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  • Jürgen Hubert
    started a topic Science vs. the World

    Science vs. the World

    There was a fascinating discussion in the Crashing World Views thread which I think deserves its own thread - how Science and the World interact.

    Since I have some scientific training myself (PhD in Computational Materials Engineering), this topic is one of my pet peeves: The scientific method is a process of attaining knowledge that, in my view, is in no way incompatible with worlds where magic (or Fate) exists. Popular media frequently portrays some sort of opposition between "Science" and "Magic", but that is solely because magic has not been scientifically proven to exist in our world. In worlds and settings where magic obviously does exist - and the World is among those - science can be used to study them like any other topic.

    The trick, however, is to figure out how to do so safely. In the World, the supernatural tends to be strongly connected to Fate - and if you get too closely, you will become emeshed by Fate yourself. Thus, if you want to study a certain supernatural phenomenon, you can easily become part of the phenomenon. Hence all the old folk tale admonishments not to meddle in the affairs of wizards et. al.. And once you do become involved in matters of Fate, you will likely no longer be the neutral observer that science usually demands.

    Thus, mythologists and folklorists will likely study supernatural phenomena through second hand reports, with all the resultant problems such as dealing with the cognitive biases of the observers. In the modern age, such studies will likely use powerful statistical tools that analyze the massive amounts of data generated by human behavior. Fate manifests itself as strange apparent "coincidences", and such coincidences will stand out as massive anomalous spikes in the data.

    Plausibly speaking, I'd say that science in the World have figured out that something like Fate exists and that its associated powers can have a drastic influence on the physical universe - quite possibly on a level comparable to that of the four fundamental forces of physics. However, unlike those four fundamental forces you cannot study Fate safely in a physics lab - instead, you have to infer in ways similar to how the social sciences or economics operate. For the sake of comparison, everyone has a rough idea what the "Free Market" looks like, but you can't really set one up in a lab environment for scientific study.

    Beyond cataloguing its many observed effects - which will probably be at least as complex as determining and analyzing socio-economic demographics (or, more to the point, dividing phenomena into the equivalent of the ATU index, folkloric and mythological science will also have the following policy advice for anyone who bothers to ask:

    "If you want to keep control of your own destiny, don't get involved in affairs of the supernatural."

    and have ample studies to prove it. How well that advice is heeded, varies - there have always been people or organizations greedy or desperate enough for power that they were willing to try anything to achive their goals. Sometimes this has resulted in new Scions or even new Gods. But often this has ended up with, as they say, hilarious results - and more fodder for a folklore PhD student's thesis somewhere...


    Well, these are my thoughts on the subject. What are yours?

  • Jürgen Hubert
    replied
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

    Aren't there hundreds of mythological creatures who exist for exactly that reason? To scare children into behaving properly, or else they'll come and take them away?

    Hah, just as I was writing that second sentence, I thought of Social Services hiring monsters into their agency!
    The last one I encountered in German folklore was the "grain angel", a creature that snatches children away when they go too deeply into the grain fields when the grain is ripe.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
    IE That thing your parents tell you when your kids grow up to always have on hand for the inevitable case of idiocy wherein your teens offend some divine or supernatural force to try and dissuade it from killing said offspring..
    Aren't there hundreds of mythological creatures who exist for exactly that reason? To scare children into behaving properly, or else they'll come and take them away?

    Hah, just as I was writing that second sentence, I thought of Social Services hiring monsters into their agency!

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  • nalak42
    replied
    There are also a few entities that hold science and such as part of their portfolio. I believe Berith or Eligor had explaining how miracles worked as part of their deal. So I kind of picture one of the older versions of the scientific method involving getting one of these entities present and doing whatever bindings one can and then doing whatever the heck you can think of to verify that they were or weren't full of crap when they explained. By the same token I believe some of the earlier applications of the scientific method were applied to emergency hide saving procedure. IE That thing your parents tell you when your kids grow up to always have on hand for the inevitable case of idiocy wherein your teens offend some divine or supernatural force to try and dissuade it from killing said offspring..

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
    Second subject is the gods powers per se, because they alter how nature work. Suppose an engineer must construct a gods proof bunker, how strong does it need to be? That’s the kind of study most people are talking here. It includes the study of legendary creatures as well, as they can impact in the world as much as the gods (with proper scale adjust).
    Knowing mythology, that bunker is probably made out of some kind of mythological crafting materials that don't exist in our world. Like unicorn horns, or crystalized moon beams, or something crazy like that. I mean, take a look at what Fenrir's chains were forged out of!

    Then we have to wonder how their presence would affect the medical industry. When you've got literal miracle workers going around curing terminal illnesses with a simple touch on the forehead. Or traveling sorcerers who make a living selling magic cure all elixers.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 08-15-2019, 02:49 PM.

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  • AutoDefenestrate
    replied
    That is definitely someone Fatebound to the Band somehow.

