19
$\begingroup$

Now let's say there is a magician. We'll say he like a DnD wizard or something, so he does stuff like create food out of thin air and turns people he doesn't like into lizards. He doesn't want to restrict his magic use at all, but he doesn't want all the scientists to freak out or anything. Specifically, he wants his magic to seem to have scientific explanations.

  • He has various powers of a DnD wizard
  • He uses them in public frequently at whim
    • He doesn't try to hide it at all. He literally flies to work (as a party magician) and conjures stuff up all the time.
  • He wants scientists to believe his acts fit within current science
    • He doesn't want to change science though. His magic has to fit within our current understanding of science. He can't create new scientific theories to explain it.
    • Specifically, it has to have a specific scientific explanation. Most scientists believe that everything fits into science, but this magician wants them to know how his magic fits in.
  • He doesn't want to invade people's minds with magic (illusion is okay)
  • He wants to expend the least of effort possible.
    • Like a DnD wizard, any extra spells he need to keep this charade up means he has less spells for more important stuff, like hypnotizing the pigeons to poop on people's cars.
    • He doesn't want to use up too much time keeping the charade up either.

In case you're wondering, this magician is not necessarily myself. You can believe me because I am telling you the truth.

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 From the mountains of spells available to wizards in Dungeons and Dragons v. 3.X, this wizard can do anything under the sun (and some things over it). I believe the fly spell is 2nd/3rd level (out of 9) and hypnotize is 1st. The typical fireball is also 3rd level. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 13 '15 at 18:42
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ "He has various powers of a DnD wizard" - you mean, nerdery, rote leveling up by grinding (probably murdering countless rats), and knowledge of obscure spell stats? $\endgroup$ – user4239 Jul 13 '15 at 19:08
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @DVK He generally hides those things, as not even science can explain those things. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 13 '15 at 19:12
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jul 13 '15 at 21:43
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @TomJNowell: Science is not "what we know". Science is "a search for the truth". Therefore, to a practicing scientist (and indeed any rational person) anything that doesn't fit into science cannot possibly exist. If magic is real it only means that our understanding of physics is incomplete. It doesn't mean that magic is unscientific. $\endgroup$ – slebetman Jul 14 '15 at 2:38

11 Answers 11

35
$\begingroup$

Props

The easiest and simplest way for your Magician to use his magic is simply to use it with various props he may have. He doesn't need to explain anything, scientists will work VERY hard to explain anything they don't understand. All they need is a carrot to run after.

I.e.: Your magician is flying to work. All he needs is to take out his skateboard (to which he duck-taped a couple of spray painted cans - or any fancier sci-fi looking skateboard) and fly to work while either holding it or standing on it etc... The moment he's seen, it's not magic that'll be on everyone's mind, it's how the guy invented some crazy flying skateboard.

He's conjuring stuff out of mid-air. Any kind of Hollywood beam gun or teleporting microwave like machine will do the trick to have people willingly fool themselves in disbelieving any magic is at work.

$\endgroup$
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Props are good. So basically he's not a magician, but an inventor! $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 13 '15 at 18:44
  • 16
    $\begingroup$ Straw scientist, maybe. Anyone remotely competent will be quick to point out that no matter what he has ductaped under the thing it's not going to make it fly, let alone be stable or controllable. If you want to run this a light hearted comedy world where people don't care about such things you can pull this; If you're at all interested in keeping this believable your wizard will have to tone down quite a bit. $\endgroup$ – Cubic Jul 13 '15 at 21:22
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ it was a simplistic example. If the wizard can conjure stuff out of thin air he can conjure out an imagined hoverboard 5000. And the point was props. And my point is, (take new horizon as an example then) have a darker blotch appear on an infra red picture of something taken millions of miles out in space of an object and you end up with a few dozen scientific theories on what that blotch signifies. Scientists will be sceptical about anything, question anything, and come up with theories for everything, but magic will never be one of them. Throw them a bone. they will bite. $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Jul 13 '15 at 21:27
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Any SF writer will agree with this. A widget and a plausible explanation can be enough to justify suspension of disbelief. Some day I'm going to invent the positive-logic optical transducer just so i can build PLOT devices. $\endgroup$ – keshlam Jul 14 '15 at 0:42
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @keshlam Emphasize on the willing part. The scientific method gives every scientist with domain knowledge not only the right, but the duty to call bs when they see someone make bs claims. In-universe scientists don't have willing suspension of disbelief when it comes to science. $\endgroup$ – Cubic Jul 14 '15 at 14:18
25
$\begingroup$

