"Second Chances" and its disturbing implications

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by polyharmonic, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Various episodes indicate that it's you being sent from place to place, and that you remain aware during transport. In Doomsday machine, when the transport took an unusually lengthly period of time, as soon as Scotty finished materializing he commented that he was aware that the transport was "wrong."

    :)
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Plus, the very means by which "transporting" is achieved in the show necessarily means that people can move while being beamed. After all, they always arrive in a slightly different pose from that they held when leaving. (Well, not in "Mark of Gideon" where Shatner doesn't have to physically move in order to get from starting set to finishing set, but apart from that...)

    That a set of atoms arriving is "the same" as the set of atoms that departed is a complex issue of physics and existentialism, and not something we could ever decide on "common sense" alone. Identity becomes extremely vague at the small end of the scale, and it has e.g. been argued that there only exists one electron in the entire universe, because there could never be an identical pair (the Pauli exclusion principle in action) and thus any "other" electron could just be the one doing something different... For all we know, the atoms that left as Will Riker were the very same that arrived as two Will Rikers - there just were two of each at arrival, but still the very same.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This seems a bit unlikely to me given that the EMH flat-out refused to perform the procedure to split Tuvix. If there was such a legal obligation why would he object?

    I also think it may not have been a case of 24th century morals so much as the morals of the only people who were around to weigh in with an opinion. Or even a mix of Janeway's morals and Starfleet training/protocol, i.e. "You do what the Captain says."
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Curiously, everybody aboard the E-D seems to agree on the clones-must-die thing: they are either passionate about it or let it slide, and opposition doesn't exist.

    Perhaps the EMH is opposed to splitting Tuvix because it features old-fashioned expertise (from McCoy's days at least, and perhaps older still) and the programmers forgot to remove old-fashioned judgement?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm reasonably sure that the EMH refused to perform the procedure because of the Hippocratic Oath, and I thought that was clearly portrayed, but I could be mistaken.

    I don't really have an issue with the clones dying under the circumstances. Like I said, rape victims choosing to abort their unwanted kids before they've developed consciousness.
     
  6. polyharmonic

    polyharmonic Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yes I know this. However this isn't consistent from episode to episode. There are plenty of episodes where it is implied or stated that the transporter works more like a "scanner and printer" that scans and converts your matter into energy but while in that "energy state" you are unconscious until rematerialized.

    For example in TNG "Relics" Scotty rigged the transporter to store his "pattern" and he was this way for DECADES. Wouldn't it be hell if he really was conscious all that time while in that "buffered state"? I think he would have become insane by the time he was rematerialized if he were in some conscious limbo state imprisoned in the buffer all those decades!

    And again WRT "Second Chances", how exactly can both Rikers be the original consciousness? If we assume that you are conscious the whole time you are in the "energy state", then what happened when they split Riker's beam? It seems to be that when that happened (or some time afterwards) a new consciousness was formed. Now I can't say if it was Will rather than Tom but one of the two (or both!) could not be the continuing consciousness of the original Riker!
     
  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With Riker how would we know if they both only had half a consciousness? :p
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But it was an important plot point that Scotty did something truly exceptional there. This is not an example of how the transporter normally works at all.

    Why not? Something like that would be eminently copyable, erasable and whatnot. There'd be no more uniqueness to it than there's to a lump of meat when subjected to the transporter-duplicator.

    So one becomes two. What possible reason would there be to claim that both cannot be continuation of the one?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. polyharmonic

    polyharmonic Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Someone mentioned that it would be similar to a starfish splitting into two new individuals and that each individual can be said to be the continuation of the original.

    However I've explained my reasoning and even posed a thought experiment in Post 17 that demonstrates that when one becomes split into two, it makes sense that either one OR BOTH of the two are duplicates of the original. Clearly in my example, you can see how clearly only ONE of the two would be the true original continuation of the original consciousness while the other would clearly be a brand new duplicate consciousness.

