I respect your opinions and while I disagree, I hope you'll understand I merely have a different interpretation.
PHLOX: I've been studying their genome as well, and I've seen evidence of increasing intelligence. Motor skills, linguistic abilities. Unlike the Valakians they appear to be in the process of an evolutionary awakening. It may take millennia, but the Menk have the potential to become the dominant species on this planet.
ARCHER: And that won't happen as long as the Valakians are around.
PHLOX: If the Menk are to flourish, they need an opportunity to survive on their own.
This is my main problem with the work involved, basically going against what I percieve as Star Trek's guiding principles.
ARCHER: The hell with nature. You're a doctor. You have a moral obligation to help people who are suffering.
PHLOX: I'm also a scientist, and I'm obligated to consider the larger issues. Thirty five thousand years ago, your species co-existed with other humanoids. Isn't that correct?
ARCHER: Go ahead.
PHLOX: What if an alien race had interfered and given the Neanderthals an evolutionary advantage? Fortunately for you, they didn't.
This was another area I really-really hated because I'm a big proponent of neanderthals and human beings eventually interbred to become one race. The whole, "humans eventually annihilated the neanderthals" is the kind of conflict-based science I strongly object to. Even if they did, that would mean nothing other than humans killed the neanderthals and if they died on their own, it means nothing to our ability to live in harmony with other beings.
My answer to Phlox's position is, essentially, "We'd both be here?"
PHLOX: Evolution is more than a theory. It is a fundamental scientific principle. Forgive me for saying so, but I believe your compassion for these people is affecting your judgment.
ARCHER: My compassion guides my judgment.
Yes and evolution is a process of elimination of those who aren't capable of adapting to new environments but technology is just as much a part of the evolutionary process now as animal claws or sight. Corn, itself, has evolved (via animal husbandry but that is also part of evolution) to live in a symbiotic relationship with humans.
What Phlox is advocating here seems to be naturalism and I'm not a big fan of that since it bothers me in both religion (that science interferes with a plan) and science (that humanity is outside of natural processes).
And I may be letting my personal feelings affect the issue but Compassion is an evolutionary advantage.
But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that directive I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God.
And this line bothers me because he's piloting a starship, about as close to God as you're going to get. Archer has interfered in countless cultures both Pre-Warp and otherwise with his choice not to interfere here seeming both arbitrary, hypocritical, and undoing much of the good he's done on other worlds since the cost is so much greater.
Evolution isn't about superiority or inferiority, it's just about whether a species can adapt to the demands of its environment. Saying one species is more likely to survive is not saying that it's better or more entitled to survive, it's just saying that the impersonal, value-neutral forces of evolution happen to be tending toward a particular outcome. (Yes, Phlox does argue for the Menk's potential, but that's to counter the assumption that only the Valakians deserve consideration, to encourage Archer to consider both sides of the issue.)
Yes, but the value-neutral forces of evolution are affected by their choice not to do anything. Choosing not to interfere is a choice by its own. Archer and company choose to deny the cure but there's not much to argue for it other than they're following the Prime Directive without a Prime Directive and choosing to play eugenics tampering because they foresee this as affecting another species' genetic potential.
I won't say more on the subject if you don't have a problem and I appreciate you taking the time to discuss the issue with me.