Main Muggles Do It Better Discussion

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06:35:20 AM Mar 23rd 2015
One thing we definitely go better; we've traveled to the moon. What's the last wizard you've heard about who traveled to the moon? What wizard has ever blown up an entire city with just ONE blast? None, that's who. What's better about Muggles? Our technology advances faster than their magic. Their magic has led them to stagnate while we, without magic, have only had the option to improve our comfort of living through technology and we've flourished because of that, with the wizards eventually stealing our technology from us to improve their comfort of living (such as the Wizarding Radio) all without a single credit due to the masters who ACTUALLY invented it (Arthur Weasley is a prime example with his condescending treatment towards us).
06:57:39 AM Mar 23rd 2015
edited by Peteman
They can be pretty cool in The Dresden Files.

Travel to the Moon? Rashid does that to get to his Sanctum.

Blow up a city? McCoy caused the 1883 Krakatoa eruption and the Tunguska event.

And that doesn't cover Post Modern Magick settings.
01:15:58 AM Apr 17th 2012
Talk amongst yourselves. Here's a topic.

In what ways is this related to Why Don't You Just Shoot Him??

Honestly, when I read the title of Muggles Do It Better, I Thought It Meant the Post-Modern Magik version of Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?. Was I completely wrong, or just mostly wrong?
02:01:50 AM Jan 9th 2013
Sometimes it plays as that, such as the often cited "Buffy uses Bazooka on demon," and other times when muggle means can quickly end a fight in dishonorable but very effective ways (example: Salvation War ).

However, not all examples have to work out this way. It can be a form of drama, with magical creatures finding out how behind they are, used in other ways besides combat ("I could go to a lake, summon a nimph, bargain with it for various gems and runes, and have a magical pool where I can get these stains out, or go to the store and buy some stain remover"). The important thing is that technological ways beat out magical ones.
11:28:03 PM Dec 12th 2011
Here is my two cents on the matter.

While we can argue the relative strengths of the powers of wizards vs. muggles all day and not get anywhere because we do not know what the upper limits of magic are, and how much the average wizard uses it. However, it comes more down to tactics and how wizard's use their magic. Wizard warfare is still stuck in the early dark ages. Battles devolve into personal battles between couples of wizards who try to over power each other in something best equated to fencing. Muggle battles, however, kill in the most effiecient and hopefully unfair way as possible. Cover, covering fire, combined arms, and use of air force are either only seen in it's most basic forms, or non-existent entirely. They have the ability to deploy all of those, with brooms, big magical creatures, and other such things. Heck, they don't even have basic things such as formations.

I think the question on the matter if shield charms can stop bullets is a rendered mute by the way in which they are USED. A shield charm has always been used in reaction to, not preperation OF spells. It is a parry, a movement you do to block a move in hopes your opponent does the same. It comes in a complex web of parries, dodges, and attacks, with the rule of thumb that spells that can be blocked are easier to cast, and spells that have to be dodged such as the killing curse or transfiguration spells, are much HARDER to cast.

The problem for wizards, their is no such complexity for a muggle soldier. If sees his opponnent infront of him standing in the open, his first reaction would be point, shoot, and than get to cover incase their are more enemies.

Wizard's do have some very dangerous monsters/plants/spells, but none of them can be used in a controlled manner, and all of them are considered dark arts that almost no wizard would know how to counter it. Fireflye, which can most likely do a wide amount of damage, is also as likely to kill the caster as it is anyone else. The dangerous creatures such as dragons, baslicalsics, and trolls may cause lots of death, but are all rare, hard to control, and two of the three were killed with pretty much muggle means (sword to the mouth and club to the head). Ironically, it is the plants that can be used the safest, the mandrake, but can easily be countered by a good pair of earmuffs.

