Timothy Jones

April 15, 2002 (my first reply):

Timmy Jones, eh? I've heard of you. So you've come looking for the Imperial Smack-Down™, eh? Very well, I suppose it's time to see if you can live down to your reputation.

Comments: Hi. I've browsed at some of what's written here. It's well thought out. But it seems to me it's missing a fundamental point that, unfortunately for the SW propoenets in technological debates, undermines its entire project.

You've discovered an Achilles Heel, through which an entire mountain of arguments and evidence can be instantly erased? I've only heard this about, oh ... a hundred times before.

The fact that the ISD in ESB has to shoot down those asteroids at all in the first place, as I've often had to point out, indicates very weak (compared to Trek starships anyway) weapons, albeit indirectly.

And it obviously hasn't occurred to you that if their weapons were as feeble as you think, they would not have been able to destroy those asteroids at all (perhaps you think the asteroids were constructed out of photocopier toner, thus disintegrating into invisibly small particles upon the slightest touch).

Why? Because, *if* the weapons were as powerfull on an ISD as this site argues for, and *if* the ISD is yet vulnerable to the much lower threat energies from colliding with those small rocks (which are *also* calculable, though I notice the conspicuous absence of such calculations from this site)

Obviously, you never learned to read. The implications of this constant hail of asteroid impacts are quantified and discussed on my Shield pages.

You assume that these asteroids represent a small threat despite their sheer numbers and density, but you provide no figures to back up that claim. Instead, you accuse me of not having provided such figures to deny your claim in advance, even though I actually have provided the figures! Were you dropped on your head as a child?

then we are faced with the unavoidable logical implication that the ISDs must therefore have very weak shields and hulls.

Either that, or I find myself faced with yet another know-it-all ignoramus who doesn't understand simple geometry, physics, etc. Try crunching the numbers instead of just blathering qualitatively about them.

Otherwise, they wouldn't need to destroy those small rocks. Since they do, though, this would therefore *also* mean that their weapons, including their turbolaser weapons simply cannot be as powerfull as has been argued for here on this site as well as on the newsgroup debate threads, in which I have long taken part.

This isn't the Post Office, Timmy. Seniority doesn't mean anything. And by the way, not only have you failed to provide a shred of quantitative evidence to back up your claim (and erroneously accused me of also failing to do so), but you have also implicitly assumed that heat transfer weapons and physical impacts are precisely identical in mechanisms and defensive difficulties, which is completely nonsensical.

This is because of the conflict created by the duel premises of powerfull weapons and weak shields and hulls.

False dilemma. You have made no effort whatsoever to produce a quantifiable justification for your gut-feeling analysis of the TESB visuals. I hate to break it to you, but gut-feeling analyses are utterly worthless.

The arguments of this site and threads on newsgroups like ASVS try to establish the first premise. But the visuals from ESB that such arguments rely on, ironically, clearly imply the second premise.

They imply that to you, because you obviously haven't a clue what you're doing. You would rather construct a theory which is blatantly contradicted by the evidence.

Since we cannot reject this second premise, the first one is jeopardised by the its conflict with the second.

Jesus Christ, are you always this long-winded and repetitive? See above. How long can one post ramble on about just one completely unsupported point? Here's a hint: to avoid unnecessary run-on posts, try stating your point just once next time. And try backing it up; that will make it so much more interesting!

If we refuse to abandon the first premise, the only other way to resolve said conflict is to say the ISDs must have weak hulls and shields. Otherwise, since lesser energies from low speed impacts with small rocks are so devastating (as ESB visuals clearly show), obviously the supposedly greater energies from turbolaser bolts would destroy capital ships in just one or two hits, or at least cripple them, by smashing whatever part they contact.

Actually, since each ship withstood a constant hail of impacts on its hull because it only destroyed the biggest asteroids, the facts lead to a much different conclusion. Everyone can see asteroids vapourizing against the ship's hull in the movie, thus putting the lie to your ridiculous claim that they cannot withstand such impacts (well, everyone but you can see this; perhaps you should see an optometrist). Obviously, given thousands of such impacts, systems will eventually wear down. However, your claim that the ship was incapable of withstanding any such impacts is a bald-faced lie.

