Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by chrinFinity, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    I don't think I noticed one very important thing in this discussion regarding Homeward, that by moving the Boraal to another planet they could be dooming the Boraal to disease that they have no means of fighting. They are also introducing what may well be an apex predator onto a planet that would have developed it's own advanced species. Or the Boraal could introduce a disease that would kill on the scale of the Permian Extinction.

    You could say that the transporters would filter out any disease, except that it doesn't filter out all micro-organism that can cause disease. For example in our gut are bacterium that are beneficial to humans, in fact needed by humans, but can cause another species, even other humans to become sick. So the transporter would leave those in the Boraal because the Boraal need them. Those micro-organisms could then infect the planet to which they were moved.

    Moving them was a stupid thing to do, to quote Jurassic park:
    The Boraal were selected for extinction.

    The choices were moving the Boraal to another planet. Possibly dooming the planet and/or the Boraal.

    Leaving them to their doom.

    Bring them on the Enterprise, destroying their culture. Why? Because to them only gods can travel to the stars, make water out of nothing, and moving from one place to another without walking there. You can't get around that. Send an Aircraft carrier back to when humans were hunter gatherers over even when we became farmers. Would those primitive humans understand a machine gun? A jet fighter? or a huge ship that travels the waters faster than they can run on land?

    Yes, it's cruel; but in this case leaving the Boraal to their fate was the correct choice.
     
  2. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    your view of evolution depends on a fallacy, though. Extinction doesn't mean "nature" "selected" a species for extinction. Extinction these days can be caused by Mankind's activities. In the past, it could have been caused by a natural disaster's effect on a habitat. The bottom line is that natural selection is a metaphor for success or failure to adapt to an environment.

    Your reading design into the process because it helps your argument, but Human scientific achievements "interfere" with natural processes and so what? Humans have ethics to make those decisions.

    As for cultural contamination-cultural change is a part of every culture, and better a changed culture than a dead one.
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think ideally it would be left to the culture itself to state whether it would rather be changed or dead.
     
  4. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    Yes, due to our level of technology, we can cause our own extinction, the Boraal could not. They were a pre-industrial society. They didn't have any means of developing nuclear arms, or a strain of virus or bacterium that could wipe them out. Natural selection could also mean that a species has no way to adapt quickly enough to it's new environment. The Snowball Earth for example, or the impact of a large comet or meteor. In any even, the Boraal were not able to adapt quickly enough, or like a large impact event they could not adapt. They were not "meant" to survive, their planet was not "meant" to sustain life at that time or maybe ever again.

    I believe Carl Sagan said something like, intelligent life could evolve on a planet orbiting a Red Giant star, but it would die (due to the relatively short life span of a Red Giant) before they knew they were in any danger.

    The Boraal were saved for selfish reasons. Then put onto a new planet where they did not belong, which would devastate them or the planet. They would be doing what Dr. Carol Marcus wanted to avoid, destroying an established ecosystem.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No that's not true, Vorin wasn't "overwhelmed by the Enterprise." The problem was this, he was give three choices, he could leave his people forever, or he could keep quiet/lie forever, or he could be regarded by his people as a lying madman.

    Vorin's basic problem was that he loved his people, and he was a honest man. If the brothers Rozhenko had been completely honest with the Boraalan people, Vorin as a individual wouldn't have been place in the position of having no way out.

    Vorin's suicide wasn't from being "overwhelmed by the Enterprise."

    This is where the sheer arrogance behind the concept PD is shown, the Federation obviously has a technological edge over some people. But does this automatically make them more advanced in every way than the stupid little "mud people" who inhabit the galaxy?

    Because we have warp drive, this means you are too culturally and socially primitive to understand certain things.

    It more a case of having something happening right in front of you. If a old lady is run down in the street, you pull over and attempt to help, even if it's just calling 911. If she's hit a thousand light years away from you, then you don't pull over.

    Nobody is saying you have to patrol the streets in your car, just help when you can.

    But, wouldn't everyone dying have the same effect?

    And if the people survive the "whatever" they may (or may not) be able to either reform their previous culture, or create a brand new one in time.

    While if they're all dead ...

    At the end of WWtW Picard told the "primitive people" who he was and what was going on. Bravo. He was vague in places and lacking in detail, but he was also honest.

    The Dremans were obviously aware that something happened. Not just a small region, but the entire planet was tearing itself apart, then it just stopped. How primitive were they anyway?

    Sarjenka, a child, possessed a RF radio capable of communicating with a ship somewhere in her solar system. That makes them what? Mid-twentieth century at least. So even if Sarjenka lived in a rural area, there were cities elsewhere and perhaps universities.

