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Old February 5 2013, 03:39 AM   #48
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Re: planetary classes

Christopher wrote: View Post
^The problem is that you're starting with a desired conclusion -- that the "M" stood for something specific -- and making up convoluted rationalizations for it. You can use that kind of reasoning to "prove" anything, no matter how nonsensical. The human mind is very good at constructing patterns that don't exist. Which is why we have to be skeptical of any reasoning based only on that kind of patterning. Just because M could stand for "Mars," that in no way constitutes proof that Roddenberry intended it to. I mean, hey, the word "man" appears a number of times in the pitch document, so that must "prove" that Class M meant a world where men could live! Or, look, here's the word "maximum," just a few lines above "Class M!" It must mean "maximum habitability!" You see how easily this kind of reasoning can lead you in any random direction?

Again, you need to remember what a slapdash document the format proposal was meant to be. It wasn't for publication; it was just something to hand out to network executives to support his verbal pitch for the show. It's riddled with typos and a lot of it is clearly handwaves and gibberish. He didn't specifically intend to make Spock half-Martian; he said "probably half-Martian" because he hadn't really given a lot of thought to the specifics yet and "Martian" was just the first thing anyone in the 1950s-60s thought of when they thought of creatures from outer space. This was a rough sketch of his ideas for Star Trek, nothing more. It's very unwise to read too much meaning into whatever random coincidences might crop up in it.

EDIT: Hey, look what I found. The Planetary Habitability Laboratory has actually proposed adopting the term "Class M" for Earthlike planets, using it to stand for "mesoplanet," i.e. a planet of moderate temperatures suitable for most Earthly organisms. They also propose Class P (psychroplanet) for cold terrestrial worlds (as Mandel does) and Class T (thermoplanet) for hot ones (unlike canon, which uses it for gas giants). They claim that the correspondences of M and P classes to the Trek scheme is a lucky accident, but they say it would help make the scheme accessible to the general public.
There seems to be a misunderstanding here on your part. When I said that I made an assumption back in the 1970's along with other fans I talked to, I meant that I make no assumption today. In the 1970's, I was just a kid. If I had wanted to make an actual claim that today I think that it originally meant thus-and-so in the back of Gene's mind, I would have come out and actually said that, without talking about what I had assumed at one time decades ago.

Do I think it's a logical suspect? Of course, it's too obvious a possibility not to be a real possibility. You seem to even acknowledge that.

Is it possible that "M" was always just a random letter? You bet!

Go back and carefully re-read what I've written in this thread. That's the beginning and end of everything I've actually claimed. Don't lecture me about things I never said or even meant! I was never trying to prove anything! Without any authoritative text saying how he came up with the letter, that's never going to be possible to do anyway!
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” — Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
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