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Old September 29 2009, 10:25 PM   #196
BeautifulAndTerribleRomantic
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

I have seen many viewers assign full blame to Archer (or sometimes, tossing some culpability to Phlox) for what they assume will be the Valakians' certain extinction, simply because Phlox didn't intervene in both species' natural development by handing them a cure. But the Valakians weren't automatically doomed.
Archer: Phlox tells me this medicine will help ease
the symptoms for a decade, maybe more. A lot can happen in that time. I wouldn't be surprised if you developed a cure
on your own.
No, Phlox didn't give them a cure. Archer didn't give them warp drive. But as pookha pointed out in an earlier thread about "Dear Doctor," the medicine Phlox developed gave the Valakians a fighting chance to find or develop the cure themselves.

Neither Phlox nor Archer were predicting the Valakians' future with certainty. Phlox based his medical assessments on his studies of the genetics of both the Valakians and the Menk, and on the principle of evolution. But he acknowledged that two humanoid species living side-by-side on one planet was highly unusual. This wasn't an open-and-shut textbook example of one species destined to die out while the other developed; it was, as Phlox said, a "projection." The possibility of the Valakians curing themselves was left open.

It's possible that the Valakians will survive because they aggressively seek a cure, spurred on by Archer's expression of hope for them. Phlox's medicine will give them ten or more years without the burden of the illness -- time to improve the medicine, perhaps, and extend its benefits, enabling scientists to do more and better research. Archer's refusal to hand over ready-made warp capability might well light a fire under them to find someone who will, or even develop warp drive themselves, so they can leave their planet and search for a cure.

Archer and Phlox's decision not to interfere left the Valakians in the position to make their own fate -- not just lay down and die out. It's even possible that the Menk will help the ailing Valakians in some way.

For me, the episode is what it intends to be: a question with no "right" answer, the same as many other Trek episodes. I agree that it wouldn't be that way on TNG. Picard adhered to the Prime Directive quite ruthlessly at times; he would never have considered handing over a cure to the Valakians, while Archer, with no such guideline, agonized over it.

Regarding evolution...I didn't major in biology either, but I remember that mutation plays a role in evolution.

This is from the Columbia Encyclopedia:

The Darwinian concept of natural selection is that inheritable variations among the individuals of given types of organisms continually arise in nature and that some variations prove advantageous under prevailing conditions in that they enable the organism to leave relatively more surviving offspring. But how these variations initially arise or are transmitted to offspring, and hence to subsequent generations, was not understood by Darwin. The science of genetics, originating at the beginning of the 20th cent. with the recognition of the importance of the earlier work of Mendel, provided a satisfactory explanation for the origin and transmission of variation. In 1901, de Vries presented his theory that mutation, or suddenly appearing and well-defined inheritable variation (as opposed to the slight, cumulative changes stressed by Darwin), is a force in the origin and evolution of species. Mutation in genes is now accepted by most biologists as a fundamental concept in evolutionary theory.

Still prevalent misunderstandings of evolution are the beliefs that an animal or plant changes in order to better adapt to its environment–for example, that it develops an eye for the purpose of seeing–and that actual physical competition among individuals is required. Since mutation is a random process, changes can be either useful, unfavorable, or neutral to the individual's or species' survival. However, a new characteristic that is not detrimental may sometimes better enable the organism to survive or leave offspring in its environment.
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Old September 30 2009, 12:57 AM   #197
TheGodBen
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

HopefulRomantic wrote: View Post
Neither Phlox nor Archer were predicting the Valakians' future with certainty. Phlox based his medical assessments on his studies of the genetics of both the Valakians and the Menk, and on the principle of evolution. But he acknowledged that two humanoid species living side-by-side on one planet was highly unusual. This wasn't an open-and-shut textbook example of one species destined to die out while the other developed; it was, as Phlox said, a "projection." The possibility of the Valakians curing themselves was left open.
But the problem is that that is still working under the faulty assumption that evolution is some form of divine force which guides us, whereas the reality is that we tend to drive evolution and not the other way round. It's like the story I told of the Irish Elk, evolution wasn't what doomed them, it was the actions of members of the species in deciding who they mated with and when they failed to challenge one another, that's what killed them.

