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Old July 5 2012, 01:53 PM   #271
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

By its internal premises, there is nothing outrageous in the resolution of the episode. On a psychological level, it amounts to a restatement of the cliche that the fathers have to die for the sons to come into their own. That's stupid, but apparently a lot of people think that way. On a biological level, it treats evolution as the Plan of God, which is exactly why scientific racism arose, and the new scientific racism (sociobiology/evolutionary psychology) is being pushed so relentlessly. When frauds like Steven Pinker or Richard Dawkins (on genetics, he does atheism to give himself a progressive rep) or those clowns who wrote the Natural History of Rape are littering the pop science shelves, then the feeble contributions of Dear Doctor are entirely insignificant.
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Old July 5 2012, 05:43 PM   #272
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

DonIago wrote: View Post
Now imagine that you're a bottle nose dolphin and you find out that your chances of reaching your maximum potential have been irrevocably damaged because an alien race came along and decided to render unnatural aid to the currently dominant lifeform which Mother Nature itself deemed not fit to survive.

I'm reminded of how I could never advance at a small company because my boss tended to play favorites rather than judging everyone on their actual merits. He'd hire new people whom he thought were "on the fast track", pay them more than I was making, and they'd turn out to be what the French would call les incompetents.

So which is supposed to suck more, exactly? Having a "benevolent" alien race come along and help you while knowingly screwing over others, or refusing to help you precisely because it would involve knowingly screwing over others? I may not like being on the short end of a non-interference policy, but I can understand that a whole lot better than I can any group that just picks and chooses who deserves to be helped.
And then you almost killed off the Dolphins by meddling, because the humans wiped out the Whales, so they weren't there to answer the Probe and the whole planet was almost destroyed. The Dolphins never would've let that happen
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Old July 5 2012, 05:54 PM   #273
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Deimos Anomaly wrote: View Post
I wouldn't say that the Vulcans deserved what he did to them, but they had been sowing the wind for centuries with crap like the deal the Valakians got... and then Nero turned up, and boy did they reap the whirlwind.
First, the decision was Archer's. Second, the Valakians got medicine that amended the symptoms. Third, genocide can never ever be justified.
Your position is to basically play God, to decide which species lives and dies in the Dear Doctor as well as STXI whereas the spirit of the Prime Directive is the very opposite of this, humbleness.
So if the West had medicine that could cure a plague that was causing millions of people to die in an African country and it was only effecting one tribe and not another, would it be "playing god" to give the medicine to the tribe been afflicted.

Me to Archer's actions seem callous rather humble, a sin of omission can be just as bad as a sin of commission. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." That is what Archer, he did nothing and innocent people payed the price for his inaction.


stj wrote: View Post
By its internal premises, there is nothing outrageous in the resolution of the episode. On a psychological level, it amounts to a restatement of the cliche that the fathers have to die for the sons to come into their own. That's stupid, but apparently a lot of people think that way. On a biological level, it treats evolution as the Plan of God, which is exactly why scientific racism arose, and the new scientific racism (sociobiology/evolutionary psychology) is being pushed so relentlessly. When frauds like Steven Pinker or Richard Dawkins (on genetics, he does atheism to give himself a progressive rep) or those clowns who wrote the Natural History of Rape are littering the pop science shelves, then the feeble contributions of Dear Doctor are entirely insignificant.
Perhaps, but that doesn't mean I would want to see this junk pseudo science in Star Trek. The characters in the show don't look so heroic when justify horrible acts through insane pseudo science.
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Old July 5 2012, 06:37 PM   #274
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

^But Junk Psuedoscience such as Warp Drive is OK?
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Old July 5 2012, 06:50 PM   #275
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

What Archer and Phlox did is no different than standing on a dock with a life preserver in your hand, callously watching a man drown.

