Poof! The ID energy question

ID proponents often portray ID critics as “materialists”, and recently someone asked whether a force was “material”.  Well, if a force isn’t “material” then there are no “materialists”.  So yes, is the answer to that question.  A force that can move matter is a material force.  A force that can’t move matter isn’t a force at all.

And this matters for the Intelligent Design argument, because when we infer that an object has been intelligently designed, we are also inferring that it was fabricated according to that design. And to fabricate an object, or modify it, the fabricator has to accelerate matter, i.e. give its parts some kinetic energy it did not otherwise possess, by applying a force.

While ID proponents are often reluctant to speculate much about the nature of the designer, they rarely even mention the fabrication process.  But the ID proposal implicitly postulates that a force was applied to matter by the designer, or her workforce, in order to make it do something other than what it would have done had that force not been applied.

I’d like to ask ID proponents here: what is your preferred hypothesis as to how the putative designer of living things actually made them? What material force accelerated the required molecules into position in the first living cells, converting potential energy into kinetic energy, and since then, guides the nucleotides into the required positions to produce novel proteins and enzymes as required?

What is, in other words, the energy source for the “poof”?

 

440 thoughts on “Poof! The ID energy question

  1. Alan Fox,

    Hi Alan,

    This is a fine description of gravity from the standpoint of classical, nineteenth-century physics. It does treat gravity on the same footing as other forces such as the elastic force of a spring.

    Einstein’s theory of gravity does away with this fine tradition. There is no force of gravity in general relativity. It is a fictitious force just like the extra gravity we experience when an elevator starts going up.

    The two descriptions of course agree in the limit of small speeds and weak gravitational effects.

  2. olegt,

    Hi Oleg

    I can’t keep up with these new concepts. I have tried to get my head round the idea of space-time, it’s curvature caused by linked to the presence of mass and geodesics. I have the mental image of the rubber sheet analogy and gravity wells. But now people talk of gravitons and gravity waves. Having done a little remedial homework, I see I was wrong (but perhaps for the right reasons*) about action at a distance being instantaneous disproves Newtonian gravity because it has been measured at travelling at the speed of light. (I had it backwards!)

    *clutches very tiny straw*

  3. Elisabeth suggest a test of William’s Intentional Field hypothesis that requires a subject who can bend spoons without applying physical force. William responds with reports from a research program that claims to have found a number of statistically significant effects of operators influencing the outcome of physical experiments through the strength of their thoughts alone.

    I had never heard of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program before. Looking through their publications list I found the one about the Random Mechanical Cascade apparatus, where the trajectory of large numbers of ping pong balls falling through a matrix of pegs into a series of bins underneath appears to be somewhat influenced, statistically, by the intentions of a number of different operators who do not physically control the experiment. The pdf is here: http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/pdfs/1988-operator-related-anomalies-rmc.pdf

    I am not an experimental scientist and don’t feel qualified to dissect this paper to see if its conclusions stand up to scrutiny. If they do, this would be a finding that goes contrary to my expectation. Is there some bias in the apparatus? Have they been correlating noise? Anyone willing to take a look at this?

    fG

  4. William J. Murray:
    hotshoe said:

    Does gravity convert the mass of an object in its grip to energy?

    No (well maybe at some nanoscale or other, dunno), but it can convert its potential energy into kinetic energy. If I put a vase on a windowsill, I give it potential energy. If my cat imparts a little horizontal force to the vase, it gives it a little kinetic energy. If the translation is enough, it will tip the vase off the windowsill, and gravity will accelerate it to the floor, giving it a lot more kinetic energy in place of the potential energy it had when it was on the windowsill. When it reaches the floor it will convert that kinetic energy into sound, heat, and possibly a little light.

  5. William J. Murray: No, you’re thinking of the intentional field as static – once in place its configuration never changes, and thus it would need to be a rube goldberg contraption laid in from the beginning. I’m thinking of it as a variable constraining force which doesn’t necessarily require any energy at all. Remember, it’s intentional. That means it varies with the intent.

