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On Researching the Claimed Hole in the Law of Conservation of Energy
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It was a toss-up between the Science and Religion categories for this Idea. However, since "Undead Energy" is in the Science category....

People have been talking about different kinds of energy for a long long time. Some of them are real, some of them are fictional, and some of them are claimed to exist, but are not yet known for sure to exist.

The Law of Conservation of Energy relates to such known things as motion, sound, heat, light, radiation, gravitation, vibrations, electricity, magnetism, nuclear power, radioactivity, and so on. Some of the items on the list are variations on the theme of other items on the list. And **all** of them are variations on the general concept of "physical energy". Science has done a great job of, in essence, simplifying those things.

The list of unknown types of energy includes metaphysical stuff, spiritual stuff, witchy stuff, wizardly stuff, psychic stuff, magikal stuff, undead stuff, parapsychological stuff, mystic stuff, sorcerous stuff, occult stuff, and, of course, Holy stuff.

I'm going to propose that all of the items on that second list, to the extent they might one day be proved to exist, are variations on a single theme, just like the items on that first list are variations on a single theme.

Before proceding, however, it should be mentioned that each of the individual items on that second list is usually perceived to be "polarized" toward Good or Evil. That is a mistake. Remember the original "Wizard of Oz" movie, in which Glinda asked Dorothy a very special question: "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" As is the case with physical energy, this other type of energy is actually neutral; if it can be used at all, then it can be used either for good things or for bad things --or even for both at the same time (like, say, cutting down a tree may be good for a lumberjack, but bad for the tree). So, please remember, the energy itself is blameless.

The most widely-claimed-to-exist form of this other type of energy is generally associated with the Religions of the world. Let us assume they are right, and proceed to the logical consequences....

If, In The Beginning, the Origin of the Universe was an Act of Creation, then, by definition, that was also a violation of the **physical** Law of Conservation of Energy. That is, the basic claim is that the laws of the physical realm are superceded by the laws of the other realm. Okay....

Logically, if a whole Universe full of ordinary physical energy can be Made to exist, then so also can any smaller amount of physical energy be Made to exist. We merely need to figure out **how** it can be done.

And shortly afterward, we can start building perpetual motion machines, thereby ending the energy crisis!

============Added later the same day:
It was getting to be too far past bedtime when I wrote the above, and so I forgot to include the following experiment:

It is well known that today we can make extremely small electrical circuits. Well, one "ordinary" type of circuit is to be found in electrical test-equipment, and it is called an "ammeter". It measures the number of amperes (the intensity of the electric current, which is related to quantities of electrons) that flow through it.

Suppose we make an extremely small ammeter? Next, we seek out someone who claims to have some psychic ability, say "psychokinesis", and extend an invitation to participate in this experiment.

Suppose the person claiming to be psychokinetic has the ability to cause a simple/ordinary glass marble to start to roll on a flat/level surface. How much "effort" are we talking about, to do that? Well, **however** much it is, it is vastly more than the effort needed to push some electrons through our extremely small ammeter circuit!

For all I know, **everyone** can exhibit enough psychokinetic ability to push some electrons through that extremely small ammeter circuit.

The next experiment would be to see if such electron-pushing can somehow be set up in a sort of "fire and forget" way, such that even when the experimental participant is not consciously concentrating on pushing electrons, they still get pushed, continuously.

**THAT** way dost the road lead to perpetual-motion machines....

Vernon, Mar 03 2012

theogermal power....... Theogermal_20energy
[not_morrison_rm, Mar 04 2012]


       //list of unknown types of energy includes ...//   

       Your list doesn't list unknown types of energy, just unknown "phenomena".   

       I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make. If I am reading correctly, you're saying that loopy stuff like religion involves new energy sources, ergo you can call religion's bluff to harness this energy. If religion can't make a generator that taps this energy, it must be wrong. Is that the argument?   

       If so, why bother with energy, which is a very subtle concept which most theists won't grasp, or will obfuscate over. Why not instead go for, say, forces? Claimed miracles propose all kinds of forces (like sea-parting forces, ascending-into- heaven forces, walking-on-water forces), and it's easier to call religion's bluff on those.   

