Debate #2: Lord Edam

March 10, 2002 (my second rebuttal, part 3/3):

Base Delta Zero

OK Edam, there are really just two points that you make, over and over:

  1. You can kill most of a planet's human and animal population with a series of 216,000 1-megaton explosions over 1 hour.
  2. A BDZ does not require any more than that. You can blockade a planet with TIE fighters beforehand and "mop up" any survivors afterwards. The planet will be turned into a completely dead world by long-term effects.

I showed very clearly how both points are completely wrong in my last post. I will attempt to deal with each of your ignorant comments once more, but if you simply repeat your lies and ignorant statements in your next post I will have no choice but to condense this into its most relevant points for the sake of brevity. I will not allow you to turn this debate into a battle of endurance, where the person with no life to speak of (ie- you) holds an obvious advantage. That's obviously why you didn't want a limit on the length of this debate, since you knew you could always guarantee some semblance of "victory" with delay and exhaustion tactics.


you continue to insist "three ships means no witnesses" - why? The whole point of VotF was that the space battle over the planet would disquise the attack. We don't know how many ships they used at Caamas. Dankayo was only a tiny rebel base with nothing else on the planet at all (and not actually a BDZ, anyway), so once you take out the base there wouldn't be any witnesses.

Ah, so first you figure it's an hours of constant bombardment with hundreds of thousands of shots, then you suddenly turn around and figure they can just pop off a few shots when no one's looking and then blame other ships which just happened to be in orbit? That's a pathetic evasion even for you, Edam. Are you seriously suggesting that three ships could set up station around Bothawui in the midst of a battle and fire hundreds of thousands of shots at the planet's surface for hours, and even though none of these shots were coming from the ships involved in the battle, no one would notice? Cloak or no cloak, when you see hundreds of megaton-level explosions on the surface and hundreds of shots coming from a single point in space, you don't need to be a genius to figure out what's happening.

"Cloaked Star Destroyer!" Han snapped back, twisting the helm yoke viciously, the whole plan suddenly coming clear. "That battle back there over Bothawui- all those ships beating each other into rubble- with a Star Destroyer waiting hidden here, ready to finish them all off and maybe burn Bothawui in the bargain. No survivors, no witnesses, only a battle everyone in the New Republic would blame everyone else for." VOTF p.617

"The preliminary [target] list has been filed," Oissan said, sounding a bit flustered. "We were expecting to have more time to complete it."
"Well, you didn't, did you?" Nalgol bit out, thoroughly disgusted. First the strike team, now Oissan. "Get back to work. We still have an hour or two before the battle out there winds down to where we'll be entering it." VOTF p.651

In other words, Han Solo figured that a single Star Destroyer could finish off the warring fleets by itself and then burn off Bothawui, all with "no survivors, no witnesses", and Nalgol confirmed this plan. The three ISDs were just insurance; it is quite obvious from Solo's interpretation of the plan that it's common knowledge in the New Republic that a single Star Destroyer is capable of doing this on its own. Enough of your lies and evasions, Edam. Stand up and debate like a man.

Five ships are not enough to prevent ships leaving if you don't stop them whilst they are on the ground. if they truly want "no witnesses" they will have to use the larger bombardment fleets and hope the planet doesn't find out before they get there

Which means that the best way to do it is to hit the planet with a few huge blasts, Edam. Surprise and shock. None of this hour-long methodical "peppering of 6% of the planet's surface with 5 psi shockwave and relying on 72 fighters to blockade the entire planet" nonsense.

(in the classic comic In Deadly Pursuit the majority of the ships on the planet left before the imperials arrived because they'd found out what was going to happen thanks to Eifion Davies for the reference).

Red herring. We're discussing a "no witnesses" BDZ which obviously requires the element of surprise, and that incident doesn't qualify. Try to stay on topic.

Or if you want to prevent any chance of people escaping, or if you want to achieve more than the minimum a BDZ requires, or if your target planet has any other unique problems that require a larger fleet

Funny how Han figures one ISD could do it in VOTF, and Thrawn's clone planned to make sure with just three (in addition to wiping out both warring fleets in orbit).

[VOTF] Three plus a space battle overhead.

Which would make their job harder, not easier. They had to wipe out both sides of the battle and BDZ the planet.

More Lies

how often do we see spaceships away from spaceports? never, basically. We've got a few rare occasions - Luke on Dagobah, and that's about it, but the majority of the examples of spacecraft on planets are those in spaceports. Concentrate on the ports and you will get practically every ship before it gets airborne - the only ones you'll miss are those that are just landing or about to take off (or the very fortuitous farmer in the back of beyond who happens to be near his spaceship which just happens to be ready to take off at a moment's notice)

More lies. We only see one spaceport in all four movies: Mos Eisley. The rest of our spaceship take-offs and landings are from starship docking bays or clamps (the DS, a Nebulon-B frigate, a Rebel cruiser), the Dagobah swamp (TESB and ROTJ), the Tatooine desert (twice in TPM, by the Queen's ship and also by Maul's ship), a giant space slug (TESB), an empty field (X-wings and transports leaving Hoth in TESB), various one-ship landing platforms (Bespin in TESB, Coruscant in TPM), the Naboo forest (TPM, offscreen), and a few hangars (the Yavin moon hangar, the Naboo fighter hangar, and the Hoth ice hangar). We see spaceships away from spaceports "never, basically?" Enough lies, Edam. Stand up and debate like a man.

Hutt Gambit Lies

[Defending use of "Hutt Gambit" as BDZ] Because they ordered a BDZ - it shows what a BDZ is, and how some survivors are acceptable. It is also supported by Cronus' attack on Khomm, and the three ISDs attacking Dankayo, the attack on Emberlene (VotF) - there are some survivors after the initial attack.

As usual, you are fabricating facts. They did not execute a BDZ because they weren't even trying! Read the quotes from p249:

"Greelanx had memorized the message, and that was easy, for it had been short.

The message had read: "Admiral Winstel Greelanx, eyes only, destroy after reading. Regarding Nar Shaddaa/Nal Hutta ENGAGEMENT. You are advised for the good of your Empire to engage the enemy and suffer a strategic defeat. Minimize Imperial losses, and withdraw in good order.

