The Instigator
MrJosh
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
guesswhat101
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Star Wars is not Science Fiction

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
guesswhat101
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/5/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,196 times Debate No: 35313
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

MrJosh

Pro

Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) is a form of fiction that is based on imagined scientific advances [1]. Sci-Fi will often explore the social impact of those advances, or at least they will be an essential component of the story [2].

Star Wars, while it employs a technologically advanced universe, and contains many elements of Sci-Fi, is not based on these elements. The main story revolves around the Force and the struggle between the Jedi and the Sith, along with the political/military aspects of the Republic/Empire [3]. As Star Wars uses scientific principles and advances only in passing, and not as a key component of its story, it should not be classified as Science Fiction.

[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://voices.yahoo.com...
guesswhat101

Con

I will accept MrJosh's debate and look forward to it for he presents an interesting viewpoint, one I haven't considered before. I have two questions or concerns however before we begin this debate.
  • If Pro would like to use the Oxford Dictionary's definition, then we should use the entire definition.
    • Science Fiction- fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets. [1]
  • Since Star Wars is already considered science fiction I request that the burden of proof be with Pro. While I am willing to share a little of the burden, I do not believe that it should be equal as Pro is debating against an established opinion [2]
Debate Round No. 1
MrJosh

Pro

I thank CON for accepting this debate; it should be fun! :)

First off, since CON brought it up, the definitions I provided in Round 1 were to clarify my position. However, CON need not worry; both definitions I brought up in the previous round will be revisited here.

One of the key components of Science Fiction, is that it must be plausible (or at least potentially plausible) within a scientific framework [1][2][3][4]. Another is that the science or technology must be a key aspect of the story [2][3][4].

Star Wars is an epic story that takes place in another galaxy at another time with lots of futuristic technology. However, Lucas himself notes that while he had had the Star Wars universe in mind for some time, the actual story didn’t coalesce until he added aspects from Joseph Campbell’s writings, specifically “the hero’s journey” [5] and what Campbell calls the “mythic structure" [6]. These aspects, which form the core of the story, have nothing to do with science or technology, regardless of their setting. In fact, if the setting was medieval Europe and light sabers and blasters were swapped for long swords and crossbows, the basic story would still be the same.

Since scientific possibility and even scientific ideas are only used as a setting, playing only a bit part in the story, Star Wars shouldn’t be classified as Science Fiction. I would suggest that the abilities of the Jedi and the Sith, and the whole concept of the Force, which are far more central to the story than any alien planet, belong with the Fantasy genre; a genre that welcomes magic and the supernatural as core plot elements [7]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.cde.ca.gov...
[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4] http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[5] http://www.moongadget.com...
[6] http://www.moongadget.com...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
guesswhat101

Con

I look forward to this argument as well as I used to be a huge Star Wars fan.

I accept my opponent's definitions but I would like to draw attention to the social aspect of science fiction. I also realize that the social aspect of science fiction must be brought upon by a scientific change.


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” - Arthur C. Clarke


Anybody who has any knowledge of physics realizes the absurdity of certain parts of the Star Wars universe. The space battles as well as the "blasters" breaks many laws of physics. However, certain laws of physics were broken for the sake of show business. Space battles would be pretty boring if they contained no explosions and if laser blasters actually went the speed of light...it just wouldn't be as exciting of a movie. But that doesn't mean all technology in the Star Wars universe is absurd. The propulsion systems of the various spaceships are now a reality [1]. As for whether or not we will ever be able to break the speed of light, many believe that we will be able to. Quantum mechanics [2] and special relativity [3] are showing that Einstein's ideas might have actually been wrong.


But I digress, I still have not shown how technology makes the Star Wars trilogy science fiction. Let's look at the the first move. By first I mean "A New Hope". That movie contains a physical antagonist that's no moon but a space station. A space station that is possible [4]. This huge weapon also appears again in "Return of the Jedi" as the physical enemy of the Rebellion. My opponent says how that if the story had taken place in Medieval Europe, the basic story would still be the same. I beg to differ. Not only does that remove the fact that aliens play a part in the story, it also rids the movies of the entire space setting and the subsequent conflicts which arise there, denying an entire layer of the story.