How well a war would go basically comes down to how long the wizards are willing to fight a gurilla war and how long it will take them to sue for peace. The longer the war will go on, the worse it will be for the wizards. Muggle research into finding unplottable buildings and ways to counter the wizards ability to teleport. If magic effects electronics, does it do so in a consitent way? If one can find a way the to detect the magical interference, finding "unfindable buildings won't be to hard. Would magic effect machines that are EMP hardened? A predator drone I doubt would be effected by anti-muggle charms such as the "oh god did I leave the fridge open" or "this looks like a big broken building, not the castle it really is" that protect Hogwarts. The wizards will eventionally lose. Muggles have better foreign relations and Britian would be able to call on allies in case of a British war (and in most first world) than the wizarding world is. Who knows, Muggleborns and Goblins have many good reasons to join with the Muggles (relatives being muggles/any offer to be legally equal in the eyes of the law). The reasons why the wizards went into hiding in the first place will be really beat into them.
11:47:07 AM Feb 15th 2012
Consider, folks, that guns are ranged weapons. A really good sniper with a really nice gun can be a solid mile away from his target.

This means that what the wizard is actually confronted with is, as mentioned above, a very fast lump of metal. It's the simplest possible of tools. No trigger mechanism to jam, no chemical reactions to foul up. Just kinetic deliciousness.
01:16:50 PM Dec 15th 2012
There's other options besides shield charms to defend oneself with. What about Unbreakable charms for perfect body armor or Imperturbable charms so bullets go around you?
01:53:13 AM Jan 9th 2013
I think you miss understood what the Imperturbable spell DOES. The one time we see it used, it is used as sealant on a door so Fred and George couldn't spy on Order meetings, and Tonk mentions if a person has it cast on them, Dugbombs would bounce OFF a person. Not around, it impacts them and then is deflected. Sounds perfect, you would think, your just like Superman. However, some basic physics puts a stop to that. An object bouncing off a surface causes more impact damage than if it stopped or embedded itself. Imperturbable charmed armor makes sure no bullets get in you, but you receive MORE of the tissue breaking, bone breaking impacts.

Now, the Unbreakable Charm was only cast once on a jar. Why not on all the doors that were blasted apart, the walls that were damaged, and many other things that were ruined during the battles of Hogwarts? Sounds like it may have limited uses. Still, assuming you can make your clothing "unbreakable," you run into the problem of the above, with the armor blocking the bullet, but letting the force impact the fleshy human bodies wizards have. Might not even stop that, if your unbreakable T-shirt just is pushed into your skin with the bullet as well.

I also will counter with this. Wouldn't riot shields and standard kevlar stop most offensive curses and spells? We have seen throughout the books even the mighty Avada Kedavra was blocked by a wooden greeting desk and a marble statue. Will killing curses and stun spells (which, might I remind you, are the most commonly used fighting spells we see any wizards use?) be blocked by hardened shields and kevlar?
08:13:17 PM Nov 22nd 2011
Where exactly did J.K. Rowling say a Muggle with a shotgun would beat a wizard? I've been looking around for the source of this quote, but can't seem to find it easily.
02:49:39 AM Jun 10th 2010
edited by VandalHeartX
Moving this discussion here:

