Rogue One: an "engineering ethics" case-study disguised as a Star Wars movie [SPOILERS]

You provided a statement from one character to another who has a motive to lie and obfuscate the truth just as Obi Wan did. It is explicitly a statement, but it is not an explicit statement of the dark side not being stronger.

The movies themselves, on the other hand, show individual dark side users using powers beyond the capability of light side users, and are based during and after a period of time in which two Sith almost entirely annihilate the thousands of Jedi in existence. They are shown to be more powerful. If anyone is in doubt, Lucas even comments rather matter of fact that it’s the case.


It is an explicit statement by that character, If you have a statement about the nature of the Dark Side within the movie that is not coming from a character (especially not from a character with a bias either towards or against the Dark Side), I’d love to see it.

As to it not being an explicit statement that that Dark Side is not stronger… How much more explicit can you get than someone being asked directly whether the Dark Side is stronger, and answering in the negative three times?! I get how you think the statement is not trustworthy, but how is it not explicit?

First of all, a demonstration is neither explicit nor a statement. Let me quote you again.

That is an incredibly easy claim to defend if it’s true. If you don’t remember exactly where it’s said, it’ll require a few hours of watching some enjoyable movies to find that “explicit statement.” If you do remember when and where it happened, it should take about ten minutes at most. It certainly took me far less than that to find Yoda’s quote. I’ll make it easier on you: if it exists, I’d almost certainly put it either in the Palpatine/Windu/Skywalker scene in III, the Vader/Luke duel in V, or the Palpatine/Vader/Luke scene in VI.

…And yet, of the four Sith shown in the first six movies:

  • Darth Maul was killed by a padawan.
  • Darth Tyranus (Dooku) retreated from a duel with Yoda, and then was killed by a Jedi who had been tempted by the Dark Side, but was not using any Dark Side powers yet.
  • Darth Vader was defeated and dismembered in one duel with his former master (who never surrendered to the Dark Side), then was defeated again a duel by his son, who never surrendered to the Dark Side (though, again, he was tempted)
  • Darth Sidious (Palpatine) was killed by the guy who was just defeated by the light-side Jedi, and was now short an arm.

The only powers that Dark Side users have shown to be able to use that Jedi can’t are:

  • Force Lightning (which Yoda is able to absorb and redirect)
  • Clouding the future

Most of whom they kill by surrounding them with armies, or by sending a fully-trained Jedi to slaughter children. I’m trying to remember any duels between fully-trained Jedi/Sith that ended with dead Jedi. Qui-Gon would certainly count, though that certainly was not an unqualified win for Darth Maul. Mace Windu was defeated by treachery and two opponents. Obi-Wan let himself die. It’s not exactly a stellar record for the Sith.

Again, I disagree, as I argue extensively above. You have also moved the goalposts. “Showing” something is much different than “stating,” much less “explicitly stating.”

I’m going to again refer back to your quote as “The movies themselves explicitly state…” Lucas’s statements would be again moving the goalposts.

But, you know what? I’ll allow it. I have provided my quote. If Lucas has made a comment that the Dark Side is more powerful, provide it. (Just a warning, though, that anything that came out of Lucas’s mouth after “midichlorians” has a reduced value to me).


It is the most explicit of statements.

You know what?

I could go on for an hour about the meanings of the word “explicit” and “statement,” but that would be a waste of my time.

Instead, I’m invoking Hitchens’s Razor:

I’ve provided ample evidence that I’m right. You’ve provided nothing in proof of your claim that “It is explicitly stated in the movies that the dark side is stronger.” Since you refuse to provide evidence, I’m dismissing your argument.

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Lucas’ Razor: All discussions involving Star Wars will inevitably devolve into a pedantic nerd pissing match.


How is that a razor?

[/Unashamed pedantic nerd]

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You’re mistaking what I actually said “the movies themselves explicitly state” for what you imagine I meant “it is stated in the movies”.

