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

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

  1. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Uh, no, it isn't.

    Medical assistance is an absolute right.

    For example: Let's use Hitler to illustrate, as you suggest. If Hitler had not killed himself, but survived to be put on trial for war crimes, and (during said trial) suddenly collapses with a heart attack, it would be a gross violation of the rules of war for Allied doctors to simply stand by and watch him die.
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Huh? You seem to not grasp the nuances of inter species relations. :lol:
     
  3. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    And freedom is not?
    Your separation between biological (we talk about genetic redesign, not about a cure for an ordinary plague) and social issues is pretty arbitrary.

    About the example, this is after the war. During the war it would have been wrong. Gee, you guys ironically actually caused genetic diseases when you nuked Japan and thus ended the war.
     
  4. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Social issues are irrelevant to medical ones. Like I said, the right to health and medicine and medical care is an absolute right.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    You're right. :techman:

    I'm starting to think that Phlox never found the cure and made up the bologna about Menk evolution because he was tired of dicking around with it. He said he had it and hoped that Archer would buy his evolution horseshit wholesale.

    Since we already seen Phlox be wrong in the episode, I'm not discounting it.
     
  6. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Curing collapsing chromosomes is a bit more than medical care and ironically it is the very opposite of nuking Japan. So in your eyes this must be a fairly gross violation of this absolute right.
    In reality social and medical issues are by the way always related which makes the separation between them fairly artificial.

    The only valid stances are to help both species or none, to follow the not-yet-formalized principles of the Prime Directive or to condition your help upon a Valakian commitment to end the exploitation of the Menk.
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    We know what we did, thank you very much.

    We selected the option that would end the war as opposed to fighting from island to island.

    We were also there after the fact, to help. You can make the right decision and still be pained by the end result.
     
  8. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Except this would akin to not giving medical assistance to all Germans because the crimes of the Nazis, not just Hitler. Phlox and Archer not only condemned the Valakians leaders who were oppressing the Menk, but all Valakians. That would include innocent Valakian children and Valakians who would be trying to help the Menk. Letting the innocent die along with the guilty is unspeakably callous and it makes Archer inhumanly cruel.

    Any sort of enlightenment without basic human compassion, just comes off as psychopathy, instead of evolving into something better, Archer just comes off as someone who has lost his humanity completely.
     
  9. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm still not seeing how helping the Valakians must irrevocably mean the loss of the Menk. Perhaps if the Valakians are cured, they will (due to their good fortune) actually HELP the Menk? The Valakians had space travel technology; perhaps they could help the Menk find a new world of their own.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I hate to beat a dead horse here, but there is no evidence that the Valakians were mistreating the Menk. None.
     
  11. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    It is not a matter of being guilty or innocent or even responsible. The master-slave / parents-children relationship between Valakians and Menk has been deeply burned into them over, assuming that these two species have existed roughly as long as we have, hundreds of thousands of years. It is totally natural for them and, siding with Phlox, I hesitate to condemn this in anyway.
    But we do not assume what you call the psychopathic but the human, compassionate perspective, compassion with both species.
    Having compassion for both and then playing pick and choose seems tyrannical to me.

    So we can help none, some or all; we can be sociopaths, tyrants or gods. I wish there were an easy solution which makes one feel good but alas there isn't. Whatever you do is, as often in ethics, a monstrosity.

    If there was any ethical injunction for the generation of my great-grandparents it was to do what is normally wrong, take a life, kill Hitler. About Japan, I do not know whether nuking or fighting on and loosing many of your own men was right. Again a horrible ethical choice.
    Or, to pick a slightly more funny fictional example, McNulty faking homeless murders in the last season of The Wire was obviously wrong from a legal point of view but in my opinion tricking the ill-functioning institution into doing the right thing, provide more manpower for the drug case, was a sublime ethical act.
     
  12. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In defense of Archer(and he needs it here), he's not a scientist. His mistake was to get persuaded by Phlox's quack Social Darwinist theories. Phlox has the much greater responsibility for the crimes here in my opinion.
     
  13. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    There have been civilizations who have had slavery for centuries and yet they do not slavery now. Civilizations change, they do not stay the same.

    Plus the supposed oppression of the Menk is pretty mild compared most of the nation states on Earth's treatment of other people, if the Valakians deserve die for their treatment of the Menk, then so would most of the human race for their treatment of humans.

    You have not presented a whole lot evidence of the Valakians "evil oppression" of the menk, frankly the treatment Menk does not seem that bad, certainly not anything that could be used to justify letting all the Valakians die.

