Living witness, Implausible?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by WesleysDisciple, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just to turn this whole thread a little on its back, some time ago, I made a thread about this episode and in the discussion, an interesting idea came up: What if the backup module in this episode actually some how got spit into the mirror universe and the enterprise depicted in the flashbacks WAS the one the two civilizations encountered.

    It would be interesting if the doctor sat out for home only to get to the federation and find its more alien to him then the planet he left.
     
  2. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    While I took a different tack-that's what happened in my story-it was not the home he expected.
     
  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    At the risk of drawing attention to the elephant in the room, unless information is now using the transporter, computers "transfer" information by copying it and erasing it from where it was previously. It's possible computer technology works completely differently in the 24th century but, technically, the Doctor is being erased and copied everytime he's moved to a mobile emitter.

    The thing is, I'm entirely comfortable that the Doctor can't be copied without specialized software and THAT'S why the backup was necessary and it became such a hassle to recreate him afterward.

    Still, you're right, I may be overthinking this like Babylon Five's "life transfer" device. Vitalism is just true in B5, accept it.

    :)

    My rationale for this is basically the better travel times get, the more free-flow of information occurs, and the more cultural uniformity occurs across the universe--the smaller the universe gets. The Federation eventually covering the entire galaxy just seems to be a natural result of the fact that once there is "you can cross X amount of space instantly" you'd need a regulatory body to handle questions of soveignty, planetary rights, appeals, and so on.

    If everyone also agrees on X principles, is it more likely the universe will be six different "Federation of Kronos, Federation of Gorn, Federation of Romulus" or one gigantic Federation?

    But yes, your correct, there is no rationale Earth analogy for what I'm proposing and it's unlikely we'll never know since we'll all probably be Borg or extinct by the time such a question would be pertinent.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, it's backward to start from first principles and then claim that the situation onscreen "should" conform to them. The facts onscreen are as they are. We have to accept that and work in the other direction to find an explanation that justifies it. If the EMH were the same kind of computer program we use today, then it would follow that he could be easily copied ad infinitum. But he isn't. With the exception of "Living Witness," he's been consistently portrayed as a unique entity that is removed from one location when transferred to another. And that doesn't fit the kind of computer programs and data we use today, but it does fit quantum information. So it makes sense if the EMH is based on quantum computing, which is distinctly different from the kind of computers we use.

    Anyway, I've always felt that trying to use our modern browsers and word processors and games as an analogy for a conscious, thinking artilect is as nonsensical as trying to use a houseplant as an analogy for a human mind. They may be of a broadly similar category of being, but they're very, very far from interchangeable.



    I don't think that follows at all. If anything, the free flow of information that the Internet has allowed has resulted in the opposite of cultural uniformity, because once-isolated fringe ideas are now able to get broader hearings and larger followings. And historically, the parts of the world where different ideas have been free to mix and cross-pollinate, far from being melting pots that merged into homogeneity, have instead been the birthplaces of multiple new, competing philosophies and religions, as the different ideas have mixed and matched and clashed and reacted in a variety of different ways. When people have that many possible paths to choose from, there's no way in hell they're all going to mutually agree to head in the same direction. Cultural uniformity is only found in isolated areas where exposure to new ideas is limited.


    Circular argument. They'd need a central body because they'd need a central body. You're only assuming that such a need exists, and that's the very assumption I'm challenging. Yes, of course there would need to be regulation, but again, you're completely failing to grasp the sheer scale of the galaxy. There is simply no way that a single bureaucracy could handle millions of worlds, let along billions. You'd need a bunch of smaller, more local bureaucracies.

    The idea that a system needs a central authority at all is somewhat old-fashioned. We now understand that in many cases, local-rules organization is more effective. Look at the Internet. Decades ago, everyone assumed that the future of computers would be a single vast central mainframe that stored all knowledge and answered everyone's questions. Instead we've got a huge number of local servers, a decentralized, distributed network.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm anything but a libertarian. I believe there needs to be central government on some scale to maintain law and ethics and safety. But there has to be a balance. The larger the number of citizens or states that a central government has to manage, the less efficiently or responsibly it can serve and protect them. On a larger scale, you'd need an alliance of distinct governments, and on a larger scale an alliance of alliances, and so on. Ideally there'd be a set of basic ethical principles that they'd all agree to abide by, and international conventions for interaction and diplomacy and cross-cultural law, but there couldn't effectively be a single central body administering it all. Okay, maybe some kind of post-Singularity superintelligence could have the attention and processing power necessary to manage that many entities at once, but would we really want to be governed by a higher order of mind whose decisions we're not intelligent enough to fathom, let alone have veto power over? If we want a democratic system, a system where individuals have any rights and responsibility to shape policy, then there has to be a practical limit on how much territory that particular system covers. Representative democracy is a middle ground between centralized and distributed decision-making, and it's dangerous to let the balance shift too far in the centralized direction (although the same goes for shifting too far the other way, because that way lies anarchy).


    Neither. For one thing, you'll never get everyone to agree on everything, nor should you. Even if certain fundamentals are agreed upon, there are always going to be differences in interpretation and application. And as long as people have the right to think for themselves, there are going to be a lot of things they never agree on. The idea of a single, homogeneous culture spreading across the galaxy is hideously dystopian. As long as people are diverse -- and an interstellar, multispecies population would be orders of magnitude more diverse than we can comprehend -- they need to be given options. The only way they can all be free and represented is if they have a variety of different societies to affiliate with. Any universals would have to be very broad, adaptable sets of standards that the different societies are free to apply and administer in the ways that work best for them.
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Given how things are going with slipstream drive and future propulsion achievements, I'd assume Starfleet to at least have a presence in the area--barring any major incident in the AQ that would have seen the UFP collapse.
     
