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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old July 1 2013, 03:44 PM   #151
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
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First of all, WHAT scientific nature of space? Space is no more "scientific" than the ocean or the air, but we don't have science officers as command-level positions on nuclear submarines do we?
You know, nebulas, wormholes, space anomalies, the occasional time travel incident, and so on.
And oceans have hurricanes, tidal waves, coral reefs, underwater volcanoes, various species of fish and animals. None of which are particularly "scientific" although they are of great interest to scientists.

So how many marine biologists are normally assigned to an Ohio class submarine?

Second of all, if this were true we would expect to see science officers on the bridge of Romulan, Klingon, Cardassian and Jem'hadar ships as well.
But we have seen Klingon science officers. Kang's wife was science officer and XO of his ship.
It's not uncertain whether or not Mara was the first officer on that ship, and whether or not she got that position in the first place because she was science officer or simply by virtue of being Kang's wife.

Interestingly, Mara expresses her fear that the Federation "will torture us for our scientific and military information" which leads us to wonder what Klingon "science" actually is.

Romulans have science ships which do belong to their military.
So does the U.S. Navy. In fact it is the military nature of naval vessels that necessitates dedicated science platforms in the first place.

Were the U.S. Navy to be in any way similar to Starfleet, they would effectively have to outfit ALL of their submarines with equipment similar to Rickover's NR-1 and perform deep water exploration tasks as part of a standard patrol.

But most trek writers and almost all of its producers have had a different vision in mind for what it is and how it operates.
I'm not convinced of that. Roddenberry had a "vision" for what Starfleet is and how it operates, but everyone else is just following his edict that Starfleet isn't a military.
He didn't exactly give an "edict." But if you're being honest with yourself it's clear to see that Starfleet is -- and has always been -- too soft and too touchy-feely for the military interpretation to stick. This is one of the reasons why fans at the time found TWOK and TUC so jarring: Nicholas Meyer DID want to portray Starfleet as a military organization, and his interpretation showed us a different type of organization than we have ever seen before or since. Meyers starfleet uses military terms, military practices, military discipline -- not just the sometimes pretense of it -- and implies their scientific mission to be an important but secondary aspect of their broader mission role.

If Trek had stuck with Meyers' version, we wouldn't be having this conversation at all; TNG and onwards would have looked like a less gritty version of Battlestar Galactica (or a flashier version of Stargate SG-1). But that's not what happened, and no attempt was made to revive Meyers' "Hornblower in space" interpretation.

Therefore it's possible that claiming Starfleet isn't a military is just another thing which some folks along the way realized is wrong...
And it's just as possible -- especially since Rodenberry has been dead for over two decades -- that they actually AGREED with it and saw no reason to change it.

After all, think about what you're implying here. Do you honestly believe that JJ Abrams has THAT much respect for Gene Rodenberry's vision? After all the other changes, everything that's been chucked in the dustbin, all the crazy shit that's been happening in the last two movies, why would Abrams of all people choose to preserve THAT aspect of Starfleet if he didn't really want to?

It's much more likely that the TPTB simply do not feel the same way you do about the military and do not have any pressing need to militarize their protagonists. Broadly speaking, from a writer's perspective it's simply easier NOT to, since in a non-military organization you don't actually have to know anything about real-world military practices and write the story however you like.
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Old July 1 2013, 05:07 PM   #152
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post

It's much more likely that the TPTB simply do not feel the same way you do about the military and do not have any pressing need to militarize their protagonists. Broadly speaking, from a writer's perspective it's simply easier NOT to, since in a non-military organization you don't actually have to know anything about real-world military practices and write the story however you like.
Or it could just be that TPTB are savvy enough to realize that a certain segment of the fan base is very invested in the idea that Starfleet isn't military, damnit, and don't feel an urgent need to reopen that particular can of worms.

So, fine, pay lip service to the idea that Starfleet is a "peacekeeping armada" or whatever--and keep on writing Starfleet as the semi-military, semi-scientific, semi-diplomatic outfit it was back in TOS.