  • In Harry Potter Fan Fiction, someone often makes the argument against attacking/trying to rule the Muggle world by pointing out that the Muggles outnumber the wizards a million to one, and while the wizards have magic, the Muggles have nuclear weapons.
    • Nuclear weapons isn't a good example since the wizard world isn't located in one central location, but woven within the Muggle world. Thus, launching a nuke at any one location would invariably kill more Muggles than wizards. However, the point is still valid that Muggles could probably defend themselves once they figure out what's going on, since wizards have little (if any) ability to defend themselves against conventional Muggle weapons. (Love may stop the Killing Curse, but it isn't going to stop a speeding bullet.)
  • Then again, magic does seem to trump Muggle technology in a lot of non-combat situations. Wizard medicine and transportation are examples of magic that are easily more advanced, if potentially more risky, than their muggle counterparts.
    • Actually, Wizard medical techniques are highly hit-and-miss. There are no vaccines or other effective preventative measures, as far as we know, and anything that goes wrong will only be cured if they have an exact counterspell. Gilderoy Lockheart proved that there is a massive possibility of 'surgery' Gone Horribly Wrong, if you use the wrong spell. Transportation-wise, they rely on reverse-engineered muggle technology (like the Hogwarts train, or the ministry's cars) for most journeys, only using teleportation when they really, really need speed or co-ordination, mostly because of the whole "teleported into an object" problem.
  • Although wizards have magic superior to any firearm, and could and do run circles around your ordinary Muggle without them knowing it (they routinely hide whole buildings in plain sight), in a straight fight a wizard would be at a significant disadvantage for the simple reason that all wizards seem completely unfamiliar with the idea of guns and how they work, making it impossible to counteract them.
  • Not to mention a lot of the Wizarding world seems to be totally at a loss when confronted with Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • One of This Troper's ideas about wizard-Muggle combat (Why yes, I make contingency plans for war with whimsical wizards. Why do you ask?) was that some of the most effective anti-wizard weapons would be biological agents (see above about vaccines) and poison gas/heavy-metal dust clouds. Why? Because when the wizards apparate in, the dust, gasses, etc. would quite likely be instantly mixed into their body, just as though they had apparated into a solid object. At the very least, their first breath would take them out.
    • If this theory holds true, wouldn't that mean that the wizards' masses would fuse with whatever is in the location of apparation? Then, just like the things you listed, normal air and all the germs it carries would prove harmful as well.
      • It would have to be tested with trial and error in a "live fire exercise" (or vetted by Word of God, should you manage to talk to Rowling), but it might still work with the poison trap plan described above. The apparate spell keeps gaseous embellisms from happening by moving things out of the way right before the caster materializes. This can be seen when the Weasley twins learn the spell and become completely obnoxious with it, and every time they use it, a gust of wind is created. It's small, but it's there. The important part of this is that you still need to be careful with the spell, because you could teleport into fusion with an object, meaning that the gust of wind is meant to push insubstantial things out of the way. The vaporized heavy metals ... it could go either way, really, but the gust may not be enough to move them far enough away from the arrival target space. The poison gasses, however, would work, because nobody comes up gasping for air after they apparate, meaning that the gasses in the room (most importantly the oxygen rich atmosphere) rushes right back at them, because nature abhors a vaccuum. They wouldn't know the poison gas is in their target arrival space, and the spell itself would not fuse them with anything harmful, but as soon as they're in there, they're screwed. It's a decent idea, but I have to admit to my fellow troper that it is encased in a huge block of Awesome, but Impractical.
  • And Muggles have Wizards beat with communications too. The (later) 1990's for muggles had chat rooms, cellphones, and generally quicker and more reliable methods of sharing information than Owls carrying post.
  • Why does nobody think of a shield charm in all this wizard vs. muggle thing? give a wizard about 2 seconds to prepare, and there isn't anything you can do short of casting a pretty powerful spell at him that could get through to him. nukes would be pointless, since as the muggles must have a while to prepare, so must the wizards, so they could protect their homes, hogwarts etc. with spells that could disable the missiles. That said, a single muggle with a gun vs a single wizard could result in a muggle win, but then there's unintentional magic done in times of extreme stress, so it's all kinda complicated.
    • You have a point, but consider the Battle for Hogwarts. It took most of the wizards in the school to build that shield, and it took the Deatheaters a matter of hours at most to take it down. Assuming that this was just a case of chipping away at the shield with force instead of figuring out the right frequency of energy to use or doing the calculations of "what kind of shield is that so I know what to use to take it down," then it could be argued that any application of force would eventually break it down, which, shile annoying, would eventually cause the Muggles to simply adapt their tactics. And while we're on that subject, consider the stories told of the first war with the Deatheaters compared to the events of the series. Wizards SUCK at adapting their tactics. Talk to some nerdy special forces guys or even just a plain old infantry unit, and they could come up with about five ways to tilt the odds of any fight in the books. And then I see what the next Troper added...
  • The above troper however forgot that the shield charm is a really difficult spell to cast. Most adult wizards don't even know how to cast it. Also, I'm sure that wizards do not have anti-missile spells. They probably never heard of them, and would continue to be confuse about the giant explosions the muggles seem to be able to make.
  • This is why this Troper believes that if there ever was a war between Magical Beings and Muggles, the ones who'd be able to survive are Half-Bloods, or Muggleborns. Having the best of both worlds? Yeah. Hermione would also be the clear winner. Just saying.
    • This is likely a reason for the Fantastic Racism in the series. The threat posed by the anti-witchcraft mania in early modern Europe was apparently the reason the wizarding community decided to go into seclusion. Some pureblood wizards and witches still see all Muggles as a threat because of this, and probably have some inkling that they'd be powerless against Muggle technology should there be conflict between the two worlds again. So they're envious of those fellow wizards and witches who seemingly get to have their cake and eat it too (the Muggle-borns, since they get the same magical powers while still understanding how the Muggle world works, enough that they could probably pose as Muggles if the need arose again).
      • So, basically, we hate what we fear, and wizards are still human, just from a different culture. That's beyond plausible, actually. I like it.
03:00:13 AM Jun 10th 2010
And adding my two cents to the whole "Wizards use shielding spells and anti-missile spells" bit, people always seem to forget how damned fast bullets and missiles are. A Wizard can't cast a shielding spell, or most spells for that matter, if they get riddled with bullets or blown to pieces before they can finish saying the spell.