    I don't see how Phlox and Archer are heroes, when they allow innocent women and children die for extremely flimsy reasons. The Cardassians were far worse to Bajorans then the Valakians were to the Menk, yet I don't think they were supposed to cheer when the Dominion killed 800 million Cardassians.

    Hey man, I am only on season 4 of that show, don't spoil me.
     
  14. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Sorry for the spolier.

    The Valakians do not necessarily die, they received medicine for their symptoms and they might very well develop warp drive in a few years or decades.
    You can argue that without WWIII there wouldn't have been a greedy, lecherous drunkard who develops warp drive and on this planet it might very well be a man who is driven by the desire to save his people who will develop warp drive earlier than without this disaster.
    I am not trying to play the "there is something bright in everything dark" card as I cannot stand this. I rather wanna argue that history is a sequence of catastrophes. You want democracy, you gotta cut off the head of the king, you want capitalism, you gotta endure some decades of sweat shops, you wanna fly to the moon, you need a nuclear arms race.

    Anyway, I think now that the potentially best course of action would have been to stay a few days longer, investigate the Menk issue and then deliver the cure conditional upon the Valakian commitment to treat the Menk totally equal. Slaveholders who treat their slaves well are still slaveholders.
    If the Valakians fear to lose their dominant position and refuse to grant the Menk equal rights you warp our of orbit without delivering the cure.

    But it's a tricky issue and whatever you, help one, both or none, is monstrous.
    Cogenitor showed what can happen when you try to liberate a oppressed individual and both Prime Directive episodes made the important point that what is wrong for us does not have to be universally wrong.
    I usually side with theory over empirics but not in this case. We have no experiences about living together with another sentient species and we have two and no three genders. And before someone accuses me of playing this postmodern relativization game, there are absolute human principles. But absolute principles for all kind of different lifeforms? Nah.

    And I think this being kept in a state of tension, not knowing what is right or wrong, is the beauty of stories like Dear Doctor. It makes you uncomfortable and forces you to think.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Once again, there's absolutely no proof that the Menk could even handle their own affairs if made equal. Phlox said that what would happen to them wouldn't happen for another thousand years, if at all.

    No matter hoe disasteful you find it, it would be no different than an alien race coming to Earth and setting all the canines free.
     
  16. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    It is not distasteful, just factually wrong. The Menk are as intelligent or perhaps even more intelligent than the Valakians.
    Usually you form an opinion conditional upon facts, not the other way around.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    So we're not actually debating the contents of the episode? We're also not going by Phlox's opinion of the Menk, but then using that same analysis as the basis for withholding the cure?

    You're really all over the place here.

    And I'll ignore the insult...
     
  18. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    If you feel insulted when somebody points out that you are messing up facts you need to grow a thicker skin. Whatever you think you saw, the Dear Doctor in the real world does not feature Menk who are animals but sentient and intelligent hominids or as Trek usually calls them humanoids. This becomes obvious in the scene with the Menk on the planet and hence Phlox' later comparison between Menk/Valakians and homo sapiens/Neanderthals.
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But if they've evolved to a point equal to the Valakians, then Phlox's whole hypothesis that the Valakians need to die out for the Menk to evolve is flat wrong. Correct?
     
  20. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    I was also wrong, they are not as intelligent as the Valakians.
    So it is the other way around, Valakians are the equivalent of us and Menk are perhaps the equivlane of Neanderthals.
    Due to their language skills I do not get the impression that they are the equivalent of earlier human species, that they are that far away from the Valakians.

    So OK, they are biologically slightly less evolved than the Valakians and due to their model of coexistence the Menk do not need to be particularly intelligent. Without the Valakians around they have to solve more problems and due to natural selection their brains should grow.
    This is as far as I understand it Phlox' point and people rightly criticize that this either or stance, either we help the Valakians and the Menk evolve slowly or we let them die out such that the Menk are on their own and can prosper, is pretty nasty.

    The mistake is that this correct biological observation of how species interact in the long-run can is mistaken for an guideline to act. As Sonak rightly pointed out, it is Social Darwinism, mistaking biology for politics.
    About politics proper, the Valakians do not have to vanish to enable the Menk to prosper. They only have to treat the Menk decently, as citizens. Once they have the right to own fertile land and other property, grow their own food and start their own economy, get educated by the Valakians, govern themselves and so on they will also evolve (although culturally probably faster than biologically).
    But like in Cogenitor the question is whether this would actually work or whether it would not rather create chaos if it is enforced by outsiders. And the Enterprise crew would have to enforce it as the Valakians certainly do not willingly give up their socially dominant position. That's as if a slaveholder is fine with the abolishment of slavery or if a worker is fine with immigration and the resulting competition.