Nothing Human/Moral Perspectives on Exobiology

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by QuarkforNagus, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. QuarkforNagus

    QuarkforNagus Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    As Crell's real-life Mengele-like practices are exposed, there's a big hubbub on the ship. Many are outraged at the prospect of using this hologram or any of his medical assistance to heal B'Elanna, herself included, and protest in the hopes of preventing it. They maintain that by using Crell's findings, they are tacitly condoning his research practice.

    What are your thoughts? If you were in B'Elanna's position, would you have a problem being treated by Crell? Would it make a difference whether or not the Crell hologram itself performed the procedure or if someone else performed it using his research findings and medical techniques?

    Would you make the same call if you were the Captain?

    And do you think it was right for the Doctor to have completely deleted Moset's program from the computer? Was there any ethical value in deleting a holographic representation of this character?
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My thoughts are these:

    - Whatever Crell Moset did, has already been done. No amount of moral grandstanding can undo it. The knowledge he gained IS OUT THERE. It can't be undone.

    - Therefore, I can see no reason why the results of his actions should not be used. Letting B'Elanna die would not bring back any of those who died because of Moset.

    - And it would not 'condone' his research practices - not only was the real Moset nowhere near the ship (so it's not like he would find out and thus be inspired to do it all over again), but also: None of Moset's data and research practices were actually used on B'Elanna! She didn't benefit from anything Moset did during the occupation. Moset was used as a fellow doctor in this episode, but nothing he did to any innocent victims was used in helping B'Elanna.

    - Indeed, it might be a worse crime to NOT use the data - because then all those people died for nothing.

    - So the hologram looked like Moset. Not a big deal. The hologram was not the REAL Moset. The hologram could have been made to look like anyone or anything. (Thus when the program was deleted, obviously it's not a big deal, because the Moset hologram was not a sentient lifeform like the EMH is)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  3. QuarkforNagus

    QuarkforNagus Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I didn't get the big deal, either. It didn't make sense to me that B'Elanna would be so upset about being treated. If she is so preoccupied by the past moral habits of her medical practitioners and their techniques, then it seems like she should refuse ALL medical treatment.

    I just didn't understand the Captain's decision. B'Elanna made it clear she did not want to be treated by Crell or benefit from any of his discoveries. I don't think Janeway had the right to refuse that request, even if it was made simply as a result of B'Elanna's racism towards Cardassians.
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Janeway is the captain. That alone gives her pretty much the absolute right to order anyone under her command to do this, because if B'Elanna dies, Voyager loses its chief engineer.
     
  5. QuarkforNagus

    QuarkforNagus Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    B'Elanna is a sentient life form with the right to determine her own future. The Captain can force her to do her job in some particular way but she does not have the ethical right to force her to continue living or to submit to some form of medical treatment which would save her life, when she has plainly refused.
     
  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I disagree. B'Elanna's rights, and any crewmember's rights for that matter, are what the Captain says they are. As long as Janeway committed no crime in this episode - and she didn't - she has the right and the authority to do whatever is necessary. That's part and parcel of military discipline. You don't get to refuse an order just because it's morally inconvenient to do so.
     
  7. QuarkforNagus

    QuarkforNagus Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The Captain is a military official, not a "god". There are some rights that people take as basic. Rights upon which it is morally improper for human institutional figures to infringe.

    If the Captain had decided to discriminate against or repress certain crewmembers on the basis of their religious beliefs, for example, I'm sure we would both agree that this falls outside of the scope of a captain's rights.

    Here, B'Elanna has expressed her moral belief and asked that the Captain respect it. Surely, if the captain felt that B'Elanna was "wrong" in her judgment, she had every right to relieve B'Elanna of duty. But to force her to undergo a medical procedure?

    It's akin to forcing a member of your crew to undergo an abortion, or ordering them not to. Not your place.
     
  8. QuarkforNagus

    QuarkforNagus Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    And let's be real. Seven would make a fine Chief Engineer.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I'm not sure about that. There might be a fair amount of crew on the ship who would object to a Borg chief engineer.

    In any case, Janeway is making a decision that affects her ship and everyone on it: the question of who is chief engineer. And like I said, Janeway broke no laws in doing what she did; wouldn't you think somebody would have brought it up if she had no right to order B'Elanna to undergo the procedure?

    As much as some might like to think otherwise, Starfleet is a military. (It's not militarISTIC, but it is still a military.) Those in the military don't have the luxury to not follow orders just because of morals; they can resign their commission if they can't handle it, but obviously B'Elanna couldn't do that here.
     
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well let's face it, by season 5 Janeway already has consistently demonstrated she's willing to play god with the lives of her crew. She was willing to let Neelix live in purgatory on a biobed rather than kill the Viidian who took his lungs. She killed Tuvix against his will to save Tuvok and Neelix pretty much because she liked them more. Declared she was willing to kill them all to keep the Kazon from getting a replicator and so on and so on.