Repeat: you are to LOSE, Admiral. Do not attempt to confirm these orders. Do not discuss them with anyone. If you fail to comply, no excuses will be accepted."

And how about the following quote from p282?

"The admiral sighed. His battle plan called for the entire engagement to be over in less than fifteen minutes. He had better get busy, figuring out how he was going to manage to lose."

Get it? They were ordered to fail! It was apparently a fake order, but Greelanx believed it was real, and acted accordingly. Therefore, it is ridiculous to use their limited effectiveness as proof of BDZ limitations! Their misson timeframe was only 15 minutes, so their attack was designed to do token damage during that 15 minutes! Stop using this bullshit red herring, Edam. Yet again, you have distorted the facts beyond recognition and hidden important information. See the following quotes:

"Suddenly scrutiny from the Empire brought al normal life on Nar Shaddaa to a screeching halt. Moff Sarn Shild proclaimed the Hutts' lawless territory would benefit greatly from stricter Imperial control. As a public-relations stunt, Shild was authorized to blockade Nal Hutta and turn the smuggler's moon into molten slag."- Essential Chronology p29.

"Han watched as the Princess drifted closer and closer to the large moon. Nar Shaddaa was actually the size of a small planet, almost a third the size of Nal Hutta."- Hutt Gambit p56.

"Han tensed, but made himself stay calm. He could tell Greenlax was really tempted. "Sir, what are your orders?" he asked. "Perhaps we can think of something that will benefit us both, and yet leave you free of any charge of wrongdoing."

Greelanx laughed bitterly, a short, bitten-off laugh. "Hardly, young man. My orders are to enter the Hutt system, execute Base Delta Zero upon the smuggler's moon Nar Shaddaa, and then blockade Nal Hutta and Nar Hekka until the Hutts agree to allow full customs inspections and a complete military presence on their worlds. The Moff doesn't want to cripple the Hutts too badly, but he wants Nar Shaddaa reduced to rubble.

Han swallowed, his mouth dry. Base Delta Zero was an order that called for the decimation of a world- all life, all vessels, all systems- even droids were to be captured and destroyed. His worst nightmare come true."- Hutt Gambit p223/224.

"Nar Shaddaa- the ungoverned "smugglers' moon", it is completely covered by interlocking spaceport facilities and kilometers-high docking towers reaching into orbit. Nar Shaddaa's "vertical city" was built over thousands of years and is protected by often-malfunctioning shields... most of the moon's seventy two to ninety five billion inhabitants live in the highest levels of the spaceport-cities."- SWE, p207.

Get it now? Nar Shaddaa is not freakishly small, it is covered with multi-kilometre urban agglomeration, and a BDZ does exterminate "all life, all vessels, all systems". But what am I telling you for; you are the one who keeps bringing up "Hutt Gambit" even though if you have read it, you know perfectly well that it is not the proof you need. You are shamelessly misrepresenting it, taking events out of context and witholding key information (such as that minor detail about how the Imps were ordered to fail!)

It fits all the stated requirements of a BDZ. The only reason it shouldn't be considered is if we think there is more to a BDZ than is actually stated. Obviously, you do (otherwise you wouldn't be lying about the SWTJ description of a BDZ on your imperial weapons page), but we can't simply go round saying "that source isn't right, it's far worse than that" for no reason other than we want to

Repeating the lie again.

[Downgrading Nar Shaddaa's size] Nar Shadda was a moon of an inhabitable planet (moon, not sister planet), which means it wasn't particularly large. infact, you'd be lucky if it was Mars sized. If it was half the size of the Earth you'd ahve quarter the surface area. Oh, look, my figures are higher than that. My examples gave the first hour of the attack - it actually takes much longer (a matter of hours, not one single hour)

[Ignoring multi-kilometre tall buildings on Nar Shaddaa] And the majoriy of buildings in Star Wars are NOT multi-kilometre tall buildings. Those that are will take additional firepower, but an "idealised" BDZ will never happen. Everyone will be different, because every planet is different. SW buildings in general don't seem any different to modern buildings. There's no reason for them to be built better, so why assume they are?

See above quotes. You continue to lie.

The SWTJ says an ISD can slag a planet, but nothing anytime anywhere says a BDZ requires slagging of a planet, so anyone claiming that it does is lying. a BDZ (not requiring the entire slagging of a planet) takes a few hours for an unknown number of ships. Obviously, if you want to slag the planet to an arbitrary depth you'll need more ships and more time.
The Nar Shadda attack was designed to fulfill every requirement of a BDZ. That it was not completed does not invalidated the stated goals, and the fact they were acceptable as a Base Delta Zero operation

See above quotes. You continue to lie. And your energy estimates are completely inadequate regardless of whether we slag the planet or pound its surface to rubble.

ISD firepower

Other incidents that give us no idea of the number of ships or time frame. The only real examples of ISD firepower we have are the asteroid calcs and Gra Ploven, both of which end up as low MT weapon power.

Those are lower limits for each of their respective incidents, Edam. Upper limits are defined by Dodonna's briefing and the EGWT, both of which limit half the Imperial fleet's firepower to a single DS blast. And don't waste time trying to play semantics games with Dodonna's briefing; the EGWT clarifies the matter, and it is very clear and unambiguous on this point.

[Trying to explain away DS scaling to ISD] model aeroplanes use the same basic principles as full sized areoplanes. Try scaling them up and you'll end up with propeller driven planes that can break the sound barrier by a large margine. Simple scaling is always a bad idea, especially when it contradicts actual first hand accounts.

Looking for escape clauses as usual, eh? Too bad you forgot to notice that scaling issues always involve changing ratios between length, volume, and area, and by scaling on the basis of volume rather than length or area, I am using a worst-case scenario to generate the largest possible difference between the two. Oh, and by the way: in your example, the smaller one is more efficient, not less efficient (which is usually the case). An ISD should have much more firepower than a downscaled DS superlaser.


