Belief systems like alchemy and intelligent design have dialogues of persuasion; the sciences on the other hand explain rather than persuade.
I'm not sure why this hasn't occurred to me before, but there is a crucial element of Paracelsian philosophy and alchemy that is sort of correct, in a way. The map of the universe that they sought to drawn on the human body to represent the macrocomos in the microcosmos, the influence of the stuff of creation on our daily life, was correct in a way that they hadn't suspected. And it was brought about by a man who vigorously pursued alchemy for decades, hoping that it would provide a link to the vast pool of somethingness that he didn't yet have answers for, as well as the questions he didn't yet know that he wanted to ask.
Newton had abandoned alchemy completely by 1696, nine years after the publication of his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, the great “external” influence of the universe coming to bear on humans on earth. The alchemists would be shocked perhaps by this connection, and I'm sure that what they were looking for wasn't that physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime which governs the motion of inertial objects, let alone that it was one of four fundamental forces.
But the alchemists were on the road to someplace, just not the Royal Road. I imagine too that transmutation must've taken it squarely on the chin in 1818, when Berzelius published his findings of the atomic weights of 45 (of 49) known elements, showing that atoms (thank goodness we did not call them “seeds” like some) existed and the elements were entirely different...meaning that the very basis for transmutation was removed, that mercury could never be made into gold, owing to the differentiation of the nature of the elements themselves. That must've been a crushing experience, making alchemy a harder persuasion to perpetrate.