I'm going to try to impose a bit of structure here, so that we can all see clearly where we're headed and why....
1. Our longterm goal, broadly speaking, is to find scientific evidence for the existence of internal chi, so that internal chi can be investigated, studied, written about, discussed, and so on, in a rigorous manner.
2. The definition we've constructed for internal chi is:
"Internal chi is a form of internal energy that human beings can learn to bring under deliberate voluntary control."
3. Terms internal to the definition have been defined by us as follows:
"Internal" -- within our bodies and minds (or within our bodymind)
"Energy" -- the capacity to do work (that is, to lift something, carry something, hold something back, break something, and so on)
4. The question we're now tackling is: Can internal chi be detected by using biofeedback techniques?
A student member writes that "detect" for him or her would mean "to observe and measure changes, at least grossly." That's excellent. The first problem for our project, however, is that change has to be observed and measured from a baseline measurement of some kind. For chi, we not only have no baseline, we don't know what measurement would _constitute_ a baseline.
Suppose we bring a martial artist considered skilled with internal chi into the lab and decide that we're going to measure change. Change in what? Blood pressure? Electrolytes? Heart rate? Enzymes? Height and weight? Brain waves? Neurotransmitters? What? We don't know. We can hook up our martial artist to all sorts of measuring devices and get baseline measurements of blood pressure and so on; we can then ask our martial artist to "exert some chi" for us for ten seconds and measure again. Suppose that when we do that we find a variety of changes in the measurements -- suppose the blood pressure goes up significantly, for a very simple example. Many things are known to cause blood pressure to rise; the fact that that has happened could only be used as evidence for internal chi if all those other things could be ruled out. And the same thing, I believe, would be true for any of the physiological changes that standard measuring devices can measure for us. So, although detecting change in the martial artist is a useful scientific strategy, it won't help us at this point. What next, then?
Remember that we've defined energy as the capacity to do work. That work has been done can ordinarily be proved by change in whatever the work has been done _to_. That a ten-pound boulder has been moved three feet can be proved by the change in the boulder's position. We can therefore consider what task -- what work -- a martial artist could perform to demonstrate that he/she had used internal chi to bring about the change.
Consider the usual tests for psychokinesis. The person claiming to have that ability sits at a table where there is a compass, for example, and without touching the compass or table moves the point of the needle from north to east and keeps it there for twenty seconds. If this is done under controlled conditions -- which means that there's no way that person, or any other person, could move the compass needle by physical means -- the completion of the task proves something. I say proves "something," because all that is really proved is that the person can move the compass "mentally," and it's alleged that the mechanism for that is psychokinesis. For all we know, it would be correct to say that the mechanism is internal chi. But that is in many ways a quibble over terminology; it would at least prove the existence of a form of internal energy under deliberate voluntary control, one that was not on the standard list.
What we need is a task. When we want to teach a child deaf from birth how to pronounce an English sound so that others will understand, we can't use that child's hearing as feedback. So there's a device that lets the child watch a tv screen on which a basketball is seen being thrown at the basket/hoop as the child tries to pronounce the sound. The child can tell how close he or she is to pronouncing the sound properly by how close the ball comes to going through the basket; when the pronunciation is satisfactory, the ball goes right through. The biofeedback from the device is visual and tactile. The device works very well as a way of teaching pronunciation. That's an objective test, measurable and verifiable and repeatable.
To detect chi through biofeedback, I am of the opinion that we would need to propose a task -- work -- for the martial artist to do using internal chi. A measurable and verifiable and repeatable task, and one that we can't account for by proposing some other sort of energy.