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Old February 14 2013, 05:28 AM   #16
teacock
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Like they wouldn't have cured the human race if our cells just mutated into a death sentence one day and they realized that was coded into our DNA since we were living in caves.
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Old February 14 2013, 05:37 AM   #17
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

teacake wrote: View Post
Like they wouldn't have cured the human race if our cells just mutated into a death sentence one day and they realized that was coded into our DNA since we were living in caves.
But then it would've been humans curing ourselves, not some outsiders imposing a solution after studying us for a mere 48 hours. The episode did hold out the prospect that the Valakians could discover a cure on their own.
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Old February 14 2013, 06:42 AM   #18
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Similar to what Christopher is saying:

Phlox isn't human. He isn't a Western Human living in the 21st century. He admits he didn't take The Hippocratic Oath. Just look at it from that point of view: a Denobulan convinced a Human Captain to make a horrible decision.

My problem with the ep is meta: This could have been our big 'source of the PD ep'...but it wasn't. They could have said the 'inferior race' were slaves (wern't they kind of? I don't remember the ep even touching on that) and made that the source of the drama. They could have said "Whoa whoa whoa...2 days is wayyyyy too short a time for us to come rushing in here and deciding the fate of billions"

Instead they...did what they did..and alienated (obviously) a great deal of the fanbase re the ep.
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Old February 14 2013, 06:49 AM   #19
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Kirk would have saved those people.

The hell with the PD.
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Old February 14 2013, 04:27 PM   #20
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

But what made the Valakians more worth saving than the Menk? I agree the outcome was not perfectly satisfying, but it's missing the point to talk as though there was an obvious or simple correct choice. If a viewer isn't comfortable with stories that have morally ambiguous situations, like "Dear Doctor" or "Tuvix" or "In the Pale Moonlight," that's their outlook, but that doesn't make it wrong for the writers to present something other than a simplistic black-and-white situation.
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Old February 14 2013, 06:17 PM   #21
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Christopher wrote: View Post
But what made the Valakians more worth saving than the Menk?
I'm confused by this question. The Menk were never in danger and, funny enough, no one even thought to ask them what they would think of the Valakians dying off...
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Old February 14 2013, 06:53 PM   #22
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Christopher wrote: View Post
But what made the Valakians more worth saving than the Menk? I agree the outcome was not perfectly satisfying, but it's missing the point to talk as though there was an obvious or simple correct choice. If a viewer isn't comfortable with stories that have morally ambiguous situations, like "Dear Doctor" or "Tuvix" or "In the Pale Moonlight," that's their outlook, but that doesn't make it wrong for the writers to present something other than a simplistic black-and-white situation.

I'm baffled by this argument. "Dear Doctor" doesn't present moral ambiguity, unless you think "letting millions die vs. giving them a cure that you already have" is a morally ambiguous situation. The episode creates a false dilemma(the Menk aren't in danger, and nothing indicates that societal progress wouldn't lead to both groups co-existing peacefully eventually) and then it actually PATS ITSELF ON THE BACK for so "cleverly" presenting a fake dilemma.


It's like the dumb kid in class who says something stupid, but says it smugly because he's so convinced it was smart. You can tell that the writers were very pleased with themselves in creating this fake, nonsense dilemma from the way the episode plays out.
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Old February 14 2013, 07:22 PM   #23
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

sonak wrote: View Post
You can tell that the writers were very pleased with themselves in creating this fake, nonsense dilemma from the way the episode plays out.
Do you think the writers were too lazy to do some basic research on the subject matter (evolution), or were they actually aware that what they were writing was utter nonsense, but didn't give a shit?
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Old February 14 2013, 07:26 PM   #24
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