    So looking at it from that perspective, her forcing Torres to take a treatment against her will is small change. That doesn't make it any less unethical. Torres has the right to determine her own treatment or lack thereof. Even if it's silly at best to cut off your nose to spite your own face in her shoes as I think it is.

    I don't think the Doctor was out of line at all to use Crell's information. Was it terrible what Crell did? Absolutely. But adding one more body to the mass grave isn't going to change what he's already done. In fact I think a sick sadist would think it's utterly hilarious that yet more people would die out of some silly twist of morality rather than live knowing that his knowledge saved them.

    Does that mean I think Janeway had the right to basically force Torres to do it? No. Were I captain, I'd have encouraged her to do it, but in the end if she said no, I wouldn't force it. If it was me on the table, I would say use the SS agent's knowledge to save my life. Me dying isn't going to change anything that already happened after all.
     
  11. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What always struck me about the episode, is they're making a big deal about this, but no one complains, no one debates, there are no moral dilemmas when they use knowledge Seven got from the Borg.

    The whole episode is simply stupid.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Excellent point...

    Then again, they could argue that the Borg have no choice in what they do - it's in their collective, their programming - so there is no malicious intent like there was with Moset. (I'm not arguing that, but some might.)
     
  13. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Facts are neutral. Using evil methods to obtain facts is evil, but doesn't have any effect on the facts themselves.
     
  14. JanewayRulz!

    JanewayRulz! Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think this is a fascinating story, despite the plastic bug that was stuck to B'Elanna's chest for much of the ep, and I don't really understand the 2oth and 21st century fans who complain it is unrealistic when these ethical questions come up in our own culture/society.

    Here's an article delineating the issue, and showing "modern" examples of the argument from freezing research to the effects of phosphogene on the human lung.


    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/naziexp.html

    I understand that people posting might not agree with B'Elanna's interpretation... just as Dr Pozos and Dr Hayward don't agree with it, but to diss the ep because you think the writers made up an illegitimate controversy is mistaken.

    This ep has more real life connections to us than "Tuvix" ever could, and Janeway settled this one the same way she settled Tuvix. She said "no" to the blended parasite/B'Elanna being and "yes" to her crewman.

    Unlike Tuvix, however, this decision had consequences that reverberated from season 5 until the 3rd ep of season 6.

    The "rift" between Janeway and B'Elanna.


    JANEWAY: Feeling any better?
    TORRES: I'm alive.
    JANEWAY: I hope you can understand why I went against your wishes, B'Elanna. Losing you was unacceptable. I know you're angry, but we need to put this behind us. Understood?
    TORRES: Is that an order?
    JANEWAY: Yes.
    TORRES: You can't order someone to get rid of an emotion, Captain.
    JANEWAY: And what emotion is that?
    TORRES: You had no right to make that decision for me!
    JANEWAY: I'm the Captain. You're my crewman. I did what I thought best. I get the feeling there are still a few demons in the air. Let's hope this does the trick, huh?

    Sorry Captain, but those demons will take another 15 eps to dispel.
     
  15. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I am well aware of the controversy regarding using Nazi medical data--both from a professional and a personal view: what was left of my family in Europe went into concentration camps.

    I'm dissing the episode because it directly contradicted how they used what Seven brought from the Borg. If it's immoral to use a hologram of Crell Moset, then it is also immoral to use any knowledge Seven has gained through assimilation.

    That issue NEVER came up.
     
  16. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    While your point is valid, the Borg stole all of that information from other cultures. Also, 7of9 was a member of the Borg with access to them. So it's more like information taken from a defector who was not personally guilty of large-scale warcrimes.

    I think the Doctor's use of the hologram was insensitive and potentially dangerous given what we know of holo-intelligence.
     
  17. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, don't get me wrong, I totally agree with using what knowledge Seven has.

    But it would have been nice if they'd brought it up. For consistency's sake.
     
  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Using the treatment on B'elana was more an emotional decision, not an ethical one. It may have been ethically wrong to go against her wishes, but it's totally understandable not to be willing to make that decision to save somebody you care about.

    It's true that it's not the facts discovered that committed the crimes, but using them and praising them does give tacit consent to using those methods so long as you don't get caught until it's all over. It was kind of silly to take out the vendetta against the real evil doctor on a holographic recreation of him.
     
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    *Godwin ahead*

    It does, honestly seem more like it'd be treated as TASTELESS versus criminal.

    Like you want to design a really cheap fuel-efficient car and create a hologram of Hitler to help you plan it.
     
  20. Lt. Uhura-Brown

    Lt. Uhura-Brown Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Why did they have to use Crell's exact physical appearance parameters for the hologram in the first place?