The Battle of Britain

Re:  "The “Survivors” Falsehood" 


One relatively common attack on the shielding of Star Trek ships is revealed in this page of Anderson's site. Anderson attempts to dismiss the episode's stunningly weak display of Star Trek shielding, when it is revealed that the ship cannot repel more than a few hits from a weapon firing the equivalent of "four hundred gigawatts of particle energy."

On the contrary . . . had I simply wished to dismiss it, I'd have only brought up the fact that the entire situation was unreal, an illusory construct of the Douwd, and left it at that.  What I in fact tried to do was rationalize the ridiculously low figure with the far higher shield strength figures either stated, calculable, or inferrable in the canon.

"Some unscrupulous debaters try to claim that this event shows a maximum shield strength of 400 gigawatts for the Galaxy Class. In other words, anything more than about .23 tons of TNT per second will overload the shields and bring them down."

The first thing that Anderson does is to try and claim that the use of canonical, unambiguous dialogue is "unscrupulous."

 Above, Ossus unscrupulously suggests that those who incessantly try to use "Survivors" as a basis for shield strength figures are just innocent angels who are only quoting the canon . . . no doubt, he feels the same way about those who will only refer to Star Trek V's photon torpedo or Paris's "faster than light, no left or right" crap.   Hell, even Ossus can't possibly buy into the "Survivors" fallacy without contradicting himself . . . after all, he's always claiming that photon torpedoes are in the kiloton range, based on his foolish objections regarding "Rise" and Nemesis.   Let's say a torpedo was just one kiloton instead of one hundred megatons, and took an entire second to detonate instead of the quick detonations we're used to.  That would be over 4,000 gigawatts of power, which would render shields just a big joke if a mere 400 gigawatts causes shields to do this:

And yet, we know from "Message in a Bottle"[VOY4] and "Equinox"[VOY5/6] that Federation shields don't instantly succumb to Federation torpedoes (naturally).  Further, the Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians, and Dominion could not possibly be at anything close to technological parity with the Federation . . . they'd all have to have wimpy weapons but killer shielding in order to withstand torpedoes while not instantly bringing down Federation shields.  And yet, that's not what we see when ships from those groups have fought each other (naturally).

Of course, since neither Federation torpedoes nor Federation shields are so weak, his claims in both cases are without merit.

(Entertainingly, Ossus doesn't even realize he's being contrary to himself . . . at the end, he claims "this fits nicely with observations made in the newest Star Trek film, "Star Trek: Nemesis."" . . . retard.)

 However this is blatantly false. Anderson goes on to claim that:

""gigawatts of particle energy" is a peculiar phrase that can refer to kinetic energy of the particles, particle charge, and other things."

This seems to have slightly more merit until you examine it more closely. It is merely an escape clause.

No, it's just an effort to rationalize the low figure with the remainder of the canon . . . the hundreds of thousands of terajoules resisted by the Enterprise-D in "Relics", the fact that the shields can withstand the same Romulan and Cardassian weapons that can burn away the crust and mantle of a world as seen in TDiC, and so on..  Ossus points to my rationalization attempt and suggests its a bad thing, though, as if he's never engaged in rationalization when trying to explain away the low firepower seen in the Star Wars canon versus the ridiculously inflated EU firepower levels.  (Hey, at least I'm just dealing with contrary canon, and not trying to wank myself into believing the non-canon instead.)

Even Wong gets in on the act, which makes the objection even more hysterical (he generally just ignores the SW canon outright):

  [Editor's note: indeed, why would anyone quantify an irrelevant characteristic of a weapon?  

Note well:  that's stated by the same guy who thinks Dodonna's line about the Death Star, spoken to the fighter pilots who were about to go up against it, regarding its firepower could not possibly have referred to the weapons emplacements on its surface . . . i.e. the ones that would be shooting at the fighter pilots.

A gigawatt is a gigawatt is a gigawatt

Ooh, look.  Ossus can finally construct sentences which observe the concept of non-contradictory identification (i.e. "A is A").   But of course, within the same sentence, he trips over the same hurdle:

, and Worf clearly referred to the equivalent firepower, earlier in the episode:

See?  In Ossus's mind, "earlier" is equal to "later" . . . or, to paraphrase, "A is B".   The first Husnock attack is reported in "equivalent firepower" . . . the second, in "particle energy".  A is not B.

