True or False: Dear Dr. is most morally bankrupt trek episode evar

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by ElimGarak, May 29, 2012.

  1. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Sure, whatever. I don't really wanna be tortured by Jack Bauer ...
     
  2. Deimos Anomaly

    Deimos Anomaly Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Reed should have relieved Archer, T'Pol and Phlox of duty and had them summarily spaced for what they did.

    Imagine that mankind, today, began dying of a genetic plague that had been dormant for millenia but suddenly become active. Within a century of two humanity will be extinct, and no scientist or doctor appears remotely close to finding a cure.

    Then imagine an alien spacecraft shows up in orbit. They were passing by this system and noticed the Voyager probes exiting our solar system's edge, and decided to investigate and make contact with the species that launched them. They soon discover mankind's predicament. Fortunately they are benevolent aliens, and begin working towards a cure, making great strides with medical tech way, way ahead of ours.

    Then imagine that by chance they discover that some other species... say bottle nose dolphins, or orangutans or such like - is on the verge of developing sentience, and within 15,000 - 25,000 years will be spacefaring and capable of FTL flight. However, they will only likely make this progress if humans aren't around.

    Based on this, the aliens withdraw all their assistance, depart, and leave mankind to its dismal fate, so that the dolphins may ascend.

    Thousands of years of mankind past, of art, science, love... of philosophers and thinkers and poets and builders and statesmen, and heroes and cowards and villians, saints and sinners, the shared dreams and aspirations of a whole civilisation, a whole species, an entire history ... condemned to extinction with no more thought than would be given to the culling of an overpopulation of rabbits on a corn farm.

    Given that this whole business was largely driven by Vulcan ideals (and how the humans were beginning to be affected by Vulcan propaganda and Vulcan ideas of how to do things), and given that the Vulcans themselves had no doubt pulled this exact same stunt multiple times, I'm a bit more sympathetic to Nero and his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. I wouldn't say that the Vulcans deserved what he did to them, but they had been sowing the wind for centuries with crap like the deal the Valakians got... and then Nero turned up, and boy did they reap the whirlwind.
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Now imagine that you're a bottle nose dolphin and you find out that your chances of reaching your maximum potential have been irrevocably damaged because an alien race came along and decided to render unnatural aid to the currently dominant lifeform which Mother Nature itself deemed not fit to survive.

    I'm reminded of how I could never advance at a small company because my boss tended to play favorites rather than judging everyone on their actual merits. He'd hire new people whom he thought were "on the fast track", pay them more than I was making, and they'd turn out to be what the French would call les incompetents.

    So which is supposed to suck more, exactly? Having a "benevolent" alien race come along and help you while knowingly screwing over others, or refusing to help you precisely because it would involve knowingly screwing over others? I may not like being on the short end of a non-interference policy, but I can understand that a whole lot better than I can any group that just picks and chooses who deserves to be helped.
     
  4. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination

    Complete nonsense once again. Helping to cure a disease isn't "picking sides" or "picking favorites." Humanitarian aid isn't political, and the idea that you can predict what the "dominant species" was supposed to be is hubris masquerading as neutrality. You've bought into the garbage pseudoscience of this episode, that evolution plays favorites and has goals in mind.


    It's sad to see the damage this horrible episode has done.
     
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If all of that's true then everything that Deimos brought up is irrelevant anyway. I find it more interesting to discuss the premise we're being given than to summarily dismiss it as "that's not the way it works".

    After all, if FTL drives don't work, then by the logic you just invoked there's no point in discussing pretty much anything that comes up in Trek.
     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Then don't ever mess with America, especially on our birthday.

    ♪♪♫♫♪ it our birthday ♪♫♫♪♫
    ♪♪♫♫♪ it our birthday ♪♫♫♪♫
    ♪♪♫♫♪ it our birthday ♪♫♫♪♫

    Now imagine that it's 65 million years ago, and you're an intelligent dinosaur, and a giant rock is going to hit Earth and wipe out almost all life, but suddenly a alien spacecraft arrives and is initially willing to adjust the trajectory of the rock a fraction of one degree so it misses Earth.

    Oh, too bad the alien doctor just convinces the alien captain to do nothing because in millions of years ...

    Even through it might have been to my ultimate detriment, I would expect the alien spacecraft's crew to help the intelligent dinosaurs, the fact that it would prevent (maybe) my existence is irrelevant, the dinosaurs need that help then and there. The aliens should "pick and choose" those who they can help at the moment. The intelligent beings right in front of them.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  7. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    I personally think letting a race die off is worse then not letting another race "develop", even though evolution does not work the way that is suggested in this episode.

    The bottle nosed dolphin wouldn't even know what it would be "missing" if humans are gone, because they are not sentient. The Menk barely seem sentient, so the same thing applies, they can't ask Archer for help because they don't understand the concept. Besides Mother Nature does deem species to fit or unfit, that implies nature has a plan, it doesn't.

    So this would be allowing humans to die on the very off chance it would allow bottle nose dolphins to become the dominant species, even though that is likely impossible. So it would letting humans die off for no good reason. Archer and Phlox's reasoning seems to be based on pseudo science to me.
     
  8. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    First, the decision was Archer's. Second, the Valakians got medicine that amended the symptoms. Third, genocide can never ever be justified.
    Your position is to basically play God, to decide which species lives and dies in the Dear Doctor as well as STXI whereas the spirit of the Prime Directive is the very opposite of this, humbleness.
     
  9. Deimos Anomaly

    Deimos Anomaly Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Except the Menk were not in danger of dying out. If they had chosen to give the Valakians the medicine that would save them from extinction, this would not make the Menk extinct.

