October 20, 2006

I was watching Full Metal Alchemist last night, and there was a quote in there to the effect of: “The more we learn, the more we see there is to learn.” I agree, and I relate. The time I’ve spent thus far, postulating over the joint resolution to be gained between science and religion has led me to a plethora of other more relevant questions.

If I wanted, I could easily say that Paganism is, at its core, directly correlated to science, as that both are directed at and through the physical world and its parts, and both consider our roles as part of the life on this planet. That is the core because of what paganism truely is: a religion based on the concepts of working the earth and reaping its rewards, much like the country dwellers did way back when, from which we derive the word “pagan.”

However, my research and my exploration has led me to ask a more succint question. I have decided, as stated above, that science and religion are coinciding for my purposes, since I am a pagan. The same can be said of other religions, including Chrisitianity, believe it or not. But with that in mind, I must dig further into the matter to find an answer that will quell the fires that can’t be by my previous question. So here is the new question: How do we reconcile magick and science?

The first step is to break down the question into its parts. The thing to remember is that the magick I speak of is that of paganism, and is so firmly rooted in the modern traditions that its harder and harder to get away. Sometimes, when confronted with a problem, one will hear a pagan give advice about an herb or rune or stone to use that will help with the problem. The magick of paganism has become the core of its teachings, and when one decides to initiate into a tradition, they learn magick before they learn anything about how to live a pagan life, which is backwards to me, but that’s beside the point.

Next, we have to remember that we have reconciled paganism with science, so that the two work well together. You can take any “mountain man” out in the world, stick a beaker in his hand, and it will still make sense. Just as long as he’s wearing flannel, and not ritual garb. Then he looks like an alchemist, which would be fun, but come on, now…

So we have 1 = science + religion. We also have 1 = magick + religion. It is easy to see how magick and mysticism can work into any religious path. Looking into Judiasm, Islam, Hinduism, Shinto, Christianity, and the army of pagan systems, we can see traditions of mysticism and spirituality that relies on immeasurable things. These immeasurable things are what get in the way of our question. As long as these things exist, we can’t reconcile.

The Accum’s razor approach is to remove the immeasurability. This would avoid any philosophical discussion, and move the actions of magick into the realm of science, and all would be well. However, do to this would require a large advance in things like quantum mechanics and string theory, and also there has to be something to the idea that magick can be measured.

There are ideas about this. There have been several theories and projects initiated to start this provability. However, nothing conclusive has come out of it. The Global Consciousness Project (http://noosphere.princeton.edu/) has worked to prove whether the random number generators used in the experiment suffered from a deviation that line up with world events. Looking at a graph that shows the results, and noting that the vertical gray bar is 9/11 http://noosphere.princeton.edu/pab/longtrend/Images/GCPZ2cumdev.gif 
One can see that there was a spike on 9/11, however, there have been spikes after that that don’t line up with world events. It is interesting to note, though, that there is more definition in the flow of the chart after 9/11.  But overall, it would be fair to say that the deviation was bound to line up with a world event at one point, as per the law of averages, and so why not start early. Even those involved in the study do not call this conclusive.

Also, I’m sure many of you have heard of the studies done on prayer. Used to be that it showed conclusive results for prayers effectiveness. Then came the results that it wasn’t. Now, the results most published today show that prayer is actually bad when people know they have been prayed for. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-03-30-prayer-study-qanda_x.htm
However, the foundation that funded the project will not release info. http://www.templeton.org/spirituality_and_health/spirituality_programs.asp

I do not suggest that magick and its kin cannot be proved or measured. However, I do say that it can’t be proved yet, which means there is a chance in its falseness. That leaves us with one option: -1 = science + magick. For me personally, I’ve had a great lack of success with magick. You name the spell, I’ve probably tried it, and have succeeded in none of it. Even the little earth magick things I’ve tried could be chalked up to the law of averages.

When you have a religion that supports magick but also follows science, you have a great conundrum. Obviously, the ethics of this conundrum could make one question the intent of the religion’s practicioners, and I think that should be looked into.

As for all those psychics and ghost hunters out there that haven’t been debunked or have kept quiet from people like James Randi, http://www.randi.org/research/index.html, I don’t know what do say. Maybe there is something to magick. Maybe some of the ideas in “What the Bleep Do We Know?” could be true and useable. However, at this point, I abstain, and I must decide what course to take next.



  1. I admit, didn’t read all of this blog, but I do remember when we were in HS and you grabbed up all my candles cuz you had to drive home and it was storming quite badly. Then ya placed them in a circle and lit some insence, said a few things and the storm stopped.

  2. *hmms* you’re right, that did happen…

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