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

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

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    I am talking about the Hippocratic Oath in general and Phlox breaking it in "Dear Doctor" is pretty relevant to the topic.
     
  2. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

    Lovely nonsense, if you want an abortion or get euthanized you are screwed. No doctor today cares about this ancient oath anymore and a fictional alien doctor in an interspecies exchange program certainly doesn't either. Archer chose a Denobulan doctor precisely because he wanted somebody with a different perspective. Gee, that's why humankind is going out there in the first place, to learn from and about other people.
     
  3. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    You do realize the modern Hippocratic Oath is different from ancient one, right? Most doctors still respect the modern oath.

    Also just because Phlox's perspective is different doesn't make it good. Phlox seems to using eugenics to justify his perspective, that a weaker race is holding a stronger race back and if the weaker race dies the stronger race will thrive. That sounds familiar.

    Frankly if Phlox can just ignore the Hippocratic oath at his whim, he is not fit to be a doctor in Star Fleet. Do you think Picard shouldn't have punished Worf for killing Duras, even according to Klingon culture what Worf did was okay?

    I don't believe in complete cultural relativity, that is dangerous for a society. If someone believes they have the right to beat their wife, I don't think they should be legally allowed to do that.
     
  4. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    No idea what the modern Hippocratic Oath is supposed to be, you merely talked about the Hippocratic Oath so I pointed out what it is actually about. Compared to some crap from Ancient Greece (seriously, ethics from antiquity for life in space?) that forbids doctors to conduct abortions and euthanizations I'd pick Denobulan medical ethics anyday.
    It's a big galaxy and the Vulcans and Denobulans have far more experience than the human greenhorns. That's precisely why their non-interference principle later becomes the Prime Directive. According to the UFP's first rule any Starfleet captain is explicitly forbidden to assist a pre-warp species like the Valakians.
    I do not wanna imagine what the Federation were without its first law. Probably only mildly better than the empires around it.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    You must've missed A Private Little War, Miri, The Apple and Return of the Archons. Seems to me that Starfleet captains have a great deal of latitude under the Prime Directive.
     
  6. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Look up the Hippocratic oath:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath

    Besides every rule needs exceptions and I think intervening to save a civilization from a natural disaster is a good exceptions. The PD didn't even exist back then, so it doesn't apply. Also saying the PD shouldn't have exceptions, makes the PD come off as dogma, something that creates fanatics who obey without any independent thought. That's not enlightened, that's the behavior of a cult.

    Also you ignored one of my questions, was Picard wrong for punishing Worf when killed Duras, even though what Worf did was okay according to Klingon tradition? Does Worf's cultural background trump his duty?
     
  7. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Apple is a blunt violation, in Miri they got sick themselves and the other two stories are fairly muddy cases. We can of course go over them if you wish to.
    The hypothetical Valakian case set 20 years in the future on the other hand is clear-cut. They ask for help but as they are pre-warp you gotta decline.


    No idea why you watch Trek if this is your view of the Federation.

    Picard reprimanded Worf because he violated his Starfleet duties. This has nothing to do with the Prime Directive. While dealing with the Klingon Empire the Federation is, as always, relativistic.
    The Klingons are death-valuing aristocrats whereas the Feds are life-valuing democrats. If human ethics are universal in space you have to crush them. This implies total war and is obviously worse than the 24th century peace with them.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Seems Picard disagrees with you...

    SARJENKA [OC]: Data. Data, where are you? Why won't you answer? Are you angry me? Please, please, I'm so afraid. Data, Data, where are you?
    PICARD: Wait. Oh, Data. Your whisper from the dark has now become a plea. We cannot turn our backs.
     
  9. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Picard to Data: You reminded us that there are obligations that go beyond duty.

    Picard never pretended that he did not violate the Prime Directive.

    It is like with torture, of course it has always happened and always will. Doesn't imply that we should make it legal like many people tried to after 9/11, it has to remain a taboo. Otherwise you open the gates of hell.
    Same in the case of the Prime Directive. Of course Starfleet officers bend or violate it all the time and when there is a good reason for it they might get away with it but this doesn't imply that the rule is irrelevant or should be weak. On the contrary, it has to be as strict and dogmatic precisely to prevent a slow loosening up like with torture. Hell, it has to be even more rigid as torturing runs against common decency whereas the Prime Directive is extremely counter-intuitive, hence all the adverse reactions by fans.

    It reminds me a bit of this turn the other cheek thing from the Gospels which is also quite counterintuitive as the normal strategical behaviour is tit-for-tat, i.e. you are nice but if your fellow isn't you retaliate. Yet the idea is not so much that you should just be a victim but rather that via not retaliating you hold up a mirror to the other and might make him realize what he does. If you strike back he can feel totally justified in doing the same.
    So yeah, like the Prime Directive turn the other cheek is one of these nice ideas that force you to think.
     
