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buybuydandavis comments on Excluding the Supernatural - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 September 2008 12:12AM

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Comment author: buybuydandavis 27 October 2011 08:18:16AM 4 points [-]

My point was that vampires were by definition not real - or at least, not understandable - because any time we found something real and understandable that met the definition of a vampire, we would change the definition to exclude it.

Daniel Dennett has a cute one like this. Real Magic (the kind in Vegas) is not Real Magic (Abracadabra shazam poof!).

Comment author: dlthomas 19 December 2011 05:55:00PM 2 points [-]

I think my first encounter with this was James Randi, which makes a lot of sense. I don't know if it was originally his, either, though.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 25 August 2012 10:39:50PM 5 points [-]

Found the quote the other day. Makes sense that Randi knew it too. Apparently Siegel was a magician and professor too, who wrote a book on Indian magic.

youtube, Free Will as Moral Competence, Daniel Dennett at the University of Melbourne, Australia, 15:21 Dennett quotes from "Net of Magic", by Lee Siegel

Quote from book: "I'm writing a book on magic, " I explain, and I'm asked, "Real magic?" By real magic people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts, and supernatural powers. "No, " I answer: "Conjuring tricks, not real magic."

Dennett: Real magic, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic.

Comment author: [deleted] 26 August 2012 10:36:17PM 4 points [-]

Dennett: Real magic, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic.

That's the same quirk in natural language by which a heavy drinker is not usually a drinker who weighs a lot. (<Adjective> <noun> can mean ‘a <noun> who/which is <adjective>’, or ‘someone/something who/which is <adjective>ly a <noun>’.)

Comment author: Alicorn 26 August 2012 10:39:45PM 1 point [-]

Thank you for articulating my problem with the "real magic" quote.

Comment author: shminux 26 August 2012 11:11:16PM *  -1 points [-]

Surely real magic is done through yet-unknown means. It might stop being magical some day, once explained (reduced), in compliance with Clarke's 3rd law.