Magic and Science (Fiction)

Posted on Feb 28, 2018 by Joey

And why it matters.

Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and author wrote something he called his third law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
For me this statement is true, and here's why.
Last year I wrote a blog post entitled, "The Trick that Saved the World". It's a story of French history where a magician named Robert Houdin used magic trick to quell an uprising in what is now Algeria.
In the mid 1800's Houdin used electro magnets hidden in the sand in the desert. Electro magnets were new science, and not widely known. The locals were fooled into believing that Houdin, and the French had magic power, and the uprising was averted.
Recently, I watched a performance on TV by a noted couple that used new science to create believable spectacle. The real funny thing is that technology might be something that is already being used. It might even be part of something we got as a gift these past holidays.
Electricity. Think about this. There was a time, not too long ago, when, at night, you read by the light of a candle. It was the only option. Imagine the world in darkness every night. Total darkness. I've said this before, I marvel that there is this thing called a computer. I have no idea how it works.
Elon Musk, and Tesla, is producing a driver less car. And he's not the only one. Imagine seeing a driverless car without first being told it's Elon's latest model. Many uninitiated might easily believe that the car is "charmed," or under a spell. I'm a firm believer in that old say, "seeing is believing."
In researching this topic I read an essay by Ester Inglis-Arkell entitled, "Technology isn't Magic: Why Clarke's Third Law always bugged me". I strongly disagree with Ester, and concur with Arthur. When technology is sufficiently advanced, you believe it's something unexplained, something supernatural.