    Well, I’m not “remembering” that, William. I’m asking. So your idea is that this putative “intentional field” is variable?

    OK, let’s go with this.

    Can you point to any other field that varies over time that does not require an energy input to effect the variation?

    Alternatively, can you propose how your putative intentional field gets its energy from? Take Uri Geller as an example if you like, on the working assumption that he really does bend those spoons with pure intention, not trickery.

  6. faded_Glory:
    Elisabeth suggest a test of William’s Intentional Field hypothesis that requires a subject who can bend spoons without applying physical force. William responds with reports from a research program that claims to have found a number of statistically significant effects of operators influencing the outcome of physical experiments through the strength of their thoughts alone.

    I had never heard of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program before. Looking through their publications list I found the one about the Random Mechanical Cascade apparatus, where the trajectory of large numbers of ping pong balls falling through a matrix of pegs into a series of bins underneath appears to be somewhat influenced, statistically, by the intentions of a number of different operators who do not physically control the experiment. The pdf is here:http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/pdfs/1988-operator-related-anomalies-rmc.pdf

    I am not an experimental scientist and don’t feel qualified to dissect this paper to see if its conclusions stand up to scrutiny. If they do, this would be a finding that goes contrary to my expectation. Is there some bias in the apparatus? Have they been correlating noise? Anyone willing to take a look at this?

    fG

    An interesting case study! I’d like to take a close look at the stats. There are a couple of warning lights going on for me at a first pass. But, if legit, the next thing to look for would be a replication.

    ETA: in an independent lab.

  7. EL said:

    Well, I’m not “remembering” that, William. I’m asking. So your idea is that this putative “intentional field” is variable?

    BTW, “field” is your word/concept, not mine. I refer to it as a force or a law. “My idea” that the intentional force varies with the intention.

    Can you point to any other field that varies over time that does not require an energy input to effect the variation?

    Again, field is your word, not mine.

    This would be what makes the force of intention completely unlike other forces that influence how matter and energy behave; it varies with the intent and the intender’s capacity to utilize intentional force, and how the intention is capable of interacting within the other physical laws and forces pertaining to the intention. There also may be resistant intentions.

    Alternatively, can you propose how your putative intentional field gets its energy from? Take Uri Geller as an example if you like, on the working assumption that he really does bend those spoons with pure intention, not trickery.

    We could postulate it as a constraint force, which requires no energy – something like the quantum wave collapse that occurs when observation measures things in quantum experiments (think Schrodinger’s cat – does the act of observation impart energy into the system? Or does it just constrain the wave function to one particular outcome?). You could call intention a pre-observational wave function constraint force (which is what it seems to be in the scientific experiments described in the link I provided).

    Or, we can say it uses the energy potential of that which it is affecting. Or, we could just propose a new energy and say that intention converts intentional potential energy into kinetic energy. You know, like they do with gravity and objects being affected by gravity.

    What difference does it make? Your “energy” objection is without significant substance for any number of reasons I’ve already pointed out.

  8. EL said:

    No (well maybe at some nanoscale or other, dunno), but it can convert its potential energy into kinetic energy.

    Then why do you ignore it when I hypothesize that intention may use the potential energy of a thing to provide the kinetic energy necessary to move it?

  9. There’s a review by Jahn and Dunne of the lab’s work on this over 12 years, published in 2007:

    Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program

    It’s worth noting that, when EEG sensors are attached to the scalp, most people can operate apparatus by “intention alone”.

    So if these results are statistically legit, and the protocol is legit, then my search for an explanatory mechanism would start with relationships between the EEG signal and the effect on the cascade.

  10. William J. Murray:
    EL said:

    Then why do you ignore it when I hypothesize that intention may use the potential energy of a thing to provide the kinetic energy necessary to move it?

    I don’t ignore it, William. I’ve explicitly mentioned it myself, several times. That’s why I keep mentioning cats, and vases, and Rube Goldberg machines. Have you not been reading my posts?