And if we continue with the elks, if they were alive today and we made the projection that their habitat had changed so that the vegetation was no longer able to support them, should we do nothing and allow them to die because "evolution" has determined that they must? I don't think that it is right for us to sit back and let an entire species die, sentient or not, because we have chosen to imagine evolution as some mystical force which guides the universe. Evolution is a powerful scientific concept and I think Darwin was one of the greatest people who ever lived, but evolution is not a god, it should not be worshipped and sacrifices should not be made in its name.

As for the PD, I am a PD advocate but only as a means of preventing cultural or technological contamination, I don't like the way TNG sometimes used it to justify letting whole planets be destroyed. If an asteroid is heading towards a medieval-level society then by all means it should be destroyed, but we shouldn't beam down to that planet and show them our magical things. The tricky part comes when a species wipes itself out by using WMDs or global warming, in which case I would say that was a decision made by the species themselves and not some random chance, so there should be no interference in that situation. C'est la mort.


Sleeping Dogs (*½)

Why are the Klingons stupid? They never used to be. Okay, so they were never going to win the award for smartest species in the galaxy, and they were often antagonistic, but they were never out-and-out stupid. It's almost like the writers mixed up the Klingons with the Kazon and forgot the fact that people disliked the Kazon for being stupid Klingons. By the end of DS9 I was tired of the Klingons going on and on about honour and glory, but after watching this I want those Klingons back, at least they were people rather than lame attempts at conflict.

This episode feels too much like episodes we've seen before on several different occasions, off the top of my head I can think of DS9's Starship Down and Voyager's Juggernaut. There's a ship, they're in a gas giant, the crew MIGHT DIE!!!, they have to escape... it's all standard fare. There's a few nice character touches, but overall the episode was nothing new, other than making the Klingons stupid which I will contend was a bad thing.

Archer flew down to a dangerous depth in a shuttlepod for some reason. Delegate, captain, delegate. But hey, at least there was nipples!

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Old September 30 2009, 02:46 AM   #198
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
"Survival of the fittest" was a phrase devised by Herbert Spencer as an attempt by him to explain Darwin's theory of natural selection in his own book. Unfortunately this phrase doesn't nearly begin to explain how evolution works and has probably caused more confusion than there would have been without it. This misunderstanding may have led to a confusion with the discredited ideas behind Lamarckism, Social Darwinism and possibly even the Holocaust. I hope you can see why I don't like the phrase.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Darwin
Well that makes more sense then, and I can understand your hostility towards the episode then.
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Old September 30 2009, 07:56 AM   #199
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Sleeping Dogs (*½)
I remember two things about this episode, one of them mainly from the episode promo, and that one bugged me so... KLINGONS DO NOT HAVE WARBIRDS. Yes, they have Birds of Prey, but those are not developed for another century. ROMULANS have Warbirds, and the Romulans are established as not being known at this time. Does no one on staff even WATCH the shows they're supposed to be respecting the existence of? Gr. Had to get that out of my system.

The other memorable thing about this episode was that it coincided with the nasty ice storm my town got hit with near the ending. Other than those two things, I pretty much remember nothing about this episode at all.
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Old September 30 2009, 08:47 AM   #200
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Of course they have Warbirds. The episode says so. Warbird is an English word. There is no reason that a Romulan word and a Klingon word can't both be translated into English as "Warbird".

