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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old April 21 2014, 12:37 PM   #1
Edit_XYZ
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Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Star Trek is known in this forum to have quite a few logical inconsistencies.
But these are understood to appear between information presented in different series or, at least, different episodes (for example, by TNG-Relics, Scotty not knowing Kirk died in ST-Generations).

I have rewatched some star trek episodes lately and was somewhat surprised to find that, even within some episodes, the logic of the plot or of the crew's actions is rather lacking.
For example:

TNG-Deja Q:
During the episode, it is established that firing photon torpedos at Bre'el 4's moon will only fragment it; and that the moon is too big to be moved by tractor beam.
Well - the obvious solution is to fire the photon torpedos at the moon, then use the tractor beam to move the smaller fragments, one at a time.
But none of the crew figured this out; instead, they came with a technobabble solution, as if de facto rewriting the laws of physics is easier than a simple logical deduction.

TNG-Cause and effect:
During the episode, the crew figured out they are in a time loop. The obvious idea of changing the ship's course was presented. And refuted - why? Because changing the course could have gotten them into the time loop in the first place.
Well - prior to the first loop, the crew would have had no reason whatsoever to change course; meaning, not changing course got them into the first time loop (and the subsequent ones).
But none of the crew figured this out, letting themselves be fooled by an argument that falls apart after little analysis.
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Old April 21 2014, 12:48 PM   #2
MacLeod
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Well in the case of Deja Q,

How many fragments?

How big would those fragments be?

How long would it take to move those fragments?

Would they be able to move all those fragments before any impacted on the planet's surface?

Would they be able to move all the fragments so that would hold a stable orbit?
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Old April 21 2014, 12:55 PM   #3
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

How small will the fragments be? Small enough to be moved by the tractor beam (say 5-10 major fragments) - Enterprise has no shortage of photon torpedos.
Can the fragments be moved to a stable orbit - by the Enterprise, with its capabilities shown in that episode, as well? Yes.
Will they be able to move all those fragments? Even if they moved only a majority (and, considering the time they had as per the episode, they could have moved at least all major fragments), this would be a major achievement.

As you see, solving the logistics problems you posed is far easier than rewriting physics.

We'll just have to treat those as all other logical inconsistencies present in star trek - alternatively pretend they aren't present in order to enjoy the episodes and try to come up with explanations for them in trekbbs.


PS - I'm sure the examples I named are only a part of the ones to be found throughout star trek.
If you know other similar ones, do post them.
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Last edited by Edit_XYZ; April 21 2014 at 03:00 PM.
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Old April 21 2014, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Deja - Q made perfect sense. The Enterprise did not have enough time to fire off dozens of torpedoes, track all the fragments with the tractor beam, push them out of orbit, etc. That was not a logical inconsistency.

But anyways, I look forward to the next few examples posted so we can argue about them.
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Old April 21 2014, 03:46 PM   #5
MacLeod
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Isn't that what trekbbs is for? You've come up with what you percieve as a bad decision and come up with an alternative. I've pointed ut that alternative also has potential flaws in it.

Blowing up something with torpedeos might not result in the outcome you want, could they have carved it up with the ships Phasers instead of trying to blow it up.
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Old April 21 2014, 04:15 PM   #6
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Another well-known action of dubious value was, of course, in TNG-Generations:
Worf, it's called changing the shield frequency already - standard procedure!
Data - I have a technobabble solution to the problem.
Never mind...

Speaking of Generations, I dare any brave soul to gaze long into the nexus and make sense of it, as opposed to blinking away in defeat.

Ent-Twilight also contains a logical discontinuity:
When Phlox/T'Pol manage to eliminate some of the parasites from Archer's brain, eliminating them from the past as well, they can actually remember that said parasites used to be there (as opposed to what the recordings said).
Who knew denobulans' and vulcans' memories can transcend time-lines? El-aurians would feel at home in that club.
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Old April 21 2014, 07:23 PM   #7
Finn
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post

TNG-Deja Q:
During the episode, it is established that firing photon torpedos at Bre'el 4's moon will only fragment it; and that the moon is too big to be moved by tractor beam.
Well - the obvious solution is to fire the photon torpedos at the moon, then use the tractor beam to move the smaller fragments, one at a time.
But none of the crew figured this out; instead, they came with a technobabble solution, as if de facto rewriting the laws of physics is easier than a simple logical deduction.
No. That's not logical. That moon was shown to be relatively close to that planet. One would be nuts to fire torpedoes at it and expect the Enterprise being able tractor the fragments away from the planet…


No. Not Logical

And they weren't talking about rewriting the laws of physics. The Q was just saying what would basically needed to be done. It was something well beyond the capabilities of 24th Century Technology.



