We know the replicators have restrictions on what they can and can't actually produce, but perhaps sterile replicated Tribbles are considered safe.
So replicators can replicate living creatures?
That would be one of the restrictions I was talking about.
I know this has
been covered by Sternbach/Okuda etc as being impossible, but if you can indulge me in floating off on a thought bubble for just a minute.....
..... maybe the creation of living creatures isn't actually technically
impossible for the replicator.....?
Perhaps those 'restrictions' I mention are merely moral
ones. The 'commercial level' version of the technology (the ones that we see bundled with Starships) are hard-wired to deny the creation of sentient life because of those moral questions, but maybe the earlier, prototype replicators that were developed during R&D were much more powerful than that.....
I mean, the replicator is shown to be a very
sophisticated piece of tech...... but we know little more than a bare minimum about what it can or can't practically do. I can't help but wonder if it is, in actual fact, theoretically more powerful than is ever actually shown on screen.