    Simply put there is no way I can see that BOTH Will and Tom are the continuation of the original consciousness. Either one is a duplicate or BOTH ARE (original now dead).
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I see no merit in the idea that "duplicate" is the antithesis of "continuation". The two concepts have nothing to do with each other: originals or duplicates or triplicates can all be continuations equally well, provided they don't exhibit a discontinuity of some sort. If the duplication process is perfect, then by definition there is no discontinuity: A is B1 but also B2. And we have no reason to think the duplication process would be imperfect.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Now that was just plain mean. :klingon:
     
  12. Nine of Four

    Nine of Four Commander Red Shirt

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    I said similar. :p But you make a good philosophical point. The were not "good and evil", as I put it, they just had tendencies leaning in that direction.

    -:klingon:
     
  13. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always thought the 'message' of Second Chances was a bit skewed. Ultimately Tom Riker is a younger Will Riker brought forward in time. He's the ambitious young career man who flirts with Deanna Troi but takes the first opportunity to start climbing that career ladder again. The episode starts out by trying to make us buy that maybe this 'younger' Riker has learnt lessons that Commander Riker never did, that his isolation on the planet and his career having stalled (as opposed to Will's apparently meteoric rise from baby-faced Ensign on the Pegasus through to first officer of the flagship in the space of only about six years according to the Okuda chronolgy) has taught Tom to appreciate what he didn't get a chance to do. But then it drops the bomb that, hey, under the surface he's still Will Riker, and he's more than happy to dick around with Deanna's feelings again (although at least he's got the balls to actually rock up and say goodbye to her this time around). The ultimate message seems to be, hey, Riker is still Riker no matter what. Which makes the episode a little pointless IMO.

    Yes, Tom adopts a new name and ultimately takes a very different turn of character when he signs up with the Maquis in DS9. But in terms of Second Chances alone, there is just something a little off about the way it feeds us one message, about 'the road not taken'... and then does the complete antithesis of that message in practice. :vulcan:
     
  14. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always wondered why Tom didn't get promoted to Lieutenant Commander. That same episode said he was promoted for his bravery in that evacuation that created the double. So Tom did that every bit as much as Will.
     
  15. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    I would think that Tom Riker's questionable grooming choices would disqualify him, but more broadly, a promotion in rank is not in itself a reward for courage (or any other display), but an assignment of new duties and responsibilities. Displays of courage figure would figure into a promotion, but presumably Riker would need to demonstrate that he can perform at a higher level, which might not be as easy after years in isolation.
     
  16. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Plus everybody would be calling them both "Commander Riker", and that would just be confusing. :)
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It's also possible that the original Riker's career skyrocketed mostly because Admiral Pressman was bribing him with promotions to ensure his silence. And either he wouldn't go to the same trouble with Tom Riker because the same perks wouldn't have the same effect on a man whose life and career already were completely different - or because he simply didn't have time to do anything about Tom before "The Pegasus" happened.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not arguing with you in regards to our miliatries... but directly from the episode.

    TROI
    You see... he earned a promotion very quickly.
    LT. RIKER
    I know. (with irony) For exceptional valor during the evacuation of the research station on Nervala Four. (off her reaction) I looked over his service record.

    So it stands to reason that if Will got promoted for that "exceptional valor" that Tom also displayed, he should too. Not that he shouldn't be headed directly to the nearest Academy for some refresher courses and desk duty probably until he gets back into the loop of things. But Star Trek is flexible in things like that. And what's his grooming have to do with anything? Failure to adhere to dress code while marooned with no hope of rescue?
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A Starfleet Officer is expected to maintain discipline at all times, not merely when he expects to deal with his fellow officers! :p
     
  20. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    There's an explanation deriving from the Voyager episode "Deadlock". In that episode, a spatial anomaly splits the entire ship in two, but the two Voyagers are not *quite* in the same reality. Imagine if you will, that they were in two parallel quantum realities which split at that moment. Reality splitting happens all the time, it would seem. The odd thing there was something prevented the split from completing normally.

    So let's say the same thing happened with Riker. It was a dangerous beaming; in one quantum reality it succeeded, and in another he was reflected back to the planet. In all likelihood he was disintegrated in a third, but that doesn't matter here. What if the anomaly wasn't a transporter split at all, but simply a transit between quantum realities by the reflected transporter beam so it ended up in the wrong one?