  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    The time scale on the episode bothers me a bit, to be honest. 700 years is a LONG time to hold a grudge. The Crusades are still a semi-sore subject in the Middle East but you don't hear people starting a riot over them.
     
  7. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In 700 years that area of space could be somebody else's realm to control and the Federation respects those boundaries. The entire universe is not a big open field to wander around and acquire- how many different political entities did Voyage come across in their 'straight' path home? Many of those were very protective of their territories and did not wish even one ship to pass through.

    I did love the 'Warship Voyager'- wish we had seen some of those enhancements on different ships in the Dominion War.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In a sense, you do -- because a lot of people in the Middle East see European interventions like the imposed nationbuilding after WWI or the CIA overthrow of Mossadeq in Iran or Bush's invasion of Iraq as just more of the same bad behavior Europeans have been engaging in since the Crusades. Indeed, the whole reason that jihadists like al-Qaida were able to get a foothold for their tactics at all was because they were able to argue that the West was still engaged in a crusade, an attempt to forcibly suppress Islam and impose Western values and religion. Strictly speaking, jihad is only permitted in self-defense, to protect the Islamic community from outsiders seeking its subjugation or destruction, so jihadists justify their aggression by claiming that Western policies in the Mideast have that goal, that they're effectively a renewed Crusade. (Indeed, there was one point where George W. Bush unthinkingly referred to the fight against al-Qaida as a crusade, and he and his foreign-policy team had to walk that back as quickly and firmly as possible because it was so inflammatory to Mideastern ears.)

    So yes, it's entirely possible for one culture to hold a grudge against another for centuries, especially if the two cultures have subsequent, ongoing clashes that can be interpreted as continuations of the same original conflict.
     
  9. hux

    hux Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I did come to the same conclusion as the OP a while back - even if the federation haven't charted that area, they would surely be known to a species that has had warp capability for so long

    additionally, lets not forget that the federations knowledge of the delta quadrant would be essentially based on the experiences of Voyager so you would think they might return to some of those areas first explored by Voyager

    For me, it is a plot hole....unless the federation has been destroyed of course
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again -- it's a vast galaxy with hundreds of millions of inhabited systems. Just ticking off the list of all the star systems they'd like to visit could easily take 700 years or more to finish. Maybe they've been meaning to go back to that system but just haven't gotten around to it yet, because the galaxy is insanely enormously gigantic.
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    On what basis do you make that assumption?

    Perhaps sentient consciousness is really nothing more and CAN be transferred, archived and duplicated with ease. We don't know (yet).
     
  12. WesleysDisciple

    WesleysDisciple Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    one other problem?

    where was this backup module for a near millenia?

    Why wasnt he foun way before now?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As Quarren said in the episode, "Three weeks ago our research team found a data storage device buried nine meters beneath the ruins at Kesef. I've confirmed that it came from Voyager." Those ruins could've been abandoned for centuries, overgrown and buried in soil, and only later rediscovered and excavated. It happens all the time. Heck, I read a news item just today about a Maya city that's just been visited by archaeologists after being abandoned for 1200 years.
     
  14. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Heck, things don't have to be lost in an inaccessible jungle, an urban car park can hide Richard III. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882
     
  15. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The free flow of information hasn't led to cultural uniformity but it has led to secularism, tolerance and cultural cross-pollenation. The US and Japan have been stealing each others' ideas for 200 years. Kurosawa was influenced by the West, then Sergio Leone and George Lucas came along and blatantly copied Kurosawa. It may seem like a lot of religious governments are just harshly cracking down on dissent, but it's only because they saw the civil rights and equality debate starting to happen and got scared.

    So you're right, we would not have one uniform culture throughout the whole galaxy. We might see lots of different cultures who mutually tolerate each other and copy each others' best ideas, who share a belief in individual freedoms and have open, friendly lines of communication to pursue common goals.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Even if the Vaskans and Kyrians did make nice by the time the EMH-copy left their world, I can understand why they might not trust the Federation right away. Some of the memories of the fake-ship and fake-crew might be too realistic for them to stomach. They might still believe all that crap.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's certainly a much more plausible and desirable scenario, and a truer one to Federation values, than a single uniform galaxy-wide Federation.
     
  18. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I believe the use of Biogenic weapons was meant to imply that the locals were more or less annihilated. It's entirely possible the world has only recently reached warp travel levels again. It might also explain why things are so hostile as their nearest neigbors are the guys who plunged them into a planetary Dark Age.

    Very possibly true. However, I generally am just speaking about how smaller groups get absorbed into larger ones all the time without it necessarily being a bad thing. I am mostly speaking of mutual exchange of ideas leading to a superior whole.

    Cross-pollinating and hybridization.

    If we joined a Federation, the countries of the world might merely become provinces but I imagine a leveling of "standard of living" as well as improved conditions for equal access to education as well as other supplies--which I presume would be standardized to "the best" as things improved.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Again, you just can't compare the scale of a planet and the scale of an entire galaxy. Some things simply do not scale up. You can't expect to model the behavior of an entire ocean from the behavior of a raindrop.
     
  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I understand what you're saying. I also think you cannot guess at what sort of reaction we'd see in space beyond Earth. Since we can only rely on Earth to gage how this would be, it our only POV.

    Also, in Star Trek, we see monocultured planets all the time and that's evidence it'd be how it work in Trek.

    But yeah, I'm going to concede. There's no way to know.