explain how, I thought it was a very relevant analogy.
For the same reason that a handful of do-gooder passengers stopping the attackers on 9/11 is different than another handful of do-gooders building a time machine so they can go back and stop the hijackers.
Whether it be time travelers with prior knowledge or explorers from another realm, it is irresponsible to influence the cogs of that alien mechanism. The PD is there to define (or is supposed to define) where that mechanism begins and ends.
It's not perfect. I was never meant to be. Its purpose is to ensure that emotions and ethics never become a variable.
Of course it never works that way because no one can ever agree on where those defined boarders are supposed to be. But that's due more to the discrepancy in the writing than the imperative itself.
Like I said before, it's not moral; it's dubiously ethical at best; and it's certainly not just; but it has
to be there in any civilization that wants to explore the universe and learn from it, not influence it. Because doing so would ultimately be counter productive.
I still haven't seen the episode, and at this point I just don't care. As a rule, Enterprise
is pretty terrible; that's why I haven't watched it in eight years. But to be fair, all the other shows have fumbled with the problem. They can never seem to get it right. Granted, "Pen Pals" presented the issue much better--even if Picard had ultimately said "no."
I am, however, now interested in what the group's take on The Trolley Problem
He works in a hospital using a tablet computer, yet isn't evolving?
I'm not sure what you're implying here, but intellectual evolution =/= biological evolution. Knowledge is only one stage of intellectual development. However, being handed the knowledge skips over the prior steps and ultimately stunts their intellectual growth. As Bertrand Russell said, "Every increase in knowledge requires and increase in wisdom." There was no wisdom gained.
I'm sure you could teach people of Mesopotamia how to use a smart phone. But you'd never do it--for the same reason that, when your kid asks "Dad, what does pedantic mean?" You say, "Look it up."