TNG-Cause and effect:
During the episode, the crew figured out they are in a time loop. The obvious idea of changing the ship's course was presented. And refuted - why? Because changing the course could have gotten them into the time loop in the first place.
Well - prior to the first loop, the crew would have had no reason whatsoever to change course; meaning, not changing course got them into the first time loop (and the subsequent ones).
But none of the crew figured this out, letting themselves be fooled by an argument that falls apart after little analysis.
Yes, this is very true. Picard should have known this.
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Old April 21 2014, 10:51 PM   #8
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Well - the obvious solution is to fire the photon torpedos at the moon, then use the tractor beam to move the smaller fragments, one at a time.
I believe this is a variation on what Spock was trying to do in The Paradise Syndrome, difference being Spock was using the phasers not photons, and would have used the deflector to effect the change in trajectory.

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Old April 22 2014, 12:01 AM   #9
Robert D. Robot
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

I was wondering if there was ever a reason given (maybe I missed it) why Soran needed to blow up a star to make the Nexus change course to hit a planet where he would be waiting, standing on a hilltop. Couldn't he have just flown a ship into the Nexus to get back inside?
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Old April 22 2014, 01:08 AM   #10
SchwEnt
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

"Spectre of the Gun"

The idea that belief will kill/save them.

If they believe the bullets are real, they will be killed by them. If they do not believe the bullets are real--beyond any doubt--they will not be killed by them. Fair enough.

BUT then the gas canister they devised earlier becomes the problem. They absolutely believed it would work, therefore it should have performed as expected. Can't have it both ways.

Also...

When discussing this replay of history, Spock comments that "history cannot be changed". Very illogical!

By this point in TOS, they've already encountered troubles where history can indeed be changed if they aren't careful!

Furthermore, this eps isn't even "actual" history, it's just a replay of historic events. They are NOT actually in Arizona in 1881, so it's not really history, therefore changes CAN occur.

Spock should have simply said "history must not be changed".
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Old April 22 2014, 03:27 AM   #11
Forbin
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

TOS: The Changeling.
Nomad wipes Uhura's mind totally clean. Tabula Rasa.
We later see Chapel in the process of re-educating Uhura from scratch, having her read a basic children's book to learn to read. Frustrated with her inability to read, Uhura rants a little rant in Swahili.

HOW AND WHEN DID SHE RELEARN SWAHILI?
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Old April 22 2014, 04:38 AM   #12
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Robert D. Robot wrote: View Post
I was wondering if there was ever a reason given (maybe I missed it) why Soran needed to blow up a star to make the Nexus change course to hit a planet where he would be waiting, standing on a hilltop. Couldn't he have just flown a ship into the Nexus to get back inside?
They noted that the ships engulfed by the Nexus were destroyed, killing everyone on board. Apparently they were not protected from the physical environment in which they still existed.

I wondered why he didn't just fly into it in a space suit...??
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Old April 22 2014, 09:15 AM   #13
Nightdiamond
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Here's a good one from Dear Doctor.

Archer and Phlox find a planet with two species, The Menk and the Valakians.

One of the species, the Valakians, has a genetic based disease. It is difficult to cure because it keeps mutating.

Phlox eventually does find a cure for the disease, but tells Archer they shouldn't give it to them .

He believes that evolution meant for the Valakians to become extinct, and for the Menk to eventually dominate the planet.

The logic seems way off here. That type of logic could be applied to any disease people catch or are born with.

Just because a disease is based on a genetic flaw that keeps resisting , doesn't mean that there isn't a possibility whatsoever that it could be cured.

If a Federation population developed a deadly disease, their scientists would ignore that type of thinking and wreck their brains trying to find the cure.

The same logic could be applied to a huge asteroid hurdling towards a populated, warp capable planet.

And yet several times over we see Starfleet trying to prevent them from arriving or helping to save the planet's inhabitants.
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Old April 22 2014, 12:20 PM   #14
Finn
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

^ I always thought it was mostly because Phlox wanted to give the Menk a fighting chance.
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Old April 22 2014, 12:50 PM   #15
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Re: Logical inconsistencies within Star Trek episodes

Similarly on TNG's "Homeward," Picard interprets the Prime Directive as meaning they should let the entire race become extinct. The Prime Directive is intended to keep us from interfering with the development of a people, so that they may develop at their own pace. Since extinction is kind of the opposite of development, I suggest that the PD didn't apply, and I never understood Picard's problem with trying to rescue some of the population.
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