Is an unknown cause for an event considered magic until that event has a known cause.

I was thinking about radioactive quantum events. As far as I know, these events have no known specific cause temporarally, other than they are caused by an unstable nuclei.

If that nuclei were stable, it would not emit a particle to become stable.

The nature of these events is temporarily indeterminable, however they happen.

These temporal causes are unknown. however, can we state that we will actually able to give them a cause and explanation, or will they remain within the realm of magic as i've defined?

  • 1
    No, there is no "magic": it is only an (until now) unexplained event. Are you able to explain e.g. how does your Induction furnace work? Dec 18, 2023 at 15:19
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA I don't understand, that link offers an explanation of why induction furnaces are used. I didnt know the explanation of why induction furnaces are used until I read it? That is my point are you suggesting quantum physics will be able to be explained as I said in my question?
    – 8Mad0Manc8
    Dec 18, 2023 at 16:02
  • 2
    On the other hand, sometimes Magic A is Magic A. Dec 18, 2023 at 16:31
  • Related: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/29739/…
    – g s
    Dec 18, 2023 at 17:52
  • magic has cause (the magician casting it?) ...and as soon it is explained (to a wider public) it is no more magic..!?
    – xerx593
    Dec 18, 2023 at 19:05

4 Answers 4


Radioactive decay is caused by the event that made the nucleus unstable.

The fact that the time of decay is unpredictable is just the probabilistic nature of reality where causes never determine their effects with absolute accuracy.

The cause is known and there is nothing magical to explain.


Magic is a strategy to leave the realm of science and the common relation between cause and effect.

  • Intended as an explication magic is unfeasible and useless.
  • As a ritual magic is a kind of incantation to impress or to guide the believers.
  • Chemistry is similar to magic in as much as we can control the chemical reactions; or we can observe and describe the chemical reactions; but we cannot explain the transmutation of matter from the properties of the inputs to the properties of the outputs. We combine materials using a recipe and then we test them for superconductivity at room temperature. Perhaps magic would be the ability to cast a spell or incantation that gives us high temperature superconductors by other means but in a sense the transformations of properties of materials are more magical than scientific. We correlate magic. May 16 at 19:25

Magical events are part of a magical belief system, and to answer your question: Yes and no. To many, causality is both subjective experience of the mind, and an objective phenomenon so it depends on to which you refer. Magic does not usually exclude causality psychologically. It merely admits supernaturalism and ignores causality physically. Thus, a wizard may have a spell book, and must as antecedent behaviors, recite magical words, use potions or spell ingredients like herbs, practice magical rites and rituals, and wield cause and effect. Unlike a scientist, however, the wizard can use forces that go beyond mere "laws of nature" (SEP) as we currently understand them. To a magician, magic is rife with cause and effect is psychologically real. Thus, what makes magic on the physicalist's view is what psychologists call magical thinking. From WP:

Magical thinking, or superstitious thinking,1 is the belief that unrelated events are causally connected despite the absence of any plausible causal link between them, particularly as a result of supernatural effects. Examples include the idea that personal thoughts can influence the external world without acting on them, or that objects must be causally connected if they resemble each other or have come into contact with each other in the past. Magical thinking is a type of fallacious thinking and is a common source of invalid causal inferences. Unlike the confusion of correlation with causation, magical thinking does not require the events to be correlated.

In fact, there is a middle ground between straightforward magical thinking and rigorous scientific thought: pseudoscience. This of course is a famous claim, part of Comte's metanarrative about the development of society in his positivism at the beginning of the 19th century. Societies evolve from magic, to religion, to scientific. Of course, modern positivistic thinking eschews such grand metanarratives, but there is something to be said in terms of the sophistication of reason. After all, one cannot cast spells or pray to create GPS satellites or place them in orbit; if it were possible, SpaceX would employ shamans and priests rather than engineers and scientists. And if that sounds silly, consider that cargo cult science "is a thing".


Is magic an event that has no known cause or explanation?

This is a variation on the divine fallacy or the argument from incredulity:

"This event is impossible (unexplainable) so it must be magic"

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