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Old July 24 2012, 03:00 PM   #335
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iarann wrote: View Post
It is worth noting that people in the 1800s (and earlier) did live to be 100, though it wasn't exactly common.
Yes, that's the point. It's not about absolute possibility or impossibility. It's about probability. Living that long was far more unlikely back then than it is today, so having a character live that long would be more believable in a present-day story.

The last surviving Union soldier from the American Civil War was 108 when he died in 1956. Have we seen anything on screen that says people don't live to be 150 in the 23rd century? Did they say McCoy being so old was rare?
The dialogue seemed to imply it was fairly remarkable. And we had later episodes like "Too Short a Season" that portrayed a man in his 80s as decrepit and near death, and nobody there said he was far too young to be in that condition. In DS9, Dax once assured O'Brien that she expected him to die peacefully in bed at 140, implying that was seen as an above-average life expectancy, near the top of the curve (since if that were just an average or low life expectancy, it would hardly have been as optimistic a prediction as she intended).

It isn't hard for me to suspend disbelief that Archer survived to 147+ years old in a world where faster than light travel, transporters, and telepathy exist.
Sure, in the absence of evidence, it would be reasonable to assume that. But that's just it -- I'm trained to base my conclusions on the evidence, and the evidence canon presents, while not conclusive, implies that living to 140 is a best-case scenario in the 24th century, while also suggesting that 24th-century medicine is significantly more advanced than 22nd- or 23rd-century medicine. Thus it seems unlikely that someone born in 2122 could be expected to live to the age of 146.

This can be explained as well. If he was at Starfleet Academy, one could think after he retired from the Presidency he reassociated himself with Starfleet in some way, perhaps he became an instructor or advisor. Knowing how little he thought of politics (based on various jabs he makes about politicians in Star Trek: Enterprise) and how enthusiastic he was about Starfleet perhaps he preferred people refer to him as Admiral rather than President.
Doesn't work that way. The highest title always takes precedence. Anyone who referred to a former president as "Admiral" instead of "President" would be committing a serious breach of respect and protocol. So there's no way that would become an accepted practice in Starfleet. Sure, it's possible Scotty was misspeaking, but it's unlikely. When was the last time you heard someone refer to President Eisenhower as "General Eisenhower," except when talking about his accomplishments before the presidency?

As to why people assume it is Jonathan Archer, I think the answer is simple, why not have it be Jonathan Archer? People want to believe he is still alive at that point in the timeline, and while a stretch, it's not too bad of one.
I think I've presented many reasons "why not." You don't say "why not" about an incredibly unlikely interpretation when there's a far simpler and more probable interpretation.

And why wouldn't people want to believe that he left a legacy? That he had children and grandchildren who carried on his tradition of Starfleet service (and loving beagles)? I think that's a far more heartwarming and desirable interpretation than just "He lived to be incredibly old and dropped dead right after the movie."
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