Flame on! SpaceBattles.Com Babies Flame on!

Written: 2000.06.13
Last Revised: 2000.07.10

It was recently brought to my attention that handful of Trekkies (three in particular) had hidden out on the Spacebattles.com discussion board in an attempt to monopolize that particular shallow pool (meaning that there are relatively few participants, compared to the newsgroups). Over time, growing confident, they began to delude themselves into believing that they actually had the ability to refute the arguments being used on the big bad public newsgroups. Of course, they didn't have the courage to actually venture onto those newsgroups or publish their ideas on a website, but from within the relative safety of their little hideaway, they declared themselves kings.

Heady with their newfound power, they decided that they would write the definitive deconstruction of my website, which they would trot out to anyone who dared cite any of my information or calculations. They called it "Wong is wrong" (gee, how witty). Of course, it goes without saying that none of them had the courage to E-mail this supposedly devastating list of arguments to me, but luckily, others saw fit to E-mail it to me for my perusal. When I received it, I read it eagerly in the hopes that I would find some juicy and interesting arguments to sink my teeth into. Unfortunately, their arguments amounted to nothing more than childish evasions. Their tactics all fall into the following categories:

  1. Unsupported claims: Easily their favourite. They spout "corrections" to my carefully researched and supported information but they refuse to back their "corrections" up with anything more specific than "I saw it on TNG" or "in the shows". In most cases, when one attempts to verify their claims, one discovers that they are actually outright lies.

  2. No math: Of course, it goes without saying that they like to throw numbers around without bothering to perform the necessary calculations. I am told that they regard all calculations as "non-canon" and therefore useless, which is a bit like saying that all real-life scientific calculations are useless because they're "non-reality".

  3. Red herrings and Nit-picks: During the OJ Simpson trial, DNA testing lab technicians were grilled for minor mistakes in procedure, imperfections in daily routine, etc. The defense was trying to "prove" to a moronic jury that if the lab's operation wasn't absolutely perfect in every way (even aspects which didn't directly affect the tests), then all of their work should be ignored. Apparently, the Spacebattles.Com babies were paying attention. They use nitpicks and red herrings in a transparent attempt to damage the credibility of my arguments, without addressing my points. My favourite example is the guy whose idea of a rebuttal was to complain that I called the Jem'Hadar drug "white" instead of "ketracel white".

It should also be noted that their entire essay was an ad hominem attack, because they used it to "prove" that the rest of my website should be summarily ignored. In fact, I expect that their response to this rebuttal will be to simply nitpick minutae and then claim that the entire rebuttal should therefore be ignored. Whenever you see someone who obsesses over "credibility" and who counsels others to ignore certain people or sources, you have found a textbook example of the ad hominem attack. Unfortunately, I doubt that our three Trekkie friends can even spell "ad hominem", much less understand the concept.

In any case, despite their incompetence, there is one thing we can learn from this: we can use their arguments as useful learning exercise in dishonest and fallacious debating tactics. So read on! Please note that I split their essay up into bite sized chunks because it's just so damned long. Where they quote from my site, I've highlighted it in green. Where I quote them, I've highlighted it in yellow.

Industrial Capacity

Logistics
Fleet Strength
Starbases
Comparison with Competing Groups

Ground Combat

Pulse Phaser Rifles
Type III Phaser Rifles
Projectile Weapons
Phaser Firepower
Defensive Technologies
Other Societies
The Borg
Environmental Protection and Sensors
Transporters
Conclusions

Note: this rebuttal was based on a copy of the essay which was clipped from spacebattles.com, posted by Doomriser on alt.startrek.vs.starwars, and then forwarded to me by Wayne Poe. You can view that copy here. Note that it contains no formatting or screenshots so it isn't pretty, but I posted it in case somebody got the bright idea of claiming that I altered the text.


Acknowledgements


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