Adler was a German car maker

Aigle is a Swiss car maker

In English they would be called Eagle.
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Old September 30 2009, 08:54 AM   #201
BeautifulAndTerribleRomantic
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Ben, I don't recall anyone displaying blind reverence for divine forces or mysticism or worshipping the god Darwin and making offerings to his altar in "Dear Doctor." I saw two men struggling with their values and with science, and finally making a choice, even though the choice was impossible. There was no easy answer, no way to tie the ends up neatly with a pretty bow. That was the point. And it worked just fine for me.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
And if we continue with the elks, if they were alive today and we made the projection that their habitat had changed so that the vegetation was no longer able to support them, should we do nothing and allow them to die because "evolution" has determined that they must?
So what if the elk (and their faulty mating instincts) are preserved due to our good-intentioned "intervention," but as a result, some other species dies out because there are so many elk around?

No one knows the future, and you can't predict mutations and their consequences. And with intelligent species such as the Valakians, you can't know what they are capable of accomplishing with time or research or determination. I'm still not seeing a catch-all solution for this kind of dilemma.

The tricky part comes when a species wipes itself out by using WMDs or global warming, in which case I would say that was a decision made by the species themselves and not some random chance, so there should be no interference in that situation. C'est la mort.
What about "Assignment: Earth"? Our gallant Enterprise crew went back to 1968 and tried to keep humans from destroying themselves. Or "City on the Edge of Forever"? Hitler destroyed Earth, but our heroes went back to keep the species from wiping itself out.

In TOS, the Prime Directive seemed to be something that sounded noble and sensible, but which Kirk blew off whenever he thought his POV was wiser than that pesky old PD. TNG was probably much more anal about it because of the way Kirk didn't take it seriously when he didn't want to. "Dear Doctor" was a great character study for me because it looked at a PD situation before there was any PD to toss away when convenient, and Archer had to figure out what to do on his own.
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Old September 30 2009, 09:13 AM   #202
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Of course they have Warbirds. The episode says so. Warbird is an English word. There is no reason that a Romulan word and a Klingon word can't both be translated into English as "Warbird".

Adler was a German car maker

Aigle is a Swiss car maker

In English they would be called Eagle.
Dammit, you're nitpicking my nitpick!

But the way it sounded to me was that 'Warbird' was meant as a ship class, and 'Warbird' as a ship class is so tied to the Romulans, and so it bothered me. YMMV.
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Old September 30 2009, 09:39 AM   #203
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Used to be "Bird of Prey" was tied to the Romulans, then came STIII. Oh the streets ran wild with nitpicker's blood that day.
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Old September 30 2009, 09:46 AM   #204
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

DGCatAniSiri wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
Of course they have Warbirds. The episode says so. Warbird is an English word. There is no reason that a Romulan word and a Klingon word can't both be translated into English as "Warbird".

Adler was a German car maker

Aigle is a Swiss car maker

In English they would be called Eagle.
Dammit, you're nitpicking my nitpick!

But the way it sounded to me was that 'Warbird' was meant as a ship class, and 'Warbird' as a ship class is so tied to the Romulans, and so it bothered me. YMMV.
I think the writers felt it didn't matter because both the Klingons and the Romulans have had a "Bird of Prey" so they figured they could both have Warbird classes as well.

Yes, I know the Klingon BoP was supposed to a be Romulan design, which Klingons stole/traded/co-designed. (In the real world, this story element was cut).

Besides, couldn't the same be said for the "Warbird" classes?
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Old September 30 2009, 01:36 PM   #205
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Anyway, I think what I've proved today is that if you want to understand how evolution works then read a proper science book because I'm crap at explaining it.
That's exacty what you proved young Ben, and that your crap at understanding it. Your brother may overcome the razor sharp fan scenario in a way YOU never thought of... but HE did, so he gets smarter not shorter. He begins to develop physical traits and mental advantages that you short little fucks can't defend against or advance beyond. So your brother and his prodginy will be giving your short little offspring well deserved noogies for the next million years !!

