It’s Magic

I have a theory.

Science is magic, and you can’t teach magic, or get people to accept what you know to be true (i.e. science), because there’s no such thing as magic.  So you can’t teach science.

Most people know Clarke’s Third law, that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

What people don’t realize (what you don’t realize) is that for modern man, living in a complex society which is dominated by technology and science, from kitchen appliances to cars and airplanes to x-ray machines to big flat screen TVs… for people, to any person, science is magic.

This applies to all of you scientists and engineers out there saying “not me, it’s not magic to me!”

Yes it is.

When you go to the doctor or dentist, or the mechanic for your car, or the salesman for a flat screen TV or a computer… it’s magic.  You don’t understand it.  You don’t.  You may understand bits of it, and you may recognize that, like the things you do understand, it is founded on layer after layer of accumulated knowledge, experience, procedures and practices.

But it’s still magic.  All of it.

Even for Dr. Gavin Schmidt and that computer he works on so feverishly to create/run GCM’s… magic.

Even for Dr. Roy Spencer and those satellites that he works with so feverishly to extract/compile the UAH temperature data… magic.

Even for Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison, and all of the myriad things that they knew and did with their brains… magic, magic, magic.

And people have an ingrained, ancient, hereditary reaction to magic.  They have a species-learned reaction to gods, magic, spiritual powers and everything beyond their control, be it weather, disease, voodoo, bad luck, medicine, science, or that damn pinging noise that the car keeps making and the stupid mechanic can’t hear but you can.

That reaction is one of fear, frightened respect, grumbling acceptance when necessary, and an instinctive desire to scream at the very first opportunity “ah HA!  I knew it!  It’s not magic after all!  It’s not real, so I can ignore it from now on… ha, ha ha, I knew it!”

People have done this with religion, magic, superstition, and all of the various flavors of “science” (alchemy, geocentrism, Lamarckism, Darwinism, and more) throughout human history.  From the first time people were able to scream at the sky that there was no embittered, angry sun god who had burned the crops dry that year, to the latest discouraging article on climate change, people have been able to resolutely say “I do not believe” because it’s magic, and people innately do not want to believe in magic.

Certainly they show respect and trust to the priests, shamans, witch doctors, scientists, MDs, dentists, and car mechanics, because they have to.  Or rather, they act like they respect and trust them, and then they drive home saying “damn it, that ping is still there!  F*&#$#ing moron!  He doesn’t know S(*&#$t.”

If people were totally, truly and completely educated, this would not happen.  If people actually knew everything about everything, magic would vanish.  All you would have is science, and people would understand and accept and act with rational, intelligent behaviors in the their own best interests as well as those of society.

But that’s not possible.  It is not possible to educate people totally and completely.  Not them, not yourself, not anyone.

So you can try as hard as you want to teach people about climate science.  You can try as hard as you want to explain it to the reporter, who will explain it to everyone else, who will read and learn and think… “magic.”

You can’t destroy magic, because it doesn’t exist.

Magic is eternal.  All you can do is to convince people that they need to trust the priests, shamans, witch doctors, MDs, dentists, car mechanics, and climate scientists.  All you can do is to hope that people continue to believe in magic, because the day that they don’t they instead sneer at the damn magician-shaman-scientists,  and they shake their fists at the sun god they know doesn’t exist, while the very earth bakes beneath their feet, and their modern, technological, non-magical civilization vanishes from the earth.