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Old May 29 2012, 05:12 PM   #46
BillJ
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Vassa wrote: View Post

And for all you know the Valakians find their own cure and figure out the Menk are more intelligent than they first realized.
Of course it's possible. But that happening would shoot Phlox's theory all to hell and allows innocent Valakians to continue to die in the interim.

We will just have to agree to disagree.
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Old May 29 2012, 05:19 PM   #47
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Of course it's possible. But that happening would shoot Phlox's theory all to hell and allows innocent Valakians to continue to die in the interim.
They did send down medication to help ease the pain and suffering. Perhaps that was enough help.

Last edited by Vassa; May 29 2012 at 05:21 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old May 29 2012, 05:39 PM   #48
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Dear Doctor is one of ENT's best stories because it shows the slow genesis of what will be called the Prime Directive once the Federation exists and because, given the initial response of Archer as well as many people who have seen the episode, it neatly reveals how counterintuitive interspecies ethics are.
Structurally I like that Phlox neither shares the crew's gut impulse to help the sick Valakians nor the exploited Menk. He sees no exploitation and merely a symbiotic relationship yet his decision is clearly based on not messing with this very relationship. Basically he is the only one who actually thinks about the issue and after his initial impulsiveness Archer understands his point.
Obviously the initial ending where Archer had not agreed with Phlox would have been better, not merely for this story but also for the continuation of the evolution of the Prime Directive. Instead of two PD episodes, one in which Archer learns from Phlox and one in which Trip learns from Archer there could have been a third one where Archer messes up and learns.

Aside from the Prime Directive I like that the story is told from Phlox' perspective as it reveals how alien he is. Trek often just puts makeup upon aliens and neglects to show us how different from us they actually are.
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Old May 29 2012, 05:46 PM   #49
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

I'm not understanding the widespread assumption that the Valakians died out. How can anyone know what happened to them?

At the end of the episode, the Valakians were still alive and kicking, supplied with palliative meds that would improve their situation, and filled with determination to find a solution to their problem. The future was not set in stone -- Phlox's theorized possible future or any other.

There was no indication that the Valakians would never find a cure on their own. Or that they would never make contact with another species that might render aid or supply a ship to go looking for help. There are endless possibilities that include the survival of both the Valakians and the Menk, or one, or the other.

To me, this was classic Trek: a moral dilemma, an impossible choice to make with no single "correct" solution. Both the Valakians and the Menk had something to gain and something to lose, no matter what steps were taken.

The fact that folks here are still discussing it years later is likely the outcome the writers were hoping for. Saying Phlox and Archer should burn in hell...maybe not so much.
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Old May 29 2012, 06:16 PM   #50
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

ARCHER: We could stay and help them.
T'POL: The Vulcans stayed to help Earth ninety years ago. We're still there.
ARCHER: I never thought I'd say this, but I'm beginning to understand how the Vulcans must have felt.

Indeed. However views Phlox and Archer as wicked has to have the same opinion about Vulcans. When they arrived on Earth they met a culture in ruins. Sure, it has just developed warp drive but based on what Lily said there are still some wars going on so culturally the post WWIII humankind is probably below us.
They did help us but not via providing technology and our key problems had to be solved by us. That made us angry and you can see that anger in Archer and Tucker. Only experiencing such problems themselves made them understand the Vulcans.
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Old May 29 2012, 07:34 PM   #51
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

HopefulRomantic wrote: View Post
I'm not understanding the widespread assumption that the Valakians died out.
When discussing a principle, the actual outcome of the case in question is irrelevant.

Imagine yourself driving along an empty road at night. Suddenly, you run into a car smashed into a tree, with a man stuck inside, crying for help. Do you get out and help (perhaps call 911), or do you just pass him by, thinking "meh, someone else will show up eventually anyway"?
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Old May 29 2012, 07:37 PM   #52
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

A single person in distress is a far cry from an entire planet in distress, and I don't believe it's a valid analogy.
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Old May 29 2012, 07:48 PM   #53
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

DonIago wrote: View Post
A single person in distress is a far cry from an entire planet in distress, and I don't believe it's a valid analogy.
You just haven't given it enough thought.
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Old May 29 2012, 08:38 PM   #54
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

I think your example with the car accident neatly illustrates that most of the times we do not have to actually think about ethical issues. Most of our ethics are after all not a result of elaborate thought but are unconscious gut reactions that have evolved over thousands of years and are thus deeply wired into us.
But in the case of interspecies ethics this does not suffice anymore, you need principles that run counter to what every fiber in your body tells you is right. This very tension has probably never been better shown than in the case of Dear Doctor.
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Old May 29 2012, 08:57 PM   #55
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Mach5 wrote: View Post
DonIago wrote: View Post
A single person in distress is a far cry from an entire planet in distress, and I don't believe it's a valid analogy.
You just haven't given it enough thought.
Well, that wasn't at all dismissive.
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Old May 29 2012, 09:17 PM   #56
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

DonIago wrote: View Post
Well, that wasn't at all dismissive.
You didn't at all dismiss my opinion without offering any counter-argument.
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Old May 29 2012, 11:27 PM   #57
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

I said I didn't think your analogy was valid. If you think it is, perhaps you'd care to provide more information in order to bolster your case?
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Old May 30 2012, 02:35 AM   #58
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Mach5 wrote: View Post
Imagine yourself driving along an empty road at night. Suddenly, you run into a car smashed into a tree, with a man stuck inside, crying for help. Do you get out and help (perhaps call 911), or do you just pass him by, thinking "meh, someone else will show up eventually anyway"?
That's a matter of extreme urgency, where every minute counts toward a binary life-or-death outcome, and as such is not a helpful analogy to the dilemma the episode presents.

I think HopefulRomantic hit the nail on the head.
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Old May 30 2012, 04:53 AM   #59
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

I guess Gaith hasn't given it enough thought either.
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Old May 30 2012, 05:41 AM   #60
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Re: True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

this episode combined a contempt for ethics with a contempt for science and the way evolution works. It is at the bottom of the barrel for Trek and it's depressing to see fans defend it.
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