Let himself be exposed... as a fraud

All he needs to do is visit Randi and use a magic trick rather than actual magic and then use some mind manipulation to get as many media as possible to write about it. Or maybe if he feels uncomfortable visiting Randi (as in a magic world Randi would probably be a magician supressing the powers of others) he could simply set up a situation where he gets exposed for faking stuff. Like having a trapdoor suddenly open somewhere 'by mistake' whilst on television or something.

After that it would still be a wise idea to not do stuff that is too impossible. For example if he flies to work everyday on a skateboard scientists will freak out and will do anything possible to figure out how he's doing it. Conjuring stuff out of thin air however is quite doable for a real-world magician (as long as it doesn't literally materialize in thin air), it just takes money and preperation normally. Practically the wisest thing for him to do is study real world magicians and learn what they can and can not do and limit himself to those things. And whenever he gets in a tight spot 'slip up' (using real magic) in the way a real world magician would slip up.

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ That is hilarious, Randi actually being an evil magician. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 14 '15 at 2:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For flying to peoples houses: Just let yourself be exposed climbing out of an old Minivan behind the house while an illusion is flying to the house. Maybe have some kind of fancy projector on the Minivan... And everybody will be like "yeah, some fancy projection in the sky" - Of course this would break down if people tried to analyse everything about you. But who has the time? There are millions of frauds, once you were exposed no one cares. - You'd only have to do this once - after that people will simply say "he found a way to better hide the van" $\endgroup$ – Falco Jul 14 '15 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Falco doing a convincing protection in the sky would be virtually impossible using current technology. There definitely would be people trying to figure out the trick and the only way I could see it work is if he would put a semi invisibility spell on himself to make him look a bit transparent or something. $\endgroup$ – David Mulder Jul 14 '15 at 11:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DavidMulder The people trying to figure him out, after he has been officially debunked will most likely only be some nerds and conspiracy theorists (as they are viewed by society) - he can mostly ignore them, even if they discover he is using magic, no one will much care about them. Many will even think they are hired by the magicians PR-Team to create an air of mystery... You could even let leak some information which looks like you payed them for their "shocking discovery or real magic" ^^ $\endgroup$ – Falco Jul 14 '15 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Falco Gotta say I like that last idea xD But you would be surprised how big the community is that enjoys figuring out magic tricks, the kind of people who watch pen & teller: fool us for example and magicians that try to learn from each other. Honestly, the danger wouldn't be from conspiracy theorists, but just people trying to figure out his tricks and suddenly catching him (on camera) doing something that is physically impossible. To a lay person magicians do such things all the time, but to this crowd the difference is huge and it could mean trouble as they can be quite persistent. $\endgroup$ – David Mulder Jul 14 '15 at 11:18
10
$\begingroup$

Simple. He needs to pretend to be an alien.
Mount a bunch of LEDs on his wand and call it a sonic screwdriver. Caste an illusion of a flying saucer landing in the Capital. Teleport (or invisibly walk) to the middle of the illusionary saucer, then open a hatch and (visibly) step out into the public view, before having the illusionary saucer fly away.

From that point on, he can do whatever he wants. No more spells need to be wasted to defend his magic from discovery.

When the scientists raise a skeptical eye, all he has to do is say that he can't explain how his science works, because...

That would be breaking the Prime Directive!