  11. William J. Murray:
    EL said:

    Then why do you ignore it when I hypothesize that intention may use the potential energy of a thing to provide the kinetic energy necessary to move it?

    That’s a reasonable hypothesis… how does it do that? How would we measure the effect?

  12. Observation of a Psychokinetic Effect Under Highly Contrlled Conditions by Helmut Schmidt

    http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/observ.html

    Abstract:

    ABSTRACT: The author summarizes five experiments in which he studied the psychokinetic (PK) effect (the mental influence on the outcome of chance processes) under tight supervision by independent observers. Through the use of prerecorded random events as targets, the observers could evaluate the results independently, without having to trust the reliability of the author or his equipment. The total of these five studies, which represent all the work done under external supervision, produced an effect deviating by 3.67 standard deviations from chance expectancy. The odds against such an outcome are about 8,000 to 1. Thus, the results support the extstence of a PK effect on prerecorded random events, in agreement with previous experiments. The observed PK effect is inconsistent with current quantum theory. It shows that the theory is not correct when applied to systems that include human subjects. Furthermore, the existence of a weak mental effect on the outcome of chance events cautions the physicist to be careful in the interpretation of results that are based on relatively few chance events.

    So, how would one be able to intentionally affect something that occurred in the past (pre-recorded events)?

    Delayed “Choice” Quantum Eraser http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9903047v1.pdf
    Kim, Yoon-Ho; Yu, Rong; Kulik, Sergei P.; Shih, Yanhua; Scully, Marlan O.

    Abstract:

    We report a delayed “choice” quantum eraser experiment of the type proposed by Scully and Drühl (where the “choice” is made randomly by a photon at a beam splitter). The experimental results demonstrate the possibility of delayed determination of particlelike or wavelike behavior via quantum entanglement. The which-path or both-path information of a quantum can be marked or erased by its entangled twin even after the registration of the quantum.

  13. Sadly, I don’t think the stats are legit. In their own 12 year review, they effectively provide a meta-analysis (with “operator” as the study unit) with funnel plot:

    Clearly the effect sizes are as you’d expect if the real effect is, at most, small, and the dramatic effects are simply what you get quite often with small samples.

    Still, sort of interesting.

  14. EL said:

    I don’t ignore it, William. I’ve explicitly mentioned it myself, several times. That’s why I keep mentioning cats, and vases, and Rube Goldberg machines. Have you not been reading my posts?

    Those are contrived objections. You ask what energy could be used – I give you answers – there are forces that use no energy; there are forces that convert potential energy into kinetic. Both of these answer the “where does the energy come from” question, but you want to confine how intention affects matter to other models and insist I explain how in terms of those other models.

    The problem is that even those other models are not explanations – which I keep trying to get across to you. They are descriptions of the behavior, not explanations for the behavior. You want me to describe what I’ve already said is orthogonal to “natural” forces and laws (because it is intentional) in terms of descriptions of those “natural” forces and laws.

    You cannot describe the intention effect in terms of “natural” force effects or laws because it is describing a fundamentally different kind of behavior.

    Let’s for a moment assume that the research data I’ve linked to is good; how then would you say that humans can not only affect the outcomes of certain experiments via intention, but can also affect events in the past? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to hypothesize intention as a force that is somehow acting on matter, and is not confined to linear causality?

  15. William J. Murray: Again, field is your word, not mine.

    OK, so if intention is a force, but not a field (and you yourself talked about “gravity wells” as an analogy, so it seemed like you were thinking in terms of a field) what do you have in mind? A pointed intention-stick?

  16. William J. Murray: Those are contrived objections. You ask what energy could be used – I give you answers – there are forces that use no energy; there are forces that convert potential energy into kinetic.

    I know you have given me answers, although some have been sort of nonsense (oddly, you accuse me of confusing force and energy, whereas you yourself seem confused as to the difference).

