If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you probably know that I am a big fan of magic. Not the stage kind (although I am fascinated by illusionists as well), but the mystical, otherworldly, no-idea-how-to-exlain-what-just-happened kind. There is just something about theatre and Christmas and amazing dates that can only be called magic. However, lately I have been thinking a fair amount about magic and whether it still has a place in our scientifically-minded world.

In the past, “magic” was used to explain anything that was not understood at the time. Oracles, shamans, and other mystical seers would use the knowledge they possessed to foretell the future. They looked at animal entrails, the weather, and other natural phenomena to predict what was to come. Since this time, we have evolved to a more scientific method. Or have we?

Photo Credit: Don Amaro, the Wikimedia Commons

Everyone complains about the weatherperson. It seems that the forecast changes almost hourly, and what was supposed to be a sunny picnic can quickly become a rainy day indoors. What happened? If the science of today is so superior to the magical predictions of the past, what went wrong?

Meteorologists look at the current weather and natural phenomena to predict the weather that is to come. They observe weather patterns and use that knowledge to try to predict exactly what will happen in the next few days. Yet, despite the advances we have made in our understanding, the forecasts are rarely completely true, and sometimes gravely wrong. It seems to me that in our advancement from magic to science, at least in the area of foretelling the future, we haven’t made many strides forward at all.

Just a little thought for a Saturday afternoon.