Point vs. Counterpoint

PCP – (Counterpoint) Yoda is Smarter Than Spock

A recent study from the University of Waterloo suggests that diverse emotional experience improves human’s ability to reason, and also suggests that Yoda is wiser than Spock. Obviously, while Yoda might be a better model for human wisdom, since Vulcans and whatever Yoda is weren’t included in the study, the study does not actually establish that Yoda is wiser than Spock. This has prompted a debate about the merits of Yoda over Spock in general. A debate that Yoda is sure to lose, unless someone delves into prequel and Extended Universe territory, which we probably shouldn’t.

First of all, Yoda is barely capable of communicating a simple sentence without amusingly but annoyingly mangling it. Much of the wisdom he may possess is trapped inside his oblong skull. In comparison, Spock communicates clearly and unambiguously, avoiding the sort of value judgements a red-blooded human would insert into the conversation. When he speaks, all who listen can benefit from his wisdom, rather than just people who are simultaneously one with the Force and one with word puzzles. And people will trust his words as well, since unlike the Jedi, Vulcans don’t lie (except when they do).

Perhaps this is why Spock is such a great team player, as compared to Yoda. While Yoda spends his time isolated in the swamps of Dagobah, Spock is collaborating with society for the betterment of the entire
galaxy. Spock has genuine friends who respect his opinion: Kirk and Bones stick up for him even when he’s not around. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker ignored Yoda’s most important piece of advice and flew into the Empire’s obvious trap. Yoda couldn’t convince his greatest student to avoid disaster: he lacked the ability to clearly make his case.

Spock has incredible technical skill. His knowledge of spacecraft and computers saved the lives of countless sapients across the galaxy. Could Yoda prove that someone was altering a ship’s computer tapes to frame someone? Spock could and did. Or will, depending on whether we’re picking tenses based on broadcast date or the in-universe date. Anyway, Spock gets technology. If only he could do my upcoming VHDL labs, but alas, he probably prefers Verilog.

Being a professional in an organization as large as Starfleet requires a degree of style, and Spock is dressed to impress. Not only is his Starfleet uniform devoid of significant wear, but he retains a full head of hair even after ageing significantly and being flung into an alternate timeline. His personal grooming is nothing short of impeccable, especially compared to the likes of Yoda. You may be under the impression that Yoda is bald, but it is not so. Look at him closely, and you’ll realize he has significant hair on the back of his head and growing out of his ears, stretching and bending in every direction.
You’d think that in-between forging lightsabers and lifting rocks, the Jedi would develop some sort of Force-assisted hair styling. Alas, only the Sith deal in absolutely amazing hair. Not to mention the fact that Yoda dresses in rags during his whole time on Dagobah.

Now we reach the Borg in the room, the Force. Yoda is a master of the Force, which grants him the power to do anything a particular plot requires. However, the Vulcans, including Spock, have all sorts of
abilities which conveniently require almost no special effects to depict. They have sharp hearing, fast reflexes, high strength, multi-century lifespans, inner eyelids to protect their eyes from dust, and can survive for long periods without food, water or sleep. All without having to join an ancient cult that radicalizes young boys to become child soldiers. Maybe in a close-range fight, Yoda could use the Force to jump around prequel-style and win. But when it comes to survival in a harsh environment, or a game of three-dimensional chess, betting on Spock is the logical choice. Indeed, Spock’s height alone would give him an advantage in basketball.

In conclusion better than Yoda, Spock is. Speak without annoying everyone other than McCoy, he can. Work with others, he can. Fix problems with a spaceship, he can as well. Dress well, Spock does. Pull
children into galactic war, Spock does not. Appear on a Canadian five dollar bill if you scribble on it, Spock can. Clean his ears, Spock does and Yoda probably does not. Mature, Spock is. Lift rocks with his mind, Spock cannot. Meld minds with you to discover your deepest secrets after delicately, intimately placing his fingers on your face, Spock can. Wield lightsaber, Spock cannot, but chase down Benedict Cumberbatch in a crowded city while wielding a blaster, he can. Three-dimensional chess against Yoda, Spock will win. Basketball against Yoda, Spock will win. Mention events of prequels, I will not.

Simultaneously sillier and more intimidating in prequels, Yoda probably is.

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