       Just look on the internet and there are all kinds of whackos claiming free-energy devices, because energy is easy to obfuscate. There are far fewer nuts claiming novel sea-parting forces, and it would be far harder to fudge a sea-parting experiment than an energy-yielding experiment.   

       But in the end, surely, this just boils down to the rather naive and well-worn argument of "Hey, religion and psychokinowhatever is impossible because you can't prove the physics." No?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2012

       Not all religions suppose there to be a creation, just an eternal or cyclical world.
nineteenthly, Mar 03 2012

       //Logically, if a whole Universe full of ordinary physical energy can be Made to exist, then so also can any smaller amount of physical energy be Made to exist. We merely need to figure out **how** it can be done.//   

       If, and this is is a big if, small amounts of energy can be created and directed by individuals, then the **how** has already been figured out by folks in the past.
Now correct me if I am wrong, since history is something I am largely ignorant of, but it seems to me that anyone claiming to be able to do such things in the past have been pretty much reviled and then hunted down and slaughtered, or worshipped and then hunted down and slaughtered, or any-number-of-other-things... and then hunted down and slaughtered...

       There would seem to be a pattern of deterrence.   

       Sorry, folks, for leaving out some experimental details from the main text (fixed).
Vernon, Mar 03 2012

       I've long held that magic, as an exercise and study in system theory, should be taught: magematics.
FlyingToaster, Mar 03 2012

       //It was getting to be too far past bedtime when I wrote the above//   

       You should ask them to let you stay up late one night per week for good behaviour.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2012

       Miracles are one of two things. Either they are the extreme end of probability operating in favor of the recepient, or they are outside the physical laws of the universe.   

       If the first, only extended statistical analysis could indicate (not prove) that they exist. If the latter, then your technique would work, but only if they can be performed on demand, which relatively few deities seem willing to do.   

       In addition, the assumption that psychokinesis requires the creation of energy is questionable. It is likely, that if the phenomenon existed, it would use biological energy.   

       Finally, I can manually push a marble along a table. I cannot manually push electrons along a wire. The assumption that a psychokinetic could push electrons is unwarranted.
MechE, Mar 03 2012

       Although the terms lack a certain original panache (IMO), those reputed to have the ability to psychically energize and/or manipulate electric and electronic devices are sometimes called 'psycho-electric' or 'electrokinetic'. However, the commonly accepted definition of psychokinesis/telekinesis is the ability to psychically manipulate matter _and/or_ energy.   

       Most people who are serious about the subject would agree that a psychic ability has no more power to create energy than anything else. Psychic activity is thought of as channeling and manipulating energy in various forms. Even faith healers agree on this--they channel energy bestowed upon them by their spiritual entity of preference.
Alterother, Mar 03 2012

       //However, the commonly accepted definition of psychokinesis/telekinesis is the ability to psychically manipulate matter _and/or_ energy// Actually, the most commonly accepted definition of psychokinesis/telekinesis in my neighbourhood is "mentally ill".   

       //Most people who are serious about the subject// ought to be naturally (but humanely) selected.   

       Why, why oh fuck why, does the most intelligent species on earth have these pathologies? What causes these psychomas? Rant over.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2012

       Seeing things nobody can explain causes these psychomas of course.
What else?
Rant under.

       Mental illness is substantially to do with what's deemed as normal by the consensus. This is why the Aztec priests weren't mass murderers and why cooking the family dog and serving it up at a dinner party wasn't insane. Persistent beliefs in the face of evidence are not delusions as much as false beliefs, and we all have false beliefs. In a group, such beliefs are likely to be held collectively. Also, in a sense most of us are psychokinetic. We can move our bodies through the sheer action of our motor neurones.
nineteenthly, Mar 04 2012

       I think I might have beaten you to it...see theogermal power link
not_morrison_rm, Mar 04 2012

       [Alterother], one way of looking at this Idea is as a kind of direct Challenge (to a Believer): "Oh, so you believe in the existence of non-physical energies, do you? And you believe those energies can affect the physical world? How about you prove it, by building a physical perpetual motion machine powered by those non-physical energies?"
Vernon, Mar 04 2012

       I never claimed belief or disbelief in any psychic phenomena, I was just sharing some terminology and information gleaned from research I've done for a story I'm working on.   