However, not only would this choice be unwise for the SW proponents, it would in fact be in conflict with the overall preponderance of the visual evidence from the SW films. Simply put, turbolasers do *not* disable or destroy capital ships such as corvetts or other ISDs in just one or a few hits.

Oh really? Open your eyes before you open your mouth. In the beginning of ANH, a turbolaser bolt splinters off the Tantive IV's shields, and the remnants blow a chunk of the ship clean off.

So we actually *cannot* take that we out of the dilemma, even if we wanted to. Therefore, the first option becomes logically unavoidable. Turbolasers *cannot* be and simply are not as powerfull as has been asserted on this site and in the newsgroup discussion threads, all calculations and "observations" (well thought out though they are) notwithstanding.

In other words, you decide that you can ignore all of the evidence because of your purely qualitative assessment of TESB, in which thousands of multi-megaton asteroid impacts against the hull of each ship represent proof of weakness rather than strength. It must be nice to be able to perform analyses without having to bother analyzing anything!

There must then be some flaw in either the observations that the SW proponents have made, or else in the calculation they have made based on them. Given the verifiability of the calculations themselves, I doubt this second area is where the flaw rests. And indeed, it would seem more plausable to suppose that it is the basic observations and resultant assumptions that are in error. This means that, *something* that the SW proponents take themselves to have seen, simply is not so.

Ah, so you cannot resolve the false dilemma you have created with your laughable gut-feeling analysis of TESB, but you're sure that whatever the answer is, it must be that all of our carefully thought-out observations and calculations must be wrong, eh?

It is my contention that, as has occured before (and therefore can be argued from a basis of precident), George Lucas and/or his special effects people simply took too much cinematic liscense with the visual production of the scene being refered to.

In other words, you defy Lucasfilm's claim that the films ("film" being explicitly defined as an visual medium, thus excluding visuals only if you're a blithering idiot) are canon. Why should anyone accept your personal re-definition of Star Wars canon?

In other words, those rocks were *not*, in fact vaporized, but merely blown apart, and at slow enough speeds so as *not* to render said fragmentation "a moot point." The special effects crew simply didn't bother to draw in the rock fragments (which would've been just dust particles and pebbles and such), because they didn't want to take the time over what they considered to be a minor detail.

Not only are you defying the fact that Star Wars is a canon film, but you are also ignoring the fact that you can see an asteroid being shattered into debris in the Millenium Falcon's cockpit window, earlier in the very same asteroid field. They obviously DID have the time and inclination to show rock fragments, if they thought these fragments should be there.

Or they may have thought (correctly I would think) that such would not be visible againt the pitch black backdrop of space. In other words, they goofed. It would be no different than when Han Solo spoke to Luke and Ben about having "...made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs," refering to a parsec as a unit of time, when it's actually a unit of distance.

A mistake by an onscreen character is entirely different than saying that a portion of the canon film is no longer canon because you don't like it.

The Rule Of Parsimony, or Rule Of Simplicity (A.K.A. "Occam's Razor,") says that one should take the simplest explanation to be the best one, pending further input.

I know all about Occam's Razor, Timmy. It demands that we pick the simplest theory, not the most simple-minded theory. There's a difference.

A simple theory must still fit the facts. It must be shown to fit the facts. A simple-minded theory, on the other hand, lacks analytical rigour and/or accuracy to observations, and its sole benefit is that simple-minded people like it.