(How exactly it was portrayed on TNG is, arguably, a different topic--which isn't really relevant where the new movies are concerned, since they're based on TOS more than the later shows.)
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Old July 1 2013, 05:14 PM   #153
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Greg Cox wrote: View Post

(How exactly it was portrayed on TNG is, arguably, a different topic--which isn't really relevant where the new movies are concerned, since they're based on TOS more than the later shows.)
Agreed.

But even in the later shows, Starfleet carries out military missions all the time. Would we send NOAA out to stand toe-to-toe with a Russian nuclear submarine, as we've seen the Enterprise do several times with the Romulan warbirds during TNG? Twice in the first season when Roddenberry was running the show.

I know some people are really invested in the idea that Starfleet isn't the military of the UFP. But the proof is in the pudding.
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Old July 1 2013, 05:53 PM   #154
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Heh. This entire debate reminds me of something Mimi Panitch wrote at least a decade ago, that being a Star Trek editor was like being the Pope during a period of extreme doctrinal dispute. Everybody interprets the sacred texts slightly differently--and are convinced that all other interpretations are heresy.
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Old July 1 2013, 06:00 PM   #155
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Heh. This entire debate reminds me of something Mimi Panitch wrote at least a decade ago, that being a Star Trek editor was like being the Pope during a period of extreme doctrinal dispute. Everybody interprets the sacred texts slightly differently--and are convinced that all other interpretations are heresy.
I'm not sure that I see it quite that way. If someone could offer a single shred of evidence that there was another military body in the 23rd/24th century I'd be glad to state that Starfleet is not the military arm of the UFP.

But minus that evidence and with all the times we see Starfleet carrying out not just military missions, but full-scale wars on behalf of the UFP, I just have a hard time saying that it is not the military.

But, YMMV.
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Old July 1 2013, 06:05 PM   #156
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

BillJ wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post

(How exactly it was portrayed on TNG is, arguably, a different topic--which isn't really relevant where the new movies are concerned, since they're based on TOS more than the later shows.)
Agreed.

But even in the later shows, Starfleet carries out military missions all the time. Would we send NOAA out to stand toe-to-toe with a Russian nuclear submarine...
We would if NOAA had effective ASW weapons and the expertise to use them. That's effectively what Starfleet vessels are: take a research vessel, add a pair of torpedo launchers and a couple of dual-purpose guns. If you then modify the ship's mapping sonar to be used as an ASW system, you have an armed research vessel capable of facing down a nuclear submarine.

In terms of operating procedures and mission roles, the most important difference between NOAA and Starfleet is that NOAA doesn't have weapons. When you remove that difference, there's not much left.

I know some people are really invested in the idea that Starfleet isn't the military of the UFP. But the proof is in the pudding.
As I've said many times, the ability to fight in a war is not the defining characteristic of a military organization. The legal mandate that said organization EXISTS to fight wars, is.

If modern weapons were as widely available and inexpensive to obtain as Trek-style weapons appear to be, we'd probably be back to the paradigm of the 17th century where it was possible to fight entire wars using only privateers.
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Old July 1 2013, 06:35 PM   #157
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
He didn't exactly give an "edict." But if you're being honest with yourself it's clear to see that Starfleet is -- and has always been -- too soft and too touchy-feely for the military interpretation to stick. This is one of the reasons why fans at the time found TWOK and TUC so jarring: Nicholas Meyer DID want to portray Starfleet as a military organization, and his interpretation showed us a different type of organization than we have ever seen before or since. Meyers starfleet uses military terms, military practices, military discipline -- not just the sometimes pretense of it -- and implies their scientific mission to be an important but secondary aspect of their broader mission role.

If Trek had stuck with Meyers' version, we wouldn't be having this conversation at all; TNG and onwards would have looked like a less gritty version of Battlestar Galactica (or a flashier version of Stargate SG-1). But that's not what happened, and no attempt was made to revive Meyers' "Hornblower in space" interpretation.
TOS Starfleet is clearly military and I believe intended to be. Kirk of course considers himself a soldier, everyone behaves in a militaristic manner. Hell, Kirk's backstory in behind the scenes material said he served on destroyers and frigates, and it's even rumoured Roddenberry originally considered having Marines assigned to the Enterprise. What we saw in TWOK and TUC is very consistent with Starfleet of TOS. The Abrams movies seem to be making Starfleet more in line with what was depicted from TNG onward.
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Old July 1 2013, 06:44 PM   #158
Greg Cox
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

BillJ wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Heh. This entire debate reminds me of something Mimi Panitch wrote at least a decade ago, that being a Star Trek editor was like being the Pope during a period of extreme doctrinal dispute. Everybody interprets the sacred texts slightly differently--and are convinced that all other interpretations are heresy.
I'm not sure that I see it quite that way. If someone could offer a single shred of evidence that there was another military body in the 23rd/24th century I'd be glad to state that Starfleet is not the military arm of the UFP.