  10. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The PD is counter-intuitive because it's overly rigid, arbitrary,(why make a line for pre-warp cultures? Or pre-first contact?) and illogical.


    Oh, and the way it gets interpreted seems to frequently mean standing by as civilizations die. Your continued efforts to defend it are cute, though.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I'll defend it as a construct designed to keep cultures on a normal course of growth. As in, not interfering in a societies social order, preventing advanced technology from being dumped in their laps and allowing them to find on their own how they fit into the greater scheme of things.

    But none of the above would prevent me from stopping an extinction level event. At the end of the day, cultures can recover from contamination, even if widespread.
     
  12. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think issues of avoiding cultural interference can be handled more effectively on a pragmatic, case-by-case basis than a rigid, one size fits all approach like the PD.
     
  13. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    The line is not arbitrary. When a species develops warp drive it has to face aliens and learn to deal with them.
    If you drew the line earlier, e.g. when a species industrializes, aliens would have been ethically obliged to prevent the dozens of genocides, the development of sweat shops, slavery, nuclear weapons and nowdays climate change and financial speculation on food.
    About "standing by as civilizations die", note that at least climate change and nukes endanger not just millions but our entire civilization.

    Do you want some benevolent alien nannies to help us with these problems or do you want us to become an adult species on our own respectively if we fail destroy ourselves?
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    a species doesn't need warp drive to have aliens come to contact them.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Seems like the Valakians were out facing aliens without warp drive. :eek:

    There is some debate as to whether or not those who left Vulcan had warp drive when they founded the Romulan Empire. One series of books speculates that they used generational ships. The asteroid ship Yonada didn't have warp drive. The ancient Bajorans were able to make FTL trips by using solar sails.

    And we saw races that were considered advanced that participated in all the things you list above.

    Warp drive is an incredibly arbitrary line in the sand.

    The smart way to go would be to evaluate in a culture by culture basis.
     
  16. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Still not getting the rationale, are we? When a culture develops warp drive and wants to actually get out there it has to change and open itself to alien lifeforms. Its culture will massively change (humankind!) and in this time it is OK for the Feds to contact them. If you do it earlier the civilization is not ready yet (the episode First Contact).
    Still waiting for an answer, do you want the alien nannies or not?


    While "pre-warp" probably covers the vast majority of cases I agree that "out in space and culturally ready to meet new folks" should be the more general pattern.
    Then again you need simple guidelines. Detect no antimatter, stay away. If you discover afterwards that they use a different form of FTL propulsion you can still make first contact. It's an asymmetrical issue, no harm done if you wait for days or even years but if you make first contact too early you can fuck them up seriously.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    You cannot determine maturity by technological prowess.

    The Edo were technologically inferior yet were mature enough to accept visitors from the sky. As were the Capellans. The existence of alien life did not appreciably impact those societies. While the presence of Picard and Troi on a world ready to make their first flight was shook to its core.

    By your standards, a mature world would be excluded from the galactic mix because they have no interest in FTL technology.
     
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd tend to think a race with no interest in FTL technology also likely had no interest in having aliens drop by... granted there might be some exceptions.
     
  19. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    First of all, no rule should be dogmatic, which means "characterized by assertion of unproved or unprovable principles." "Dogmatic" has the connotation of being enforced in a narrow-minded manner with little or no regard to the specifics of the situation.

    And it's not the PD that's counter-intuitive. You know...I really don't get you. From my point of view, you seem to be advocating the Prime Directive for all the wrong reasons. The Prime Directive is to prevent the Federation from "playing god", to stop them from taking advantage of other cultures, and to prevent them from causing even bigger problems than those they are trying to solve. The PD is the Federation's way of admitting that they don't know everything. It also comes from the knowledge that not every culture is equal - which is why there are certain qualifications to be met before a planet can join the Federation. A culture that condones child abuse or encourages slavery or engages in some other heinous activity is not welcome in the Federation.There's also the fact that some cultures simply aren't ready for the level of technology used by the Feds - it's the same principle that says you don't give a child a freakin' Bugatti Veyron for their first car. Those are the reasons that make the PD a good idea. That's not the same as saying letting a species go extinct is the right thing to do. It's not. The Prime Directive doesn't (or at least shouldn't) apply to extinction level events or two active cries for help. Now, there would be situations where the Feds would be justified in turning down a cry for help, a line where they would say "Sorry, we can't get involved with this." One example would be asking for help in a war that had nothing to do with the Feds.

    But you seem to be advocating the PD as engraved in stone, never to be broken or questioned whatsoever. The Prime Directive should not be a dogma, and if you think it should be you either don't know what "dogma" means or you have missed the entire point of Trek in general and of the Prime Directive.

    I agree 100%.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't we see exactly that in the TNG episode The Nth Degree?
     

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