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Old July 7 2012, 04:46 AM   #376
horatio83
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

sonak wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
The PD is counter-intuitive because it's overly rigid, arbitrary,(why make a line for pre-warp cultures? Or pre-first contact?) and illogical.


Oh, and the way it gets interpreted seems to frequently mean standing by as civilizations die. Your continued efforts to defend it are cute, though.
The line is not arbitrary. When a species develops warp drive it has to face aliens and learn to deal with them.
If you drew the line earlier, e.g. when a species industrializes, aliens would have been ethically obliged to prevent the dozens of genocides, the development of sweat shops, slavery, nuclear weapons and nowdays climate change and financial speculation on food.
About "standing by as civilizations die", note that at least climate change and nukes endanger not just millions but our entire civilization.

Do you want some benevolent alien nannies to help us with these problems or do you want us to become an adult species on our own respectively if we fail destroy ourselves?

a species doesn't need warp drive to have aliens come to contact them.
Still not getting the rationale, are we? When a culture develops warp drive and wants to actually get out there it has to change and open itself to alien lifeforms. Its culture will massively change (humankind!) and in this time it is OK for the Feds to contact them. If you do it earlier the civilization is not ready yet (the episode First Contact).
Still waiting for an answer, do you want the alien nannies or not?


BillJ wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post

The line is not arbitrary. When a species develops warp drive it has to face aliens and learn to deal with them.
If you drew the line earlier, e.g. when a species industrializes, aliens would have been ethically obliged to prevent the dozens of genocides, the development of sweat shops, slavery, nuclear weapons and nowdays climate change and financial speculation on food.
Seems like the Valakians were out facing aliens without warp drive.

There is some debate as to whether or not those who left Vulcan had warp drive when they founded the Romulan Empire. One series of books speculates that they used generational ships. The asteroid ship Yonada didn't have warp drive. The ancient Bajorans were able to make FTL trips by using solar sails.

And we saw races that were considered advanced that participated in all the things you list above.

Warp drive is an incredibly arbitrary line in the sand.

The smart way to go would be to evaluate in a culture by culture basis.
While "pre-warp" probably covers the vast majority of cases I agree that "out in space and culturally ready to meet new folks" should be the more general pattern.
Then again you need simple guidelines. Detect no antimatter, stay away. If you discover afterwards that they use a different form of FTL propulsion you can still make first contact. It's an asymmetrical issue, no harm done if you wait for days or even years but if you make first contact too early you can fuck them up seriously.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:01 AM   #377
BillJ
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

You cannot determine maturity by technological prowess.

The Edo were technologically inferior yet were mature enough to accept visitors from the sky. As were the Capellans. The existence of alien life did not appreciably impact those societies. While the presence of Picard and Troi on a world ready to make their first flight was shook to its core.

By your standards, a mature world would be excluded from the galactic mix because they have no interest in FTL technology.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:04 AM   #378
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

I'd tend to think a race with no interest in FTL technology also likely had no interest in having aliens drop by... granted there might be some exceptions.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:04 AM   #379
TiberiusMaximus
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

On the contrary, it has to be as strict and dogmatic precisely to prevent a slow loosening up like with torture.

Hell, it has to be even more rigid as torturing runs against common decency whereas the Prime Directive is extremely

counter-intuitive, hence all the adverse reactions by fans.
First of all, no rule should be dogmatic, which means "characterized by assertion of unproved or unprovable principles." "Dogmatic" has the connotation of being enforced in a narrow-minded manner with little or no regard to the specifics of the situation.

And it's not the PD that's counter-intuitive. You know...I really don't get you. From my point of view, you seem to be advocating the Prime Directive for all the wrong reasons. The Prime Directive is to prevent the Federation from "playing god", to stop them from taking advantage of other cultures, and to prevent them from causing even bigger problems than those they are trying to solve. The PD is the Federation's way of admitting that they don't know everything. It also comes from the knowledge that not every culture is equal - which is why there are certain qualifications to be met before a planet can join the Federation. A culture that condones child abuse or encourages slavery or engages in some other heinous activity is not welcome in the Federation.There's also the fact that some cultures simply aren't ready for the level of technology used by the Feds - it's the same principle that says you don't give a child a freakin' Bugatti Veyron for their first car. Those are the reasons that make the PD a good idea. That's not the same as saying letting a species go extinct is the right thing to do. It's not. The Prime Directive doesn't (or at least shouldn't) apply to extinction level events or two active cries for help. Now, there would be situations where the Feds would be justified in turning down a cry for help, a line where they would say "Sorry, we can't get involved with this." One example would be asking for help in a war that had nothing to do with the Feds.

But you seem to be advocating the PD as engraved in stone, never to be broken or questioned whatsoever. The Prime Directive should not be a dogma, and if you think it should be you either don't know what "dogma" means or you have missed the entire point of Trek in general and of the Prime Directive.

I'll defend it as a construct designed to keep cultures on a normal course of growth. As in, not interfering in a societies social order, preventing advanced technology from being dumped in their laps and allowing them to find on their own how they fit into the greater scheme of things.

