See this question: Does Iron Man's repulsor technology violate Newton's Third Law of Motion (in-universe)?

It has been closed on the grounds that it's asking for real world "scientific solutions or explanations". This is simply not true. I'm asking about how the technology (supposedly) works in-universe. I've been very explicit in the question about the in-universiness of the question, but this nuance seems to been misunderstood or ignored. IMO it is "hey, you mentioned a real-world physical law so that automatically justifies closure."

Do we really believe that the question "Is there acknowledgement in-universe that this violates this physical law?" possibly acknowledging that "This physical law doesn't exists in-universe" would be a valid answer, is not in-scope?1

It seems clear to me that it's fair game, and people can downvote as they like, but it's not a VTC situation. Assuming people agree, what is the action?

1(This is wiggle-room that I really don't think the writers would intend as the answer anyhow. I think we can reasonable assume that the writers intend the Marvel Universes to have the Earth revolving around the Sun, objects are made of atoms, and normal everyday object with are not super-related obey the laws of thermodynamics.)

  • There's a difference between asking how something works in universe and how something compares to real world physics.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 19, 2019 at 14:51
  • @TheLethalCarrot: So what? I need to use language and terms imported from the real world. It's not a real-world physics question just because I mention real-world physics by way of supposition. I honestly don't get how this distinction is not clear. Do we not think we can assume that the comic/movie universe is the same as ours except where it isn't? Jun 19, 2019 at 14:52
  • @TheLethalCarrot: If I were to ask, "Is Paris the capital of France in-universe?", do you VTC this too? Obviously not. Jun 19, 2019 at 14:55
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    FWIW your tone can be off putting for people to want to discuss things with you. Not sure if you're doing it intentionally or not but I've noticed it in the past so think it's worth mentioning.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 19, 2019 at 14:56
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    @TheLethalCarrot: Acknowledged. Perhaps it's because I'm tired of the constant bandwagoning rather than just letting people enjoy the site. I don't get why people seem to enjoy preventing getting an answer when if you're not interested in a question you can just downvote it and then ignore it. I have noticed that people react to the question text without considering the body. It is frustrating. And I believe people should be discussing the issues in the comments rather than throwing a vote and then never coming back. It means issues cannot be corrected. Jun 19, 2019 at 15:02
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    There's inherent problems with forcing people to explain votes, they usually end up with backlash. If you don't like closures though this isn't really the site for you, questions get closed if they don't fit the site's scope or for other reasons. That's literally the core of what SE is about. As for "preventing getting an answer", well if it isn't in scope then the site is functioning correctly. I think you might want to have a think if SE is actually for you or not as you seem to be against the core premise and functionality of it.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:05
  • @TheLethalCarrot: Here's another (semi-rhetorical) question because your distinction "There's a difference between asking how something works in universe and how something compares to real world physics." isn't quite the right gist. If I were to ask "Does Newton-III acknowledged exist in-universe?", do you agree that is a valid question? I expect what would happen is (1) VTC (2) Well, here's a demonstrable case where it was violated, so I guess not (3) downvote party. Whereas you can see that besides (3), (1) and (2) are not the correct responses because of the nuance of the question Jun 19, 2019 at 15:06
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    That's a different type of question though so doesn't apply to the case here.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:08
  • @TheLethalCarrot: I typed the last comment before reading your last one, so hence the potential non-sequitur. I think you're missing my point because I'm not explaining it well. I have no issue with closures. I have problems with incorrect use of closures when the questions are not outside scope. We do not appear to have a good remedy because there are not enough people standing up against wrongful closures. Jun 19, 2019 at 15:08
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    The problem with closures, especially in cases like this (which I admit is quite borderline), is that people are always going to interpret things differently. What is incorrect to you could be quite clearly correct to someone else. That's just the way things work.
    – TheLethalCarrot Mod
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:11
  • @TheLethalCarrot: I don't believe it is a different question. Actually, it's the same question. The question is essentially "Do repulsors violate Newton-III in-universe (if it exists at all)?" So the precursor question is precisely "Does Newton-III exist in-universe?" Jun 19, 2019 at 15:12
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    I think it's quite clear that Newton's 3rd law does not exist in any superhero universe. How many times does a superhero bat aside a large object thrown at them (like a car)? Conservation of momentum doesn't exist in-universe and that's even more fundamental.
    – DavidW
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:36

2 Answers 2



You have a good question hidden in a bad one. As it stands, it should be closed. Does Iron Man's repulsor technology violate Newton's Third Law of Motion (in-universe)? Does the MCU/Comics have a different Third Law? You never posit this, therefore the question is closable as asking for a scientific explanation.

However, the question you seem to be getting at is "Does the MCU handwave the apparent violation of Newton's Third Law of Motion? Or has an in-universe explanation been given?"

So ask that question instead, and you will probably be fine.

  • I appreciate the answer. What I don't see is how your phrasing is actually different. I think people were just distracted by all my preamble. Your "Or has an in-universe explanation been given?" is covered by my "or have some other in-universe explanation?" (I also happen to think that even your question would be VTC too.) Jun 19, 2019 at 15:20

I voted to close this question because it presumes that Newton's Laws actually exist in-universe.

How many times do we see a standing hero lift or throw something massive without either sinking into the ground or skidding backward? Which means that either mass is variable, or normal material properties like intrinsic strength or the coefficient of friction don't apply. Simply trying to list the number of (real universe) physical laws that aren't broken or completely ignored would be difficult. (Thermodynamics need not apply!)

Answering the question would mean first trying to figure out what the "laws of nature" really are in a superhero universe, and I suspect the only answer to that is "the plot."

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    I deleted a lot of other examples of other laws/properties being ignored because it doesn't make the point any stronger.
    – DavidW
    Jun 19, 2019 at 15:32
  • Exactly so. Trying to nitpick superheroes because of physics is fundamentally barmy.
    – Valorum
    Jun 19, 2019 at 17:26

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