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ -1 Aliens definitely would freak out scientists... and they definitely would give him a lot of attention as the scientists would wish to steal his knowledge and/or he would be expected to share his knowledge. $\endgroup$ – David Mulder Jul 13 '15 at 21:24
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @DavidMulder You realize you never actually downvoted, right? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jul 13 '15 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ You were absolutely right, normally I downvote first and then realize I should justify it a bit. This time I started with a comment and then realized my criticism was hard enough to deserve a downvote so I edited in the -1 , but afterwards somehow forgot voting down. Oops :$ $\endgroup$ – David Mulder Jul 14 '15 at 11:08
  • $\begingroup$ You implying Time Lord? $\endgroup$ – Nefer007 Jul 15 '15 at 14:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not exclusively. I stole from all the greats... Doctor Who, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and Star-Trek. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Jul 15 '15 at 16:44
7
$\begingroup$

Fundamentally, if stuck to all the requirement, this cannot be done.

But if you were to do it, the most ironcast method would be by demonstrating that the magician understands how the magic works, and can rationalise and predict what will happen when it's used.

At this point, magic can be proven as real, and the magician in question has essentially founded the science of magic, aka theoretical magic in the process of explaining it.

Science as defined by Wikipedia is:

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe

The idea of something that is by its nature is unscientific, and exists in the world, is meaningless, and suggests a misunderstanding of what the scientific principle is. It's similar to saying that you have water that is free of chemicals ( despite H2O being a chemical, along with anything else built from atoms ), the statement makes little sense.

As for the proposed solution, this has happened in the past! Although the theories put forward were eventually disproven as it was found that other explanations were more likely. For example, theories of Alchemy lead to the theories of chemistry. Thaumaturgy eventually lent itself to the existing fields of philosophy, and most of its aspects were shown to be less than rigorous. Homeopathy is a more recent attempt that has failed scientific enquiry, yet is recent enough to still encounter strong support.

The main difference here is that in your fictional world, this magician has actual magic, and can back up their statements. By explaining the mechanisms by which magic works, and providing empirical evidence to back up said hypothesis, the magic moves from a scientific hypothesis, to a scientific theory.

Without this, the likely reaction is that the magician is a charlatan and a liar, who tries to fool people into believing they have supernatural powers through trickery. Plenty such people already exist in our world, and if the magician demonstrates sufficient magical abilities, they may be seen as using technology as yet to be revealed

Now the question does state that the magic needs to be explained using current science, but this demonstrates a misunderstanding of science works.

Specifically, it has to have a specific scientific explanation. Most scientists believe that everything fits into science, but this magician wants them to know how his magic fits in.

Nevermind that the statement "scientists believe that everything fits into science" is simply false ( dark energy, dark matter, the internal nature of black holes, where gravity comes from, etc to name a few ), the very act of doing this creates a hypothesis on which the scientific principle can be applied. New science has been created.

  • Hypothesis: Expected answer to OP question
  • Experiment: Test that explanation works
  • Result: Evidence that can be used to construct a new theory

Lets say that your magicians only trick was a vast light show in the sky, and your magician decided to tell the scientists that he used a hidden wide field laser to shift the atoms in the air into a bose einstein state usually only seen in laboratories studying quantum states. This seems sensible at first, but your magician has unwittingly made a huge advance in quantum mechanics, one that will need to be reproducible.

Which is another vital element. For your magician to be believed, whatever they say needs to be explained in a way that other scientists can reproduce. If it cannot be independently reproduced, then your magician will be accused of falsifying evidence and lieing, and you're back to square 1

As a further note, if I make a claim that all people with the name Veronica have a secret ability to shoot beams of fire out of their palms that they are unaware of, I have created a Scientific Hypothesis. The current understanding of Science has changed. Granted, that hypothesis will not be taken seriously, and I highly doubt it will stand up when tested. But if it were tested, and reproduced, the general understanding of Veronica fire beams will be the theory.

