Doesn't the presence of magic immediately void any scientific answer?
Two of the top questions currently are about the "logical" consequences of magic (one asks what a society with "magical" birth control be like, the other asks if cars would exist in a world with flying (ie. magical) dragons) These are both obviously impossible to answer scientifically (or logically for that matter) and yet there are 7+8 = 15 answers submitted so far. My question is why are these types of questions where magic directly affects the situation being described allowed here?


migrated from worldbuilding.stackexchange.com May 27 '17 at 1:55

This question came from our site for writers/artists using science, geography and culture to construct imaginary worlds and settings.

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    $\begingroup$ use chat or meta for those questions. But magic itself not necessary denies logic. Magical birth control is just 100% working today's bithpiles. However feel free to ask more good nonmagical questions - appreciate that. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg May 27 '17 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg The OP doesn't have the reputation points to ask questions in either chat or meta. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 27 '17 at 1:28
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    $\begingroup$ @AliBabar WB SE does allow questions about magic and its consequences. Questions like this can be answered using logic, commonsense, and analogy. For example, the dragons question can be answered by considering the impact of large flying animals on social and technological development. To do so only requires commonsense, logic, and analogies. I agree with MolbOrg. Please ask good nonmagical questions. They're always welcome. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 27 '17 at 1:32
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Should our default position be that answers should be science-/logic-based, rather than magic-based? from way back in the private beta period at the beginning of the site's life. Note that the site has evolved considerably since that question was posted. $\endgroup$ – a CVn May 28 '17 at 14:48

Because Worldbuilding isn't limited to our world, and isn't limited to scientific answers. Logic, yes, but science, no.

Everything is designed around works of fiction. Honestly, any fiction will do. Historic, time travel, sci-fi, high fantasy... All are accepted.

Want to make something akin to Larry Niven's Ringworld? Sure. We can tell you all about ringworlds, both the physics problems involved (And there are a lot of them) and the logistic and other issues. A lot of these things aren't necessarily issues you can answer with hard science, as there are a lot of things well beyond our current technology and knowledge that are required for creating a ringworld.

Want to make a fantasy world powered by crystals? We can help you there, too. We can tell you what might happen if these crystals are broken, or overcharged, or otherwise abused. While it might not directly involve science, science can play at it. If breaking it releases the energy, we can compare it to a hand grenade or other explosive, and tell you exactly what sort of things to expect.

Sometimes, the science answers involve very little science, and the magic answers involve a lot of science. The goal of Worldbuilding is not to answer things scientifically, it's to answer them logically.


Worldbuilding helps to build consistent fictional worlds for games and novels. Fantasy with magic is a well established genre in fiction, just like science fiction or alternate history.

  • We generally don't talk about the specific actions of characters, we talk about settings in general.
  • We generally don't talk about stories set in the real world as we know it, or about questions that belong to real-world Stackexchange sites (space exploration, astronomy, history, ...).
  • We generally don't talk about settings that lack internal consistency, because that would be pointless.

Magic doesn't preclude using science. In one of my stories, for example, the magic system affects the fundamental forces, with each magical creature having powers linked to one of those forces. I had to read a bunch of particle physics to figure out exactly which forces each creature affects and what the implications for that are.

Plus, even if one aspect of life is magical, other aspects may be subject to the same rules as our society. If we have magical birth control, as described in your complaint, the implications that has for human behavior would be predicted by real-life psychology research.

  • $\begingroup$ "magic system affect(ing) the fundamental forces" isn't magic; it's "physics we haven't fully understood yet". $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 27 '17 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ Well, @RonJohn - In a society with significantly less knowledge of physics, would it not be called Magic? Magic doesn't have to be unexplainable via physics/science $\endgroup$ – Andon May 27 '17 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Andon even in our world, "physics" is less than 150 years old. Also, it encompasses a very broad range of topics, some of which have been studied for millennia. So, no, certainly wouldn't be called "physics". Some people, though, would be studying the "natural philosophy" and the alchemy behind it. With any luck, this would eventually morph into Science (astronomy, chemistry, physics, etc.) $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 27 '17 at 5:30

This will be off topic soon enough, but to answer your question, this place is dedicated to world building questions. Meaning that questions that arise during the world building process.

Not all worlds lack magic, and not all worlds possess futuristic technology. Ours has neither of those things. Thus, when looking at the practical effects of such things, questions arise. That is one of the many purposes of this forum - to answer such questions.


Imagine some question Q that is of the form “I have a magic X and… ”. One answer is simply “well, it’s magic, we don’t know the complete set of rules for your world, so no answer is possible. Make up something.” while people do post that from time to time, it’s is not a constructive answer (unless it is to make the point that the question doesn’t give sufficient related information).

Another answer might be to work out implications in a manner that would make for a good story. Indeed, this is making stuff up, but drawing on literary precident and real-world analogies so it makes a plausible, readable and understandable, story.

A half dozen people might do that, with different creative approaches.

As long as the OP doesn’t make the mistake of asking for the best or right way, such a parade of creativity is the kind of thing that makes WB entertaining.

So, that’s what we have. What do you call that? “Logical”?


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