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  • Mateus Luz
    replied
    Originally posted by Jürgen Hubert View Post
    On a more humorous note, a folklore student would make for an excellent NPC fatebound to the PCs - getting into absurd situations for their research, usually using the excuse: "I needed the credit!"

    http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comi...0#.XVVZh7ebGh8
    “You said you were going to a field trip, so I hide in the trunk to check if I could get some thing to my research... it’s not my fault you didn’t tell me you were going to the underworld! You know I need the credits!

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  • Jürgen Hubert
    replied
    On a more humorous note, a folklore student would make for an excellent NPC fatebound to the PCs - getting into absurd situations for their research, usually using the excuse: "I needed the credit!"

    http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comi...0#.XVVZh7ebGh8

    Leave a comment:


  • Mateus Luz
    replied
    There are a few things to study within the “gods theme”.

    First, the political interaction between the gods and between gods and humans. That’s a social science and must follow the social science observation and experimentation methods. Most people don’t know, but there are processes to study social science that are very scientific and that must be followed to be properly recognised in the academia (I don’t know the process, just that they exist).

    Second subject is the gods powers per se, because they alter how nature work. Suppose an engineer must construct a gods proof bunker, how strong does it need to be? That’s the kind of study most people are talking here. It includes the study of legendary creatures as well, as they can impact in the world as much as the gods (with proper scale adjust).

    There are the less scientific part (more related to the Adcademics or Occult skill), like the way myths and legends related to each pantheon and how they impact on each other (as they are all true at same time). That’s the theological view that is related to the belief system, cosmogony and how they conflict to the other.

    Things like Terra Incognitae and relics could be part of each study or an specialisation per se, for example, the geografe of terra incognitae, or how the world is a Non Linear placê capable of holding the existence of multiple layers of the same place according to the guide that takes you there or the way you take.

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  • nalak42
    replied
    I'd imagine studying the God's and their behaviors would fall more into the realm of anthropological study as opposed an experiment like one would perform for a chemistry or physics scenario. Mostly because as the God's are intelligent and all that good stuff they'd probably take more details into triggering behaviors than just a chemical reaction. Example mythologically speaking comparing someone favorably to a god in their own domain is a good way to get your hide smote. That said its not improbable that someone flattering their spouse by saying, "I cannot imagine anyone lovely than you even among the gods." would get you destroyed.*

    That said other parts of the mystic would almost certainly have received as much study as possible. To use a discussion point I've seen a number of times; what the hell is cold iron? If its a known concept that one can be protected by cold iron then there would have been study into the term to get the idea. For the simple reason that the last thing anyone would want when trying to drive off a hostile fey would be to find out that the theory, "cold iron is just an expression like hot lead" is incorrect. And of course to avoid potential grave insults, ie finding out steel and metal containing iron counted as cold iron because the jewelry and accessories you and your partner wore to a party counted and were thus judged as being equally rude to walking in waving a gun about. (Not sure that would happen in Scion, but an example.)

    *Long as you don't push it. Start doing it all the time, or try to make a big show of it and you are not allowed to be surprised that you occasionally hear muttering about a "blast radius" in relation to yourself.

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  • Kyman201
    replied
    Originally posted by Jürgen Hubert View Post


    If it's possible to scientifically study the criminal underworld - and it is - then it's possible to study the gods and their works, if the gods in fact exist.

    And they do, in the World.
    Mors didn't say that such a feat is impossible. Just noted that doing so may get some of them annoyed.

    Which is a very real concern.

    "Hi, we're the B-team here at Mythbusters. Adam and Jamie are, unfortunately, in the hospital after being attacked by a massive boar. Thus far no one God has claimed credit but most priests for those gods have a statement that basically amounts to 'Freaking Know-It-Alls had it coming'."

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  • Jürgen Hubert
    replied
    Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post

    That's fair. I imagine the gods tend to get annoyed when you start experimenting with their demands.

    If it's possible to scientifically study the criminal underworld - and it is - then it's possible to study the gods and their works, if the gods in fact exist.

    And they do, in the World.

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  • MorsRattus
    replied
    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post

    Technically, theology is not a Science, because it don't use the scientific method, so the study of gods the way it is done in our world is covered by Occult or Academics. Science to study the gods would require experimenting.
    That's fair. I imagine the gods tend to get annoyed when you start experimenting with their demands.

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  • Mateus Luz
    replied
    Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post

    I hope you don't mind but now i'll definitely be using Mythbusters in a game someday.
    The original Duo, not the younger trio. Adan and Jamie would make the Dionysus research explode somehow and would be behind a blaster wall...

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  • Maitrecorbo
    replied
    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post

    "Hi we're here on Mythbusters, and we're going to see what kind of alcoholic offerings Dionysus likes by performing the same ritual offering with different kind of alcohol of different years and brewing methods, see which one gets the best results!"
    I hope you don't mind but now i'll definitely be using Mythbusters in a game someday.

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