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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old September 11 2012, 10:16 PM   #31
JarodRussell
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

sonak wrote: View Post
so...do you oppose trying to cure "natural" diseases as well? After all, disease is the "natural way of things."

What makes it different about being a primitive culture, as long as the Federation has the resources and knowledge to save them?
The point is always this: can the culture handle it? In Homeward it is made very clear that as soon as the people found out about the Enterprise rescuing them, it would destroy their culture for good. Same thing happened in Who Watches The Watchers. Same thing in Pen Pals. The civilizations could not handle alien contact. So either rescue them without letting them know that you rescued them, or let nature follow its course.

If you come down to a primitive culture and cure them from a disease, you might end up being their new god. And we all know how that causes death and destruction everywhere. In the long run, you might have saved people from a disease, but destroyed their entire culture with it.

It's a basic moral dilemma. Like "would you kill one person to save a billion"? And well, the general policy simply is: you don't.
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Old September 11 2012, 10:50 PM   #32
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post

The point is always this: can the culture handle it? In Homeward it is made very clear that as soon as the people found out about the Enterprise rescuing them, it would destroy their culture for good. Same thing happened in Who Watches The Watchers. Same thing in Pen Pals. The civilizations could not handle alien contact. So either rescue them without letting them know that you rescued them, or let nature follow its course.
Um... in Pen Pals, we see only a little girl who seemingly had no problem with alien life. Your painting every culture you've mentioned with very broad strokes.

I can't believe the people who claim that extinction is somehow better for a species than cultural contamination. That just boggles the mind.
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Old September 11 2012, 10:50 PM   #33
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

chrinFinity wrote: View Post
Forbidding Federation members from deliberately interfering with less advanced cultures is a totally reasonable concept.
It is, until you realize that they have no problem at all interfering with equally (or more) advanced cultures when it suits them. So there's not much point in trying to make sense of Star Trek's Prime Directive.

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Old September 12 2012, 02:57 AM   #34
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
He says an even more important thing: the Prime Directive is supposed to protect THEM. Whatever they do, eventually they are responsible for the fate of the civilization.
This is ultimately the whole point of the PD, as I see it. It's not really about those cultures out there at all, no matter who is professing otherwise. The main concern to them is how interfering affects THEM. It's a danger to them to be meddling in the affairs of other worlds, as well as a danger to the world's natural development

However, certainly no rule should be completely black & white, & if you're willing to let the Enterprise create its own life form, to send "on it's merry way" for god sake, then perhaps if you're in the neighborhood, & can spare some doomed primitives, it's not going to be any riskier

At least they're not dead. I can get behind that, even if on paper, we don't set a mission goal of seeking out primitives to save, which would be beyond possible

So yeah, the episode betrays some of what we know about Picard. Picard is humane above all else, & the humane thing to do is help them, but he turns his back on his own humanity for a rule, & only helps when given no choice by an agitator. That's not usually the way he acts, as evidenced in Pen Pals, where he actually chooses to act, with much less rebuke
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Old September 12 2012, 09:50 AM   #35
Start Wreck
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Maybe he was on his third strike.
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Old September 12 2012, 03:42 PM   #36
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

certainly no rule should be completely black & white
But if it's all about "them" (Starfleet) rather than the cultures, then nuances with the situation of the cultures shouldn't affect the situation with Starfleet. If the PD is there to uphold the principle that Starfleet cannot take law and fate in its own hands, then it shouldn't matter whether the lives of ten people or ten billion are at stake. After all, that very type of judgement would be the thing taken out of the hands of our heroes.

Interestingly, Kirk was quite altruistic about saving civilizations from natural disasters without orders from on high: he tries to stop an asteroid from smiting an obviously transplanted culture in "Paradise Syndrome" while apparently very far away from home, despite being aware that getting smashed by big rocks is the natural destiny of this culture, and one deflected rock won't really change a thing. So one would expect not just some sort of standing orders to help cultures in need, but indeed an obligation to re-dictate destiny for hopeless cases, against all reason, regardless of whether they wanted it or not.

