Tuesday, 27 May 2008

This is the sort of unscientific bullshit we have to put up with

Via Pagan Magic.

Where to start, where to start....

I really hate when people abuse scientific language to make pseudo-scientific and unfalsifiable statements. Its worse, in my mind then saying "I don't know" or "its magic, it doesn't operate via the normal rules of the Universe". I wouldn't necessarily agree with those statements either, but they seem more honest to me. Dressing up your talk of magic using terms nicked from Quantum Mechanics For Dummies is intellectually dishonest, because you're trying to add a veneer of respectability when none of the evidence actually supports it.

Which is why statements like....

Magic is a form of natural science that works with energies, understanding and changing them.

...piss me off. Oh really, its a form of energy? Pray tell, what kind of energy? Is that kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, nuclear, light, elastic, electromagnetic, sound, chemical, or mass ?

All matter is made from protons, neutrons and electrons - which in turn are made up of quarks -

OK, with you so far.

or vibration waves

Wait, what? All fundamental particles are vibrating due to heat energy in the environment. Why are quarks being singled out? Electrons do exactly the same thing.

We use magic to send out a vibrational signal to the universe to attract or repel energy depending on our desires.

OK seriously, leap in logic moment. How the hell does that work? Does magic involve a multi-million dollar labotatory where you can manipulate quarks to your heart's content? Because othewise, I want an explanation of how you are manipulating subatomic particles.

And secondly, why would a message alone make 'the universe' do anything? Last time I checked, the Universe didn't work off requests or what you desire. I must have missed that model of the Universe when thumbing through my physics textbooks.

And thirdly, assuming you somehow undertook a series of actions which led to you repelling or attracting energy....again crops up the question of what energy you are attracting or repelling. I don't think you know enough about Physics to go around attracting nuclear energy to yourself, for example.

Of course we do this on a daily basis every single day through various means.

Verbal - “Can you get me a cup of coffee honey”
Written - well you’re reading this aren’t you.
Non-verbal - Everyone remember’s the ’stare of doom’ from an angry parent, dressing to impress, fragrancing the home to make it inviting etc.

I'm not sure how much of this I can take.

Quantum effects do not happen in the macro-world. This is all macro-physics that can be explained by, you know, actual science. Chemical and electrical reactions between the eyes and brain to let us interpret signals our eyes recieve (or you can throw in sound and cover the ears as well). No "vibrations", at least in the sense the author claims to understand them, are necessary.

Also, emotions aren't a form of energy damnit.

Also also you've moved from subatomic particles to human interactions. Quit moving the goalposts.

All of these methods are designed to ellicit a response. When we cast a spell we are either sending a message e.g. healing, banishing - or we are looking to receive a desired response e.g. inspiration, love/friendship, prosperity etc.

Yes, and they all have the advantage of communicating a message to people capable of understanding and giving a response. If I want healing, I'll rely on a doctor thanks, or let my immune system do the work. And if I desperately want to 'banish' someone I'll get a restraining order (or send pizzas and Korans to their address for months on end until they get the fucking hint).

Also, you still haven't explained how a message is sent, or how the Universe supposedly comprehends this, or how nuclear, elastic and electromagnetic energy etc mysteriously turn into 'healing', or 'friendship'.

In both cases, a magic spell is designed to create a vibration that will result in the required effect. By using tools with a similar or complementary vibration we can produce a specific signal.

Right. And pray tell, how do you know if there is a complimentary vibration? Last time I checked, up and down quarks are the most common quarks in the Universe, with the other 4 'flavours' being exceedingly rare. So mostly everything is going to have similar vibrations. Unless you've now switched to the made up vibrations in your head, instead of the ones taken from science.

If we went for a job interview we would wear smart clothes, choose a pleasant aftershave/perfume, apply neutral make-up and adopt a professional demeanour.

Well, maybe you would. I have too much self-respect to pander to interviewers. Jeans and t-shirt usually does the trick.

In magic the most common tools that are utilised are herbs, crystals, rituals, the petitioning of deities, incense, oils and colours to name but a few.

Uh-huh. And how do these create subatomic vibrations again? And how in any way does that relate to trying to impress a job interviewer?

So how do we know these work? through thousands of years of experimentation, story telling and record keeping, this information has been passed from generation to generation. The simple truth is that if these tools did not work, then their use would not be remembered.

I....I'm lost for words here. Tradition is the single fucking worst guide for your beliefs in the world. Ignoring for the moment most magical 'traditions' aren't even 200 years old. Secondly, rephrase the sentence this way:

People have believed in the Christian God for thousands of years. The simple truth is that if he did not exist, he would not be remembered.

People are falliable, irrational, have vested interests built around their beliefs and really, really bad at learning. An appeal to tradition is nothing more than an attempt to shut down an argument by pretending to have proof without actually having anything verifiable.

Often referred to as correspondences, this information is now readily available in books and on the internet.

Well, there's a reason not to believe it right off. Nothing spreads faster on the internet than pure bullshit.

Once the appropriate tools have been selected, they need to be used in a way that harnesses the personal power of the spell caster - the intent.

And how does intent translate into vibrations again?

Once the form of the spell has been decided and performed, it is then time to see what results your signal will bring you. There is generally no set time as to how long it will take for a spell to work - the signal may take a while to travel to it’s destination, or in some cases it may not be interpreted properly.

OK...so if I do this tonight and it doesn't work, then its not because its bullshit, its because something else screwed up. So in short, you're saying the theory is unfalsifiable.

It is also important to remember the Law of Attraction i.e. like attracts like - any energy that you send out will eventually return to you, so think carefully before sending any destructive signals.

Oh not the bloody Law of Attraction. There is nothing in the world worse than these smug, self-satisfied pricks who go on about the Law of Attraction. According to this idea of the world, people who are suffering, in pain or dying just aren't trying hard enough. They should think positive thoughts, and pull themselves up by the bootstraps! All those people in Cambodia wanted to die, Pol Pot was just fulfilling the Law of Attraction. Its nothing more than a justification to feel superior due to luck and to blame the victim.

T S Elliot put it perfectly when he said “Do I dare disturb the universe?” - before undertaking any magical act, ask yourself this question and if you are unsure then go back to the books, discuss the options with friends or forum members. Pay attention to your personal energy and intuition, when the time is right - send your message, and let the universe respond.

T S Elliot also put it perfectly when he said

And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness.

This article is a whole lot of emptiness and dodging.

To sum up:

  • The atomic nature of any given structure can not be changed by thought alone.
  • Energies and vibrations are not responsive to or bound by linguistic structures, and these vibrations cannot be trasmitted on command.
  • There is no evidence for 'healing' energy. Either use energy in a physical manner, a sociological one, or a spiritual one. Don't try to conflate these ideas.

Damn. I mean, at least Christians generally acknowledge they hate science and facts...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At last someone that make scientific sence