Bullet velocities range from hundreds of feet per second to faster than the speed of sound. Unless the Wizards have access to a Bullet Time spell, and they never showed anything like that in the books or films, they're helpless against those VERY FAST tiny little pieces of metal they can't even see.

This applies the same for missiles. Your average air-to-ground missile or bomb strike is fast and very hard to spot with human eyes. Just look for any missile and bomb footage that hasn't been filmed in slow motion. Better yet, look at footage from Iraq or Afghanistan. Especially during the air-strike phase. First you just see a building, and then "BOOM" it gets hit by ordinance and explodes. If you're lucky, you'll spot a blur. And those are just bombs, which are dropped and consequently come down at below-supersonic terminal velocity. Most missiles are designed to move at transonic or supersonic speeds.

Human reaction time has difficulty enough dealing with arrows (which are still slower than the slowest bullet). Against the kinds of speeds bullets and missiles can achieve? "2 seconds to prepare" will be 2 seconds too long against any alert, half-competent fellow with a gun.
01:01:17 AM Jun 17th 2010
Nobody seems to be remembering that "technology goes haywire" around any magic (unless someone has and I didn't see it :) ). Hermione says this in Goblet of Fire when Harry thinks of using an aqualung in the second task. As Hermione points out, it wouldn't work near Hogwarts, because magic messes things up. This is a convenient rule, but I think it also sort of fits with the quirky randomness of magic as shown in JK Rowling's world. After all, wizards are supposed to be great at intuition but horrible at logic (as Hermione, again, says in the first book). Logic and reasoning being how muggles come up with any sort of technology, it makes some kind of poetic sense to me that magic is and technology do not mix.

So, I guess it depends how close the person trying to fire the gun would be to any magic objects, places, events, spells (people?) etc, and who knows what would happen. Maybe the trigger mechanism wouldn't work.

Also, it would really depend on the wizard's skill. I imagine Dumbledore would be able to bewitch bullets into birds or something. Or transfigure the gun into a large wombat. Or a porcupine. Dawlish, on the other hand, would definitely get shot.

Certainly the muggle with the gun would have a good chance, I agree. But I think it'd be a fair fight.

