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Old 03-25-2019, 02:38 PM   #51
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
A lot of the stuff in Dune really sounds more like magic than anything else.
Seconded, and I just reread the book. However, "Race Memory and Psionics were just barely within the field of science at the time.
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:10 PM   #52
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Why can't this be studied scientifically? You can study the social structures of spirit society, the mechanisms by which the wizard calls a spirit, the means by which the spirit produces whatever effect the wizard asks for, the physical properties of spirits.
The presence of intelligence and self-awareness in the subject makes study orders of magnitude more complicated, esp. if what is being studied doesn't want you to understand it/them.

Then there's the issue of whether humans are intelligent enough or have sufficient context to understand what is being studied. Just because something is scientifically study-able in principle doesn't automatically mean that it is in practice.
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:16 PM   #53
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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Um, because it's a bad and silly idea?

If the nature of "Reality" was even influenced much less determined by mass belief we'd be living in a hybrid conservative Chinese/Indian paradigm rather than any sort of modern Western Technocracy.

Then there's things like the Earth would have been actually flat at one point and if so why would it ever have changed?

I could go on but you ought to be getting the idea. If the world was what people thought it was there never would have been any evidence to help change their beliefs.
All true.

Another reason I detest Subjective Reality is that, taken to its natural conclusion, it creates peculiar moral inversions for the characters in a story or game. For ex, let's say that a new kind of evil, murderous monster becomes real if a certain percentage of the population either believes it in, or worse, are just familiar with it.

OK, we've just make the book burners from Ray Bradbury the good guys. Not the ones from Fahrenheit 451 so much, as the ones from The Martian Chronicles. The ones who tried to stamp out fictional stories.

If that sort of Subjective Reality applies, there could still be a moral place for fiction, but it would need to be very tame, if you see what I'm saying.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:00 AM   #54
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
OK, we've just make the book burners from Ray Bradbury the good guys. Not the ones from Fahrenheit 451 so much, as the ones from The Martian Chronicles. The ones who tried to stamp out fictional stories.
The same reason I dislike stories that put real witches in Salem. Congratulations, you have just justified 20 murders.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:36 AM   #55
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
The presence of intelligence and self-awareness in the subject makes study orders of magnitude more complicated, esp. if what is being studied doesn't want you to understand it/them.
More complicated doesn't mean not able to be studied. It just means studying it is harder.

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Then there's the issue of whether humans are intelligent enough or have sufficient context to understand what is being studied. Just because something is scientifically study-able in principle doesn't automatically mean that it is in practice.
Then you need to find a context or system we do understand in which to study it. You might have to do a lot of work to build up such a system.

The study of quantum mechanics was inconceivable to science more or less prior to the twentieth century, and now it's a huge field of inquiry. The concepts it contains seem outrageous: point-particles that have mass and angular momentum; quarks cannot exist in isolation; a quantum system exists in multiple states simultaneously until observed. Yet science has found ways to describe and define these things in ways we can understand and test experimentally.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:08 AM   #56
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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The same reason I dislike stories that put real witches in Salem. Congratulations, you have just justified 20 murders.
Only if they had not followed careful legal procedure in investigating the witches, tried them fairly under the Laws of England, and the Mayflower Compact and found them guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt before a jury of their peers. Of course they could in any case have been the wrong witches. Or it could have been the real witches who were organizing the whole thing to cover up their witchery.

By definition stating the possibility of a crime is not justifying the false accusation of it. There is a such thing as contract killing but I have no evidence that leads me to believe that you are in fact a contract killer.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:00 PM   #57
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Default Re: Magic in Space Opera

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
All true.

Another reason I detest Subjective Reality is that, taken to its natural conclusion, it creates peculiar moral inversions for the characters in a story or game. For ex, let's say that a new kind of evil, murderous monster becomes real if a certain percentage of the population either believes it in, or worse, are just familiar with it.

OK, we've just make the book burners from Ray Bradbury the good guys. Not the ones from Fahrenheit 451 so much, as the ones from The Martian Chronicles. The ones who tried to stamp out fictional stories.

If that sort of Subjective Reality applies, there could still be a moral place for fiction, but it would need to be very tame, if you see what I'm saying.
That's only true if the Evil Monster is contained in all fiction.

For a counterexample, there's SCP-2950. It appears to be an extremely comfortable chair. Testing has been suspended because its primary effect is simply to be so comfortable that no one wants to get up. That's what the file says, anyway.

Unless you're the one person in the Foundation (or their counterpart in the Serpent's Hand) who is permitted to know the truth - that 2950 is whatever the most people who know about it imagine it to be. When the Foundation first learned of it, they had a document indicating that it was a Keter-level threat, potentially responsible for an XK-class End-of-World scenario. And so it was. They were saved when the librarians of the Hand managed to convince the O-5 Council of the truth regarding 2950, at which time all but two people who knew about it were given amnestics and false memories regarding the item.

Not all fiction has to be destroyed to protect us from 2950, just any document describing it as dangerous (other than the one document in Foundation control, and one held by the Serpent's Hand, for the benefit of the latest poor soul required to help contain it - a document kept locked away by a memetic cognitohazard that keeps anyone not inoculated from reading it).

There are, I believe, a few other items in custody that work similarly, but the Chair was the first thing that sprang to my mind.
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