All in all, if we strictly adhere to the original questions parameters, the answer is no. It cannot be done without fundamentally changing the scientific method, and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding about what science is, and how science works by the asker

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ He wants them rationalize it with current science, not new science. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 13 '15 at 23:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This may not be the answer you/he was looking for, but it's actually a very good one. "Any science which can be distinguished from magic is not sufficiently advanced." -- Florence Ambrose [Lead character in the Freefall webcomic, highly recommended.] $\endgroup$ – keshlam Jul 14 '15 at 0:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PyRulez the moment you rationalised it you've created new science, even the very presence of said magician doing said acts without attempting to explain it will involve new science the moment any person observes it and tries to think of an explanation ( aka create a hypothesis ). Current science has extensively documented the psychology of it, people will jump to absurd conclusions because we're uncomfortable being confronted with someone that we're unable to explain, your magicians probably going to face utterly stupid accusations of alien tech, spirit powers, divine godly intervention etc $\endgroup$ – Tom J Nowell Jul 14 '15 at 2:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "Without this, the likely reaction is that the magician is a charlatan and a liar, who tries to fool people into believing they have supernatural powers through trickery". Read this again. And again, again, again. The only one who knows that it is not trickery is the magician himself and he has no interest to set up new theories or back up his powers. Scientists on the other hand choose what they want to explore and a real magician sounds so improbable that they fear to waste their time if an easier explanation is available. So, no inquiry. $\endgroup$ – Thorsten S. Jul 14 '15 at 3:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is the point I would have made had you not already done it better. Science is demonstrable and reproducible. If the scientists can't reproduce his results using his claimed methods, they won't accept it as science -- he's obviously a fake. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 21 '15 at 3:19
6
$\begingroup$

He won't actually have to do much work, the default position of a scientist is going to be that he's using sleight of hand, etc - so as long as he doesn't do anything that could not be faked then he will be fine.

The flying to work is the thing that's going to be a real problem, he shouldn't do that as long distance flying in uncontrolled outdoor spaces would be really hard to explain.

The problem you have is that explaining his activities and carnying on as normal are not compatible. Magic breaks any number of physical laws and as soon as he becomes blatant enough and gets enough people interested the fact that he is doing so will pretty soon be obvious.

However if he just moderates things a little when in public he can get away with a lot. The best thing is he never has to explain how he does it, he can just say "a magician never reveals his secrets" and let everyone else do the explaining for him...

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "Mr. Magician, how did you fly to our house?" "A magician never reveals his secrets!" $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 14 '15 at 6:12
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "Clearly he has a helicopter hiding in the clouds carrying him. Right ,Mr. Magician?" "I will never tell!" $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Jul 14 '15 at 15:26
5
$\begingroup$

Niven's Law states:

"Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology."

Your magician does not need to do anything beyond claim that it is done with technology (i.e. it is indeed a trick), while withholding the method on the basis of intellectual property and commercial confidence. The fact that it really is magic need only be known to him.

For practical purposes you might like to have your magician keep an eye on anyone investigating his methods too closely and take subtle action to thwart them.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "take subtle action to thwart them." Would teleporting there house to another plane be subtle enough? $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 14 '15 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ That would depend on whether they were home at the time. :-) $\endgroup$ – Mark Micallef Jul 14 '15 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to add on this, in that if he can teleport at a whim, people wont see it at magic but that SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE allows him to teleport, or that his brain has some control over time/space etc... a scientific explanation to something 'currently' unexplainable $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Jul 14 '15 at 20:50
3
$\begingroup$

Assuming you want to keep this story somewhat believable:

If he just wants to troll people, he can most likely get away with declaring them tricks - because no one is going to care too much.

If he does anything that's actually useful, that won't fly. People will want to know how he does it. He will have to come up with an explanation. Assuming the scientists of your universe are not grossly incompetent, that explanation will have to work.

In other words, your hypothetical wizard could only use spells that allow him to do things that are not only physically possible, but also possible to implement with the equipment a person carries on themselves. That kind of defeats the whole point of your idea though.