Archer is the worse for it, both because he's the captain and had final say, and because it goes against the most basic tenets of his human culture... "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". That's maybe not part of Phlox's culture, but it sure is part of Archers.
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Old July 5 2012, 06:56 PM   #276
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Sindatur wrote: View Post
^But Junk Psuedoscience such as Warp Drive is OK?
That's different, evil acts in the real world were not justified using Warp Theory. The idea that evolution has plan has been used to justify evil things in the real world.
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Old July 5 2012, 06:58 PM   #277
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Archer, (one of) the founding father(s) of the Federation, is a great man precisely because he is able to grasp that "he is not in Kansas anymore", that this new age requires interspecies ethics and not human ethics.
If they followed the latter they could e.g. eat the Tellarite pigs.
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Old July 5 2012, 07:25 PM   #278
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Archer, (one of) the founding father(s) of the Federation, is a great man precisely because he is able to grasp that "he is not in Kansas anymore", that this new age requires interspecies ethics and not human ethics.
If they followed the latter they could e.g. eat the Tellarite pigs.
Since so many of the civilizations in Star Trek are presented as allegories for real world civilizations, this idea of new interspecies ethics doesn't work. Saying humans should lose their natural compassion and desire to help others, makes them seem inhuman, not enlightened. In general the PD is a good idea, but it should have limits, saying that civilization is about destroyed is better off without outside help just seems ludicrous. I think there is a middle ground between micro managing a civilization and doing nothing and just letting them die.
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Old July 5 2012, 07:29 PM   #279
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Archer, (one of) the founding father(s) of the Federation, is a great man precisely because he is able to grasp that "he is not in Kansas anymore", that this new age requires interspecies ethics and not human ethics.
Oh BS.

Whether or not a species has invented an FTL drive yet is an absolutely retarded arbiter of whether they have earned the right to live yet. Yet that's what the Prime Directive (and its precursors taking shape in Ent) boil down to.

Going by the Vulcan yardstick (which, starting with Archer, humans begin to internalise) even the humanity of say Avatar (interstellar travel via high-sublight hibernation ships, mining and colony in the Alpha Centauri system and possibly others) is not advanced enough to be worthy to live. Their lives are worth no more than cattle, and may be culled and weeded at will. Only with the magic W-word comes induction to the "live long and prosper" club.

It's true that the line between right-to-life sentients and rights-less animals must be drawn somewhere... but the Vulcan / UFP / Prime Directive sets that line stupidly, monstrously high.

How about "sentient, using writing, spoken language, technology and mathematics" as an arbiter of fitness to live? Even that bar may be too high, but its a damn sight better than the Vulcan (and eventually Federation) threshold.

If they followed the latter they could e.g. eat the Tellarite pigs.
No they could not. Any more than a person who eats monkeys would be entitled to eat humans. (Hint: There are many people who eat monkeys. They do not eat humans, nor do the societies where monkey-eating is normal condone or tolerate the eating of humans.)
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Old July 5 2012, 07:44 PM   #280
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Since so many of the civilizations in Star Trek are presented as allegories for real world civilizations, this idea of new interspecies ethics doesn't work.
Thank you! That is absolutely correct. Within the Trek universe, with a few exceptions, what is considered "right" by one culture is considered "right" by another. There are cultural exceptions like Klingons viewing suicide as a means of regaining honor, but in general Trek does not support the idea that different ethics apply to different cultures. The Federation would agree with Optimus Prime: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."

That doesn't mean Trek supports the idea that humans should run around forcing their views on everyone, but most species and civilizations follow the same basic ethics and morals as everyone else anyways. What is needed is not "interspecies ethics" but interspecies politics. The politics and logistics change when dealing with things on such a large scale or when dealing with "aliens", but that's it. What is right is right, and the Trek universe supports that.

Now I'm sure someone's gonna try to argue with me and say there are times when Trek presents two different viewpoints as equally "right." That's not what I'm talking about - I'm talking about generalities, not specifics.

If they followed the latter they could e.g. eat the Tellarite pigs.
Seriously? Do you honestly believe that? Right, 'cause the fact that Tellarites are sentient beings would mean nothing to the humans in Trek if they kept their human viewpoint. "They look like pigs, so it must be okay to eat them if you view life with human ethics." That's completely ridiculous.
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Old July 5 2012, 07:45 PM   #281
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Deimos Anomaly wrote: View Post
Oh BS.
Bullshit indeed as the Prime Directive has nothing to do with the right to live.

We (not all of us, some among are less savage and don't) eat monkeys, pigs, dogs and cows, all intelligent, sensitive and social mammals. So much about how fantastic our natural morals are and how totally unnecessary culture and ethics are.
Meat-eating which has been an essential protein source that made our brains grow now endangers our life due to climate gas emissions and inefficiency compared to normal food (we all know the 1:10 ratio). So it is absolutely necessary that we force ourselves to stop with this totally natural behaviour which is deeply ingrained into us as we have done it for tens of thousands of years. In order to achieve this goal we we need very counterintuitive and radical animal rights that forbid us to eat meat.