^I don't get this reaction. If you reject any concept that isn't consistent with plausible evolution, then you'd have to reject the very existence of humanoid aliens and of interspecies hybrids like Spock. There are a wealth of things about Trek biology and other sciences that require the willing suspension of disbelief. Why is this so different?
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Old February 14 2013, 07:45 PM   #25
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Christopher wrote: View Post
There are a wealth of things about Trek biology and other sciences that require the willing suspension of disbelief. Why is this so different?
Because of the moral of the story. This was not just some random, shitty, easily ignored hour of "nonsense-Trek", like Threshold or Spock's Brain... This episode was clearly ambitious, and preachy as hell. But what it preached was pure idiocy.
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Old February 14 2013, 07:59 PM   #26
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

^See, I don't think it preached anything. Preaching implies asserting a single, unambiguous, undeniable right answer. "Dear Doctor," to me, plays as just the opposite -- it shows two moral people from different cultures and value systems trying to come to terms with a deeply ambiguous question and sincerely disagreeing with one another on the right path to take. Archer's ultimate choice is made reluctantly, and it's left deliberately ambiguous whether it was the right choice.

Personally, I would've preferred it if the show had dared to tell a story where Archer and his crew did recklessly intervene and things went horribly wrong as a result. I wanted to see these novice explorers making mistakes that had real consequences. So I was always a little disappointed to see Archer trying so hard to obey the dictates of what would eventually be the Prime Directive, since that felt like a missed opportunity to explore the serious screw-ups that would've realistically been part of humanity's learning curve. (Although I think "The Communicator" did a fairly good job of showing how badly Prime-Directive thinking itself can screw things up, though that wasn't the intended moral.) So in that regard, I wasn't entirely happy with the outcome of "Dear Doctor." But the outcome is not the only thing in the episode. Like I said, I think it still has plenty of merits to its writing, characterization, and production, even though it has its flaws as well.
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Old February 14 2013, 08:10 PM   #27
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

What is the moral of the story, anyway?

It's certainly not an argument in favor of total non-interference, since a) Archer elected to ease the suffering of the Valakians, while at the same time b) dropping a huge hint that there is a cure to be found.

To rip something not completely dissimilar from the headlines in the real world: by barging in militarily, the United States could quickly end fighting in Syria; does that mean that the US should do that?

Presenting the solution of offering only extremely limited aid is an effort to speak to what kinds of solutions people have to live with in the real world, and the degree to which the premises are contrived in-universe is typical of the Star Trek way in fantasy of setting up dilemmas. "Dear Doctor" is certainly a less contrived episode than, say, "Tuvix".
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Old February 14 2013, 08:14 PM   #28
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
What is the moral of the story, anyway?

It's certainly not an argument in favor of total non-interference, since a) Archer elected to ease the suffering of the Valakians, while at the same time b) dropping a huge hint that there is a cure to be found.
Like I said, I don't think it's meant to have a clear-cut moral. I think it's meant to present a situation where two of the lead characters, who come from different worlds and belief systems, find their values in conflict and wrestle with the consequences. The idea was not to take one character's side over the other, but to explore the conflict itself. A lot of good stories are about the questions, not the answers. They're about making us think, not telling us what to think.
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Old February 14 2013, 08:18 PM   #29
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

^ Yep. And the idea that it's more about questions than answers is especially supported by the fact that the final outcome for the Valakians is left unresolved.
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Old February 14 2013, 08:49 PM   #30
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

In "Dear Doctor," he wasn't really saying he thought the Valakians should die, just that he didn't think it would be responsible to tamper with the planet's evolutionary process when they had so little understanding of how it might unfold.
That would be fine. But that's not the message I got from Phlox. To me, he seemed pretty sure that the Menk were going to become the dominant species as long as the Valakians died out. That's hardly a neutral, objective stance. He didn't say, "I can't meddle because I might screw things up." He said, "I can't meddle because the Menk have more of a right to live than all the people who just asked me to cure them."

I really don't get it. The Menk, who weren't sick and dying, who didn't ask for anything, were more important to Phlox than the patients who were sick and dying and asked him for help. They asked for a cure, he found one, and then he got all high and mighty on them and kept it away from them.

I really don't understand his decision. And it really didn't seem to me like the episode was meant to be ambiguous, Phlox seemed to be presented as absolutely in the right.

That's the feeling I remember getting from the episode.
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