But minus that evidence and with all the times we see Starfleet carrying out not just military missions, but full-scale wars on behalf of the UFP, I just have a hard time saying that it is not the military.

But, YMMV.
Oh, I largely agree with you on the military thing. I was just commenting on Trekkish doctrinal disputes in general.

This is, what, page 11 of this thread?
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Old July 1 2013, 06:52 PM   #159
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

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And to the extent that any one of those roles could be considered primary, "military" isn't it.
I disagree, as you well know. Just stating that it isn't something over and over won't convince anyone. I think we've milked this subject for all it's worth, until someone can bring a new argument or evidence to the table.
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Old July 1 2013, 07:08 PM   #160
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

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What we saw in TWOK and TUC is very consistent with Starfleet of TOS.
Quite a few fans at the time didn't think so; the reaction was quite mixed, and in some ways almost as hostile as the reaction to Abrams trek.

OTOH, the depiction in TMP is much closer to TOS than any of the sequels, and what we're seeing there doesn't appear to be a military organization either (especially in contrast to TWOK and TUC).

The Abrams movies seem to be making Starfleet more in line with what was depicted from TNG onward.
Actually, they seem more in line with what was seen in Balance of Terror and Corbomite Maneuver; the former of which begins with the Captain presiding over a marriage between two of his officers, effectively blowing traditional military bans on fraternization completely out of the water.

Corbomite Maneuver has this from Kirk: "What's the mission of this vessel, Doctor? To seek out and contact alien life, and an opportunity to demonstrate what our high-sounding words mean. Any questions?"

At any rate, you're attempting to demonstrate that JJ Abrams is holding Gene Rodenberry in such high regard that he's going out of his way to depict Starfleet as a non-military organization against an overwhelming volume of evidence to the contrary. I find that to be a very curious thing to claim.
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Old July 1 2013, 07:09 PM   #161
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Belz... wrote: View Post
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And to the extent that any one of those roles could be considered primary, "military" isn't it.
I disagree, as you well know. Just stating that it isn't something over and over won't convince anyone.
Indeed.

Picard: "Starfleet is not a military organization."
Belz: "I disagree!"
Gardner: "I'm surprised Archer requested military officers to the Enterprise..."
Belz: "Starfleet IS the military, stupid!"
Scotty: "This is clearly a military mission! Is that what we are now?"
Belz: "You were always a military! What are you talking about?"

You don't agree with what Starfleet says about itself, so why would I expect you to believe me?
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Old July 1 2013, 07:13 PM   #162
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
What we saw in TWOK and TUC is very consistent with Starfleet of TOS.
Quite a few fans at the time didn't think so; the reaction was quite mixed, and in some ways almost as hostile as the reaction to Abrams trek.

OTOH, the depiction in TMP is much closer to TOS than any of the sequels, and what we're seeing there doesn't appear to be a military organization either (especially in contrast to TWOK and TUC).
Then again, TWOK and TUC are much better movies. IMH0.

(Hey, it had to be said!)

I'm not sure we should be taking our cues from TMP. Lord knows the later movies didn't!
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Old July 1 2013, 07:14 PM   #163
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
What we saw in TWOK and TUC is very consistent with Starfleet of TOS.
Quite a few fans at the time didn't think so; the reaction was quite mixed, and in some ways almost as hostile as the reaction to Abrams trek.

OTOH, the depiction in TMP is much closer to TOS than any of the sequels, and what we're seeing there doesn't appear to be a military organization either (especially in contrast to TWOK and TUC).
Then again, TWOK and TUC are much better movies. IMH0.

(Hey, it had to be said!)