[Explaining Dankayo away] how large was Dankayo? Did it oiginally have an atmosphere, or was it simply refering to the atmosphere contained within the base when it was ruptured (I'd go for the latter, since the atmosphere in the base would drift away when ruptured)? turning a planet into an evenly cratered surface isn't that hard - my 1MT examples would achieve the exact same thing. Dankayo supports both examples equally, with pretty much identical assumptions required. Of course, we should also ask why it took 3 ISDs to do this, and why they managed to miss their goals (turnthe tiny base to molten slag - they didn't, a lot of the base was still remaining)

Looking for loopholes? Pathetic. Dankayo was a planet, not an airless moon. Its entire surface was reduced to a cratered wasteland, its atmosphere was pounded flat, and its topsoil was atomized! How many airless moons have topsoil, Edam? Small, airless moons and asteroids have nothing but dust! Soil is a mixture of rock, minerals, and organic matter. Get it yet? Are the rusty gears in your head turning? Tell me, how much organic matter appears without organic activity? And how much organic activity occurs in a friggin' vacuum? Dankayo was a planet, it had atmosphere, it had topsoil, it had life. After a quick BDZ from just three ships, it had no atmosphere, no topsoil, and save for one man in a deep-planet survival shelter, no life. You lose again, Edam.

Repeating Your Ignorant Lies About Nuclear Explosions

Background being "this is what a 1MT bomb exploding at 2000m will do to a typical city" in a discussion of nuclear weapons (actually an interlude in the book - interesting things you can do with the physics they've just explained), which is confirmed by the Nuclear Weapons FAQ and The Effects of Nuclear Weapons and practically any reputable source on the effects of nuclear weapons

More lies (I encourage all readers to check the above sources from the links in my BDZ page; they do not confirm Edam's story). You drop names but you refuse to provide direct information from those sources because the information does not support you, and your only hope is that people won't bother looking it up. Your figures come entirely from that general physics book, and the more in-depth sources that you refer to make it very clear that the physics text is oversimplifying (naturally, since nuclear explosion effects are not its primary focus). You claim 100% fatalities within a 7 km radius, and you hope no one will look up the truth. 7 km is 5 psi overpressure, and it's only considered lethal because most modern commercial and residential housing will fall down. An exposed person lying out on the ground can survive up to forty psi overpressure (that comes straight from the Nuclear Weapons FAQ that you referenced but obviously didn't bother reading first), and armoured or hardened structures and vehicles will survive, as would 1950s-style backyard bomb shelters.

Time to replace your lies and distortions with actual hard numbers taken directly from reputable sources rather relying on your creative paraphrasings thereof. Modelling of a 1 megaton ground burst over Detroit ("The Effects of Nuclear War", OTA 1979), with a population of 4.3 million at the time, led to a projection of less than a half-million dead, even for an airburst at optimum altitude, and it projected that some reinforced buildings might survive even at ground zero. Hardly 100% fatalities within a 7 km radius, Edam! Consider the following chart taken from the same source:

Distance from Ground Zero Peak overpressure Typical Blast Effects
1.3 km 20 psi Reinforced concrete structures are leveled.
4.8 km 10 psi Most factories and commercial buildings are collapsed. Small wood-frame and brick residences destroyed and distributed as debris.
7.0 km 5 psi Lightly constructed commercial buildings and typical residences are destroyed, heavier construction is severely damaged.

Does that sound like 100% fatalities to you? 100% human fatalities are only expected within the 20 psi contour, not the 5 psi contour. Moreover, there's a lot of other information in there. Prompt radiation effects are insignificant at 3.2km, and for a 1 megaton ground burst in the heart of the city:

  1. "... few people inside a 2 mile [3.2km] ring will survive the blast, and they are likely to be in strong buildings that have a 2- to 5- protection factor"
  2. 48% projected survival rate between 2.7 and 4.3 km from Ground Zero, 8% uninjured.
  3. 95% projected survival rate between 4.3 and 7.5km from Ground Zero, 50% uninjured.
  4. Nearly 100% projected survival rate between 7.5 and 11.8km from Ground Zero, 75% uninjured.

The document goes on to point out that the only difference between the airburst and the groundburst is a larger burn radius and slightly enlarged shockwave contours. This roughly doubles the fatality rate, thus lowering the survival rate to roughly 25% from 2.7 to 4.7km and 90% from 4.7 to 8.3km. Get that, Edam? It then goes on to point out that even the basements of typical residences would survive a 5 psi shockwave! Your so-called 100% fatality radius isn't even enough to kill somebody in the basement of a typical modern house, Edam. If he can dig his way out, he survives. Your figures are nothing but a comedic parade of lies and incompetence. A simulated nuclear attack on no less than eighty separate urban targets in the United States with 1 megaton bombs produced fatality estimates of only 5 million. If we use your method of assuming 100% fatality in a 7 km radius, such an attack would supposedly sterilize more than 12,000 km² of urban centre in the United States!

[Re: 5 psi] So, basically, it applies to most buildings not specifically designed to withstand the blast. Are SW buildings designed to withstand a BDZ?

Still trying to evade that 95% projected survival rate between 4.3km and 7.5km from Ground Zero? You're confusing the 5 psi rule of thumb (which includes fatalities due to long-term effects of injury), with a 100% short-term fatality estimate in a realistic projection of an urban setting. Enough of your bullshit already! I have no patience for people who are either incompetent or lying, and you're both. Buildings do not have to be "specifically designed to withstand" a BDZ; it's simply a question of how well built they are, and whether they are reinforced against natural phenomena such as hurricanes and tornadoes, whose effects are identical to those caused by a nuclear blast shockwave.

There will always be some survivors - the figures given are an ideal situation. Of course, anyone who does survive will likely be severly injurd by rubble or burns, and finished off in the mop-up operation that follows after the initial bombardment

"Some" survivors? You've hit 6% of the planet with 5 psi shockwaves that aren't even strong enough to destroy the basement of your house! I went too easy on you last time, Edam. Time to show what would really happen under your scenario. If the planet is urbanized and built like 1979 Detroit, your so-called BDZ attack produces the following results:

Proportion of
planet's surface
Proximity to
Nearest Blast
Short-Term Survival
Rate Based on
1979 Detroit
Urban Construction
Short-Term Effects
66% >16km 100% None.
25% 8.3-16km Nearly 100% High winds, flying debris. Thermal radiation can cause first and second degree burns and ignite fires in dry kindling on a clear day. Arable land undamaged. Fisheries undamaged.
6% 4.7-8.3km 90% Lightly constructed commercial buildings and typical residences are destroyed, heavier construction is severely damaged. Thermal radiation can cause first and second degree burns on a clear day. Burn range is related to optical visibility range (ie- on a day with 15km visibility, burns can occur at up to 15 km). Arable land undamaged. Fisheries undamaged.
2% 2.7-4.7km 25% Most factories and commercial buildings are collapsed. Small wood-frame and brick residences destroyed and distributed as debris. Thermal radiation can cause first and second degree burns on a clear day. Physical ground undamaged. Fisheries undamaged.
1% <2.7km Close to 0% Reinforced concrete structures are leveled. Both shockwave and prompt radiation effects are assumed lethal.
0% N/A 0% Total sterilization within the nuclear fireball, which is roughly 1.8 km wide. Note that the fireball does not touch the ground for a 1 megaton airburst at optimum height, so none of the planet's surface is affected.

Would you like to admit your utter failure now, Edam? Or are you going to continue lying and evading? Your so-called BDZ would cause near-100% fatalities in only 1% of a planet's surface, even if we assume it is built like 1979 Detroit and we ignore both military targets and fisheries. If we assume even population distribution across the entire planet, total short-term fatalities add up to roughly 7% of the planet's population. If we include injury estimates (roughly 1½ times prompt fatalities), the total casualty figure increases to roughly 18% of the planet's population. Given a population of, say, 6 billion, that means roughly 0.4 billion dead, 0.6 billion injured, and 5 billion completely unaffected in the short term. That is only a BDZ in your fantasy world, Edam. Nobody with half a brain is going to go along with you on this one.

[Trying to explain feeble damage levels] in one hour. How long does the initial bombardment take? According to Star Wars Technical Journal it takes hours to turn the world into smoking debris. Hours means at least two hours. coincidentally, by my example it takes hours to turn the planet into smoking debris. This is going to be some time before you get to the "slag it to death" level of damage.

In order to turn the planet's surface into smoking debris (not just residential homes on top of its surface, but the dirt and grass and rock and other stuff that we call its actual "surface"), we need to hit the whole planet with extremely powerful burn/blast effects. Prompt radiation effects are insignificant at 3.2km, and atmospheric pressure shockwaves create effects identical to hurricane-force winds, Edam. They do not transform ordinary ground into "smoking debris"! They knock down structures which have been built above that surface, but the ground itself is not affected, any more than it's reduced to smoking rubble when a hurricane passes over it.

You can't rely on a planet being completely urbanized so that you can cover its entire surface with "smoking debris" by knocking down buildings. Edam. Covering its surface with smoking debris isn't the same thing as turning its surface into smoking debris, and the only way to turn the entire surface of a planet into "smoking debris" is to rip it up, ie- cratering. A 1 megaton groundburst creates a 300 metre wide crater and leaves nothing recognizable but certain heavily reinforced structures or bridge supports out to 1 km, so we can use 1 km as the threshold. If we try to cover the entire planet with the 1 km blast effects of 1 megaton groundbursts (remembering to partially overlap for 100% coverage), we need to hit it with more than 250 million shots! That's not "hours", Edam. At 50 shots per second, that would take two months. Still think they can do it with 1 megaton blasts?

Oh, and by the way: the energy requirement for reducing the planet's surface to smoking debris using the above criteria would be roughly 1E24 J, within the same order of magnitude as my longstanding energy estimate, even though it doesn't account for fish or military targets.

Plus, of course, some planets (eg, tattooine) have very little habitation, so it would happen quicker, whilst other planets have far more, so it would take longer. the average will be round about 50% inhabited - on average, over half the actual inhabited area of the planet will be turned to smoking rubble in under an hour.

Red herring. The act of turning a planet's entire surface into "smoking rubble" is the same regardless of whether anybody's living on it. The act of killing all of its animals and fish is the same regardless of whether its human population is six billion or six hundred.

Average 50% area actually able to burn, 60% of which is burning within the first hour (the rest will probably go up not too long after due to the firestorms raging around the planet)

Wrong again. Most of the fires lit by a nuclear explosion are caused by secondary effects related to urban construction; fires from the immediate blast site propagating outwards due to closely spaced construction, broken gas lines, etc. Consider the following passage from the Nuclear Weapons FAQ which you pretend to use as a source:

"Despite the extreme intensity of thermal radiation, and the extraordinary surface temperatures that occur, it has less incendiary effect than might be supposed. This is mostly due to its short duration, and the shallow penetration of heat into affected materials. The extreme heating can cause pyrolysis (the charring of organic material with the release of combustible gases), and momentary ignition, but it is rarely sufficient to cause self-sustained combustion. This occurs only with tinder-like, or dark, easily flammable materials: dry leaves, grass, old newspaper, thin dark flammable fabrics, tar paper, etc. The incendiary effect of the thermal pulse is also substantially affected by the later arrival of the blast wave, which usually blows out any flames that have already been kindled. Smoldering material can cause reignition later however.

The major incendiary effect of nuclear explosions is caused by the blast wave. Collapsed structures are much more vulnerable to fire than intact ones. The blast reduces many structures to piles ot kindling, the many gaps opened in roofs and walls act as chimneys, gas lines are broken open, storage tanks for flammable materials are ruptured. The primary ignition sources appear to be flames and pilot lights in heating appliances (furnaces, water heaters, stoves, ovens, etc). Smoldering materal from the thermal pulse can be very effective at igniting leaking gas."

So much for your global firestorms, Edam. You're trying to use fire ignition effects unique to urban agglomerations and apply them planet-wide! Your fire ignition radii are based on perfect conditions (drought conditions resulting in dry kindling everywhere, perfect visibility). If there's been no drought or the visibility is poor, you won't have any fires lit at all outside the immediate area of the blast, unless they're lit by secondary effects due to urban construction!

and average 60% actual area heavily damaged

Bullshit. I have provided very detailed information on nuclear blasts, and you have done nothing but repeat your original ignorant, poorly researched statements.

[Defending your silly claim about nuclear explosions turning the ground to slag] Many of the early nucelar bomb tests, where the bombs were placed on high towers (a couple hundred m high) created slag on the ground underneath. using the scaled height of this we deiscover a 1MT nuclear bomb will create slag - specifically vitrification of the surface - as explained above.

Of course a bomb on top of a high tower produces slag underneath! You melt the top off the tower, and it runs down to create a puddle of molten metal! Jesus Christ, do I have to explain every goddamned simple concept to you as if you're a small child? Your incompetent homespun scaling (for which you don't even bother to provide calculations or figures or controlling equations) is totally invalid. Read the Nuclear Weapons FAQ and "Effects of Nuclear War". A 1 megaton bomb's fireball will not even touch the ground, and reinforced structures may even survive directly underneath the blast. Organic matter is vitrified by the intense thermal radiation, but that does not remotely constitute "slag".

[Exaggerating damage outside 5 psi contour] And significant structural damage.

Only to the most flimsy structures, Edam. Well-built commercial buildings survive, and there is no effect whatsoever on the planet's surface, the fisheries, or any mines.

BDZ Requirements

[Weakly trying to explain dino-killer away] Our evolutionary ancestors had not come to rely on technology to the extent we have. So there's a bit more smoke than they are used to - big deal!

ROTFLMAO! So trillions of tons of dust blasted up into the stratosphere, seismic shocks, massive tsunamis, and and a global conflagration just created a "bit more smoke than they are used to?" You're trying to wriggle out of this with utterly laughable excuses now. Their lack of technological dependency is irrelevant; the impact ignited fires and lowered temperatures on a global scale, produced numerous damage mechanisms which would not apply to nuclear explosions, and was far more destructive than any nuclear war would be. The biggest threat of nuclear war is long-lived radioactive fallout (doesn't apply to turbolasers, which would create short-lived radioisotopes, and doesn't apply to BDZ, which is a short-term operation).

And please, don't fall into this "the dinokiller didn't kill everything" idiocy - the dino killer was a single impact, not a concerted effort to deny the planet to anybody. Reduced firepower over a larger area will have greater effect.

"Idiocy", eh? Since you have made no effort whatsoever to present calculations or evidence to show that dispersion can increase killing efficiency by the staggeringly large factor of 100,000%, you seem to be guilty of the famous Trekkie "no numbers" fallacy (and yes, it's a popular creationist fallacy too). You must show why the dispersed blast would have such a huge advantage in killing efficiency over a single huge explosion, rather than simply making vague reference to it and assuming that it supports your argument. In reality, a single huge asteroid impact has numerous damage mechanisms which do not occur with relatively small, dispersed nuclear explosions.

The major differences between dispersed nuclear explosions and a single asteroid impact are radioactive fallout and dispersed prompt radiation and blast shockwave effects. However, there's no reason to expect heavy radioactive fallout from turbolaser airbursts (not to mention the fact that as a long-term effect, it's irrelevant to BDZ), and I have already shown how your black shockwaves are utterly inadequate for a BDZ! Your scenario requires the red herring of the long-term nuclear winter effect, which is actually more efficient with a single huge impact because of the ionized wake behind the asteroid which facilitates matter injection into the stratosphere. The nuclear winter effect is global regardless of whether the impact is localized or dispersed. According to "Environmental Perturbations Caused by Asteroid Impacts" (Owen B. Toon and Kevin Zahnle at the NASA Ames Reearch Centre, Richard P. Turco at University of California, Curt Covey at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory), of all the effects of a globally catastrophic asteroid impact (dust loading, fires, NOx generation, shockwave, tidal wave, release of toxic materials, water/CO2 atmospheric injections, and SO2 atmospheric injections), only acid rain, shockwave, and tidal wave are regional. Everything else is a global effect. By the way, a single large asteroid impact is a more efficient global firestarter than a couple of hundred thousand one megaton bombs. Much of the atmospheric ejecta that is hurled up into the stratosphere is heavy enough to come back to still superheated, lighting fires all over the planet (from the same source).

[Re: fisheries] That refered to the existing infrastrucutre required to exploit the fisheries. The easiest way to get rid of the actual fisheries themselves would be bioweaponry (possibly using the poisonous, radiactive gas that makes up Turbolasers)

Bioweapons, nuclear winter effects, and radioactive fallout are all red herrings. A BDZ is a short-term operation, not a long-term operation. Try to stay on topic.

[Defending use of long-term effects]The long term effects which continue to wipe out any creatures not killed in the initial bombardment and continues to deny the planet to anyone wishing to return.

Irrelevant. A BDZ is a short-term operation which exterminates "all life" (from Hutt Gambit) and leaves "no survivors, no witnesses" (from VOTF). Besides, I have already shown that your scenario is totally inadequate to cause 100% kills through nuclear winter effects. The threshold energy level for destruction of advanced life forms through nuclear winter effects is 1 billion megatons, not 216,000 (ref. Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids). Your ridiculous attempt to ignore that fact or pretend that nukes generate more atmospheric cooling than an asteroid impact with many orders of magnitude more energy is not going to fool anyone with a brain. Blast shockwave dispersion helps with short-term effectiveness, but not with nuclear winter effects.

[Trying to ignore 100% kill requirement] But how many ships does that take? 1? 10? 100? By my estimates, it will take a large number of ships most of the day to get anywhere near.

By your estimates, "most" of a planet's life is dead after an attack which kills 7% and injures 11% of its population, even assuming their buildings are no stronger than modern commercial and residential structures. Your estimates are a joke. As for 100% kill, it requires only 1 ISD. Read VOTF. And from Dankayo, we know that 3 ISDs can put the punctuation mark on it by blowing its atmosphere clean off, thus making it impossible for anyone to survive without spacesuits. Don't pretend that we don't know how many ships are required in order to accomplish this.

[Trying to ignore 100% kill requirement] A BDZ operation is about the destruction of all sentient life & droids. Not everything - that's the overkill phase, the bit that takes an unknown number of ships an unknown period of time

The destruction of all sentient life requires a threshold impact of 1 billion megatons even if we include long-term effects, Edam. Stop bullshitting. Your attack fails utterly.

