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Old February 21 2013, 12:54 PM   #341
yousirname's Avatar
Re: I hope for more traditional space battles

UFO wrote: View Post
That first attack did a lot of damage to the Enterprise including reducing its speed to warp four. So one torpedo is a significant threat (if Nero had had any). You yourself quote Sulu saying they couldn't take two hits from the Narada even with sheilds up. But you are arguing Nero wouldn't bother trying to take a few more humans (maybe even Kirk and Spock) with him if he could? I don't think so.
Let's say that you're right, and that 'Fire everything' indicates that the torpedo bays are empty and the Narada has no shot left in the locker. I don't agree that we can infer that reliably, but for the sake of argument let's stipulate that. It doesn't change things from Kirk's POV because Kirk didn't hear Nero say "Fire everything". Chekov tells Kirk the Narada is losing power and that her shields are down. He doesn't mention a loss of weapon capacity. So even if in fact Nero has no weapons, Kirk doesn't know that he has no weapons.

Well I'm glad of that but that is not the problem. You seem to have misunderstood my question. I asked how much time (from their lives) is it OK to take from them?
I answered that question: Any amount of time is fine so long as the conditions can be expected to remain the same if the events are allowed to play out without pulling the trigger.

And what gives anyone the right to make that decision just because they are going to die at some unspecified point in the future? I am trying to find the ethical principle you are using here. So far it seems if we are talking a couple of seconds its fine, but what about longer periods? There is not apparent logical end point.
It's a complicated issue that in general involves questions of what can be known and what can be reasonably foreseen, as well as what it means to do 'harm' to someone. In real life, these questions almost universally remain too complex and too difficult to resolve for any kind of certain response It is ethically permissible to kill this person to come about.

The movies are different from real life, however, and the situation is one where we have much more information and much greater certainty than can usually be obtained IRL. We know the following about Nero:

His death is imminent and inevitable

It can be avoided with Kirk's help

Given the exhaustive and compulsory choice 'Die or accept Kirk's help' Nero prefers death

Kirk can reasonably suppose that attempting to forcibly rescue Nero represents an unacceptable risk to him or to his crew or to his ship, or to all of the above

No-one currently exists who will mourn Nero

What the above facts do is remove, one by one, every objection I can raise to Kirk pulling the trigger.

Your suggestion it has something to do with Kirk's impression about Nero's chances of changing his mind are not just subjective and arbitrary but don't address the question. Which is: Why is it OK to kill someone just because their death is inevitable (aren't we still robbing them of their life however short), and does the amount of time they have left change how or if it is "OK". Other factors are not relevant. I would be greatful if you could keep that in mind.
As I said, I already answered the time question. Yes, we are still 'robbing them of their life'. From my point of view, all the reasons that it is typically wrong to do that are absent here.

A) Of course it matters if Nero would be happy to be rescued by Romulans. You are trying to claim he was indifferent to his death. Accepting Romulan help would show he isn't.
B) The issue has nothing to do with his actual options but solely how he felt about his death.
C) His preference for death in that situation does not in any way suggest he is indifferent to it or welcomes it.
A) No, it doesn't matter. His rescue by Romulans is a counterfactual - something that manifestly is not the case. Nero would also be happy not to be in a black hole - but he is. Given that fact, his only options are to die or to be rescued by Kirk and he knows this to be true.

B) Of course it has to do with his actual options. If he had viable options for rescue acceptable to him, he wouldn't be telling Kirk anything except 'Get off the line, I'm arranging my rescue'. But he doesn't, so given the only two options available to him, he makes his choice very clear.

C) He chooses death rather than to be rescued. He is sufficiently indifferent to his death to make a choice that he knows will lead to it.

BTW counterfactuals are theoretical exercises. It doesn't matter if the Romulans are really there. All that matters is what Nero would do if they were.
No, that has no bearing whatsoever on anything, in the slightest degree, and here is why: What if there's a crazed Vulcan on board the Enterprise who can and will blow the Enterprise up if Kirk doesn't pull the trigger? Will you allow that it doesn't matter if the crazed Vulcan is actually there? Of course not.

Counterfactuals are indeed theoretical exercises, but they operate by the assumption of their being the case - and I agree that if it were possible for Romulans to rescue Nero and if he were prepared to accept that then Kirk would be wrong to pull the trigger. Counterfactuals do not serve as some phantom objection to any given action, however, as I trust the example above makes clear.
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