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Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Which Is Better?

Last week I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi. For the third time. If you have not seen it by now you probably do not care about it much, but nevertheless rest assured there are no spoilers here for The Last Jedi. I first saw it on opening day in December. Usually I would only see a Star Wars movie twice in theaters. But a circumstance came up with one of my sons and I ended up seeing it a third time. I am definitely a fan of Star Wars.

The original Star Trek was on television when I was in kindergarten. I was definitely a fan of the original series but I never had time to keep up with the following television series. I have seen all the Star Trek movies going back almost 40 years now.

So which is better?

Obviously this is a highly subjective question. Let’s put that aside for the moment and just go with it. For engineers Star Trek has some real advantages over Star Wars. I remember well Scotty the engineer who was obviously important and one of the inner circle. I still do not know what di-lithium crystals are, but I am confident Scotty did.

Star Trek also has going for it is that, at bottom, everything is a result of natural events. There is not some mysterious “Force” that select people could use to change natural events. Even in Star Trek where you think there is something like “The Force”, it turns out to be the Force-like telekinetic powers are based on diet (see Plato’s Stepchildren). In Star Trek there was no need for “The Force” to have “balance” – whatever that means! To me there is a certain comfort knowing that events have natural explanations.

On the other hand, a Star Wars fan might argue the Force is natural. Back in Episode I there is something about “midichlorian count” which sounds like some kind of natural explanation of the Force. But no one talks midichlorian anymore in the latest episodes.

Star Trek also included medicine as a central theme. Dr. McCoy was also part of the inner circle – even more so than Scotty the engineer. Star Wars barely acknowledges medicine except when someone loses a limb from a lightsaber.

Altogether Star Trek has much more to offer those inclined towards the applied sciences of engineering and medicine. Star Wars seems to focus almost entirely on the drama of the people and the conflict between entities such as the First Order and the Resistance.

So for me the answer is clear. Star Wars is better than Star Trek.

Wait, why would I say that after stating all the ways that Star Trek is better? I cannot say for sure. I think Star Wars speaks more to the heart. At least my heart. Star Wars has drama that feels of great weight and importance. Star Trek, the original series and the movies? Not so much. Star Wars seems like it is painted on a much larger canvas. Star Trek feels too narrow in comparison.

So, that is my two cents. Regarding The Last Jedi, I found that I liked it better with each viewing. After seeing it the first time I definitely felt it was not as good as Episode VII The Force Awakens. After my third time watching it I think it is still not as good but much closer to The Force Awakens. And I cannot wait until Episode IX comes out! Planned for year 2019!

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Monday, 25 May 2020