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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:54 pm Post subject:  Science vs Religion...
 
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I see it as a theme in movies and literature over the last fifty years, and in the general discussion forum, but is it a theme in Arcanum?


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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:16 pm Post subject: 
 
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It can be if religion is treated as magick.

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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:17 pm Post subject: 
 
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I don't think so... while religion tends to be more magic in nature it is presented as a very neutral path in Arcanum.

The finger of mannox isn't magickal and there is even an altar to the all father below vendigroth. So it would seem that the presence of dieties is not in question.

I imagine they are simply regarded as sentient beings who would not tolerate being dissected


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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:45 pm Post subject: 
 
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Methinks the divine in Arcanum is a thing beyond the science vs magick conflict.

Indeed, rychek, various functional holy items, blessings and curses serve as evidence that gods truly exist in Arcanum.

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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:56 pm Post subject: 
 
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I was thinking about the similarities of the (gameworld) theory of magickal will to the (realworld) notion that miracles only happen if you really, truly believe.

Clearly, the gods are beyond magick vs technology, but priests are usually mages and technologists are usually dismissive of superstition.

I got a hunch that this relates to the logic/creativity hemispheres of the brain. Anyway, if you consider that magick = mysticism if not religion per se, then what is the message of the Arcanum myth?


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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:14 am Post subject: 
 
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A mage commands reality while a priest asks it politely and has humble faith that it listens. Magick and priesthood often go hand in hand because both are ways of the old. Also, since steadfast requires willpower, some prowess in magick comes naturally to priests.

The difference in effect from magick is that if the priest's request is granted, the result is the same no matter the magick/tech aptitude of the priest/target.

Now, about technologists. Do you recall any scientists in Arcanum that are openly dismissive of superstition? The only one I currently recall that took any stance on the issue is the author of the pagan gods book and he was quite open minded. Another thing - the already mentioned showy altar of Velorien build by the scientifically advanced Vendigrothians.

Scientists in Arcanum may or may not approve of religion, but remaining a sceptic of the supernatural is rather hard in a world where magick is an undeniable fact. Our scientists disapprove of superstition because it doesn't work (as in, doesn't yield results other than placebo), while in Arcanum it obviously does.

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:29 am Post subject: 
 
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No, priests just cast spells. They don't need to pray in order for their magick to work, although possibly they do for blessings.

Gilbert Bates is the technologist I was thinking of: He doesn't place much stock in religious ramblings himself.

Anyway, if magick is equivalent to the so-called power of faith, then what commentary does the Arcanum story have on the debate of religion versus science.


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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:05 am Post subject: 
 
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Muro wrote:
Magick and priesthood often go hand in hand because both are ways of the old.
That's more the angle I was taking. Jongle Dunne is upset because the constable's prized steam engine is upsetting his mojo. This anecdote alone demonstrates that magick is the established force in the world of Arcanum and that technology is the new force that is rising to challenge it.

I'm sure there have been religious skeptics throughout history, but I would imagine that their numbers increased as science caught on. As the case appears to be in The House, people who don't espouse a religion cling to science. In Arcanum, now that there is an alternative to magick, people are adopting it.

The opposing affects Magickal and Technological Aptitude have on a character seems to indicate that the qualities of religion and science are mutually exclusive, but I do not recall anything from the end-game scenes that indicates that one is superior the other.

[spoiler]Did a more technologically advanced city best a less advanced city on the battlefield? I cannot remember.[/spoiler]
If the game balance is any indication, the designers insist that religious observance is the only true path to salvation.

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:11 am Post subject: 
 
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ytzk wrote:
No, priests just cast spells. They don't need to pray in order for their magick to work

Yes, but we're talking about what makes a priest a priest. Spells (healing services, for example) are just a non-obligatory addition to being a priest rather than the essence of it. What makes a priest is worshipping a god, praying to him, tending to his altar/temple and asking for his blessing if special enough occasions come along.

ytzk wrote:
Gilbert Bates is the technologist I was thinking of: He doesn't place much stock in religious ramblings himself.

Amusing how given the highly supernatural setting of Arcanum, Bates' rational approach means that he's either an ignorant or a fool.

ytzk wrote:
Anyway, if magick is equivalent to the so-called power of faith

It's equivalent to the power of will.

ytzk wrote:
what commentary does the Arcanum story have on the debate of religion versus science.

The closest Arcanum goes to commenting on religion is with giving us the Panarii church, Arcanum equivalent of the Catholic church, and adding a hidden background which, when revealed (with the aid of the science of archaeology), proved the belief to be erroneous altogether. The message I received here was "Be a sceptic, question your Church."

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[spoiler]Did a more technologically advanced city best a less advanced city on the battlefield? I cannot remember.[/spoiler]

Tarant defeated Cumbria.

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Last edited by Muro on Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:17 am Post subject: 
 
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No fair editing your posts without the edit annotation showing!

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:20 am Post subject: 
 
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Actually, I deleted my post and resubmitted it just so there would be in fact an annotation of sorts. The two remaining visible edits were spelling fixes.

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:05 am Post subject: 
 
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Dwarves are highly religious ("By Alberich this, by Alberich that") and they're almost exclusively technological (or you could say scientific). Gilbert Bates is also religious (he exclaims "By Alberich"), he just doesn't believe in the new age Panarii religion. I don't think religion, old or new, has anything to do with the magick/technology side of Arcanum. Just because the only priests we see in the game are typically magickal doesn't mean to say that magick is inherently related to religion. I think it's just as Muro said that "Magick and priesthood often go hand in hand because both are ways of the old"; also most gods seem more magickally aligned - but Alberich is a technological god so really I don't think religion versus science is a theme in Arcanum at all.

The only theme I see pertaining to religion is that new age religion is often flawed (the Panarii) and that we should go back to the old pagan ways and frolic in the wilderness. As an easily influenced individiual I say praise Zeus!

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:57 pm Post subject: 
 
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My impression of ytzk's intent is whether magick is a metaphor for religious faith and technology is a metaphor for scientific knowledge.

Are the two presented as mutually exclusive?
Is magick obsolete?

It's true that magick, technology, and religion are all present in the Arcanum world, but do magick and technology have real-world analogues on which the game designers are making some comment?

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:54 pm Post subject: 
 
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TheDavisChanger wrote:
My impression of ytzk's intent is whether magick is a metaphor for religious faith and technology is a metaphor for scientific knowledge.

Even so, I still think as dwarves are religious and often not magickal magick is not a metaphor for religious faith. I prefer to think the conflict between magick and technology is entirely separate from real world debates about science and religion; the comparison sucks the fun out of it and makes it seem a bit less original to me as I always thought the idea was very inspired.

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Last edited by Jojobobo on Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:07 pm Post subject: 
 
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Thankyou, TDC, that was my intent.


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