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04 December 2008 @ 10:59 pm
You know, for years, I've referred to "the inverse of Clarke's Third Law" when discussing fantasy literature, but I never really quite hit upon an elegant way to phrase it.

Thank you, Phil and Kaja Foglio:

"Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!"

I feel: pleasedpleased
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on December 5th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
In recent years, I've come to think of Clarke's third law as being sorta goofy. I mean, if I saw some crazy stuff I'd still look for the technological underpinnings. I don't think a sufficiently developed technology is indistinguishable from magic. I think that the concept of magic is an enculturation created by most people believing that the supernatural is real. It is not an inevitable to look at the unknown and spectacular and assume supernatural agency. It's not useful, either. Some people look at the vastness of space and say "this is the result of supernatural agency that I can't fathom" and then they stop thinking. Others look at the the vastness of space and believe it can be understood by human intelligence and do work from that presumption - and, y'know, create modern science as a result.

I just wanted to register my complaint with Clarke's third law. He was wrong. Heck, I'm not really so sure about the first, anymore. ;)
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on December 5th, 2008 07:14 am (UTC)
Also, fix your open HTML tag. ;)
Helvetica 'Foofers' Boldfoofers on December 5th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)
I've always been fond of "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced."
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpent: big ideasathelind on December 5th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
I never got any symbolic logic training, even in my logic classes!

...it annoys the heck out of me.

If I'm looking at this correctly, then Foofs just stated the Contrapositive.

Edited at 2008-12-05 07:43 pm (UTC)
scarfman on December 5th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)

That caught my eye too.

The thing about sorcery for people who don't believe in it is that they don't realize it'd be just as difficult a discipline as any other vocation. They see Merlin intone, "Snow," to encapsulate Ector into his own private blizzard and say to themselves, "Wow, being able to do that to the jerk at the office would be so cool;" but when Merlin can't change Kay into a fish, or accidentally blows himself to Bermuda, they don't see the implications.

(Guess what I reread this week.)

leonard_arlotteleonard_arlotte on December 5th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
Interestingly, that episode of Girl Genius is already included in the Wikipedia entry.

Also curious was that one of the episodes of Doctor Who I watched over lunch today included the Doctor explaining to Leela that nothing is unexplainable, just insufficiently investigated (I paraphrase).
Your Obedient Serpent: coyote laughsathelind on December 6th, 2008 06:25 am (UTC)
Interestingly, that episode of Girl Genius is already included in the Wikipedia entry.

I know. That's my edit.
Jared: AuldHorniefiredrake_mor on December 5th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
I can't be certain, but I think the first variant was in 1984, When Susan Fox (then Fox-Davis), known also as lj user "selenesue" published . . . Indistinguishable from Technology" in the sadly now-defunct Fantasy Book magazine. The story was about a young wizard who used a tape player to finish an incantation quickly enough to contain a demon . . . her version was simply "any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology".