Magic? or science?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)

The video above shows an aluminum foil "boat" misteriously floating in the air. Magic? Supernatural powers? NO! The glass container is filled, at the beginning, with a gas that is denser than air and sufficiently dense to make the "boat" float. Check the Popular Science article here.

As Mr. Clarke indicated, any event whose explanation requires more knowledge than what we posses looks to us like magic. Imagine a Cro-Magnon or a Neanderthal coming into one of our houses! He would be scared to death by seeing our mysterious powers of producing light by pinching the wall (I doubt they would notice the switch and that still would be magical) - communicating at a distance just by talking into our hand (cell phones are so small that they would not recognize their significance) - being able to summon mysterious spirits and even dead people into a strange looking box (TV!) - things that are everyday events to us would be definitely magical and miraculous to a caveman.

So, next time you come up with something that looks mysterious, magical or miraculous consider the more practical possibility that there is a rational and scientifically sound explanation for that event. Solids can turn into liquids just by shaking (thixotropy) - strange shapes need not be miraculous representations of deity but rather our mind trying to find patterns into everything we see - an evolutionary advantage that works to the critical thinker's disadvantage...

No comments: