Debate #2: Lord Edam

March 11, 2002 (Edam's third post, part 1/3)

TNG Shields: "Relics"

Edam, you seem to be determined to make this debate balloon to enormous size by repeating every idea several times. We both know that with your light workload and relative lack of personal obligations

Our workload is nothing to do with this debate. Our personal obligations are nothign to do with this debate. If you don't have the time available don't challenge people to debates. You chose to start this debate now - you had the chance to take what you wanted from my page before christmas, but chose instead to go for this. Don't start moaning that I've got it easier than you have - you chose this debate, you chose this time. Any repetitions I make are a result of your responses.

you can easily use this tactic to outlast me,

I have five posts, with a maximum of two days per post. You have the same. How can I possibly hope to outlast you? It all ends when the fifth post is made, Mike.

My Generosity

It makes another point, as well. The one everyone happily skips over when they comment on it. Your claims of generosity here are meaningless [you go on to harp on the word "generous" 16 times]

Red herring. The subject is Trek shield strength, not "is Mike Wong being generous enough."

The subject is your claims of generosity when, infact, they are nothing of the sort. The subject is your claims of upper limits, when you are using shields that are too small. The point is to show that any and all claims should be checked very carefully before considered correct.

If you don't include all the energy the shields actually endured you are not going to get a decent estimate for shield endurance, and certainly not a "generous upper limit" [you go on to harp on the phrase "generous upper limit" 9 times]

Actually, the phrase "generous upper limit" does not appear anywhere on my shield page, Edam.

No, it doesn't. First you claim your shield sizes are "a very generous estimate", then you go on to repeatedly state your conclusions are "upper limits", despite being nothing of the sort.

Upper and Lower Limits

You have forgotten the meaning of "upper limit" in your haste to show how nice you can be.
Upper limit - the figure which is not likely to be surpassed. Obviously, if we take the largest shields we can find that are still useful ... [you go on to repeat this theme more than a dozen times]

You obviously have no idea what a legitimate upper limit is. An upper limit is the maximum figure you can generate from a given set of assumptions and/or observations.

And your assumptions are wrong, and your observations non-existant (infact, when I provide your obsrevations for you you decide to attack me, rather than thanking me for doing waht you are too lazy to do yourself). Your conclusions are not the upper limit of federation shield energy handling abilities as they are represented. Infact, since the actual figure can't be lower than the one you gave (it's actualy higher) they are lower limits.

You also have no idea what a lower limit is; on your page, you claim that my figures are "LOWER LIMITS, as these are figures we know for a fact the ship can withstand". However, that is a purely nonsensical characterization; if they were lower limits, it would be impossible to reduce them further without altering the scenario, and that is absolutely untrue, as I shall show in a moment. They are upper limits, since it is impossible to increase themwithout altering the scenario(changing the target from the ship to the shield bubble).

you mean using what was actually shown in the episode?

We can argue all day about whether we should do that, but each assumption will generate its own set of upper and lower limits (and remember: my original ship area estimate was so generous that it would only make a 20% difference either way).

And the general conclusion will be a conbination of all of them. You cannot present any of your examples as the upper limit of what Trek shields can handle because I've shown it is very possible for the true figure to be higher.

Shields do not block 100% of incident energy. Why do you think ships start taking damage before shields fail in every Star Trek combat incident from TOS through TNG, DS9, and Voyager?

And the energy that does bleed through the shields is only a small percentage of what is actually incident. Hardly a major concern given all the other assumptions you've made

Given the "safe" 7000K figure from "Descent", the ship's hull can somehow produce a radiative heat flux of more than 130 MW/m², presumably using active radiators. This is more than five times the incident stellar radiation intensity in "Relics", Edam. This means that the the hull can easily achieve thermal equilibrium with the star, so the shields don't need to absorb any EM radiation at all! Even if we use the much lower figure of 4000K, the hull can still radiate 14.5 MW/m², which is easily enough to achieve thermal equilibrium with the star (remember that its radiating area is at least twice its profile area).

In other words, you lose, Edam. Even if we were to accept every single one of your assumptions, the best you could possibly do is increase the upper limit by 20%.

The upper limit for damaged & underpowered ships. And I've demonstrated the point I was originally making - that your claims of generosity are nothing of the sort. That we should not assume someone is right just because they say they are.

You could not possibly hope to call it a "lower limit", nor could you possibly justify your ridiculous figures which are five times too big. Yet again, you use a red herring (your bizarre attempt to alter the meaning of limits) to evade the point, which is that my numbers are far better than yours.

The point is your numbers are not generous or upper limits, as you claim

Your Lies

Actually, it's quite nice you should mention this specific scene. It's the same one that shows us the shields. you know, the shields you claim should be hull hugging but aren't. It also indicates the ship was flying "side-on" to the star, rather than rotated to show the minimal aspect.

Thanks for proving that you've been lying all along. You had screenshots of "Relics" the whole time, yet you based your "correct surface area" upon a screenshot from "Silicon Avatar"!

Actually, Mike, I've had screenshots of Relics since I took them on Thursday evening. I like to check my info when involved in a debate, but this has only been possible since I downloaded a decent copy of Relics.. If someone questions what I say I don't write it off as a nitpick or lies, I check the source to see if they might be right. If I am telling someone else they are wrong I check the sources to make sure they are wrong. In this case, I checked the source (Relics) and discovered, to my amazement, that I was right all along - your shield figures are too low. When I show you this, what do you do? Do you thank me for providing a correction to your site? No - you do the same thing you do everytime someone tells you something you don't want to hear. You attack me. Why do you even bother asking people to point out your mistakes if you are simply going to take offence at their assistance? As we shall see, you have given up showing where & why I am wrong, and chosen instead to (wrongly) point out how I'm lying, or using a typical creationist mind set. What's that called again?

And don't give me this "upper limit" nonsense; you referred to this as the "correct surface area" on your page and continued to defend it in your last post even though you knew full well that it was not the correct surface area!

I continue to defend the idea of using what the shields are shown to be, and when we don't know using the largest they are likely to be, in gaining our upper limits for shield abilities.

what I used in my original post was too large, an assumption I only discovered was wrong after watching the episode in question. It's always a good idea to check episodes when making your claims - otherwise we get things like the pine tree fallacy or the pregnant kira fallacy (this is even more important if you are going to write off the people who try to correct you as liars and nitpickers)

Shield Profile vs Hull Profile

And inefficiency that should still be considered when trying to decide how much energy the shields actually endured.

Obsessing over my 20% "mistake" in order to distract readers from your own gigantic 470% deception, eh?

The only one obsessing over the difference in shield sizes is you. You said, basically, that we should only consider the area of the shields directly over the hull, and started ranting about inefficiencies and how they shouldn't be considered. I explain that, when we are trying to determine the energy the shield systems can handle we should consider all the energy - inefficiencies of design included. If the shield systems can handle roughly 5MT they should be able to handle 5MT spread all over the shields, or 5MT concentrated in a relatively small area - it all draws from the same systems. You still have not considered this - infact you ignored it in favour of commenting on my obsession. What do they call it when you bring up irrelevancies to de-rail the debate?

You're obviously trying to goad me into a time-consuming, exhausting debate over the minor points in order to distract from your mammoth 470% mistake

No, Mike. I'm trying to get you to admit your mistakes - to admit your claims here were no better than he pregnant kira fallacy or the pine tree fallacy. I am pointing out where parts of your site do not match with what actually happened. Errors, if you like, in an attempt to improve the accuracy of your site. And I should remind you that this debate was the time & structure of your chosing.

(actually, an outright lie since you've had pictures of the real "Relics" shield bubble all along),

No, Mike. I had pictures of the real "Relics" shield bubble when I decided to check the episode we were discussing to see if my assumed perfect memory might be faulty. All you need to do on this part is admit your claims of generosity and upper limits were wrong. Accept that parts of your shield page need correcting and make those corrections. If you had done that two years ago, rather than deciding it was all nitpicks and lies you wouldn't have had to challenge me and engage in a debate you are obviously struggling to find time for.

[Claims of shots which would have missed the ship being absorbed by the shield] It happened for a couple of the Defiant shots against the Lakota in Paradise Lost, it happened when the S-8472 ship shot Voyager in Scorpion.

Outright lies, obviously hoping I haven't seen the episodes in question. I've seen "Paradise Lost", and the blocked shots were heading right for the ship.

You really should knock off these accusations of lies, Mike. You aren't perfect yourself. I'm sure you've watched Paradise Lost the same as you watched Relics, the same as you watched Starship Down. I'm actually refering to the phaser beam (not the PPC, though several of the PPC shots immediately after this were obviously below the saucer from their initial glow - one shot even makes the shields glow as it passes close by without actually hitting), and the PPC shots that would just miss the nacelle as it was strafing them.

And what about the accompanying screenshot from "Scorpion"? Doesn't look like a shot that would have missed to me! Looks a lot more like you're just lying again.

Another episode you've watched but not actually remembered, I see. That image is after Voyager has taken the hit - after Voyager has started to tumble. Try going back a few frames, watching where the S-8472 weaopn was really going. It would have just missed the ship if it had not clipped the shields and caused it to start tumbling.

Hull-Huggers vs Bubbles (sounds like a damned Care Bears wrestling match)

Preface: Now that you have revealed the "Relics" screenshot that you've been hiding all along in order to cover up the fact that you were lying about its size, I concede that it was a bubble during at least part of "Relics". However, even if we assume it was a bubble the whole time, it was a small bubble, which is far closer to my figure than yours. No wonder you didn't reveal it before!

I couldn't reveal it before I had it Mike. If you'd bothered watching the episodes you use in your claims you should have seen it yourself. How hard is it to watch a Star Trek re-run, hire a video or download a copy off the net?

You're counting on the fact that the Star Wars side of this debate hasn't taped every Star Trek episode, which is not exactly a forthright way to debate.

I'm not counting on anything of the sort. If you don't have the copy of the episode yourself it is easy to get a copy or find someone who has a copy to verify the claims.

In any case, my 78,000 m² figure is still far better than your 470,000 m² deception.

And still not the generous upper limits originally presented.

However, I still disagree with your claim that there were no hull-huggers before "A Call to Arms", and that a design change was required in order to make them available. I'm not going to get into most of your long-winded arguments on this subject since it is technically a red herring to our discussion which is specific to "Relics"

But is required for our discussion of your original assumption - the thing that started all this off. It is required for our discussion of your original shield assumptions, whichis why it was also included before the discussion of individual episodes.

The opening scene of Star Trek: The Motion Picture where the klingon cruisers are attacked by the cloud's lightening weapons stick out as a particularly marvellous example of "those shields aren't hull hugging"

Wrong. There's no visible shield in that scene at all. The enveloping lightning effect is V'ger's weapon, not the Klingon ship's shields.

riiight. V'ger's weapon just happens to creating lightning effects round a definite ellipse, the same shape Trek shields just happen to be. Either one of us could be right. It could be shields, or it could be V'ger's weapon.

ST6 clearly showed "hull-hugger" shields, and since the Klingon digitization sequence showed no defensive bubble to protect against V'ger's enveloping lightning effect, ST:TMP did too.

And ST 2 clearly shows shields that project from the hull (some distance, infact)

They could make bubble shields, but they could also make hull huggers ... with the same equipment.

See how easy it is to give actual examples rather than blindly assuming you are right and anyone who doesn't agree is a nitpicking liar? Unfortunately for you, the ship in ST6 was a prototype - did it even have the same shield configurations?

[Re: the fact that they used both in DS9] We know from DS9 that they had altered their shields to counter the threat from Dominion weapons.

Wrong again.

No, Mike. We do know from DS9 that they have altered their shields to counter the threat from Dominion weaponry. This is stated in A Call To Arms.

If the appearance of "hull huggers" had something to do with the Dominion "phased-poleron" weapon, then why was DS9 itself still using a big bubble shield in "Call to Arms"?

What's this, another of those episodes you sort of remembe from a few years ago?

Call to Arms - not bubble shields, not bubble shields

Infact, the only bubble shields they have are directly surrounding the command module when a cardassian sihp tries to ram them

Could they do it during TNG? If we had an example of them doing just that, yes they could (and yet, despite many request to support the claim with an actual example no one has managed it - if they can do it why do we never see it?).

False dilemma. There is very little combat in TNG, and no fleet combat whatsoever.

But there are plenty of examples where we get to see the shields - several where it would be beneficial to have hull hugging shields.

In my previous post I already provided a possible reason for them to start using hull huggers in DS9 even if we accept your claims about shields blocking energy passing through their periphery, and you chose to ignore it.

Your assumptions are no more valid than my own. I asked for examples of TNG ships with shields as low as you claimed to support your case, not random babblings about how your claim might be explained. Justify your claim first. Then we'll start looking at the true reasons behind the change.

So what evidence do you present for your claim that they were incapable of doing it in TNG?

The fact we never see it happen. There is no evidence for it. Every single time we see shields they are extended beyond the ship. The smallest shield configuration we see is still larger than your "generous upper limit"

Unfalsifiable claim and burden of proof fallacy. Of course you don't see hull-hugging shields, because hull-huggers are not visible by definition!

So we should see ships that are clearly shielded, but their shields are not visible. Rather than ranting and raving about me insisting you provide evidence for your claims try finding the evidence. do we ever see the E-d whilst clearly shielded (stated or not been in a previous battle) taking hull hits without the shields flaring? That would prove your case. Anything else is unsupported supposition

But we know they can use both in TOS

I'm still waiting for those TOS examples.

, and they can use both in DS9.

After a known shield re-configuration.

Beside the fact that, in examples when it would be beneficial to use hull hugging shields (Arsenal of Freedom, Clues, Symbiosis, Descent, Relics) they still stick with the bubble type?

Nonsense. In "Arsenal of Freedom", they were redirecting air around the ship. That obviously requires a teardrop shape, as any imbecile remotely familiar with aerodynamics can tell you. In "Clues", they were trying to keep the Paxan cloud away from the ship, so they obviously had no reason to bring the shield in closer.

The greater the variaces in the shield geometry the greater the chance of them preventing the cloud breaking through the shields. they weren't trying to keep the cloud away - they were trying to stop it breaking through the shields.

In "Symbiosis", "Descent", and "Relics", the visible portion of the shield looks like retransmission from what appears to be radiation with a roughly normal incident vector (which would otherwise strike the ship directly), and does not imply or require full absorption over the entire shield bubble area. The "flare effect" diminishes much too quickly toward the top and bottom of the shield for it to be absorbing energy over a full one half of its surface area.

Or, alternatively, the shields are blocking energy where we see them blocking energy. The shield flare covers the majority of the projected profile of the shields -of course it drops off more towards the edges, there is less energy per unit area there due to the altered angle of incidence.

TNG(up to A Call To Arms) - no examples of hull-hugging shields, even in examples where such a thing would conserve shield energy
A Call To Arms - shield changes to counter Dominion thread.
Post A Call to Arms - shields that are both bubble and hull hugging, depending on the example.

These descriptions rely upon numerous questionable assumptions.

They rely on a single question - if there are hull-hugging shields prior to A Call To Arms why don't we see them?

BTW, back to our "checking the evidence" again, where were you getting your stardates from for FC and A Call To Arms?
According to, FC happens stardate 50893 whilst Call to Arms happens sometime between stardate 50814(Children of Time) and 51107(Rocks and Shoals). The script mentions stardate 50975 during the episode, and episode 512 specifically references "the recent Borg attack"(Call to Arms is episode 524)

In TNG, a hull-hugging shield would only conserve shield energy if the bubble shield is not a vector phenomenon despite the appearance of being one, and it would not be visible even if it were present. In "A Call to Arms", you repeat your assumption that the appearance of "hull huggers" was a countermeasure against Dominion weapons even though DS9 still used a bubble shield in that episode. For episodes after "A Call to Arms", you concede that they can obviously switch back and forth at will, without showing that they could not do so before. There is no dialogue whatsoever describing these major changes, and hull huggers are no more visible after "A Call to Arms" than they were before. We only know a ship has "hull huggers" when it appears not to have any shields at all.

Exactly - how often do we see ships with no shields at all? Infact, do we ever see ships with no shields at all? We certainly see ships with shields very often, right up to mid-DS9

Oh, by the way: if no Federation ships had hull-hugging shields before "A Call to Arms", then how do you explain the Defiant's invisibly small shield perimeter in this clip? (Divx 4+ codec required) It's from "The Die is Cast", it contains interesting revelations on propulsion and targeting and optimum weapons range, and "The Die is Cast" takes place more than two years before "A Call to Arms", remember?

We know the Defiant has shields much closer to the hull than the rest of the fleet - they don't have those great big nacelles hanging out in the middle of nowhere that need protecting. They can pull the shields in far closer whilst maintaining a uniform geometry

We never see any hint of a shield bubble, some shots just barely miss the ship without hitting a shield, and some of them rock the ship by flame-bursting against a shield which appears to extend no further than the hull.

Every shot that flame-bursts happens after the ship has started moving to miss. We don't know if those are hitting the shields or not.

That's exactly the same effect that we see when Federation shields block Dominion weapons in "A Call to Arms" and later. And don't try to pretend their shields were down; they're called out at 80%, which means that not only are they up, but they're interacting with the Dominion weapons, otherwise they wouldn't have dropped 20% from combat.

you see, that is an actual example that proves your point, sort of. It's proper evidence, rather than the arrogant assumptiont that you are right even though you can't find a single reason to be right beyond "I like the sound of it". Now, find something similar for a ship that doesn't have the benefits of the Defiant - a ship that cannot maintain a simple shield geometry due to sodding great big chunks of technology hanging off the ship.


[Trying to explain away 15% drop in shield strength from contact with a flare] 15% of 23% isn't a lot of the total shield power (plus, we don't see this happening on screen, so we don't know if this is just one flare or a combination of all those that have struck before.

Evade, evade, evade. What makes you think he expressed the 15% drop in terms of the existing shield strength instead of the total? That would be an absolutely ridiculous way to report shield strength, since it would be impossible to know what he meant without remembering what the previous figure was. Multiple shield strength reports would make the situation even worse; everyone would need to perform compound multiplication on all the shield strength reports since the first one!

No, every percentage drop is a specific and easily-calculable time left before the shields fail and the ship dies. It's far easier using my way to know how much longer you've got left. It starts off at 100% (3 hours) and drops from there - a 15% drop in shields means a 1 hour 20 minute drop in time left.

Oviously (from Data's statement) it primarily included hits from flares - that's what was doing the most of the damage to the shields

Still trying to use solar flares as an escape clause, eh? You have no evidence whatsoever that it was taking repeated direct hits from solar flares, Edam.

Other than the episode, which I note you still assume you remember perfectly but haven't bothered watching, Mike.

What are the odds of the ship being hit repeatedly by random flares? Since we can predict them today, why couldn't the crew of the Enterprise, and why couldn't they fire maneuvering thrusters to avoid them in time?

Because they needed to save what power they had to protect the ship and let them escape if they found a way out (that is, of course, assuming maneuvering thrusters would be enough to move them out of the way of the flares. If maneuvering thrusters can move the sihp so much why do they use impulse?)

Besides, solar flares are powerful, but they're also diffuse. The most monstrous flares and CMEs from our own Sun (which is more than twice as powerful as the star in "Relics") can unleash a billion megatons of energy, but it's spread over an area of some fifty billion square kilometres!

our star is not unstable, has not entered a period of icnreased activity, and is not kicking of massive flares every few seconds.


Your post was huge and painfully repetitive,

Everything in my post was a direct reply to what you originally wrote. Any repetition you found in my post was there as a result of your own work.

You say I shouldn't have used the word "generous" in one sentence on my shield page. That's a ridiculous red herring nitpick, and it's also a pretty big concession from your original position, which was that my figure was a "mistake" and that your figure was the "correct surface area". Most of your post revolves around the word "generous".

Yes. The whole point of this part is to demonstrate that just because something claims to be generous or claims to be an upper limit it doesn't make it the case. The originator could have misremembered his sources and refuse to check, he could be conveniently forgetting the details of what makes the stuff he's talking about, or he could simply be lying.

You say your figure is an upper limit while mine is a lower limit. That's another big about-face from your original position, which was that your figure was "correct" while mine was a "mistake". It's also a massive distortion of the true meaning of limits, since the lower limit is actually zero.

My figure is correct if we wish to find an upper limit without knowing how large the shields actually were. As it turns out, we do know how large the shields were in those examples. Of course, no one has actually realised this until last Thursday (or did someone realise? Did they send you a correction for this page but you wrote it off as just another nitpick, or a lie, or any of the other excuses you use to hide your inability to admit a mistake). Your figure is a lower limit for the energy the shields can actually handle. It may not be the specific lower limit for the specific examples and assumptions you used, but for the general claims of the page it is a lower limit, not an upper limit and certainly not generous.

You say we should use the shield profile instead of my generous hull profile. I say "who cares?" My hull profile was so generous that it's only 20% below the bubble profile anyway. I would have liked to talk about this issue a bit more since I feel there is room for argument (particularly on the common Trekkie fanboy assumption that shields are a scalar rather than vector phenomenon), but that would only give you more room to divert attention towards the 20% molehill and away from your 470% mountain.

If you admitted you were wrong when you claimed to be generous but were shown otherwise there would be no "470% mountain" - that was just the actual, correct assumption for a generous upper limit. I have always admitted the actual value will be somewhat lower than this dependent on shield size.
(and shields aren't a scalar phenomenon - they are graviton based. They use forces to counteract forces (or momentum), a purely vector phenomenon. That's why Sorenson's shuttle bounced off the shields, that's why lasers are pretty much useless against them)

You say that TNG ships are the only ships in the Trek timeline which can't make both bubble and hull-hugger shields. I couldn't help but argue with a few of your points on that issue because I do feel you're wrong (and there's the little matter of that video clip from "The Die is Cast"),

You never did provide the TOS examples to support your claim.

You say that "Relics" can be explained away by the flares, but that requires the groundless assumption that they were being hit repeatedly, not to mention your weak evasion of the 15% drop. Besides, solar flares are not intense enough to make such a big difference anyway, even if the ship was repeatedly engulfed in them. Unless, of course, you are willing to fully concede part 2/3 of this debate ...

Flares of unknown energy, against an already underpowered and damaged starship. Consider all the facts rather than the few you think are important.

In the end, the whole point of all this (your effort to show that I've seriously underestimated Trek shields) is a failure.

The whole point of this was to show your claims of generosity and upper limits were wrong - lies, if you like, seeing as you enjoy that word so much. I've done that. Hopefully everyone reading this debate will realise you should not take someone's word that they are being generous - you should check what they say against the evidence they give, the episodes they reference

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