    I’ve been pressing you for specifics on those answers. If intentional force is a field, where do you think the energy comes from when differentially applied by human intention? And by analogy, where does it come from when differentially applied by something without apparent biological form? Or, if the putative intentional agent does have some kind of biological form, what do you think it might eat?

    ETA: added the adverb “diffentially” to make it clear I hope why I am looking for an energy source.

  17. William J. Murray: The problem is that even those other models are not explanations – which I keep trying to get across to you.

    And, as I have explicitly acknowledged, and even actively pointed out (did you see my link to Feynmann’s video on magnets?) I know that they are not explanations.

    I’m not asking for an explanation as to why an intentional field exists. I’m asking for evidence that it does, and, if so, what fuels the changes you say it exhibits.

  18. William J. Murray: Let’s for a moment assume that the research data I’ve linked to is good; how then would you say that humans can not only affect the outcomes of certain experiments via intention, but can also affect events in the past? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to hypothesize intention as a force that is somehow acting on matter, and is not confined to linear causality?

    I’m sorry I did not investigate that data. Could you re-link?

    If there is evidence that humans can influence the past by intention, and it is good, then intention would have to be conceptualised as a heck of a lot more than “a force”.

  19. EL said:

    I’m not asking for an explanation as to why an intentional field force exists. I’m asking for evidence that it does

    I’ve directed you to some evidence a force of intention exists.

    ..and, if so, what fuels the changes you say it exhibits.

    Answered several times.

  20. Elizabeth: I’m sorry I did not investigate that data.Could you re-link?

    If there is evidence that humans can influence the past by intention, and it is good, then intention would have to be conceptualised as a heck of a lot more than “a force”.

    Why? Too lazy to scroll up a few posts?

  21. William J. Murray:

    I’ve directed you to some evidence a force of intention exists.

    It’s pretty funny to see WJM desperately scouring the web for any woo on telekinesis he can find. Love the “paper” from the Journal of Parapsychology.

    Woo woo! 😀

  22. If you think about it there’s been many very large long term experiments going on to detect telekinesis. They’re called gambbling kasinos*. Kasinos* make money by relying on known probability distribution of stochastic events like dice throwing. If there existed the ability to mentally control the dice roll outcome on the crap table or the ball in roulette then casinos would have been out of business centuries ago. Yet here they still are, making money from rubes who believe they can “intent” themselves a good outcome.

    * Had to misspell “gambbling kasinos” to get past the spam filter.

    [Moderation note: I “despammed” your other messages, then moved them to trash since they are all about the same as this one. I guess you hit a word that is a spam flag. — Neil Rickert]

  23. William J. Murray:
    EL said:

    I’ve directed you to some evidence a force of intention exists.

    Answered several times.

    Well, no, you never really go beyond general terms to specifics. Intention is a force, but it could be one (or more?) of several kinds, so it’s not even clear that it’s the generality of “physical force” or if it’s an entirely “esoteric force” or some such thing. That’s all that we ever get from IDists anyway, generalities like “intelligence” or “design,” not even as specific as “human intelligence” or “human design,” which themselves are usually too non-specific to provide a real answer to a real question.

    And, even if the “evidence” showed some effect correlated with intention, that wouldn’t show that a “force of intention” exists. It would only show that intention is related to a force, while it could itself be a side effect of forces (and even if it must ultimately affect something, it needn’t be affecting the desired outcome to a meaningful degree).

    That said, what really does matter is the evidence that something has an effect, and not particularly the question of where the energy comes from. There would be a number of potential sources of energy (presumably “dark energy” could even be the source for some exotic designer), and I think that the real question being asked (or that should be asked, anyway) is for any sort of accounting for the input that would yield the putative design effects. That, of course, will never come, mainly because there is no good evidence for design at all, hence there are no specific effects for which any specific inputs could be inferred.