The movies, being written works, are statements in and of themselves; beyond what is stated within them by flawed and biased characters such as the ones you submit as “ample evidence” - this is the fundamental basis of critical examinations such as the one posted wherein the movie Rogue One as a whole is interpreted as a statement on engineering ethics despite Galen not making a Galt speech about the duty of engineers to sabotage any weapons they design for a state they view as unjust (although admittedly he comes very close several times).

Scanning post

No evidence found

Resuming Hitchens mode

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The idea behind the Force is closely tied to Western understanding of Zen mastery, in a way. And going back to those sources, we see two paths: the pursuit of raw power, and the pursuit of control. This is best exemplified in a very long Japanese novel Musashi, about Japan’s most famous swordsman. He too started off rash and powerful, but only became great when he sacrificed power to learn control. I suspect the idea of the Force came from similar sources as they were everywhere in the 1970s and the 1980s. The Book of Five Rings was considered a must-read for businessmen.

This original concept of the Force lived through the prequels, though in a diminished form. And even in The Force Awakens, we see the difference in Kylo Ren’s passionate usage to Rey’s discoverance of the Path. Raw power is more seductive, easier in the short term, but learning self control brings you farther. Or in D&D terms, the Fighter is better at lower levels, but the Magic User becomes the unstoppable one at higher levels.

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I’m sure he’ll be investing to maintain Trump Tower, Trump Casino, and Trump Airlines.

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This nerdy question might actually be on topic, but why the fuck didn’t the Resistance use nukes attacking the shield gate in Rogue1 or transformer thingy at the end of Force Awakens? Do the good guys in SW have an ethical thing against weapons of mass destruction? The bad guys sure don’t. Or is it just required to have an X-wing vs Tie Fighter battle in every new movie to satisfy the geeky legions?

Yes. Yes it is.

Pew Pew


Different galaxy, different technologies. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that the beings in the Star Wars universe just never invented nuclear weapons and smartphones and high-def TV screens. Or maybe they have strict religious edicts against certain technologies like in Dune.

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In the original movie, we are not told how much explosive power is in the torpedoes. For all we know, they could be in the kilotons and we just don’t see it due to the scale of the battle. A more modern filming might show a crater near the exhaust port, where the first run missed. And in the second movie, it’s easier to just claim that they are throwing everything they have at the Resistance forward base towards the super-weapon, that the big nukes went up when the Republic fleet got conveniently wiped out.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and we are talking about a Rebellion here. Even back in 1977, it was suggested that the Rebel Alliance was only covertly funded, using scraps and outdated ships, so getting space-capable nukes may simply have been beyond their logistics capacities. So yeah, there are more than enough hand-waves.

‘Third Way’ Jedi? Ewwww.

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Except those beings include the Empire, who had no problem producing Deathstar after Deathstar and whatever that was in VII. That’s like “we’re OK with Ar15s but none of those damn slingshots!”

Budgetary? Seriously? With that level of tech tactical nukes would be pocket change and simple. Even little Anakin could probably build one, he was good with his hands.

“I don’t like plutonium. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.”

So he built C-3PO instead


Remember, Star Wars isn’t really sci-fi. It’s a fantasy franchise with some sci-fi elements. Maybe nuclear fission doesn’t work the same way in a universe where space battles are noisy and lasers are so slow a person with good reflexes can dodge them.


But they’re not lasers, they BLASTERS! Plus I must point out that on the Deathstar they refer to it’s “reactors”.

Sadly, the “it’s fantasy, stupid” argument is the ultimate trump for these things. All SF is fantasy at some level, what makes it more SF is when they try to keep the unexplainable and inconsistent to a minimum. SW is at the low end of that scale. ST ran the gamut from numerous godlike beings, each sillier than the last, to simple geeky SF parables like Tribbles.


Star Wars is literally about Space Knights and Space Wizards fighting each other with magic. It may use space as a backdrop but beyond that it has more in common with Tolkien than Arthur C. Clarke.

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