[Still trying to explain away dino-killer] If you spread the energy around properly, yes. When you've got ships capable of orbiting the planet you don't need to dump all the energy in one place. You don't need to waste it creating an enormous crater and throwing tons of material out of the atmosphere. You can use it sensible, so that the damage is roughly equal all over the planet, rather than completely obliterated on one side and slightly damaged on the other. A machine gun will kill a lot more people than a canon if you use it properly.

A clear hallmark of a dishonest debater is the sort of mixing and matching that you do here. First you try to incorporate the red herring of long-term nuclear winter effects into your scenario for a "rapidly cooling" planet in which environmental effects are presumed to do the work of finishing off the planet's biosystem. Then, when confronted with the fact that the nuclear winter effects of 216,000 1-megaton blasts are inadequate, you suddenly pretend that we were talking about blast shockwaves, which are indeed more evenly dispersed with nuclear warheads. But we're talking about nuclear winter effects, not blast shockwaves!

You can't have your cake and eat it too, Edam. If you try to use long-term nuclear winter effects to "finish off" the planet, then you have to accept the 1 billion megaton threshold because a single asteroid impact is actually more efficient at darkening the atmosphere than a series of nuclear explosions. If you can't use long-term nuclear winter effects, then you're stuck with direct effects, which I have shown to be completely inadequate to get the job done. Either way, you're wrong. And by trying to play this shell game with short and long-term effects, you're being dishonest.

[Still trying to evade "100% kill" problem] And in every first hand example of a BDZ or BDZ-type operation there are still survivors expected - The Hutt Gambit, mop up squads sent to search the rubble for survivors. Dankayo - search the planet for survivors. Khomm - plenty of survivors after half an hour of indiscriminate orbital bombardment (indicating a BDZ cannot wipe everything out in a few hours simply using their guns from orbit)

Of course there might be survivors, since someone might have built a "deep planet survival shelter" like the one at Dankayo. Such a shelter can easily survive total obliteration of all life on the surface, but it does not disprove the point. Similarly, nobody knows what's under the urban agglomeration of Nar Shaddaa, so there obviously might be survivors there too, even if they knock down some buildings with their cobbled-together group of ships. And Khomm was no BDZ, so it's a red herring.

A BDZ is not simply "attack from orbit and kill everything" - there's far more to it than that. The fact it is more than "attack from orbit with all our guns" means we cannot use calcs based on that assumption and declare them conservative.

You're ignoring the official description of a BDZ. A BDZ is "attack from orbit and kill everything." People, plants, animals, fish, everything. Stop ignoring evidence you don't like.

[Re: requirement to eliminate all animals and fish] a BDZ must eliminate all sentient life & droids. Most of the life on the surface will be completely slaughtered in the first few hours by the bombardment and mop-up. anything actually surviving will have to cope with a rapidly cooling planet, followed by intense UV radiation, hardly conducive to the continuation of life. If you get a forest planet like Caamas nothing on the surface will survive - anything not killed in the initial bombardment will be wipd out by the fires raging through the remaining forest (though, to be fair, killing a mere 18 million inhabitants shouldn't be too hard, assuming the various Star Wars RPG reference sites are correct

Lies and red herrings. Less than 10% of land dwellers will be killed by the initial bombardment (that's not what I call "most of the life on the surface"), even assuming they're all in urban agglomerations which adds extra damage mechanisms such as building structural collapse. Not only is there a huge difference between killing most of a planet's inhabitants and all of them, but you haven't even killed 10% of them! Nuclear winter effects are a red herring. Fires will not be set in the forest unless it's been reduced to dry kindling by months of drought. The human population of Caamas is irrelevant because its entire population of humans, plants, and animals was wiped out. There could have been just ten people living on the entire planet and the energy requirement would have been the same.

[Regarding destruction of military targets] Which will happen when they move from indiscriminate bombardment to concentrating on specific goals, and even then they miss some deep planet survival shelters (Dankayo) - of course, these shelters will only be used if they know there's an attack coming. If it's a surprise attack most people would be nowhere near protected areas. If it isn't a surprise attack chances are many people will have left already (though even then it will only be a small percentage of the population - in examples such as the evacuation of Ithor in NJO and Corellia in the Corellian trilogy it was impossible to evacuate more than a few percent of the population with days or weeks of warning and the majority resources of the New Republic to help)

Red herring. Military installations are generally manned around the clock. Civilian evacuation or preparation is irrelevant to my point about how you have utterly failed to account for military installations and vehicles. And you cannot "mop up" military installations and vehicles when you haven't even touched them yet, which is the case for your ridiculously unrealistic BDZ scenario.

What I describe is the early part of a BDZ - the devestating attack.It fits with all descriptions of what a BDZ is.

"Fits with all descriptions of what a BDZ is"? Enough lies, Edam. It does not even remotely fit the description of a BDZ. We've gone over this too many times, and this is the last time I'm going to humour it. A BDZ requires total elimination of animal life both on land and at sea, as well as 100% of the human population, all in a short timeframe. It reduces a planet's surface to smoking debris, regardless of whether there are nice convenient match-stick houses sitting on it. Your operation accomplishes an insignificant fraction of these goals.

It fits with all first hand accounts of BDZ-like operations (Cronus in Darksaber attacked Khomm with 120 VSDs targetting the city indiscriminately for 30 minutes to cause as much damage as possible - yet many people survived, Dankayo they had to check for survivors. The Hutt Gambit they had to check for survivors. An actual BDZ does not result in the immediate cessation of all life on the planet. The overkill phase - an arbitrary level of extreme damage - will clearly take far longer, and require far more ships.

Circular logic. You try to support your definition of a BDZ by mentioning "BDZ-like events" ... which you have identified as such by using your definition!

Tell me, would you contradict the power of modern nuclear attacks by describing hours of conventional bombardment? Turbolasers would be a uselessly inflexible military weapon if they were only capable of attacks of indiscriminate mass destruction, and it is absolutely ludicrous to declare that every time they bombard something, they must be using their turbolasers in the same mode that they would in a full-fledged BDZ operation. In Darksaber, they were not conducting a BDZ operation; there was no statement whatsoever to that effect. At Dankayo, they conducted a true BDZ operation and nothing on the planet's surface could have possibly survived; the only survivor was in an unusual deep-planet survival shelter which the search teams missed, and the planet's surface was evenly cratered, which would require many hundreds of millions of one megaton blasts (or a reasonable number of much larger blasts, as I've been saying all along). In "The Hutt Gambit", the enormous urban agglomeration and their lack of knowledge of the underlying areas meant that they had no way of knowing what lay underneath.

