Definition: Scientific laws or laws of science are statements that describe or predict a range of natural phenomena. A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experiments or observations that describe some aspect of the natural world. (wikipedia)

Say a creature from a universe is trying to find magic. It does this by repeating an experiment 1000 times. He concludes that there is no magic, there is some regularity in the experiment and thinks it/he/she discovered a basic law of the universe. But what if the magic/a deeper underlying truth is revealed by only repeating the experiment 1 million + 1 times?

Maybe the universe has some kind of code that looks like the following:

if (try <= 1000000) {
 return law1;
} else { 
 return law2 OR magic;

Is there a way to determine that magical limit (1 million + 1) of retries without brute forcing it?

EDIT: Why is this being down-voted? Consider commenting if something needs to be improved with the question / you consider it bad for some reason.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nope. You can only describe things in terms of probabilities. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2019 at 15:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For example it doesn't matter how many white swans you see it does not prove that black swans do not exist. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Oct 26, 2019 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime could you please elaborate? $\endgroup$
    – StefanS
    Oct 26, 2019 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Slarty Exactly. $\endgroup$
    – StefanS
    Oct 26, 2019 at 16:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Or to rephrase it doesn't matter how much non magic you see it doesn't prove that magic does not exist $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Oct 26, 2019 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


Maybe we've already found magic, but we just called it science instead.

Your 1 in million tries would be assumed to be an error, an outlier, a problem with the scientific setup or computer glitch that should be ignored. But if you can repeat the process and it is actually usuable you can create laws for it. As an example of this happening is when a science team discovered that some particles were faster than light even with repeat tests. They asked others to perform the experiment and those found that it wasnt true and as far as I know they never discovered why the particles were measured to be faster but it was assumed that it was a glitch.

As another example if we have a ball we can define its position and momentum. This is a process that can be repeated for just about any object at any point in time. But somehow for some reason if you do this for extremely small particles the quantum world suddenly pokes it's head through all the physics you created, and the more certain you know it's position the less certain its momentum becomes. Its just about everything you could want in magic in how it completely upends the normal physics. This process is now known as the Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle and this magic is "simply" a scientific discovery we use.

And that is the problem, until a human can change the local laws of physics for a short time and repeat this any "magic" is simply a scientific law waiting to be discovered.


I think the problem lies in the understanding of science. First, not having evidence about magic does NOT mean that magic does not exist. It only means that we have NOT found evidence about it.

If you use that previous logic, then before we discovered the laws of gravity it, the laws or even gravity, did not exist!

Let me give you a simple example. So far with our knowledge we have not discovered any sign of what we consider intelligent life. So what can we say for certain? That so far we have no evidence supporting the existing of what we consider intelligent life. No more no less.

  • We can't claim that there is no intelligent life because we have not examined the entire universe.
  • We can't claim that there is intelligent life because if you make that claim you better give us some hard evidence, noy some guess that because the universe is big then it probably has life somewhere.

We can only describe what we have found.

So, bottom line is that science can only give us facts in certain contexts like studying the effect of drug A in disease B.

That means that your scientist, if he is worth his salt, can only claim that he has NOT found any evidence to support that that particular magic exist.

  • He can NOT claim that magic does not exist.
  • Nor can he claim that just because we have not seen it it does not exist.

That is guessing and not science.

Also the supernatural is outside the realm of science. So, you are basically trying to use science to proove something that can NOT be proven by science!

Not that I would know. It's just that the traditional look on magic is that it is a supernatural phenomena and science only deals with the natural.

So I think either you are missing something about science, actual science not movie science, or that the I'm not getting the question. SO


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