    And the destruction just stopped.

    So just contact them, be vague in places, but be honest.

    That's from Pen Pals. In order to somehow justify the PD, Picard is force to walk down a twisting pathway of hypotheticals.

    How realistically do you get from stopping a natural disaster that's going to end all life --- to a "oppressive government that's enslaving millions," that presumably isn't going to end all life. Where is the comparison?

    Unless we help everyone, we can help no one?

    And this would be the advantage of straight forward contacting the people to be "saved." It possible that the Boraal in Homeward would have selected not to be saved, to die on their land. Or the village elders might have convinced the people that relocating was better than non-existence. Consulting with the villagers about the move wouldn't have require them to leave most everything behind, like they did to travel through "the caves."

    If the Boraal died on their home world, or on their new world yes they would in both cases be dead, but by taking them to a new world they had a chance to survive, remaining where they were meant certain death. If their arrival meant the destruction of the ecosystem and they died from that, they still would have had a chance for life.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  6. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    If their arrival meant the destruction of the new planet's ecosystem, they would die. No ecosystem, no life, no chance. The arrival of the Boraal would be the introduction of a foreign life form into an ecosystem not equipped to deal with it. The consequences of such an act are usually devastating to the invaded ecosystem. Look what's happened here with the introduction of fire ants, killer bees, the brown tree snake and others. Some animal species gone extinct, some industries threatened. Moving a species from one planet to another may be the feel good we did the right thing, but really thinking about it, did you do the right thing? For the Boraal a quick, albeit frightening death, or a long slow death. Or do you move them again, and again, and again? Or is it just one move per customer?
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Please remember Vanyel, the Federation engages in interstellar colonization, Humans (just as a example) are on dozens of worlds. Moving the Boraal isn't a one of a kind experiment, they know how to do this because moving a intelligent species from one world to another is something they have considerable experience in.

    True, that unlikely hypothetical could happen. But again, if they stay where they started, they definitely die out as a species, all that they are would be gone.

    It's the difference between a statistical probability, and a absolute certainty.

    When did any of these introductions kill off all the Humans in a certain area?

    :)
     
  8. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    And Star Trek and other scifi shows gloss over the fact that just because a planet has what it needs to support Human/Vulcan/Andorian life does not mean it can. They would only have a slightly greater chance of surviving on an alien world than on their doomed one. Like I said, quick or slow death. The chances of finding a world that would not kill the Boraal is miniscule. To find one in the time allotted during Homeward would be impossible.

    Humans in Trek engage in Terra Forming. From what TWoK, and TNG's Home Soil tell us is that if life is there no Terra Forming allowed.

    Going from a macro to a micro scale, the Bubonic plague came Europe from Asia leaving villages barren of human life. Half the population of Europe died. Small Pox was brought from Europe to the Americas and untold millions of Native American were wiped out. Again villages were left empty. Micro invaders, in a new ecosystem killed on untold scales, and it's happened more than once in human history.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This assumes that the Boraal star system is in the far off reaches of the galaxy and not in the interior of the Federation. If it is in the interior, then the surrounding star systems would be thoroughly surveyed, and the chore of selecting a suitable replacement world for the Boraalans would be no more involved than simply checking the records on the local neighborhood. The Vacca star system was a mere forty two hours away.

    Beverly Crusher
    :
    "There are countless M class planets in Federation space which can support the Boraalans."

    Yet when Amanda moved in with Sarek, half the population of Vulcan didn't croak.

    :)
     
  10. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    What would they have been thoroughly surveyed for? To catalog it, or to determine if it's a possible place for a colony? Then if it is for a colony, a colony for who? Humans? Vulcans? Andorians?

    Then is it possible to accurately determine what each species on the new planet, could do to its new inhabitants. The Boraal weren't going to be kept in a habitat like the Lunar colony (didn't that one female cadet on the Valiant tell Jake about coming from Luna and going outside the habitat with her father?) or the Mars Colony.

    There are too many variables involved, too many possible out comes, only one in which the Boraal survive. Chances are far greater that they would die out on the new world, than survive. Yes there is a slim chance that the Boraal would beat the odds. I will admit "slim" is better than "no" but is it worth the risk to the other planet? No one seems to care about the life that already exists on their new home and if there is a life form on that planet that would grow to be intelligent in a few million years if not for the Boraal.