Finally, the whole deal with The Force. To this my answer is what if those in the story who we consider human (Obi-Wan, Anakin, etc.) aren’t really human? Lucas says how this happens in an universe far, far away. Convergent evolution is one theory that supports the fact that they look human. Also, perhaps the Force is actually a mutation in the DNA/genetic-building-blocks of the Jedi/Sith. The Jedi and Sith also help make Star Wars science fiction because of their social impact. There is a constant struggle not only between the Jedi and the Sith but also these Force-wielders and the rest of the life-forms. Many in the Star Wars universe, especially in the prequels, grow to distrust the Jedi. Later, in the original movies, the Jedi(s) are worshipped.



[1] http://www.kickstarter.com...

[2] http://www.gizmag.com...

[3]http://www.dailymail.co.uk...

[4] http://www.universetoday.com...

Debate Round No. 2
MrJosh

Pro

Thank you for your arguments.

First of all, I agree with what you write in your paragraph about how many of the scientific errors were done for the purpose of show business. You also claim that some of the technology may not be too far from the mark; I agree with this as well. You are making a good case that the technology in Star Wars is plausible (or at least potentially plausible) within a scientific framework, as I mentioned in the previous round. However, you fail to address the second part; whether or not it is a key part of the story. This is something I will come back to.

In your second paragraph, you outlined the plot of Episode IV well, describing some of the science fiction like aspects. As to my suggestion that the story would be the same if it took place in a medieval setting, you claim that the story would not be the same. This is something I will address presently.

What is of relevance is the question, what is the main point of Star Wars? There is no doubt that it is a multi-layered story, a point you suggested, but what is the most important part? What is the thing which, if removed, would make the entire story crumble? The main themes of Star Wars are as follows:

The Force [1][3]
Nature’s Superiority over Technology [1]
The Hero’s Journey [1][2][3]

Clearly, these themes don’t require an alien planet or a spaceship to be explored. Also, there is probably no more well known quote from any of the movies, or other Star Wars media, than some variation of “May the Force be with you” [4], hardly scientific.

Now, back to a medieval setting. None of these core themes, or many of the secondary themes (such as romance, politics, and economics) rely on the science fiction aspects of the story. If the Death Star was a large Warship, and the aliens were simply warriors from another land, these main themes could be the same. It might not be as entertaining as the actual Star Wars universe, but these themes don’t rely on the science.

My final point is the opinion of George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars. He does not consider Star Wars to be Science Fiction [5][6]. He has been quoted as saying, “Star Wars is not science fiction at all,” and “…it starts out as a fairytale” [6].

[1] http://www.sparknotes.com...
[2] http://www.moongadget.com...
[3] http://www.folkstory.com...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://movie-club.net...
[6] http://www.digitalspy.com...

guesswhat101

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for beginning this debate as it has been very interesting for me, I've gained a new view of Star Wars. However, I still disagree that Star Wars is not science fiction.

I still claim that Star Wars would not be the same if it were in another setting (my opponent brings up medieval). I disagree but I will not list the same points that I have before. My opponent lists severl motifs in his closing argument which I would like to draw attention to, namely the second and third. I will start with the third. The Hero's Journey as my opponent calls it is not one unique to Star Wars. As the website he cites [1] says, this theme is not unique. Simply because this theme appears in Star Wars is not enough to automatically mean its not science fiction. The theme is critical in other movies such as The Matrix which I myself believe to be science fiction.

The second motif he lists can in itself justify a media of being classified as sci-fi. Technology is the key word in this theme, as fantasy is defined as "a genre that uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting." [2]. Technology would not be a major part of a fantasy book or novel. My opponent is correct in saying that these themes don't rely on science, but that does not mean they can't apply to a science fiction universe. A poor farm boy rising to the top can be the theme in any movie, whether it be a sports movie or romantic movie.

I believe my opponent has not proved the pardigm wrong. We agreed on the BOP in Round 1 and Pro has not made significant points to overturn the status


[1] http://www.moongadget.com...
[2] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_(genre)
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by KeytarHero 3 years ago
KeytarHero
I would argue that Doctor Who is not science fiction, but science fantasy. However, I think Star Wars quite properly fits in the genre of science fiction. Not sure if I'll take up this debate or not.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
MrJoshguesswhat101Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: cons best argument was making the point that star wars defies countless laws of physics throughout all the movies (and probably will continue to do so in the newer ones coming out) and that alone proved that they are indeed sci-fi movies. Pros arguments focused on highlighting the themes and sub plots of the movies to what people experience in real life all the time, but that fell short of meeting his burden of proof that star wars films arent sci-fi. Arguments to the con