This is great stuff. It reinforces what I wrote earlier about the New Age movement being just another expression of selfish hedonism and materialism – not anything resembling a religious movement.
In truth, the rise of modern science and the early modern obsession with sorcery were not merely contemporaneous currents within Western society but were two closely allied manifestation of the development of a new post-Christian sense of human mastery over the world. There is nothing especially outrageous in such a claim. After all, magic is essentially a species of materialism; if it invokes any agencies beyond the visible sphere, they are not supernatural – n the theological sense of “transcendent” – but at most preternatural: they are merely, tat is to say, subtler, more potent aspects of the physical cosmos, the instrumental subjection of nature to humanity, and the constant increase of human power.
Hence, there was not really any late modern triumph of science over magic, so much as there wa a ntural dissolution of the latter into the former, as the power of science to accomplish what magic could only adumbrate became progressively more obvious.
-David Bently Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies, p.82
This also fits in nicely with my interest in how the post-enlightenment attraction to magic sees it as more of a “natural” phenomenon, a branch of science, than something that might actually interact with God and/or REAL angels and demons. Science didn’t really conquer magic. It overshadowed it and consumed it, but the will of man didn’t change.