedly) ignore the will and desires of the observer, magickal phenomena are highly dependent on the observer.
To put it another way, reality is not entirely objective. It cares what you want.
This principal, if accepted, explains how magick could exist but not be easily confirmable according to the scientific method. Move the wizard to a laboratory and the magick fails to work -- because the dominant paradigm of the laboratory is unyeilding physical laws.
A fictional form of this theory was used as the background for a role-playing game called Mage. The background section of the original Mage sourcebook does an excellent job of putting forward the basic idea.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby ave_matthew » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:54 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
danpilon54 wrote:Also, if magic were to somehow exist and also not be explainable by any physical laws, then why do so many other things obey physical laws? One of the axioms of science (maybe not officially, but definitely for most if not all scientists) is that all physical processes obey physical laws. These laws might not be completely deterministic, but there is at least some way to make sense the phenomenon. If all things obey physical laws, then so does magic if it exists. To admit that it can exist and not obey physical laws forces you to throw out all current physical laws. If I ever witness something that appears to be "magic", I will know it is much more likely that it is something obeying the laws the physics, just physics I don't understand. That is much more likely than all of physics being wrong.


Having read a couple of books on actual magick, I'll try to convey my incomplete understanding. The basic idea is that magickal phenomena are based on the will of minds. Essentially, a strong enough belief in some aspect of reality can conform reality to reflect that belief.
The problem here is that, unlike most physical phenomena which (supposedly) ignore the will and desires of the observer, magickal phenomena are highly dependent on the observer.
To put it another way, reality is not entirely objective. It cares what you want.
This principal, if accepted, explains how magick could exist but not be easily confirmable according to the scientific method. Move the wizard to a laboratory and the magick fails to work -- because the dominant paradigm of the laboratory is unyeilding physical laws.
A fictional form of this theory was used as the background for a role-playing game called Mage. The background section of the original Mage sourcebook does an excellent job of putting forward the basic idea.



Isn't that just a (mis?) interpretation of quantum mechanics, and would the fact that the mind does it make it electromagnetic, since i can't think of any other force the mind alone generates.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Xanthir » Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:16 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
danpilon54 wrote:Also, if magic were to somehow exist and also not be explainable by any physical laws, then why do so many other things obey physical laws? One of the axioms of science (maybe not officially, but definitely for most if not all scientists) is that all physical processes obey physical laws. These laws might not be completely deterministic, but there is at least some way to make sense the phenomenon. If all things obey physical laws, then so does magic if it exists. To admit that it can exist and not obey physical laws forces you to throw out all current physical laws. If I ever witness something that appears to be "magic", I will know it is much more likely that it is something obeying the laws the physics, just physics I don't understand. That is much more likely than all of physics being wrong.


Having read a couple of books on actual magick, I'll try to convey my incomplete understanding. The basic idea is that magickal phenomena are based on the will of minds. Essentially, a strong enough belief in some aspect of reality can conform reality to reflect that belief.
The problem here is that, unlike most physical phenomena which (supposedly) ignore the will and desires of the observer, magickal phenomena are highly dependent on the observer.
To put it another way, reality is not entirely objective. It cares what you want.
This principal, if accepted, explains how magick could exist but not be easily confirmable according to the scientific method. Move the wizard to a laboratory and the magick fails to work -- because the dominant paradigm of the laboratory is unyeilding physical laws.
A fictional form of this theory was used as the background for a role-playing game called Mage. The background section of the original Mage sourcebook does an excellent job of putting forward the basic idea.

You don't need a lab to do science. Take a camcorder to the wizard's inner sanctum and film them doing levitations. A sufficiently trusted setup can be created, at least enough to qualify for the Randi prize.

Reality is not malleable by the human mind. I like Mage (a lot), and think it would be the most insanely awesome thing in the entire world if it were true, but it's not. No explanation of Paradox can ever explain just why we never, ever see any results of such magic..
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:12 am UTC

ave_matthew wrote:Isn't that just a (mis?) interpretation of quantum mechanics, and would the fact that the mind does it make it electromagnetic, since i can't think of any other force the mind alone generates.


I think the imaginary example in question relies upon some other imaginary force that the mind generates rather than some rigorously understood electromagnetic field.