I'm not sure we should be taking our cues from TMP. Lord knows the later movies didn't!
TMP was a better movie, to be sure, but TWOK and TUC were much more entertaining.
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Old July 1 2013, 07:22 PM   #164
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Quite a few fans at the time didn't think so; the reaction was quite mixed, and in some ways almost as hostile as the reaction to Abrams trek.

OTOH, the depiction in TMP is much closer to TOS than any of the sequels, and what we're seeing there doesn't appear to be a military organization either (especially in contrast to TWOK and TUC).
Then again, TWOK and TUC are much better movies. IMH0.

(Hey, it had to be said!)

I'm not sure we should be taking our cues from TMP. Lord knows the later movies didn't!
TMP was a better movie, to be sure, but TWOK and TUC were much more entertaining.
Not convinced TMP is the better film (good intentions only go so far), but I'm glad we can agree on the entertainment value of the TWOK and TUC!
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Old July 1 2013, 08:13 PM   #165
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

BillJ wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post

(How exactly it was portrayed on TNG is, arguably, a different topic--which isn't really relevant where the new movies are concerned, since they're based on TOS more than the later shows.)
Agreed.

But even in the later shows, Starfleet carries out military missions all the time. Would we send NOAA out to stand toe-to-toe with a Russian nuclear submarine, as we've seen the Enterprise do several times with the Romulan warbirds during TNG? Twice in the first season when Roddenberry was running the show.
I had to think about this because the NOAA links really stuck in my eye here.

As I said before, the singular reason you wouldn't send NOAA into combat is because their ships have no weapons. When you add weapons to those ships, the difference between NOAA and Starfleet vanishes altogether.

But it's more than that. The similarities are so jarring that you almost wonder if "NOAA with weapons" is what the producers had in mind all along.

What really jumped at me was this:
The network and computer systems aboard the Ron Brown are used for everything from sensor acquisition and data analysis to administration and payroll. Nearly all of the ship's scientific devices are integrated into an on board oceanographic system called the Scientific Computing System (SCS). The SCS is a network that collects, stores, processes, retrieves, and sends oceanographic data from all the navigation and environmental sensors, bathymetric sonar systems, and other mission sensors. Internet access is readily available on the ship.
This same passage could just as easily refer to a Starfleet vessel:

The network and computer systems aboard the Enterprise are used for everything from sensor acquisition and data analysis to administration and payroll. Nearly all of the ship's scientific devices are integrated into an on board astrometric system called the Library Computer System. The LCS is a network that collects, stores, processes, retrieves, and sends astrometric data from all the navigation and environmental sensors, stellar cartography systems, and other mission sensors. Computer access is readily available on the ship.
NOAA vessels devote a huge amount of their internal space to large specialized laboratories. Their sensors are optimized for mapping the sea floor, analysis of oceanographic phenomenon and examination of living creatures encountered in their voyages. Their auxiliary craft are highly versatile and they have a wide variety of scientific probes. Their officers corps is a Federal Uniformed Service with a navy-style rank structure and has no enlisted ranks. (Hint Hint!). As a uniformed service they are technically equivalent to the Coast Guard or the Navy such that providing them with defensive armaments would technically be legal under the Geneva Conventions. Moreover, NOAA has been known to name several of its vessels after famous exploration ships and/or famous explorers (e.g. the MV Neil Armstrong).

Their STATED goal is exploration and scientific research, which -- like Starfleet -- their ships spend most of their time doing. This is also very much UNLIKE the U.S. Navy, who -- with the singular exception of NR-1 -- hasn't conducted a purely scientific expedition since 1957 and whose exploration activities have since been reduced to a support role for NASA.


When it comes down to, in the end, is that NOAA would be almost IDENTICAL to Starfleet if their ships were armed. I strongly believe that if Earth's oceans possessed an abundance of pirates, giant squads, homicidal mermaids, Lovecraftian sea monsters and sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads, NOAA vessels probably WOULD be armed. This, finally, explains why NX-01 completely neglected to install or test any of its main armaments until they were already well into their mission: The RV Atlantis wouldn't need them either unless they thought raids by genetically engineered terrorists were going to be a routine hazard.
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