Personally, I always liked how in the films (even though they get lots of other things wrong) they often show streetlights flickering atmospherically when magic/wizards are near. I always chalked that up to the magic messing up the muggle lights. :-P

P.S. As I remember, Shield Charms aren't actually very hard at all, but they aren't very strong. I believe Harry first learns how to cast one in Goblet of Fire when he's preparing for the third task —that is, when he's around fifteen. And it says Hermione managed to shatter it with a well-placed Jelly Legs Jinx. So it protects against minor hexes but not much more. Later in the books we encounters seemingly more powerful versions (such as the shield that protects Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows), but this is never fully explained.

04:30:18 AM Jun 20th 2010
And yet, simple mechanical objects work in the Wizarding world. People forget, a door hinge is technology. It's made of simple machines — a lever and a screw to hold it in place. And we know the Wizarding world has simple door hinges. They also have simple locks, which are a bit more complex than a simple door hinge. The examples you pointed out are relatively complex mechanics (the aqualung) or a brief disruption like the lights. It didn't even permanently stop the lights. Like you said, it flickered but then kept shining after.

Guns may look complicated, but they're simple devices. The triggering mechanism is just levers and screws and springs little more complicated than door hinges, and not more complicated than door locks. So why would the door locks and hinges in the Wizarding world work perfectly being around magic but a triggering mechanism wouldn't? Plus, y'know, we've seen a complex machine work in the Wizarding World — the train.

Perusing through my books again reveals that it's not "technology" that sometimes go haywire around Hogwartz, it's specifically mentioned to be "electronic equipment". This fits with your examples of the aqualung, as many aqualung designs have some built in electronics for regulation. Same with the lights. Most guns, however, are ''mechanical" devices. The only guns which need electricity to fire are electrochemical or caseless guns, but those are only prototypes at this point. Practically every gun used, civilian and military, are mechanical and chemical devices. Nothing electronic about them. In fact, even the mentioned exceptions of devices made to function in the Wizariding world (cameras or radios) explain that they can be made to do so using magic instead of electricity. But, again, moot point for guns because guns so not need electricity to function.

And how would Dumbledore bewitch a bullet once it's already fired? Bullets are TOO FAST. That cannot be stressed enough. People just underestimate how fast bullets can be. How can you cast anything on the bullets if they hit you before you can finish the casting?

Plus, something I forgot to mention, which is very important if your talking about combat practicalities: Muggle combat is different from Wizard combat. Muggles have long learned how to fight at ranges of hundreds of meters with long-range weaponry, firing from cover and out of sight. Wizards aren't trained for that. Most Wizard fighting we've seen in the books are close range, dozens of meters at most. Several times, they play out like swordfigts or old-fashioned, short-range pistol duels (fighting is even called "dueling" in the books) with both combatants out in the open.

Wizards are not trained to cope with Muggle warfare tactics, which are centered around firing concealed from long range. Wizard combat styles are sitting ducks to any half-decently trained Muggle soldiers firing their rifles from, say, a hundred meters away. And that's short range for a rifle. Most military assault rifles have effective ranges of around 500 - 700 meters. That's a far longer distance than any Wizard fight ever mentioned in the books. Then there are sniper rifles which can hit accurately up to, or even over, a kilometer. Dueling training as portrayed in the books is all close range business, and that's lethally inadequate against trained riflemen.
02:04:18 PM Jun 20th 2010
edited by Superior
Everyone seems to forget two important things:

  • This hypothetical war between wizards and muggles would be more a lot complicated then wizards and muggles standing on a field, muggles shooting bullets and wizards failing to create shield charms in time to protect themselves. Even if Muggles would start off with somehow knowing the location of the Ministry and Hogwarts, they could kill about 1 of the wizarding population, or maybe 1% by using nukes in the middle of Britain to avoid escape by apparation. Now you have an angry wizard population, who live in unknown, undetectable houses (not just invisible, but literally, you can go through the space they cover, without really penetrating them). They can appear right behind your back. They can assume the appearance of your military leaders. They can read your minds. They can control your politicians like puppets. And once they go dark, they can burn down your cities with fiendfyre (that could be as effective as nukes), or turn you into their zombie army.