Unless you severely restrict the abilities of your wizard he will live in a rather odd caricature of our world where people can easily get away with pretend science. It'd really only work if somehow no actual scientist ever heard of him. Maybe you can put him in a remote mountain village with no internet access or something.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

It would depend on the details of what this magician wanted to do. When I am told that someone has the powers of a D&D wizard, I assume a level 20 D&D 3.5 wizard, the maximum according to standard rules (no epic-level fluff). This actually gives the wizard a great number of options. Some people have suggested that the magician could simply do whatever he wished, and people would simply explain it away as illusion. While this might be true within certain, very limited contexts, there is simply no way that summoning a demon out of thin air, for example, if witnessed by many people, will be dismissed as a mass delusion (something which occurs infrequently enough, and only in response to specific social situations). Those who suggest that a new branch of "science" will be thought up to explain his actions if he is too blatant about it are spot-on. I hesitate to call anything that treats conscious minds separately "science," but perhaps empiricism. Fortunately, the wizard need not find himself in this situation. The wizard has many options for concealing or disguising his sorcery.

Option 1: Invisibility. The spells persistent invisibility and superior invisibility are incredibly useful here. The first is an 8th level persistent spell that lasts all day. So our wizard can cast once and make himself invisible all day. The latter is a spell that lasts 20 minutes (for a 20th-level caster), but also conceals from hearing, and scent, and allows him to attack without dispelling the charm. It may, however, prevent the casting of spells with a verbal component. These spells could conceal any bizarre effect that the wizard does to himself (e.g. shapeshifting) quite effectively. Even bizarre summoned (or called) creatures could be concealed in a similar manner. The first does not conceal sound, but the chances that someone would here a peculiar sound, and conclude that magic was at work, are extremely low. What is more, the second presents some incredible possibilities. The wizard wants to hit someone with a bolt of electricity? He simply casts fly, goes up in the air, and fires the lightning bolt. With no individual in sight, this event, while obviously supernatural if the wizard were visible, will likely be brushed off as simply a "bolt from the blue." This method, while certainly meaning that the wizard's spells can easily be passed off as having a scientific explanation, does have the disadvantage that the wizard is trying to hide them. This, I think, was prohibited in your explanation.

Option 2: Concealing as mundane. This, I think, is more along the lines of what you are looking for. A wizard who sticks to the conjuration of small objects and animals can likely pass himself off as a party magician, regardless of how frequently he does so. Quite a number of conjuration spells could plausibly be passed off as completely mundane. For example: The spell prestidigitation produces small effects that look like magic tricks. Grease can easily be passed off as having some of the real thing hidden in a sleeve. Comprehend languages is simply the mark of a polyglot. Most illusion spells, if they do not cover an extremely large area or strike people dead, are easily passed off as, well, illusions. Any divination spell is simply either a good guess, the action of a confederate, or prior planning. The spell summon swarm, done in an appropriate area, is readily explained away as the result of animals placed there beforehand. Even some of the more powerful, high-level spells can be explained in scientific terms. A temporal stasis spell, if cast on an animal or some other creature incapable of relaying its experiences, looks a lot like a magic trick. Astral projection is extremely powerful, but produces few effects that would be evident to observers, besides unconsciousness, which is easily explained away. Shapechange is easy. A wizard jumps into a closet. A mosquito flies out (or an incorporeal or gaseous creature drifts out). Everyone murmurs appreciatively and looks for hidden doors. This same sort of trick is done without magic all the time.

Option 3: Time stop. Yes, the D&D wizard, at the highest levels, has a limited ability to stop time. For anywhere from 12 to 30 seconds, the wizard can do pretty much anything, anywhere, and no one will notice. The wizard can throw fireballs, shoot lightning, turn into a demon, conjure things, and as long as no obvious residue of the spell is left when the stopped time ends, no one will notice a thing. What is more, even if some huge effect is created during the time stop, a powerful illusion spell such as screen can be used to prevent the object from being seen or heard. Even better, no one will have any chance of resisting the effect unless they have good reason to believe that a wizard just conjured a wall of iron and concealed it with magic.

I think that the previous options give a sufficiently intelligent wizard (and pretty much all 20th-level wizards have a 180 IQ anyway) plenty of ways of casting spells, even technically within plain sight of Muggles, without anything out of the ordinary being noticed.

