Qi is a Human Construct. It’s also an assumption. That is to say, it’s just made up. Of course, we always knew that. But now we’ve had it confirmed by Howard Choy, a Feng Shui practitioner, and practicing Feng Shui Architect.
Howard turned up in the comments to my last Feng Shui post - Feng Shui Hooey. (Yes I know that doesn’t really rhyme. It rhymes the way I pronounce Feng Shui.) Howard joined the thread at comment #11. His defense of FS consisted of the usual fallacies (not “western” science, been around for a long time, you need to do more research before you understand it, yada yada), and didn’t get any better throughout the remainder of his 54 comments in that thread. But at least he eventually did one thing very few woos actually ever get around to doing, namely he admitted that Qi (and therefore the basis of Feng Shui) is just an assumption and a human construct.
By all means, read the whole comment thread. I just want to highlight the end of the discussion, where we finally managed to pin Howard down. It started with Howard making comment # 133 and the comment after it, #134:
FS is about how to take advantage of life enhancing forces (jue sheng qi) which science is a part. So it is part science by using it.
We use things that have evidence and we use things that don't have evidence, as long as it is useful, we use them.
Some parts of FS can be tested by science, like why the Chinese preferred a courtyard house, Some parts can't, like the assumption we make that everything has qi.
I asked him (comment #135) how he knew these things. How did he know that life enhancing forces of jue sheng qi even existed or what effect they have? How did he know they were useful if we don’t have evidence for them as he admitted? How did he know (as he claimed) everything has qi if (as he said), they can’t be tested?
His response in comment 135 was (with my bold):
Qi is an assumption and even science uses assumptions and in mathematics as well. An assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, that is, as if it were known to be true.
There are quantifiable qi like tianqi(weather) and qixi (breath), etc. The there are also unquantifiable qi like gua qi which is a human construct but we still use them because it is a useful tool by experience, like art, philosophy and religion.
So there you have it. Qi is just pretend. It was made up by humans. We just act "as if" it's real.
And remember, Howard is not just any new agey woo, angry that I don’t support his favorite piece of magic. He has studied this extensively. He is part of a team that designs buildings using Feng Shui, he teaches seminars and workshops in Feng Shui, he has a Feng Shui blog. In short, he is an expert in Feng Shui:
Howard has written 4 books on Feng Shui and Qigong and numerous articles for various magazines and journals worldwide. He has worked as the principal consulting Feng Shui Architect on the capital upgrading of the Chinese Garden in Darling Harbour, after having successfully completed the Feng Shui urban renewal for Sydney’s Chinatown in 2001 for the Sydney Olympic Games.
And this is the best a real expert can do? It’s all made up, a human construct, an assumption?
And then this evening, after two weeks of silence, Howard came back and left a final "goodbye" comment #163. Apparently “Feng Shui is not working here” and it’s all our fault for not just believing in Howard’s drivel. But real science doesn't care whether you believe in it or not - it works regardless.
As an expert in Feng Shui, Howard is like the expert on fairies at the bottom of the garden - in both cases, the expertise is worthless.