They mine stellar coronae because it's the cheapest way to get what they need. They mine planets molten on one side because it's the cheapest way to get what they need. Why bother re-opening unsafe mines on an inhospitable planet when there's plenty of other planets that has what they need in a place that's far easier to get at? It isn't that they can't do it - it's that it isn't worth them doing it

Red herring. The mines must be destroyed, Edam. The question of whether somebody thinks it's worth it to go back and use them is irrelevant. The point is that they're still there after your feeble BDZ scenario. And your attack won't close a single mine. It won't collapse a mineshaft entrance, nor will it collapse even the first ten feet of the underlying tunnel. A 5 psi shockwave is useless against heavy concrete structures such as mineshaft openings or even backyard bomb-shelters, a typical home basement, or a farmer's tornado shelter, to say nothing of open-pit mines (you've heard of those, right?). You haven't even touched the mines.

you fogot the "concentrate on specific targets" - it isn't just a general wide-scale bombard everything to the same extent operation. It is planned to achieve speific goals - the destruction of all population centres and resources, including industry, natural resources and cities, in a matter of hours.

Repetition of your earlier pathetic lie about BDZ requirements.

A single blast won't turn large amounts of rock or steel into a puddle, no, but is this required? Certainly not for a BDZ. An ISD can manage this over a very limited area ( the rebel base in Crimson Empire, the YV base on Yavin 4 in NJO) but even then they will typically expect to find survivors in the slagged area - in NJO, when Booster slagged the YV base on Yavin 4 they there were still survivors in the slagged area shortly afterwards. Hardly indicative of the lava pool required for your assumptions, is it?

Wrong. ISDs can and do completely slag targets. Milagro, for example, was completely slagged. Turned into a shimmering lake of molten metal. That's why I referred you to my BDZ page, which you promptly mirrored on your site even though it was submitted as a reference rather than part of the debate itself, and you obviously didn't even bother reading it.

[Defending red herring of 400 ship bombard fleets]Not a red herring - explaining the consequences

No, you're pretending that a 400-ship fleet is required in order to BDZ a planet even though we know that a single Star Destroyer can do it, and that three can blow a planet's atmosphere clean off and atomize its topsoil.

[Pretending that bombard fleets are required for BDZ and not for special ops such as taking down shields]No, if you want to take the shield down first you need a torpedo sphere or saboteurs. Torpedo spheres are part of a bombardment fleet

You can also take down a planetary shield with massed fleet fire, Edam. See "Tales of the Bounty Hunters". In any case, I already have clear evidence that three ISDs can perform a ridiculously violent BDZ (my definition, not yours), and that a single Star Destroyer can do it alone, and quickly.

[Trying to explain away 100% kill] you can do just as much damage with biological weapons (or the radioactive gas from TLs) and the long-term effects of any high-energy bombardment.

Irrelevant, wrong, and wrong. Bioweapons are long-term, and a BDZ is not. TL gases would produce short-lived radioisotopes, fission bombs create long-lived radioisotopes. Long-term nuclear winter effects have a threshold of a billion megatons for destroying all advanced forms of life over the long term. You're so wrong that I'm getting tired trying to list your mistakes.

[Explaining military targets away]specific goals that would take a few minutes to complete with a little effort

Really! By all means, please provide a projection of how you can eliminate every bunker, hardened installation, and armoured vehicle on an entire planet in just a few minutes. Estimate typical numbers of such vehicles and installations based on the number of military installations and vehicles in and around the present-day United States, extrapolate to an entire planet, and then provide a target list. Explain how you justify your implicit assumption that they know where all of them are, since they obviously couldn't detect the survival shelter at Dankayo.

[Explaining "all life" requirement]sentient life.

You're ignoring the requirement for destroying fisheries. Not "making the planet a little bit cooler, so nobody wants to come bother fishing", but destroying the fisheries.


Here's some convenient quotes regarding BDZ which you have obviously ignored, Edam. In addition to the widely cited passages about "reducing a planet's surface to smoking debris in a matter of hours" (SWTJ), destroying "factories, arable land, mines, fisheries, and all sentient beings" (Imperial Sourcebook), and "the Imperial code order to destroy all population centres and resources, including industry, natural resources and cities" (A World to Conquer), we also have:

"Caamas is now a dead world. Devastated shortly after the Clone Wars by an orbital bombardment ordered by the Emperor, Caamas' vegetation and animal life- including most of the Caamasi people- died in the space of a day." (animals and plants destroyed in a day, no long-term effects required, no survivors except for off-world Caamasi).

"... rendezvous at Dankayo and reduce the tiny base to molten slag. Even before the last of its atmosphere drifted away, before the dense clouds of atomized topsoil could begin to settle, Imperial transports Elusive and Timely, as well as a complement of TIE fighters, moved in to perform 'mop-up' operations and a thorough search of Dankayo's now evenly-cratered surface."- Scavenger Hunt p3 (Dankayo lost its atmosphere as well as its organic topsoil layer)

"Imperial Star Destroyers have so thoroughly blasted Dankayo that I fear for my safety, even in this deep-planet survival shelter."- Scavenger Hunt p20 (Dankayo hit hard enough to scare even somebody in a deep-planet survival shelter, in which someone could easily survive a 20 megaton explosion directly overhead).

"The hospital ship Mercy, an antiquated Dreadnaught, two assault frigates, a squadron of Corellian gunships, and assorted support vessels orbited a recently devastated world. Cities of colored glass, now reduced to rubble, merged with plains of heat-fused earth. This was just one of the many planets laid to waste during the last few years."- Rebel Agent, p65.

