The idea of a force that could "magically" permeate out and affect other objects that had no contact with each other would have to be considered pretty outrageous, as well - at least it would have if Newton hadn't measured the affect of this mysterious magical force so accurately.zoobyshoe said:I can't square the guy who so beautifully and logically described motion with someone who would buy in to the fable of a thing like this. Like I said earlier, it surprises me that instead of approaching the whole subject objectively from scratch and coming up with something that would have made his name as the "Father Of Modern Chemistry", he went on the assumption the ancients knew something he didn't, and seems to have gotten sidetracked in chasing a phantom rather than exporing what was really there. It doesn't much exonerate him to say that chemistry didn't exist at the time, since neither did calculus, and so he sat down and developed it.
Alchemy wasn't all that common anymore in Newton's time, which is why he kept it at least semi-secret. It was out of favor as a science, plus was banned by law (just in case - the government didn't want someone magically creating new coins). As an aside, Newton also spent some time as the warden of the Royal Mint and was very effective at prosecuting counterfeiters.