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Old September 12 2012, 03:46 PM   #37
sonak
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Timo wrote: View Post
certainly no rule should be completely black & white
But if it's all about "them" (Starfleet) rather than the cultures, then nuances with the situation of the cultures shouldn't affect the situation with Starfleet. If the PD is there to uphold the principle that Starfleet cannot take law and fate in its own hands, then it shouldn't matter whether the lives of ten people or ten billion are at stake. After all, that very type of judgement would be the thing taken out of the hands of our heroes.

Interestingly, Kirk was quite altruistic about saving civilizations from natural disasters without orders from on high: he tries to stop an asteroid from smiting an obviously transplanted culture in "Paradise Syndrome" while apparently very far away from home, despite being aware that getting smashed by big rocks is the natural destiny of this culture, and one deflected rock won't really change a thing. So one would expect not just some sort of standing orders to help cultures in need, but indeed an obligation to re-dictate destiny for hopeless cases, against all reason, regardless of whether they wanted it or not.

Timo Saloniemi

Well there you're seeing the difference between the TOS PD and the TNG. When people are defending the PD in cases like this episode, they don't seem to realize they're defending modern trek's take on it, not the TOS PD at all.
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Old September 12 2012, 04:00 PM   #38
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Start Wreck wrote: View Post
I think you're supposed to have a problem with the prime directive in this episode.
Bonus points for this guy!
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Old September 12 2012, 10:03 PM   #39
Anwar
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Should I bring up the Galactic Nanny State?
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Old September 12 2012, 11:40 PM   #40
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Anwar wrote: View Post
Should I bring up the Galactic Nanny State?
Please don't.
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Old September 18 2012, 10:04 AM   #41
Vanyel
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

I don't think I noticed one very important thing in this discussion regarding Homeward, that by moving the Boraal to another planet they could be dooming the Boraal to disease that they have no means of fighting. They are also introducing what may well be an apex predator onto a planet that would have developed it's own advanced species. Or the Boraal could introduce a disease that would kill on the scale of the Permian Extinction.

You could say that the transporters would filter out any disease, except that it doesn't filter out all micro-organism that can cause disease. For example in our gut are bacterium that are beneficial to humans, in fact needed by humans, but can cause another species, even other humans to become sick. So the transporter would leave those in the Boraal because the Boraal need them. Those micro-organisms could then infect the planet to which they were moved.

Moving them was a stupid thing to do, to quote Jurassic park:
This isn't some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.
The Boraal were selected for extinction.

The choices were moving the Boraal to another planet. Possibly dooming the planet and/or the Boraal.

Leaving them to their doom.

Bring them on the Enterprise, destroying their culture. Why? Because to them only gods can travel to the stars, make water out of nothing, and moving from one place to another without walking there. You can't get around that. Send an Aircraft carrier back to when humans were hunter gatherers over even when we became farmers. Would those primitive humans understand a machine gun? A jet fighter? or a huge ship that travels the waters faster than they can run on land?

Yes, it's cruel; but in this case leaving the Boraal to their fate was the correct choice.
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Old September 18 2012, 08:55 PM   #42
sonak
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Vanyel wrote: View Post
I don't think I noticed one very important thing in this discussion regarding Homeward, that by moving the Boraal to another planet they could be dooming the Boraal to disease that they have no means of fighting. They are also introducing what may well be an apex predator onto a planet that would have developed it's own advanced species. Or the Boraal could introduce a disease that would kill on the scale of the Permian Extinction.

You could say that the transporters would filter out any disease, except that it doesn't filter out all micro-organism that can cause disease. For example in our gut are bacterium that are beneficial to humans, in fact needed by humans, but can cause another species, even other humans to become sick. So the transporter would leave those in the Boraal because the Boraal need them. Those micro-organisms could then infect the planet to which they were moved.

Moving them was a stupid thing to do, to quote Jurassic park:
This isn't some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.
The Boraal were selected for extinction.