Back to Trek, if pre-Fed humankind or the UFP would follow their guts and help everybody they meet without thinking about the consequences they could harm a species like Menk at the cost of the group they help, they could liberate a world occupied by the Klingons and get drawn into a war of galactic proportions or they could help a child which seems to be tortured by her mother whereas she does in fact merely wean it from a particular gas it needs at early life (Broken Bow).
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Old July 5 2012, 07:49 PM   #282
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Nobody's advocating the idea that the Feds should "help everybody they meet without thinking about the consequences." Nobody. What we're advocating is being reasonable and not drawing arbitrary lines in the sand and saying "Until you advance THIS far, you don't deserve ANY of our help."

It's not really that hard to imagine a middle ground between those two extremes.
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Old July 5 2012, 08:04 PM   #283
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

The Valakian lack of warp capability did not seem to influence Archer's decision. He would probably have done the same if the Valakians had warp capability yet in this case they would have also met far more aliens and increased their chance to receive external help.

The Vulcans probably have not offered the post-Cochrane humankind too much help. Perhaps they helped them with radiation poisoning, delivered some medicine and so on but they let humankind solve their big problems alone, causing mild xenophobia decades later amongst even the best of them like Archer and Tucker.
To get back to Dear Doctor, here the question also was whether this is just some arbitrary sickness or a deeper issue. Phlox eagerly worked on the medicine until he realized that there DNA is breaking together. Viewing messing with DNA so conservatively (this is also my personal stance but I think the only proper attitude towards biogenetics is a neutral one, it can be good or bad) is the big error of the episode. It only makes sense if you focus ignore the biological and focus on the social stuff.
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Old July 5 2012, 08:12 PM   #284
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
The Valakian lack of warp capability did not seem to influence Archer's decision. He would probably have done the same if the Valakians had warp capability yet in this case they would have also met far more aliens and increased their chance to receive external help.

The Vulcans probably have not offered the post-Cochrane humankind too much help. Perhaps they helped them with radiation poisoning, delivered some medicine and so on but they let humankind solve their big problems alone, causing mild xenophobia decades later amongst even the best of them like Archer and Tucker.
To get back to Dear Doctor, here the question also was whether this is just some arbitrary sickness or a deeper issue. Phlox eagerly worked on the medicine until he realized that there DNA is breaking together. Viewing messing with DNA so conservatively is the big error of the episode. It only makes sense if you focus on the social stuff.
The problem is the social stuff in this episode is backed up by junk pseudo science that has been used to justify evil acts in the past. The bad science makes this episode fail as a moral dilemma, because Phlox's conclusions seem to be based on science that would be dismissed as the work a quack at this point.

The moral dilemma may have worked better if instead of a choice between the Valakians dying or the Menk developing at some point in the future, if it is a choice between the Menk dying or Valakians dying. To me that is more of a moral dilemma, that is a supremely hard decision and it would have made for a better story then what we got instead.
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Old July 5 2012, 08:13 PM   #285
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

TiberiusMaximus wrote: View Post
Since so many of the civilizations in Star Trek are presented as allegories for real world civilizations, this idea of new interspecies ethics doesn't work.
Thank you! That is absolutely correct. Within the Trek universe, with a few exceptions, what is considered "right" by one culture is considered "right" by another. There are cultural exceptions like Klingons viewing suicide as a means of regaining honor, but in general Trek does not support the idea that different ethics apply to different cultures. The Federation would agree with Optimus Prime: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."

That doesn't mean Trek supports the idea that humans should run around forcing their views on everyone, but most species and civilizations follow the same basic ethics and morals as everyone else anyways. What is needed is not "interspecies ethics" but interspecies politics. The politics and logistics change when dealing with things on such a large scale or when dealing with "aliens", but that's it. What is right is right, and the Trek universe supports that.

Now I'm sure someone's gonna try to argue with me and say there are times when Trek presents two different viewpoints as equally "right." That's not what I'm talking about - I'm talking about generalities, not specifics.

If they followed the latter they could e.g. eat the Tellarite pigs.
Seriously? Do you honestly believe that? Right, 'cause the fact that Tellarites are sentient beings would mean nothing to the humans in Trek if they kept their human viewpoint. "They look like pigs, so it must be okay to eat them if you view life with human ethics." That's completely ridiculous.
The Menk are enslaved, and deprived of Education and therefore Development, by the Valakians. Is that not applying and tolerating different Ethics for different Cultures if you gave the Valakians the cure? The Menk were shown to be quite sentient in the episode. Matter of fact, the Menk helping Phlox, who arranged and categorized and sub-categorized the Blood samples showed more intelligence than we saw exhibited to us by any Valakian
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