Here, our choices are to deal with the conflict between the dualistic implications from the same scene in ESB, namely, that ISDs definitely have comparatively weak hulls and shields (that is, compared to Trek ships, whose navagational defelctors easily protect them from such small objects at such slow contact speeds, and even at high warp)

Then why were Klingon heavy cruisers destroyed so effortlessly by Jem'Hadar fighter ramming attacks in DS9? Why was the Odyssey destroyed so easily by a single impact? Why can't Federation ships warp through dense asteroid fields? Has it ever occurred to you that the nav deflectors are only good for interstellar dust, not asteroids massing hundreds of thousands (or in some cases, millions) of tons?

and yet *supposedly* have such powerfull weapons, that we would then expect to see one-hit kills/neutralizations of capital ships -- which we never do --

False dilemma. There is no reason that a Star Destroyer must be able to score a one-hit kill on another Star Destroyer with a multi-megaton light turbolaser just because it cannot take thousands of multi-megaton physical asteroid impacts.

or the choice of interpreting the asteroid destruction visuals in ESB with a bit of leeway for the fact that those who created them were not as scientifically astute as those who've since tried to hold them up as evidence of weapons power. Occam's Razor clearly directs us, in this case, to the latter choice. Therefore, that is my conclusion.

Occam's Razor directs us to the theory which is consistent with the facts, and the facts support me, not you. Every "fact" that you have tried to present in favour of your obviously pre-ordained conclusion has been completely inaccurate, and if you insist on being obstinate enough to cling to your bizarre lies about the films, I'm perfectly willing to embarrass you further by posting video clips. I recently digitized my laserdiscs to Divx5 format, so it would be very easy, and you can't simply hope that I won't want to bother.

By the way, I notice that you have no explanation for the Death Star; is that supposed to be non-canon special effects too?

The clearly shown weakness of SW ship shields and hulls (compared to Trek ships' shields and hulls) prevents arguing for SW ship weapons power levels that are close to or beyond that of the lesser threats (such as small asteroids) which we've seen do greater damage than said SW ship weapons.

All right, since you insist on repeating this single, feeble point ad neuseum, I might as well explain what's wrong with it in the sort of childishly simplistic manner that you might understand:

Your logic is as follows:

  1. An ISD cannot score a one-hit kill on another ISD.

  2. Therefore, a turbolaser blast must be less powerful than anything that can score a one-hit kill on another ISD.

This is actually true, but an argument must apply logic to facts, and your facts are so hopelessly wrong that I can only suspect either brain damage or deliberate deception:

  1. Timmy says that a typical TESB asteroid could score a one-hit kill on an ISD. Therefore, using the aforementioned logic, a turbolaser blast must be less powerful than a typical TESB asteroid.

Sorry Timmy, but no one with an intact brain stem could possibly agree that the TESB asteroid field was a one-hit kill. Those ships were in that field for hours, possibly days. They were sustaining a constant rain of asteroids against their hulls. Video clips from the film's asteroid vape sequence show roughly one asteroid striking the ship every two seconds (with greater energy than the asteroid which struck one ship's bridge tower), and that's only the impacts on the side facing us which are large enough to create a bright flash. How many seconds are in an hour, Timmy? We are talking about thousands of impacts, not one. Get it through your head.

In other words, TESB only proves that a single light turbolaser blast is less dangerous to an ISD than many thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of asteroid impacts, each with kinetic energy content comparable to a nuclear weapon. That's a far cry from your conclusion, which is not only based on bad data but which is directly contradicted by the visuals (which you naturally dismiss as non-canon special effects, using your power as sole arbiter of Star Wars canonicity).

Ergo, they are substantially less powerfull than have been argued for by the SW proponents based on ESB visuals, said visuals therefore being less well thought out than they should have been, based on the overall preponderance of evidence (both visual and spoken dialogue) of their performance. Thank you.

At least you were polite enough to thank me for suffering through your poorly thought-out arguments. Maybe next time, you'll be polite enough to put some genuine effort and honesty into those arguments (unless this was the best you could do, in which case you have my pity).


See his reply


Click here to return to the main Hate Mail page.



Valid HTML 4.01!Valid CSS!This website is owned and maintained by Michael Wong
This site is not affiliated with Lucasfilm or Paramount
All associated materials are used under "Fair Use" provisions of copyright law.
All original content by Michael Wong is copyrighted © 1998,2004.
Click here to go to the main page