    By the time of Amanda and Sarek, and indeed any interplanetary cooperation and commingling, the medical science would have been at a point where disease would no longer be a factor. What I mean is that each planets science teams would come up with medication or vaccines to protect the new comer, in this case Amanda from infecting the Vulcans and them from infecting her.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Since contamination by a single species (especially a sapient humanoid one) often happens yet never kills a world in Star Trek, it follows that the decision to move the Boraalans was safe and sound in that respect. Whether Star Trek is realistic isn't really an issue here, because the safety of the Boraalan transfer is inherent in the show format where all the myriad humanoid species and Earths are perfectly interchangeable. Any attempt at inserting "realism" in this respect would collapse the entire story format.

    Besides, for a small group of Boraalans to kill a planet, even the darkest "realistic" scenarios would involve timespans of several generations. Plenty of time to amend the situation afterwards. The minuscule group of Boraalans would not notice any of the amending anyway, as they would only cover and control an insignificant fraction of the planet and would have no means of observing the rest.

    What Nikolai did here was comparable to what Kirk did in "Paradise Syndrome", except he didn't reveal forbidden things to the natives quite as much. Any later corrective action would also be comparable to that episode. The argument really is which of these episodes is the greater mystery, the greater divergence from the Star Trek norm on dealing with ignorant natives in mortal distress. Both are extreme cases with seemingly absurd underlying premises...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just don't see how this could end without the Boraalan culture being contaminated. Assuming they have any sense of astronomy they'll notice the stars have changed, and unless they confined themselves entirely to their village they're bound to see that the geography of "their" planet has also changed.

    The only real question seems to be how adversely that will impact them.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But why should that be a question at all? Any degree of contamination, including half of them turning into addicts of a horrible drug and prostituting the other half to pay for the stuff, would be vastly preferable to extinction. Specifically, any degree of contamination would be ultimately reversible in its ill effects.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Who are we to assume that the Boraalans would consider any degree of contamination preferable to extinction? If you want a precedent, the Caeliar as a species would rather go extinct than abandon their pacifism. If one is willing to abandon their morals in the face of extinction, then one should also be willing to admit that their morals are...flexible.

    I assume I don't even have to point out that it's dangerous to assume that any degree of cultural contamination can be reversed.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That's the most automatic assumption a human being would make. And it's certainly no worse than all the other human assumptions our heroes make in the course of the show.

    But that's neither here nor there. The assumption is irrelevant: the salient fact is that by going for survival, one gives the Boraalans the choice. By going for extinction, one eliminates all choice.

    Thankfully, not canon. There's no actual Trek precedent for a species that would vote for self-annihilation; even if lunatic individuals make such a claim, they are shouted down eventually (say, "Ensigns of Command").

    You mean, not dangerous at all?

    Even if contamination could not be reversed, so what? No harm done. Not in comparison with death and denial of all choice.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Okie-dokie.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Not that I'd see anything wrong with your way of thinking in the context of the show, where our human heroes indeed seem to have a callous attitude about death in general, and death of others in particular. It's just that the idea of choosing death over life is so alien to our way of, well, life, except in cases where death can be argued to decrease suffering. Be that the victim's, or the killer's... No such considerations would seem to apply in the "passive euthanizing" of the Boraalans.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I just think the way the Prime Directive is used in the 24th century is wrong. You invade a species territory and infiltrate their society without asking then you refuse to help when they face an extinction level crisis.

    When you get into that close of a relationship with another species, I think you take on certain obligations. You take on the obligation not to interfere but at the same time I think you take on an obligation to protect them from things they may not understand as threats to their species as a whole. The Federation is extracting reams of knowledge yet offers nothing in return to these fledgling species.
     
  19. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    So a preindustrial society can have comets and asteroids moved out of their path, but a society like ours gets hit just because we understand the threat? How is that fair?

    ETA:
    What about societies no more advanced that the Boraal that evolved on a planet orbiting a Red Giant or Hyper Giant. Right now we know those stars are going to go super nova with in the life span of our sun. For some species their sun will explode way before they even know that the stars are suns. Does Starfleet move them too because they are being observed and don't understand the threat their own sun is to them?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One has a choice on whether it puts its collective resources towards preventing its own extinction while the other does not. You're far more likely to want to save a toddler, who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, from getting hit by a bus which is a threat it doesn't understand than trying to save someone who darts across a busy intersection everyday to save a minute or two.

    One understands the ramifications of reckless actions while the other doesn't know the potential threat exists.

    You'll never be able to save every species and no one here has said that you should even try, but you do have a responsibility to those you're exploiting for personal gain. Or else the Federation is really no different than the Klingons or other races that exploit less advanced cultures.