To attend to one specific issue. Your wizard wants to fly to work, in plain sight of everyone, and have it be viewed as perfectly natural. No problem! The spell levitate would allow a level 20 wizard to move a 2000 pound object through the air for up to 20 minutes. Needless to say, a persistent levitate would last all day. What the wizard can then do is commission a 2000 pound machine that looks as though it might be capable of flight (has wings, makes loud engine noises, etc). Then the wizard could use a day-long levitate spell to get it at a constant height, and then fly to work, appearing to sit the front seat of the conveyance, while really pulling the now-weightless machine along with him. A titanium car with wings and extremely powerful engines could quite possibly achieve flight at an atrocious energy cost, so if the (presumably very rich, thanks to divination) wizard has some plausible looking models built, these can be used to conceal a leisurely flight to work, without really needing to use incredible amounts of rocket fuel.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Seriously ?

It is almost impossible to be exposed as long as the magician claims to be a conjurer and using "tricks" to do his bidding. The default option of the scientists is that conjurers work are uninteresting from a scientific perspective because they are tricks.

Necessarily magicians will be impressed by the quality of the tricks and jealous, but they cannot do much either.

Suppose he is flying to work and I want to expose him. "Yes, Mr. T., you saw him flying to work. Let me show you the door." I tape him flying. "Mr. T., you are insulting my intelligence. Do you think I believe your crude fake video ?!". Other people are joining in and attest that they have him seen flying, too. "A severe case of mass delusion". And if it is going to be much trouble, simply as one answer already point out, go to a magician and get "debunked" that it really was a trick and even if I and the others protested that the demonstration is not remotely the same thing as that what we saw, we will be ignored.

I would like to add that the magician will sooner or later acquire some groupies, especially of the esoteric branch. While it may have advantages for selecting some mates, that could be more trouble for him than scientists.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Sometimes, when constructing a hypothetical question you create a self contradictory scenario without noticing. 'Science' encompasses any phenomenon that is measurable and observable. The only reason that 'science' does not encompass 'magic' is because it is assumed to be fictional and therefore not measurable or observable. As soon as there existed a magician to do magic in front of scientist, the 'magic' would be 'observable' and therefore NOT 'unscientific'. Scientist would not require any persuasion to begin attempting empirical measurements and/or investigations and/or hypothesising, etc. etc. etc. There is no scenario in which a scientist could be convinced that something observable and measurable is 'not science' since the very definition of science explicitly encompasses all such things.

In practice however, the majority of scientist would approach it with the assumption that it was a hoax, since, on the surface, it seems to violate scientific laws. They would then either lose interest after they had failed to explain how the trick works scientifically, or they would come up with some plausible hypothesis about how it 'might' be explained and be content to assume that they are probably correct.

So probably the fastest way to lose the interest of scientist would be to actively proclaim a message along the lines of: "This is real magic! This is not a trick! Don't listen to those stupid scientists; they are out to rob you of your joy! Just believe in magic and you can join me! Also, I accept donations."

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ You are right about the science approach, but there is a much chance he would be coerced into a guinnea pig job to test and re-test new scientific theories. And that, in any case, defeat the wizzard wish to "[want] scientists to believe his acts fit within current science" as required in the question. Maybe you can adress these issues..? $\endgroup$ – clem steredenn Jul 15 '15 at 7:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Take the UK TV magician 'Dinamo' for example. From where I stand, his tricks are quite convincing. I have no explanation for how his tricks might work. Actually, I have no proof that he isn't using "Real Magic." (apart from the rather cyclic argument that 'magic isn't real and therefore all magic is fake') Has he been coerced into being a lab rat for scientists? Why would an 'actual wizard' be any different? For that matter, how do you know that 'Dinamo' isn't an 'Actual wizard'? $\endgroup$ – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Jul 15 '15 at 22:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ While it may be strictly self-contradictory, I feel that the intent of the question is clear. Using quantum mechanics to provide a plausible explanation for the sorcery is one thing. Simply saying that it is science because you can see it is not enough. After all, the wizard wants to keep his gifts secret. In addition, though, some definitions of science, as well as common usage, limit it to the physical or natural world. When the mind can alter the base laws of reality, rather than being altered by them, there is a decent argument for calling it "non-physical." $\endgroup$ – Obie 2.0 Jul 20 '15 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ Fair Enough. We should take this question to mean "How could someone who can alter physical reality using only his mind, convince scientists that his methods are actually limited to the application of well understood physical principles and not worth investigating further?" As the second part of my answer alludes to, the fastest way to lose the interests of scientists is to proclaim "This is real magic! This is not a trick! Don't listen to those stupid scientists; they are out to rob you of your joy! Just believe in magic and you can join me! Also, I accept donations." $\endgroup$ – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Jul 20 '15 at 23:50
1
$\begingroup$