    If we found a mechanical watch on Mars, we’d ask what could have machined the little gears, where did the steel come from, and what sort of apparent alien would bother with mechanical watches when it has the ability to traverse empty space (it would be an apparently incongruous find). That’s because a mechanical watch really was designed. When an IDist notes that cells have information-processing capacities, there simply aren’t any questions, since it was all just designed. It’s left to real science to ask the questions of how it evolved, since that’s what the specifics tell us happened, while simple, specific leaps of cognition expected in design are absent from life (some, not necessarily all, should exist if we are expected to conclude “design”). That matters when specifics matter, not when mere generalities are being thrown around.

    Glen Davidson

  24. Our existence was intentional since everything physical began to exist and no natural force can precede the Universe, only an act can bring us here. Intention precedes reality, i have the intention to throw you a rock, after i had the intention a physical chain of causes and effects took place to energize my movement to throw you the rock, rock didn’t had the intention to be thrown itself. Only if you are conscious you have intentions.

    Materialism is dead, only pseudo-philosophers use it to make an argument for atheism (the belief that you are a random cosmic accident that nothingness spewed without free will or purpose).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM

  25. Feel free to go elsewhere and bother someone else if you don’t have anything interesting to add to the conversation.

    Please prove me that you are a random cosmic accident that nothingness spewed without free will or purpose (that’s what you get if you say that you were made without intention).

    R.I.P Materialism

    The delayed choice quantum eraser experiment was confirmed with helium atoms this year. One more nail in the coffin of materialism. As the article says, “The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150527103110.htm

  26. RandomnessdoesntExist:

    [hotshoe_ said (as part of longer rant moved to guano):] Feel free to go elsewhere and bother someone else if you don’t have anything interesting to add to the conversation.

    Please prove me that you are a random cosmic accident that nothingness spewed without free will or purpose (that’s what you get if you say that you were made without intention).

    tee hee
    Proof is for formal mathematics and whiskey drinking.

  27. William J. Murray: I’m not anything remotely resembling a christian.

    Ah William, but to so many people here you may as well be a Christian. Intelligent Design just is Christian apologetics.

  28. Mung: Intelligent Design just is Christian apologetics.

    Have you read UD recently? What’s the ratio of bible verses to CSI calculations?

  29. Richardthughes:

    [ Mung said:] Intelligent Design just is Christian apologetics.

    Have you read UD recently? What’s the ratio of bible verses to CSI calculations?

    Even one single bible verse per month is one too many if they’re supposed to be a science discussion site.

    Yep, all science, all the time, that’s ID! Not just christian apologetics dressed up in a lab coat, oh, no, never.

    There’s nothing like Ann Gauger’s green-screened fake “lab”photos to confirm that their fake research and fake results are all a cover for religiously-motivated “theory”.

    Of course, not all believers in “Intelligent Design” are christians. But balance of probability, based on English language internet, commenters clearly from first world nations … a person would be foolish to bet against an IDist being christian.

    WJM can react as he wants (and Mung can be as scornful on his part) to the fact that we can’t be bothered to keep track of their personal flavors of theism and other whacky beliefs. Honestly, it’s just not important if WJMi is christian or not — who cares? The only reason any of us care about UD and ID at all (besides the possible entertainment value) is the threat they intend towards secular public education. Those doing the threatening are 100% religious, and probably 99.99% various sects of christianity. Let ’em fight it out, if they want, whichever flavor they think is right, as long as they stay out of my schools!

    Remember cubist’s original question

    …can you name any ID-pushers who are not also Christians who subscribe to a fairly specific strain of Xtian belief? The vast majority of scientists who accept evolution include members of pretty much every religious creed on Earth; why, then, is it that damn near all ID-pushers are members of one specific religion?

    WJM states that he’s personally an exception, a named ID pusher who isn’t also a christian. Yeah, yeah, so what? Finding one single exception doesn’t invalidate the larger point: ID as a movement and UD as one of the remaining sites supporting that movement are overwhelmingly christian. Cubist may not have been 100% correct, only 99.99%. Good enough, I’d say.

  30. William J. Murray: Why? Too lazy to scroll up a few posts?

    OK, I’ve had a look.