  • Magic in Harry Potter is flexible, and progressive. Any talented wizard is expected to invent their own new spells and magical artifacts, just like Snape, or the Weasley twins did. So right after the beginning of the war, they could start developing those bulletproof cloaks, missile-deactivating fields, and anything else that suddenly became useful. It's implied through the books, that theoretically anything can be done with their magic, (except a few barriers, proper resurrection, and food out of nothing being mentioned) the rest is just a matter of organizing their power in practical ways.
10:57:13 PM Jun 20th 2010
No, claiming that anything can be done with magic is a no limits fallacy. Magic has not shown to be capable of doing anything, and in fact has it's own fair share of limitations. So claiming that they'll "eventually" find some sort of way to defeat anything the Muggles throw at them is an unsubstantiated claim. Same as with claiming fiendfyre can be as effective as nukes when every time we have ever read about fiendfyre used in the books, it hasn't even approached the damage of the ''smallest" nuclear weapons. Crabbe's uncontrolled release of fiendfyre didn't annihilate any area the size of a city, or even approaching a few city blocs. All it did was ravage the Room of Requirement.

Real nukes aren't Slap On The Wrist Nukes. You let them go, the heat at the point of impact with completely annihilate everything, heat will consume anything within kilometers or the initiation zone, the blast wave will flatten things for kilometers around, and the lingering radioactive fallout is still deadly afterwards. No spell has ever approached that level of instant catastrophic damage over a city-sizeds. Certainly not Crabbe's uncontrolled fiendfyre spell, which is the only outright stated canon usage of it in the books. Claiming anything beyond that is a no limits fallacy bordering on making things up.

Also, every time they design new spells in the books, they are used to counter magical things. Something they know a lot about. Every time they develop a counter spell for something in the books they have some idea as to the operation of what they want to counter against. hell, a lot of the time they even have to do research before they make counter spells.

They don't have that luxury for Muggle weaponry. Most Wizards son't even know how an aircraft stays up without magic (that's been mentioned as something Ron's dad dearly wants to figure out), Ron had trouble with the phone the first time he tried to use it, and they have Muggle studies classes to orient them on the most simple of Muggle conveniences. Muggleborns only have their lay-people's knowledge of Muggle stuff. How many teenagers are gun experts? Missile technicians? Nuclear scientists? Ballistics experts? How many details about exactly how weapons work are top secret? And that's presupposing there are Wizard books on such things which, given the ignorance of Purebloods on most things Muggle, is unlikely.

They know little about missile programming, missile design, the chemistry mix in missiles, the electronic-hardening system in missiles to make them resistant to the electronic disruption of EMP, and so on. To assume that "right after the beginning" they'll suddenly figure out extremely complex designs and develop spells to essentially give them god-mode against human weaponry is a stretch when they know next to nothing about Muggle technology and its workings. In the books they have never instantly figured out a counter to anything without knowing something about what they what to counter. Suddenly you claim they can with Muggle technology because it's just technology? Huh?

Plus, if you insist on bringing in complexities further than Muggles and Wizards out on a field fighting each other (which was the original entry which started this whole argument) then why assume that Muggleborn Wizards are suddenly fighting wholeheartedly against Muggles. Their family, the people they love, are Muggles and they'll help the Purebloods burn their cities, mind control them and their leaders, and wreak havoc on the world they live in? Really?

Again, to use your own argument, war is more complex than just two sides pounding away at each other with all their abilities. There's matters of personal allegiance to consider as well, and Muggleborns will be more pre-disposed to side with their Muggle relatives and friends who are actively disdained by many Purebloods. The same disdain, by the way, which many Purebloods direct at the Muggleborns themselves. So now, in your demand for a realistic scenario, you have Muggleborns helping Muggles counter all of the possible advantages you just mentioned.