Eat a lot, or talk to a string theorist.

The world contains beings that can snap their claws to stun prey infront of them (without touching them with the claws), that can spray boiling water to cook their prey, that can change shape, size, color and spit acid, ink and venom. Time can already run slower for some beings than others and twins can age faster than the other twin. It is possible (a little unlikely) for all of the atoms of a person to disappear, and reappear in the same configuration in a different location. Pretty much every dnd spell is completely boring compared to the insane things that go on in reality.

The thing that DnD wizards can do that nothing in the real world can is create energy. To hide this, the wizard must appear to eat a lot. Possibly teleporting the food away from their throat so they don't become full or fat.

Alternatively, you could probably convince scientists that the energy is being harnessed from 'somewhere else' instead of being created. Between multiverse theories, the idea of energy being stored in tiny vibrating string dimensions, and plain old dark energy, scientists are comfortable with the idea that we can lose and find energy, as long as they can somewhat confidently state that is has been not been created or destroyed. Particularly, this will be easy for scientists to believe given the wizard could objectively prove the existence of different planes

Additionally, as possibly a more believable explanation for instantaneous teleportation available in dnd than co-ordinated quantum teleportation of macro objects is the use of higher level dimensions, such as found in string theory and proposed by somewhat rational scientists for many years, such as the Alcubierre drive, "which proposes expanding the fabric of space behind a ship and shrinking space-time in front of the ship. The ship would not actually move, rather the ship would sit in a bubble between the expanding and shrinking space-time dimensions. Since space would move around the ship, the theory does not violate Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which states that it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate a massive object to the speed of light." - http://newswise.com/articles/view/543391/

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I'm being picky here, but "dimension" as in "alternate dimension" is not a science term - it is a science fiction term. Mainly because "dimension" already has a specific scientific meaning. A scientist might call it an alternative universe or a parallel universe or some such thing, but definitely not a dimension. $\endgroup$ – Harry Johnston Jul 14 '15 at 4:13
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, scientists who study string theory do exactly that. They refer to the possibility of taking a shortcut through the additional dimensions proposed by String Theory, including this article, in which neutrinos "take shortcuts through the extra dimensions predicted by string theory." scientificamerican.com/article/dimensional-shortcuts $\endgroup$ – Scott Jul 14 '15 at 4:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The "extra dimensions" predicted by string theory are dimensions in the scientific sense - the same way time is a dimension - not in the "parallel dimensions" sense. The article you've linked to is behind a paywall, so I can't see it, but I suspect you're misinterpreting it, or the article misinterprets the research - possibly because of this very confusion over what "extra dimension" means to a scientist. $\endgroup$ – Harry Johnston Jul 14 '15 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ You're right. I initially had 2 points there, decided to cut down to one, but managed to make my cuts poorly, and it was pretty poorly worded to begin with. $\endgroup$ – Scott Jul 14 '15 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ No worries, I only mentioned it because this is a particularly common misconception, and one a science fiction writer needs to avoid. Your new revision is much better. Just in case anyone is wondering how you can "take a shortcut through an extra dimension": imagine you have to circumnavigate a pyramid. You can find a shorter route by making use of the extra dimension commonly known as "up". :-) $\endgroup$ – Harry Johnston Jul 14 '15 at 22:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.