Darwin had a theory, and a good one, but as any student of Darwinism will tell you, Darwin barely scratched the surface. And a vast array of other factors that we may never see in practice, or even have thought of, will also have influence in the development (or lack there of) of a species... but you said (in Mordo's voice) "that's not how evolution works" refering to the episode, and yet I don't think you or anyone really knows how evolution works in that respect, and that's the point, let the natural course of things decide.... Especially when talking about two sentient and intelligent races living on the same planet. It's a whole new ball game, and it happened on Earth, possibly more than once, and could happen again... (Cat's are practically being born with new thumbs all over the place, what the fuck is that about !?!)
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Old September 30 2009, 02:30 PM   #206
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

Yug wrote: View Post
(Cat's are practically being born with new thumbs all over the place, what the fuck is that about !?!)
They're awaiting the rebirth of Basement Cat, who will then lead the feline hoardes of hell in a bloody uprising to take over as the true masters of the world.
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Old September 30 2009, 03:38 PM   #207
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

What or whom is Tasty Coma Wife?

Oh never mind I just got it Temporal Cold War. I just google Tasty Coma Wife and found some actress from starship troopers.

Is there any reference to using Tasty Coma Wife?
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Old September 30 2009, 03:43 PM   #208
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

S3CT1ON31 wrote: View Post
What or whom is Tasty Coma Wife?
I'm not sure, but it seems to be a Scrubs reference: Here.
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Old September 30 2009, 05:57 PM   #209
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

DGCatAniSiri wrote: View Post
Yug wrote: View Post
(Cat's are practically being born with new thumbs all over the place, what the fuck is that about !?!)
They're awaiting the rebirth of Basement Cat, who will then lead the feline hoardes of hell in a bloody uprising to take over as the true masters of the world.
Cool, and adorable !!
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Old September 30 2009, 06:10 PM   #210
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Enterprise

HopefulRomantic wrote: View Post
Ben, I don't recall anyone displaying blind reverence for divine forces or mysticism or worshipping the god Darwin and making offerings to his altar in "Dear Doctor." I saw two men struggling with their values and with science, and finally making a choice, even though the choice was impossible. There was no easy answer, no way to tie the ends up neatly with a pretty bow. That was the point. And it worked just fine for me.
But the problem I have is that I don't believe the choice was impossible, I believe that the choice they made was based on faulty logic and faulty science and that the "right" choice (based on my understanding of the situation) was for them to give the aliens the cure. Given the arguments presented on screen then Archer and Phlox's decision made sense, but my point is that the arguments presented on screen were faulty.

So what if the elk (and their faulty mating instincts) are preserved due to our good-intentioned "intervention," but as a result, some other species dies out because there are so many elk around?
Humanity has caused an unknown number of extinctions in our time on this planet and we are continuing to cause them. Just imagine all the lifeforms which could be saved if we were to die out; over thousands of years the endangered species on this planet would have a chance to recover, and over millions of years a new dominant species could emerge. So lets stop treating people for their medical troubles, hospitals are healing people who have developed natural illnesses like cancer and if those people die then the other species on this planet will have a greater chance to flourish.

Besides, saving the elks would be unlikely to cause the extinction of another species because we would not be altering the environment of this other species, we would be maintaining it. Also, if we saved the elks and thousands of years later that somehow led another species towards likely extinction, then I would advocate some more human intervention to save the other species. It's not an either/or situation, we can try to save both.

No one knows the future, and you can't predict mutations and their consequences. And with intelligent species such as the Valakians, you can't know what they are capable of accomplishing with time or research or determination. I'm still not seeing a catch-all solution for this kind of dilemma.
Yes, the Valakians may find a cure in the decades in the decades that follow and their race might be saved, but that doesn't alter the fact that Phlox already had a cure and they chose not to use it. It wasn't a case of might and maybe, it was a case of could and will. Archer had a cure and chose not to use it, so if the Valakians never did find a cure then they're deaths are on Archer's head.

What about "Assignment: Earth"? Our gallant Enterprise crew went back to 1968 and tried to keep humans from destroying themselves.
No, they went back in time to do historical research and found evidence of aliens interfering in human affairs so Kirk and Spock tried to stop them. Personally, I think the aliens were wrong to interfere in our affairs, and it was also a terrible episode planned as a pilot for another series, so I have trouble considering it canonical.