And even if, somehow, the Muggleborns decide not to help and everything's strictly Muggles versus Wizards. Do the Wizards know where every Muggle politician and military leaders are? How will they suborn all of them when most Muggles don't even have proper knowledge of that themselves, so reading the minds of just any Muggle won't do. They need to read the minds of Muggles with the right information, and how do they even find those people in the first place when the most Wizards, even Muggleborns, have no proper idea of where to look? Just ask anyone on the street if they know who the head of their army is in his or her country and if they know where that person lives. Chances are, they won't know. In a full-scale war where both sides are already clashing, like you suggest, military authority matters more than political authority.

Knowing those limitations, how do Wizards suddenly gain perfect, foolproof knowledge needed to properly implement those things? And that's providing that ALL wizards and withces know how to mind read and control politicians. They don't. Only a limited number know how to do that with any proficiency. So how will they deal with the simply massive amount of Muggles?

To give a sense of perspective, the British Army alone has about 114,400 Regulars and around 35,500 troops in Territorial Army. That's distributed along dozens of localized commands all around British territory. This isn't like the movies where, boom, you take control of the top general and everyone follows without questioning. The military is a bureaucracy, and to issue orders through that bureaucracy, there's a defined steps of procedures you need to do. Then it has to trickle down through that bureaucracy. If the top general suddenly starts acting counter-intuitively and out of character, everyone in that bureaucracy somehow doesn't notice and question their strange orders? That must be one hell of an Idiot Ball.

Anyway, to cut all this short, if you want to go into complexities then there's also all those things (and more) to consider. To claim that "mind control here, politician imitation there, apparate here, fiednfyre = nuke" and other such things is also an oversimplification and a vast overestimation of what the Wizards can do while dismissing the Muggles as completely ineffectual. That's not considering the complexities, that's just stacking the cards in favor of the Wizarding world while ignoring the practicalities of how to implement them in the first place.

08:36:59 PM Jul 30th 2010
Just as well, Muggles with the help of Quisling muggle-borns would probably discover how to create a controllable from of Anti-Magic. Suffer not the witch to live.
12:17:15 AM Jun 1st 2011
^^ Gotta agree with that, not just the nuke bits. Since I read the original article and found out about the debate, there have been several things about the pro-wizard arguement that've been bugging me.

(TL;DR: Muggles win, most pro-wizard arguements rely stacking the deck so heavily as to be meaningless, see Malchus' posts above, I need to learn when to just say no to my urge to argue, 'cause this is just nuts.)

First, there's the classic "wizard sticking their wand out the window." This logic path (not the outcome, the arguement itself) is fundamentally... well, without treading on anybody's toes, pointless. In that scenario, the wizard is given the advantage of complete and total surprise. Take any two combatants capable of killing/maiming each other in one hit, set one of them up to attack from a concealed position against a foe who is unaware of their existence, much less location, and that side WILL WIN. A squirrel could take down a ninja given that level of advantage. Yes, the wizard-in-hiding would destroy the muggle, but with the deck stacked that heavily, it doesn't actually mean anything.

Thus, looking at the 1 v. 1 setup, both sides on a an equal footing, the Word of God on this subject is almost certainly right— the shotgun-toting muggle will win. Simply put, that muggle just has to do so much less to kill the wizard than the wizard has to do to kill the muggle. Spells may be short, but relative to the amount of time it takes to raise, aim, and fire a scattergun, you may as well be moving in slow motion.