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby ave_matthew » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:10 pm UTC

Hmm, that would make less sense, so that makes more sense ;)
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby ThinkerEmeritus » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:11 pm UTC

If magic exists, it consists of the ability to do 1000 Quantum Mechanical experiments successively and determine in what order the experimental results occur, without modifying the predicted probability distribution.
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby omega » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:24 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:Having read a couple of books on actual magick, I'll try to convey my incomplete understanding. The basic idea is that magickal phenomena are based on the will of minds. Essentially, a strong enough belief in some aspect of reality can conform reality to reflect that belief.
The problem here is that, unlike most physical phenomena which (supposedly) ignore the will and desires of the observer, magickal phenomena are highly dependent on the observer.
To put it another way, reality is not entirely objective. It cares what you want.
This principal, if accepted, explains how magick could exist but not be easily confirmable according to the scientific method. Move the wizard to a laboratory and the magick fails to work -- because the dominant paradigm of the laboratory is unyeilding physical laws.


What kind of books did you read? Just out of curiosity, I read a bit about it. (Sounds a bit as if you read Peter Carroll, am I correct?)

I think, assuming magic the way you describe it works, it would still work in a laboratory. All that is important, according to /my/ incomplete understanding, to do magick is the mental focus that you can - or should, with a bit of practice, be able to - keep up in a lab as well as anywhere else. The main problem, though, would be to measure any actual, direct physical effects, or do you know a technique where this would be easy on which I missed out?

I'm not sure if this kind of effect can be explained with quantum mechanics - I don't have too much of a clue of both magick and QM -, but I wouldn't entirely dismiss the thought. In this case, the will would really have a direct effect on reality, and I could come up with a few examples that could be explained by this theory as well as by pure coincidence. (especially because in those cases the probability for the coincidence was... nonzero but /low/)
Other than that, it's a lot of psychology, really, and I've never experienced it can really perform physically impossible things - I know a few people who claim they do that but I've never looked too deep into what they do, especially because they're fairly reclusive & I don't really want to join their community, so I can't make any statements on that -, it's more or less a way of shaping your reality the way you want it by setting your mental focus using magickal techniques and then /act/ the way you want. It still works, it's just not "magic" in the canonical sense as in "throwing fireballs/doing physically impossible things/whatnot". It's just, somehow, however it works, affecting the reality with the power of will. Which is exactly why I don't like to call it 'magic', I usually refer to it as 'a bunch of pretty nifty techniques you can use to set your mental focus on things you want, to make it easier to make them happen'.
"I can do magic" is shorter and sounds cooler, I admit though :)

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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Xanthir » Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:02 pm UTC

Heh, you misquoted. *I* didn't say that, I merely quoted it in a post of mine. ^_^

omega wrote:I'm not sure if this kind of effect can be explained with quantum mechanics - I don't have too much of a clue of both magick and QM -, but I wouldn't entirely dismiss the thought.

I would. You can rest assured that any talk about us being able to influence reality due to controlling wave function collapse with our mind is complete nonsense and inspired by a very flawed view of quantum mechanics.

omega wrote:In this case, the will would really have a direct effect on reality, and I could come up with a few examples that could be explained by this theory as well as by pure coincidence. (especially because in those cases the probability for the coincidence was... nonzero but /low/)

That's the thing about coincidence - if it wasn't unlikely, we wouldn't call it coincidence.

Less tritely, you experience an enormous number of events over the course of a day, let alone over the course of your entire life. There are also an enormous number of possible unlikely events that would pique your attention. Even with the probabilities being *very* low, the chances still combine together quite quickly and you are in fact *extremely* likely to have *something* very unlikely occur every once in a while.

Plus, honestly, often the things that we think are unlikely are really only somewhere in the range of 1 in a million or so. That's almost nothing when you actually run some math.
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was_fired
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby was_fired » Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:44 am UTC

To address this problem properly we need to use a slightly better definition of science besides "What describes everything in the universe." This definition fails to actually explain anything about science since it doesn't make science falsifiable or testable, which is the very basis of the modern scientific method. So lets instead say the science is something more like a theory of how the universe functions based on generalized laws. So if we see a very specific law form then we know something is awry.

Using this definition we can say that any form of magic that is replicatible could be explained by science. So if doing the same general thing always produced the same results be it a fireball after a series of hand gestures and being in the right mindset or fly when in the light of a yellow sun if you happen to be from a planet named after a noble gas then we may be able to explain it using science. Obviously our current scientific theories would be insufficient, but it stands to reason that new axioms could be made to encompass these new phenomena.