Or "City on the Edge of Forever"? Hitler destroyed Earth, but our heroes went back to keep the species from wiping itself out.
They went back to fix the timeline because McCoy accidentally changed history, they weren't interfering, they were attempting to prevent interference.

Yug wrote: View Post
That's exacty what you proved young Ben, and that your crap at understanding it.
Admittedly, my crap is indeed poor at understanding evolutionary theory. It just tends to sink and not do much else.

Your brother may overcome the razor sharp fan scenario in a way YOU never thought of... but HE did, so he gets smarter not shorter.
Whaaaaa? Firstly, I never said that my brother would get shorter because evolution does not work on a single generation, it builds upon variation over several generations. Secondly, I never said that my brother would die, I said he was more likely to die.

He begins to develop physical traits and mental advantages that you short little fucks can't defend against or advance beyond. So your brother and his prodginy will be giving your short little offspring well deserved noogies for the next million years !!
What you're advocating here is Lamarckism and evolution does not work that way, traits "learned" over the course of one's life are not passed down to your offspring, only your predetermined genetic traits. For example, I'm pale and scrawny, but I could go to a gym and build up some muscles, and I could suntan until I'm a darker shade. It would be difficult because I'm not that way naturally, but I could become buff and tanned with enough work. However, that would not be passed on to my children because those are "learned" traits, my children would still have the genes which made me pale and scrawny.

But most importantly: I'm not short! I'm 6 foot.

Darwin had a theory, and a good one, but as any student of Darwinism will tell you, Darwin barely scratched the surface. And a vast array of other factors that we may never see in practice, or even have thought of, will also have influence in the development (or lack there of) of a species... but you said (in Mordo's voice) "that's not how evolution works" refering to the episode, and yet I don't think you or anyone really knows how evolution works in that respect, and that's the point, let the natural course of things decide....
Okay, if that's what you want to do, but that means we're going to destroy hurricane levees, destroy flash-flood canals, we'll stop warning people when tsunamis are about to hit in their area, volcanoes too, and we should stop trying to predict earthquakes. And we'll have to close down the hospitals as I've previously suggested. Lets let the random and unthinking forces of nature decide which of us lives and dies and lets not complain when it is somebody close to us who bites the bullet. After all, they were supposed to die.

I don't believe in a god or the notion that certain things are "supposed" to happen, I believe that the universe works under the principle of organised randomness; things happen under the laws of physics and biology but there is no plan to it.

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What or whom is Tasty Coma Wife?
Behold the Tasty Coma Wife. She eventually became JD's girlfriend and then disappeared in the season 2-3 hiatus so that they could have JD lust after Elliot again.

And for those of you wondering about that Archer/Daniels slash fiction I wrote, it was purely to get the "It's like a baguette" line in there. (The scene starting at 1:40)


Shadows of P'Jem (*½)

Shuttle-crashes, main characters captured, ransoms and rescue attempts... all original material which we've never seen on Star Trek before. I've said it before, episodes which focus on main characters being captured and trying to escape often fall into the trap of being boring unless there's an interesting and unusual twist, such as B'Elanna being split into human and Klingon halves in Faces. Archer getting some boobs in his face does not qualify.


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Mother Sussman: That's great son. What did you write today?
Mike Sussman: Today I wrote a scene where the captain gets some ginormous Vulcan boobs in his face!
Mother Sussman: ...
Nipples Ahoy!: 3

I like that there's an episode which is all about following up on the events of a previous episode, but it has been about four or five months since the events of The Andorian Incident, it's a little late for this sort of direct follow-up. I like that they've brought Shran back, but his reasoning about wanting a good night's sleep is so simplistic it is almost as if a child wrote it. I even like the idea that Vulcan is propping up puppet governments to support them, but I don't like how T'Pol's situation is resolved all because she jumped in front of a bullet. This episode should have been earlier and it should have been much, much more than it is.

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