Moreover, the weapon being fired is made up of "jacketed streams of positrons and anti-protons." Anderson attempts to claim that the quote could be referring to "can refer to kinetic energy of the particles, particle charge, and other things." This is obviously false. Kinetic energy is a unit of energy.

Hey, Worf's the one who said "particle energy", but expressed the unit in watts.  

 Particle charge is measured in volts 

Ha, dumbass.  But, alas, Wong somehow managed to catch the error, too:

[Editor's note: actually, it is measured in coulombs, although this doesn't help RSA since coulombs are no closer to watts than volts are]. Both of which are only nominally related to power (watts).

They're both wrong regarding the science.

A coulomb is the unit of electric charge (in the common waterhose analogy, this would simply be some water . . . 6e18 units of it, to be exact).   One volt is defined as one joule of work being done on one coulomb of charge (i.e. the water pressure).  In an electric circuit, one coulomb of charge per second passing a point on the circuit is one amp of electrical current (i.e. a measure of the amount of water through the hose).   Notice that we have a joule of work on a coulomb, and a time factor regarding coulombs . . . therefore, one volt times one amp equals one watt.   Or, to put it in a more mathematical way:

Volt       = Joule/coulomb
Amp        = coulomb/second
Volt x Amp = (Joule/coulomb) x (coulomb/second)
Volt x Amp = Joule/second = Watts

Of course, without knowing the number of particles involved, there's nothing more we can do with the scene if Worf referred to particle charge when he said "particle energy".

He continues:

"Second, no one else including the Empire fires jacketed streams of antimatter, and the only other time we saw antimatter fired like that was when the Enterprise-D used an antimatter spread to confound Borg sensors in "Best of Both Worlds"."

This is quite obviously a red herring. 

Ossus is quite obviously an idiot.  The point which he missed is that, even if Federation shields have a magic weakness to jacketed positrons and antiprotons that reduces their effectiveness down into the gigawatt range, this does not help the Empire.

Of course, Ossus ignores the third and fourth objections, which involve Worf commenting on reassembling the shields (suggesting some sort of shield scrambling, since such a concept hasn't been heard of before or since (and bringing shields back up commonly requires much longer, as per BoBW2 and "Tin Man"[TNG3]), and his comments which show the weapon didn't even breach the hull.

 Debaters may speculate on why they would require such a weapon, but to dismiss it as being impossible

Who's dismissing the weapon as being impossible?   Not I.  So what the hell is Ossus blabbering about?

Moreover, it really does not matter that no one else uses such weapons. The episode clearly shows that only a few gigawatts of equivalent firepower can overload the shields of the E-D. 

Again with his A=B crap.  No, the episode clearly shows that an illusion of a warship firing an illusion of a weapon can possibly scramble the shields while doing no appreciable damage to the ship, provided that those effects were not also an illusion.  


[Editor's note: it gets worse. He tries to dismiss the entire sequence of events with the following: "Of course, over and above all of that is the fifth, and most incontrovertible, proof of the fallacy. This was a weapon fired by an image of a ship, created by an omnipotent being. This being had proven himself capable of fooling sensors in various capacities. Since it was the construct of a being of "disguise and false surroundings", one can hardly bank on the reality of the event. A dog's flatulence could bring down shields, so long as there was an omnipotent being wishing it to be so." This is a common escape clause: declare somebody to be omnipotent because you're not sure how he does what he does 

Note how Wong tries to whine and split hairs while not addressing the actual argument.  Of course Uxbridge wasn't totally omnipotent . . . his wife and 11,000 other colonists were still dead, after all.  But the man could effortlessly trick sensors, drive Troi nuts with a telepathic attack, and wipe out an entire species numbering in the tens of billions with a moment's angry thought.  He even created a perfect illusion of his dead wife.  Creation and destruction at his whim?  That's plenty damned omnipotent in my book, and more than sufficient to prove the fallaciousness of the "Survivors" fallacy.

But it's ultimately irrelevant: whatever the weapon was, its effect on the ship was real

Says who?  The same sensors which showed the Uxbridge home both destroyed and later not-destroyed?   Or maybe Beverly's tricorder that showed (or appeared to show) the illusion of Rishon Uxbridge to be a human in good health?  Ooh, wait, I know . . . it was the photon torpedoes that struck the illusory Husnock shields harmlessly, whereas one later appeared to blow the ship to tiny bits.

Get real . . . literally!


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