But none of the above would prevent me from stopping an extinction level event. At the end of the day, cultures can recover from contamination, even if widespread.
I agree 100%.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:07 AM   #380
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

DonIago wrote: View Post
I'd tend to think a race with no interest in FTL technology also likely had no interest in having aliens drop by... granted there might be some exceptions.
Didn't we see exactly that in the TNG episode The Nth Degree?
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Old July 7 2012, 05:08 AM   #381
horatio83
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

BillJ wrote: View Post
You cannot determine maturity by technological prowess.

The Edo were technologically inferior yet were mature enough to accept visitors from the sky. As were the Capellans. The existence of alien life did not appreciably impact those societies. While the presence of Picard and Troi on a world ready to make their first flight was shook to its core.

By your standards, a mature world would be excluded from the galactic mix because they have no interest in FTL technology.
Of course there are always exceptions but the general pattern of cultural development is that you are ready to face the possibility of alien life when the chance to get out there becomes a material reality. We are talking about a guideline for Starfleet captains when they first become aware of the existence of a new species and have no data on them at all. Suppose Starfleet does not detect antimatter, decides to conduct duck-blind missions and then realize that these guys are ready to welcome alien visitors. Then you obviously initiate first contact.

In the case of first contact you have to err on the side of caution.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:09 AM   #382
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

^^No. The Cytherians had the capacity for FTL travel, they just "reversed" the concept.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:20 AM   #383
horatio83
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

TiberiusMaximus wrote: View Post
One example would be asking for help in a war that had nothing to do with the Feds.
The Cold War could have easily ended in the extinction of humankind. So make up your mind, is preventing extinction only OK in the case of natural catastrophes and not in the case of cultural ones or what and why the distinction between cultural and natural and what about the cases where you cannot make a distinction between them?
I am just looking for some consistency. On the one hand people are saying that human ethics should be universally applied in the galaxy but then they do not like the word dogma and want the Prime Directive to be a very lax rule. Seems like Swiss Cheese not me and not like a thought-out position.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:22 AM   #384
Ian Keldon
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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?
Warp drive doesn't carry with it inherent moral implications from it's use.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:30 AM   #385
BillJ
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
The Cold War could have easily ended in the extinction of humankind. So make up your mind, is preventing extinction only OK in the case of natural catastrophes and not in the case of cultural ones or what and why the distinction between cultural and natural and what about the cases where you cannot make a distinction between them?
I made up my mind about five pages ago...

BillJ wrote:
You should get involved for only two reasons: an external extinction event (not self-inflicted) or to clean up a mess by a prior expedition.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:33 AM   #386
Ian Keldon
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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.
Let's stop dancing around the issue: the PD is nothing but the ultimate expression of the concept that there is no such thing as good/evil, right/wrong, etc, and that all is perspective, and that no one should exercise any sort of moral discernment.

Which is a notion that is total and complete BS. At best it's an excuse for moral cowardice, and at worst it's collaborating with evil.

If I were Central American and were so-inclined as to attempt to revive the Aztec human sacrifice religion of Mezo-America, would you just shrug and say "your culture, your rules...I have no right to judge you or interfere..."?

I seriously doubt it. No person with a functioning conscience would defend permitting that to happen.

In Trek terms, witness the case of Dr Timicin (TNG) and the Eminians/Vendikans (TOS). In both cases their societies had developed socially dysfunctional, if not outright diseased cultures that were committing great acts of evil on the populace. Kirk (rightly) said basically "Oh no you don't!" and did something. Picard, Troi, et al just shrugged and said "it's your culture"and let him go kill himself not because he was facing a horrid, lingering death in great pain, or even because he was some sort of burden, but only because his sick culture decreed that everyone must die at 60.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:39 AM   #387
Ian Keldon
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Sindatur wrote: View Post
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
So the answer is to sign the death warrant on a species?

BS!

The answer is to cure the plague, THEN sit down and fix the social issues between the two races.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:42 AM   #388
BillJ
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post

In Trek terms, witness the case of Dr Timicin (TNG) and the Eminians/Vendikans (TOS). In both cases their societies had developed socially dysfunctional, if not outright diseased cultures that were committing great acts of evil on the populace. Kirk (rightly) said basically "Oh no you don't!" and did something. Picard, Troi, et al just shrugged and said "it's your culture"and let him go kill himself not because he was facing a horrid, lingering death in great pain, or even because he was some sort of burden, but only because his sick culture decreed that everyone must die at 60.
Actually, I support both of these cultures to execute their respective moral codes internally.

The problem becomes if it spills outside their populace and ensnares innocent people, like we see in A Taste of Armageddon. You can't enforce your moral code on other cultures.
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Old July 7 2012, 05:44 AM   #389
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Ian Keldon wrote: View Post

The answer is to cure the plague, THEN sit down and fix the social issues between the two races.
The answer is to cure the plague. Internal dynamics of a culture is not for Starfleet to judge.
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Old July 7 2012, 06:05 AM   #390
Ian Keldon
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Medical assistance which sustains a system of oppression is already a crime among humans (if Hitler is sick your ethical injunction is not to cure him but to ensure that he dies) and definitely among aliens.
Doctors are not soldiers. Their duty is to "do no harm" and to practice their profession dispassionately and without favoritism or prejudice. Doctors cure sick people (if such be within their power) regardless of race, politics, moral standing, etc, at least the ethical ones do.
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