The choices were moving the Boraal to another planet. Possibly dooming the planet and/or the Boraal.

Leaving them to their doom.

Bring them on the Enterprise, destroying their culture. Why? Because to them only gods can travel to the stars, make water out of nothing, and moving from one place to another without walking there. You can't get around that. Send an Aircraft carrier back to when humans were hunter gatherers over even when we became farmers. Would those primitive humans understand a machine gun? A jet fighter? or a huge ship that travels the waters faster than they can run on land?

Yes, it's cruel; but in this case leaving the Boraal to their fate was the correct choice.

your view of evolution depends on a fallacy, though. Extinction doesn't mean "nature" "selected" a species for extinction. Extinction these days can be caused by Mankind's activities. In the past, it could have been caused by a natural disaster's effect on a habitat. The bottom line is that natural selection is a metaphor for success or failure to adapt to an environment.

Your reading design into the process because it helps your argument, but Human scientific achievements "interfere" with natural processes and so what? Humans have ethics to make those decisions.

As for cultural contamination-cultural change is a part of every culture, and better a changed culture than a dead one.
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Old September 18 2012, 09:23 PM   #43
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

I think ideally it would be left to the culture itself to state whether it would rather be changed or dead.
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Old September 18 2012, 10:18 PM   #44
Vanyel
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

sonak wrote: View Post
Vanyel wrote: View Post
I don't think I noticed one very important thing in this discussion regarding Homeward, that by moving the Boraal to another planet they could be dooming the Boraal to disease that they have no means of fighting. They are also introducing what may well be an apex predator onto a planet that would have developed it's own advanced species. Or the Boraal could introduce a disease that would kill on the scale of the Permian Extinction.

You could say that the transporters would filter out any disease, except that it doesn't filter out all micro-organism that can cause disease. For example in our gut are bacterium that are beneficial to humans, in fact needed by humans, but can cause another species, even other humans to become sick. So the transporter would leave those in the Boraal because the Boraal need them. Those micro-organisms could then infect the planet to which they were moved.

Moving them was a stupid thing to do, to quote Jurassic park:
This isn't some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.
The Boraal were selected for extinction.

The choices were moving the Boraal to another planet. Possibly dooming the planet and/or the Boraal.

Leaving them to their doom.

Bring them on the Enterprise, destroying their culture. Why? Because to them only gods can travel to the stars, make water out of nothing, and moving from one place to another without walking there. You can't get around that. Send an Aircraft carrier back to when humans were hunter gatherers over even when we became farmers. Would those primitive humans understand a machine gun? A jet fighter? or a huge ship that travels the waters faster than they can run on land?

Yes, it's cruel; but in this case leaving the Boraal to their fate was the correct choice.

your view of evolution depends on a fallacy, though. Extinction doesn't mean "nature" "selected" a species for extinction. Extinction these days can be caused by Mankind's activities. In the past, it could have been caused by a natural disaster's effect on a habitat. The bottom line is that natural selection is a metaphor for success or failure to adapt to an environment.

Your reading design into the process because it helps your argument, but Human scientific achievements "interfere" with natural processes and so what? Humans have ethics to make those decisions.

As for cultural contamination-cultural change is a part of every culture, and better a changed culture than a dead one.
Yes, due to our level of technology, we can cause our own extinction, the Boraal could not. They were a pre-industrial society. They didn't have any means of developing nuclear arms, or a strain of virus or bacterium that could wipe them out. Natural selection could also mean that a species has no way to adapt quickly enough to it's new environment. The Snowball Earth for example, or the impact of a large comet or meteor. In any even, the Boraal were not able to adapt quickly enough, or like a large impact event they could not adapt. They were not "meant" to survive, their planet was not "meant" to sustain life at that time or maybe ever again.

I believe Carl Sagan said something like, intelligent life could evolve on a planet orbiting a Red Giant star, but it would die (due to the relatively short life span of a Red Giant) before they knew they were in any danger.