    My first reaction (and I’ve had a good look at all the linked experiments) is that it is very difficulty to determine precisely what was done. Reporting of experimental procedures, as well as stimulus presentation electronics, has improved greatly since that work was done, and I’d like to see more recent work on the same lines.

    But let’s say that the effect is real: that subjects really were able to influence the presentation, even though the code for it had been written randomly months previously. That does not demonstrate backward causation, because the sensory stimuli are still being generated contemporaneously with the observation. For example, if it were possible (and it is, as I’ve said, possible to set up equipment so that participants can use the EEG signals generated by their brains to affect an electronic display, although that is done using electrodes actually in contact with the scalp. Nonetheless, we also can detect electromagnetic field fluctuations at a distance from the scalp (that’s the principle of MEG), although the distance is typically very short.

    So one possible explanation (though it would certainly be a shake-up) is that certain people (and typically psi experiments only report psi effects from a small subset) can generate an electromagnetic field powerful enough to affect the electronics of the stimulus generation – and thus override the code.

    So if the effect is real (which I’m not convinced of, yet), the first place I’d look for a mechanism is in the EEG.

    And I’d look for correlated effects on the stimulus generation mechanism, not on the pre-generated code.

  31. hotshoe_: The only reason any of us care about UD and ID at all (besides the possible entertainment value) is the threat they intend towards secular public education.

    Point of order: I’m not that bothered about secular public education, although I can understand and sympathise with your concerns.

    I’m bothered about bad science, and the undermining of evidence-based methodology. ID, anti-vaxxers, climate change denial, magic diets, wonder drugs – they are all related and give support to each other, because they are all characterised by sloppy science that has some vested interest other than in finding out what works and how it works.

  32. hotshoe_: WJM states that he’s personally an exception, a named ID pusher who isn’t also a christian.

    No, he didn’t state that. WJM’s exact words were, “I’m not anything remotely resembling a christian.” Nothing about whether or not he’s an ID-pusher. And it’s worth noting that WJM has a track record re: disgorging tracts of verbiage which lead unwary onlookers to conclude that WJM is arguing for [insert position here], only for WJM to say Hey now, I’m not supporting [insert position here], I’m just, you know, talking about [insert position here], merely discussing [insert position here]! So do not be fooled by any impression you may have regarding WJM’s posture vis a vis the ID movement; past history teaches that WJM cannot be so easily pinned down.

    Yeah, yeah, so what? Finding one single exception doesn’t invalidate the larger point: ID as a movement and UD as one of the remaining sites supporting that movement are overwhelmingly christian. Cubist may not have been 100% correct, only 99.99%. Good enough, I’d say.

    And note that no ID-pusher has felt the need to actually, you know, cite any specific examples of non-Xtian ID-pushers. Curious, that omission. Particularly curious if, as ID-pushers are generally eager to point out, ID really was just plain old science, and not any form of religious dogma at all, nosirreebob!

  33. Elizabeth,

    Do you mean something like this?
    EEG Event-Related Spectral Signatures associated with Psi-conducive States
    Thomas F. Collura, Ph.D., P.E., Norman S. Don, Ph.D.
    http://www.brainmaster.com/tfc/index_files/Publications/psipaper.pdf

    This report describes the results of an analysis of EEG recorded from a high-scoring subject on a series of tasks associated with psi states. EEG was recorded during a forced-choice, five-response task. Using offline analysis of the EEG, it was possible to identify a spectral signature that was found (p < 0.001) when the task was performed at an above-chance level. The details of this signature will be shown, and implications for neurofeedback training of associated states will be discussed.

  34. Elizabeth:
    Sadly, I don’t think the stats are legit.In their own 12 year review, they effectively provide a meta-analysis (with “operator” as the study unit) with funnel plot:

    Clearly the effect sizes are as you’d expect if the real effect is, at most, small, and the dramatic effects are simply what you get quite often with small samples.

    Still, sort of interesting.

    Can you explain this plot a bit more?

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