"Have you ever seen what a Star Destroyer can do to the surface of an unshielded planet? Stones run like water and sand turns to glass. And I have two Star Destroyers at my disposal."- Crimson Empire

"Throughout the Trioculus affair , the New Republic was engaged in a protracted military campaign for possession of Milagro, a world located at a key hyperspace junction. The Empire was prepared to lay waste to Milagro rather than allow the Rebels access to its manufacturing facilities. Following three months of exhausting clashes between AT-AT walkers and the New Republic Army, the defeated Imperials slagged the planet's surface with a withering orbital bombardment, then fled."- Essential Chronology, p71.

"Sunlight ripples across a sea of shimmering glass. Glass that had once been part of iridescent domes, towering minarets, soaring archways, vertical towers, and all the other structures that constitute a city. A city reduced to a sea of manmade lava, as Imperial laser cannon carved swathes of destruction through the once-beautiful metropolis."- Jedi Knight p47 (also referring to Milagro).

"Once the cargo transport was safely cleaer of the target zone, Star Dream completed its sterilization of the valley with a long salvo from the cruiser's heavy turbolaser batteries ... The bodies turned to vapor and vanished and the blood was scorched from the rocks. The ground turned to black glass, and the river exploded into steam. When the barrage was over, nothing was left of the vermin but the holes they had carved in the ground with their hands and the trails they had beaten into the hills with their footsteps." Before the Storm, p272.

"The shield has to cover everything from the beach to the tops of the mountains. On the North side it should be possible to blast through the mountain and open up enough of a gap to let our bombers in. Once we're under the shield, the generators go and it's over ... Grand Isle would be no match for two squadrsons of Y-wings. In addition to two laser cannons, the Y-wings sported twin ion cannons and two proton torpedo launchers. Each ship carried eight torpedoes, which meant either of the squadrons packed enough firepower to turn the lush, verdant landscape of Grand Isle into a black, smoking mass of liquid rock."- Rogue Squadron, p216,224 (even tiny little Y-wings can do some serious slagging with the right loadout).

You lose, Edam.

Blah blah blah

You mean I'm going to insist you use actual sources and what they really say rather than your own fantasies and mis-quoting? Yep. If you need to lie about your sources to justify your claims you can't have much of a claim in the first place.

Pot calling the kettle black, Edam.

Given the mission requirements, the scenario I have given is reasonable.

Wrong, and wrong. Given the correct BDZ mission requirements, the scenario you have is worthless. Even given your reduced requirements, the scenario you have is still worthless. Like any good creationist, you use references simply because they look good; you obviously haven't seriously studied either the Nuclear Weapons FAQ or "Effects of Nuclear Weapons", both of which clearly refute your position rather than supporting it.

When you are writing your web page you use sources you have at hand, rather than referencing websites. When I am debating, I use sources I have at hand rather than referencing websites. If you want to know about high energy weapons where better to go than the definitive nucelar weapons effects report of the US Government (which is referenced by most of the online websites anyway)

When you are debating, you list sources without bothering to read them, Edam. Both of your credible sources contradict you, and it's very clear that you based your entire argument on a simple-minded reading of your worst source, which was that general physics textbook you mentioned.


I have been forced to change my tactics with you because I see now that you make no effort whatsoever to be honest, and that instead of debating concepts and ideas, you prefer "scorched Earth" tactics; destroy the debate by injecting red herrings and strawman distortions into it until nothing's left but confusion and chaos. Frustrate your opponent by evading his main points instead of addressing them. Ruin the field of evidence by shamelessly lying about the facts and then challenging your opponents to prove you wrong. Explain key evidence away by inventing unsupported alternate interpretations (Dankayo was an airless moon, Nar Shaddaa was a tiny moon, it had no multi-kilometre tall buildings) and then challenging your opponent to prove them wrong. Force your opponent to waste his energy disproving your false claims and by making every point in a massively repetitive fashion. Then, declare de facto victory because your opponent's position has been obscured and the entire argument thrown into confusion! No wonder so many people think you're an asshole.

Your argument is full of inconsistencies and lies. You claim that VOTF did not require "no survivors, no witnesses". That is a lie. You claim that the VOTF battle would help the Imperials. That is a lie. You claim that Dankayo was an airless, lifeless planet too small for a natural atmosphere ... with topsoil. That is obviously a lie (either that, or you're a colossal idiot and you think topsoil forms on airless moons and asteroids). You claim that "Hutt Gambit" was an example of a BDZ. That is yet another lie; they were ordered to go in, do token damage, pretend to lose, and then withdraw. You claim that we never see ships away from spaceports in the movies. That is a lie; we almost never see ships in spaceports in the movies, and at Nar Shaddaa, it was made clear that spaceports are not concentrated points like modern airports, but rather, they are scattered landing platforms all over the entire planet!

You claim that you can destroy "most" of a planet's life with nuclear explosions in which less than 1% of the planet's surface is actually in the near-certain fatality zone, and 91% of its surface experiences either high winds and a brief flash, or no effects whatsoever. You claim that you can collapse mines with blast shockwaves that won't even destroy the basement of a typical house. You claim that you can destroy all of a world's military installations, bunkers, and armoured vehicles in a few minutes without even bothering to show how. You claim that a 1 megaton airburst slags the ground below. You claim that global firestorms will be ignited without admitting that such a thing would require perfect conditions: clear visibility, high winds, drought conditions (by that token, you can destroy much of southern California with a carelessly thrown cigarette). You claim that you got all of the above nonsense from the Nuclear Weapons FAQ and "Effects of Nuclear Weapons", but both of those documents contradict you.

And finally, you claim that a BDZ does not require 100% kills even though every official description of a BDZ states that it does. You mix and match short and long-term damage effects in order to accomplish short-term goals with long-term effects, and you use the short-term effects of dispersed explosion centres in an argument over long-term effects. You ignore serious criticisms of those problems and simply repeat all of your original claims without alteration, even in the face of contradictory information. Your argument is bullshit, Edam. And so is your debating style. If you do this in your next post, I will simply cut it down to the key points and repeat the criticisms which you obviously have no genuine answer for, hence these parlour games of yours. Stop being an asshole, and try to debate fairly and honestly (of course, that would mean admitting your mistakes and your lies, and you're obviously too proud and stubborn to do either).

Continue to Edam's third post

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