The Boraal were saved for selfish reasons. Then put onto a new planet where they did not belong, which would devastate them or the planet. They would be doing what Dr. Carol Marcus wanted to avoid, destroying an established ecosystem.
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Old September 19 2012, 12:17 AM   #45
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Re: Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
It's shown in Homeward. One guy was so overwhelmed by the Enterprise that he killed himself.
No that's not true, Vorin wasn't "overwhelmed by the Enterprise." The problem was this, he was give three choices, he could leave his people forever, or he could keep quiet/lie forever, or he could be regarded by his people as a lying madman.

Vorin's basic problem was that he loved his people, and he was a honest man. If the brothers Rozhenko had been completely honest with the Boraalan people, Vorin as a individual wouldn't have been place in the position of having no way out.

Vorin's suicide wasn't from being "overwhelmed by the Enterprise."

BillJ wrote: View Post
Then the Federation shouldn't be invading the space and infiltrating the societies of those less advanced.
This is where the sheer arrogance behind the concept PD is shown, the Federation obviously has a technological edge over some people. But does this automatically make them more advanced in every way than the stupid little "mud people" who inhabit the galaxy?

Because we have warp drive, this means you are too culturally and socially primitive to understand certain things.

Holdfast wrote: View Post
Should Starfleet have to constantly have to deal with this ...
It more a case of having something happening right in front of you. If a old lady is run down in the street, you pull over and attempt to help, even if it's just calling 911. If she's hit a thousand light years away from you, then you don't pull over.

Nobody is saying you have to patrol the streets in your car, just help when you can.

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
In Homeward it is made very clear that as soon as the people found out about the Enterprise rescuing them, it would destroy their culture for good.
But, wouldn't everyone dying have the same effect?

And if the people survive the "whatever" they may (or may not) be able to either reform their previous culture, or create a brand new one in time.

While if they're all dead ...

Same thing happened in Who Watches The Watchers.
At the end of WWtW Picard told the "primitive people" who he was and what was going on. Bravo. He was vague in places and lacking in detail, but he was also honest.

Same thing in Pen Pals.
The Dremans were obviously aware that something happened. Not just a small region, but the entire planet was tearing itself apart, then it just stopped. How primitive were they anyway?

Sarjenka, a child, possessed a RF radio capable of communicating with a ship somewhere in her solar system. That makes them what? Mid-twentieth century at least. So even if Sarjenka lived in a rural area, there were cities elsewhere and perhaps universities.

And the destruction just stopped.

So just contact them, be vague in places, but be honest.

PICARD: How about a war?

If generations of conflict is killing millions, do we interfere? Ah, well, now we're all a little less secure in our moral certitude.

And what if it's not just killings.

If an oppressive government is enslaving millions? You see, the Prime Directive has many different functions, not the least of which is to protect us. To prevent us from allowing our emotions to overwhelm our judgement.
That's from Pen Pals. In order to somehow justify the PD, Picard is force to walk down a twisting pathway of hypotheticals.

How realistically do you get from stopping a natural disaster that's going to end all life --- to a "oppressive government that's enslaving millions," that presumably isn't going to end all life. Where is the comparison?

Unless we help everyone, we can help no one?

DonIago wrote: View Post
I think ideally it would be left to the culture itself to state whether it would rather be changed or dead.
And this would be the advantage of straight forward contacting the people to be "saved." It possible that the Boraal in Homeward would have selected not to be saved, to die on their land. Or the village elders might have convinced the people that relocating was better than non-existence. Consulting with the villagers about the move wouldn't have require them to leave most everything behind, like they did to travel through "the caves."

Vanyel wrote: View Post
The Boraal were saved for selfish reasons. Then put onto a new planet where they did not belong, which would devastate them or the planet.
If the Boraal died on their home world, or on their new world yes they would in both cases be dead, but by taking them to a new world they had a chance to survive, remaining where they were meant certain death. If their arrival meant the destruction of the ecosystem and they died from that, they still would have had a chance for life.


Last edited by T'Girl; September 19 2012 at 12:28 AM.
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