Before looking at the wide-scale conflict, this business about flexible magic (wizards developing anti-missile/gun spells) seems... off, from the impression the magic left on me, which, while wonderful, magical, mystical, and enjoyable, did not strike me as [i]sensible.[/i] One of the things that bugs me about the setting is that the spells seemed totally random, so how on earth were they originally discovered? And if you do not understand something, how can you improve it? The classes all basically focused on memorizing existing spells, learning new applications for existing spells, or teaching about the wizarding world; not once is a class like "magical theory" mentioned. I don't really see a spell as large in scale as an "anti-missile charm" could be developed from scratch. (Standard disclaimer: I may have no idea what I'm talking about, and the preceding may be utter nonsense)

With that addressed, its time for that big gambit: the large-scale wizard vs. magic conflict. I hail primarily from a Dresden Files fantasy background, so that's where most of this comes from. IMHO, muggles would win in a large-scale conflict w/ wizards, but in a far more pyrrhic and bloody fashion than in the 1 v. 1.

The wizard side would mostly likely take the form of an insurgency: their advantages primarily take the form of mobility, information gathering, and stealth. All this is enormously useful; if your house is largely intangible, it becomes difficult to bomb. The use of mind reading/control, animagi, and invisibility cloaks to gather information and control are well and good, but Malchus' post points out why they're not as all-powerful as you'd assume. Teleportation is also silly useful, allowing perfect surprise attacks like I mentioned earlier... assuming you don't accidently missapparate yourself into multiple pieces and make sure to limit yourself to familiar locations. Still, wizards would be able to set up devastating ambushes, inflicting hugely disproportionate losses on the muggle forces.

However, this would most likely not be enough to balance out the Muggles' three HUGE advantages. Firstly, they are much better armed. The single most devastating thing we've seen a single wizard do is that fiendfyre, which didn't seem to cause much more damage than a middling sized bomb. Even if you set aside things like nukes that couldn't be used without blasting a significant portion of the muggle population, the average muggle infantryman is simply more dangerous than the average wizard—remember, most wizards we see in the books are going to be in the upper echelons of power and skill. Dumbledore, for instance, is largely credited as being the single most powerful wizard alive, with Voldemort running a close second. They're most likely an order of magnitude beyond most of their wizarding colleagues, and there's only two of them. This nicely segues into the normal's second advantage: numbers. It's ignoble but true that nine times out of ten, the guy with more guys on his team wins. Evidence seems to indicate that wizards are a distinct minority; seperate out those capable and willing to go into combat or, hell, don't; either way the muggles numerical advantage is large enough to be meaningless. For a fun thought experiment, form an image in your head of 1,000 pencils. Freeze that image and count the pencils one by one. I guarantee you won't have 1,000. Now, if 1,000 pencils is too much for the brain to wrap itself around, consider the multiple 10's or 100's of thousands of people the muggles have over the wizards. Scary stuff. Finally, there's the simple fact that in any wide-scale wizard war, the only people with any sort of experience in the matter are going to be the muggles. The wizards don't really HAVE a dedicated, professional military, people used to fighting a pitched war, or even the more likely insurgency. the muggles, on the other hand, have been doing this for a long, long time. The capabilities of the enemy may have changed, but the same general scenario is familiar: they are dealing with an entrenched guerilla force operating from nigh-unfindable bases, using hit-and-run tactics with a strong popular support on their home turf; home turf that's surrounded by people you really don't [i]want[/i] to see in the line of fire. Any of this sounding familiar? Fighting wars like that is a costly, bloody, miserable business, but the muggles would know how to do it. I really can't see how the side with holding the three main factors of traditional war could lose.
12:02:29 AM Mar 20th 2010
Should Ghostbusters count? They have their own Phlebotinum, true, but it matches the description of the "modern science vs. the undead" in the description of Dracula.
02:23:24 AM Jul 29th 2011
Disagree. The Proton Packs of Ghostbusters feel like advanced technology, something extraordinarily expensive/fantastical/dangerous that doesn't exist in real life. I read this trope more as "Reality Ensues, weaponized", or solutions to problems/foes insurmountable by magic/super-advanced tech using close enough to modern tech.
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