Now, there is a trickier case. If something cannot be replicated ever and just happens that's when science starts to break apart. Lets say that moon suddenly turned into cheese (various forms of cheese to keep things interesting, but cheese nonetheless). Now we could go up and start to figure out why this happened, but say that for whatever reason without any energy expenditure anywhere the moon just became cheese. How could we explain that? We might claim that someone spent the energy to make it happen, but that would be as false as the belief that the world is flat. We could say it was based on quantum uncertainty and that it was just very very unlikely, but lets face it that's pushing the math beyond the breaking point. Now we could say that we're just going to add a new law of science to our textbooks, "and the moon became cheese on July 3rd, 2009", but that's a specific case that offers absolutely no predictive power. In the end that's magic, and how will we know it? Because the moon will be delicious.
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Tac-Tics
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Tac-Tics » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:33 pm UTC

There'd be nothing peculiar at all if magic existed. But the point which really pisses me off that they do in a *ton* of movies and TV shows involving magic is that human civilization cultivates for x-ty thousand years, and then suddenly, in 200y, some stupid punk kid discovers the world is FULL of magic. And he's the only one who knows about it! Until wacky antics ensue.

Seriously. Harry Potter. A muggle would have figured things out. Humans would be shooting each other all the time with fucking fireballs. They'd go down to Best Buy and pick up a new wand and a copy of the Sapranos Box set on the same trip. If the magic holders are so insanely good at keeping even the slightest word from getting out, the magic world would have to be a bigger dystopia than any in any book you've ever read. Even death threats don't keep people silent about political matters. How the fuck do you keep a secret like that from everyone???

But no. When magic is discovered, we don't call it magic. We call it science, and we figure out why it is the way it is.

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om617
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby om617 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:03 am UTC

Magic is, by definition, outside of the laws of physics. As we understand them.

So any mechanism- technology- that takes advantage of physical law that we do not understand could be interpreted as magic. See Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court for example.

There are undoubtedly technologies that will be developed after our lifetimes based on physical principles not yet understood that would appear quite magical if we were to be presented with them today. And if, today, anyone could explain them, he would be a good candidate for a Nobel or other scientific award.
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Griffin
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Griffin » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:51 am UTC

Magic exists, it just doesn't work the way all those old timey non scientific people thought it does, because, well, nothing works the way they thought it does. They thought you needed material components and rituals and stuff. Turns out you only need the materials!

I can kill a man with beams of pure energy, and throw explosions.
I can levitate objects into the air, and breathe underwater.
I can use the invisible forces that fill the air around us to communicate with companions far away.
I can spy upon my enemies by looking through a special glass, and I can fashion creatures or metal and energy, and command them to take actions while I am away.
I can create a world outside of our own, where the very concept of reality is different, and invite my friends to project themselves into this world so that we can interact.
These are things even I, with my limited knowledge can do.
Others can do far more. Others can even bring those who are dead back to life.

If these things are not magic, then magic has become meaningless, to where it only defines itself by what it is not and cannot be. All of this surrounds us, and people still ask questions like "What if there were magic?". The magic you are thinking of, if it existed, would merely be shrugged at and excepted - because we already have magic, to the extent where our everyday lives run on it, and not one person bats an eye over most of it.
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bippy
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby bippy » Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:37 am UTC

Yeah, that's the point. Magic is meaningless. There is slight of hand, which involves real people obeying real physics, and then there is real people obeying real physics with less of an eye at fooling other folks and so moving their fingers slower.

I can't even imagine why this is a live controversy in this age. Nothing strange is happening. Nothing strange ever has. There's no supernatural force at work. If something really happened that really couldn't be explained we'd really have to rethink our views. Instead, reality proceeds as normal and we're left being entirely unimpressed. If magic existed our world wouldn't be quite so exacting as physics demands. We have no exceptions -- we need gas for cars and CO2 makes Earth hotter.

Starside
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Re: If magic were to exist....

Postby Starside » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:40 am UTC

Here is an idea on how it could work. I used to be sort of into magik (using k to differentiate from stage magic), never really did get it to work. But there is one aspect of the human experience no science I have yet seen comes close to explaining: Self awareness. It is the one thing that keeps my mind a little open to the possibility to magik instead of writing it off as obvious bullcrap. As a computer programmer who has attempted AI, I do not see how any system (software or chemical) no matter how complex can reproduce my experience of being aware that I exist. What is doing the realizing exactly? So here is my idea.

If there really are infinitely many universes where every possible outcome does happen, perhaps it is possible to force your consciousness to be aware of a different one, one perhaps where what you want to happen actually happens. Maybe if you are really good you can choose the very unlikely ones, one perhaps where all the atoms in a marble coincide to move in the same direction at the same time for example.

As far as I could tell that may have two (at least) implications. One would be that the marble would cool down a lot, which could be measured. The other may be that the magician decided to chose a universe where the marble remained at room temp. In which case many more forces would need to coincide. Maybe the magician would even need to make up the energy difference to switch universes, so it would be less costly to levitate a marble that drops in temperature than one that remains at room temp. Perhaps doing such a thing would be more difficult. If there is a magician out there that considers themselves adept maybe they could try their magik that would be consistent with choosing the easiest universe to shift into.


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