       As for the challenge, I'll take it, but good luck trying to figure out what side of the line I'm on. I am an eternal skeptic, unwilling to simply take something 'on faith', reserving belief for that which I personally experience; on the other hand, I am, as all skeptics should be, open- minded, and there are things I have experienced that fall beyond that which can be scientifically observed, categorized, and reproduced on demand. I have my own deep spiritual theory--a theory which changes and grows as I do--but I will not go into it here unless others express the desire to read of it.   

       One thing I do know is that true faith, whatever its form, is something that cannot be held in the hand, but rather is held in the heart. Anyone else who feels that as well commands my respect, regardless of what they or I believe in.
Alterother, Mar 04 2012

       //one way of looking at this Idea is as a kind of direct Challenge... How about you prove it...?//   

       Well, goodness me. All this time, we billions of skeptics have been tearing our hair out trying to think of a way to make a dent in superstition and religion and you mean... all we had to do was ask them to provide some proof? D'oh!! Why didn't we think of that? Mate, you're a genius.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 04 2012

       Superstition is something I understand, and even suffer from to some degree (this is mostly in reference to the thing with the apples). I see superstition as the demented step-brother of spirituality: hard to understand at first, but much simpler and more straightforward on the whole.
Alterother, Mar 04 2012

       [Alterother], sorry, I left some quotes out of that last anno. It wasn't intended to be directed toward you, personally.   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], since when have the skeptics requested a form of proof as specific as this one --which would be repeatedly testable **without** any Believer being present.
Vernon, Mar 05 2012

       Proof can be tricky though. Years ago, for instance, somebody started a rumour that sometimes placebos worked as well as medicines.
FlyingToaster, Mar 05 2012

       Vernon- Many skeptics routinely ask for just this sort of proof. Hence my earlier comment on Deities apparently being unwilling to produce miracles on command.
MechE, Mar 05 2012

       I suggest we utilize some variant of my Holiness Unit of Measurement to quantify it.   

       [Vernon] + religious speculation on imaginary energies = the feeding of 5000 with 2 fish. Here's one.   

       Reading vernon as he carries on about religion is like listening to Rush bloviate on about, well, anything.
RayfordSteele, Mar 05 2012

       I'd say at least 2500 people had a good meal--all that's left are the bones.   

       [Vernon]: no worries, mate!
Alterother, Mar 05 2012

       [MaxwellBuchanan], there is a tying-together of concepts here, which you might have overlooked. If various Religious claims are true, then (1) A Deity exists, (2), human souls exist, (3) souls count as "offspring" of the Deity, (4), regarding various things that the Deity can do to the physical world, souls should be able to do some of that also.   

       So, the Deity should not necessarily need to be invoked, to make a perpetual-motion machine run. The appropriate Believer should be able to get a small-enough PMM running. (After which the Believer should go elsewhere, while the skeptics examine the gadget.)
Vernon, Mar 05 2012

       3 is questionable, and 4 is definitely false.   

       I can create a machine. Doesn't mean its my offspring (very few religions would describe souls in those terms). And said machine probably couldn't create any sort of machine (unless that's it's designed purpose).   

       Even if three is accepted, my Dad's a Civil Engineer, I'm a Mechanical, my brother's a Librarian. We can all do things that the other can't. Which makes 4 absolutely false.
MechE, Mar 05 2012

       // regarding various things that the Deity can do to the physical world, souls should be able to do some of that also. //   

       Keyword: _some_. I can repair things made out of metal, while my Mom and Dad, in their different ways, can repair things made out of flesh. To someone who believes in an omnipotent god or equivalent thereof, these are 'god- given' talents, which jives with the fourth assertion.   

       To me, these are a combination of inherited affinities (both of my grandfathers were engineers) and learned skills. I learn things intuitively, while my parents both learn methodically. None of us were 'given' the skills we have, but (IMO) our genetic heritage imbued us with natural talent and the ability to learn. From a theological standpoint (i.e. assuming that the universe is governed by an intelligent force), I can see how easy it would be to interpret these characteristics as endowments from a higher entity rather than endowments of heritage.
Alterother, Mar 05 2012

       The problem is, [Vernon] old bean, that you seem to be approaching the world of religion with the zeal and naivety of a 12-year-old atheist. Those guys'll either eat you for breakfast or ignore you.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 05 2012


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