    For all Archer's high-horse talk of not wanting to play god, he sure did a great job of playing the devil.

    Imagine that a few years later some really valuable ore was found on planet... and the Ferengi got interested, and the Valakians granted them exclusive rights to mine it, in exchange the Ferengi sell them a few old warp ships and school them on how to run the things... wouldn't surprise me if the first think they did would be go looking for humans... for revenge.
     
  10. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    The Valakians received medicine and were unaware that the cure was withheld from them by the humans so your revenge scenario is highly unrealistic.
     
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    By its internal premises, there is nothing outrageous in the resolution of the episode. On a psychological level, it amounts to a restatement of the cliche that the fathers have to die for the sons to come into their own. That's stupid, but apparently a lot of people think that way. On a biological level, it treats evolution as the Plan of God, which is exactly why scientific racism arose, and the new scientific racism (sociobiology/evolutionary psychology) is being pushed so relentlessly. When frauds like Steven Pinker or Richard Dawkins (on genetics, he does atheism to give himself a progressive rep) or those clowns who wrote the Natural History of Rape are littering the pop science shelves, then the feeble contributions of Dear Doctor are entirely insignificant.
     
  12. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    And then you almost killed off the Dolphins by meddling, because the humans wiped out the Whales, so they weren't there to answer the Probe and the whole planet was almost destroyed. The Dolphins never would've let that happen ;)
     
  13. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    So if the West had medicine that could cure a plague that was causing millions of people to die in an African country and it was only effecting one tribe and not another, would it be "playing god" to give the medicine to the tribe been afflicted.

    Me to Archer's actions seem callous rather humble, a sin of omission can be just as bad as a sin of commission. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." That is what Archer, he did nothing and innocent people payed the price for his inaction.


    Perhaps, but that doesn't mean I would want to see this junk pseudo science in Star Trek. The characters in the show don't look so heroic when justify horrible acts through insane pseudo science.
     
  14. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    ^But Junk Psuedoscience such as Warp Drive is OK?
     
  15. Deimos Anomaly

    Deimos Anomaly Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What Archer and Phlox did is no different than standing on a dock with a life preserver in your hand, callously watching a man drown.

    Archer is the worse for it, both because he's the captain and had final say, and because it goes against the most basic tenets of his human culture... "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". That's maybe not part of Phlox's culture, but it sure is part of Archers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  16. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    That's different, evil acts in the real world were not justified using Warp Theory. The idea that evolution has plan has been used to justify evil things in the real world.
     
  17. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Archer, (one of) the founding father(s) of the Federation, is a great man precisely because he is able to grasp that "he is not in Kansas anymore", that this new age requires interspecies ethics and not human ethics.
    If they followed the latter they could e.g. eat the Tellarite pigs.
     
  18. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Since so many of the civilizations in Star Trek are presented as allegories for real world civilizations, this idea of new interspecies ethics doesn't work. Saying humans should lose their natural compassion and desire to help others, makes them seem inhuman, not enlightened. In general the PD is a good idea, but it should have limits, saying that civilization is about destroyed is better off without outside help just seems ludicrous. I think there is a middle ground between micro managing a civilization and doing nothing and just letting them die.
     
  19. Deimos Anomaly

    Deimos Anomaly Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh BS.

    Whether or not a species has invented an FTL drive yet is an absolutely retarded arbiter of whether they have earned the right to live yet. Yet that's what the Prime Directive (and its precursors taking shape in Ent) boil down to.

    Going by the Vulcan yardstick (which, starting with Archer, humans begin to internalise) even the humanity of say Avatar (interstellar travel via high-sublight hibernation ships, mining and colony in the Alpha Centauri system and possibly others) is not advanced enough to be worthy to live. Their lives are worth no more than cattle, and may be culled and weeded at will. Only with the magic W-word comes induction to the "live long and prosper" club.

    It's true that the line between right-to-life sentients and rights-less animals must be drawn somewhere... but the Vulcan / UFP / Prime Directive sets that line stupidly, monstrously high.

    How about "sentient, using writing, spoken language, technology and mathematics" as an arbiter of fitness to live? Even that bar may be too high, but its a damn sight better than the Vulcan (and eventually Federation) threshold.

    No they could not. Any more than a person who eats monkeys would be entitled to eat humans. (Hint: There are many people who eat monkeys. They do not eat humans, nor do the societies where monkey-eating is normal condone or tolerate the eating of humans.)
     
  20. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Thank you! That is absolutely correct. Within the Trek universe, with a few exceptions, what is considered "right" by one culture is considered "right" by another. There are cultural exceptions like Klingons viewing suicide as a means of regaining honor, but in general Trek does not support the idea that different ethics apply to different cultures. The Federation would agree with Optimus Prime: "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings."

    That doesn't mean Trek supports the idea that humans should run around forcing their views on everyone, but most species and civilizations follow the same basic ethics and morals as everyone else anyways. What is needed is not "interspecies ethics" but interspecies politics. The politics and logistics change when dealing with things on such a large scale or when dealing with "aliens", but that's it. What is right is right, and the Trek universe supports that.

    Now I'm sure someone's gonna try to argue with me and say there are times when Trek presents two different viewpoints as equally "right." That's not what I'm talking about - I'm talking about generalities, not specifics.

    Seriously? Do you honestly believe that? Right, 'cause the fact that Tellarites are sentient beings would mean nothing to the humans in Trek if they kept their human viewpoint. "They look like pigs, so it must be okay to eat them if you view life with human ethics." That's completely ridiculous.