Do Starfleet Captains Play God?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Ferengi Prime 5, Aug 12, 2022.

  1. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Says who? Having & exercising some amount of will/control over preventng death is not solely the purview of gods. We do it all the time. Yours is an argument about scale, but scale is subjective. It all depends on your perspective.
    Would they think we were gods or is it playing God because we distribute vaccines to an entire population & save millions of lives?
     
  2. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It depends on how you interpret "playing God". If you see it as "giving a fellow living thing help that they can't hope to give themselves", then I play God every time I pick up an earthworm that's wriggling across a sidewalk and deposit it on soft ground. That's why the analogy in "Dear Doctor" breaks down the way it does. Archer's intent was to give help to others who couldn't help themselves.
     
  3. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Archer picked the extinction of the Valakians...
    Yes, it is an argument of scale for gods deal in macro...

    No we have the tech to do it ourselves... It when you have the ability to a species at an epic scale for which they can not do for themselves..
     
  4. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    Your argument seems to go in circles with no resolution.

    If I have the ability to help a species on an epic scale which they cannot do themselves, then whether I help them or I don’t, I’m “playing God”.

    So when both options actually lump into the same category, then there’s no way to “not play God”, and the point becomes meaningless.
     
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  5. Serveaux

    Serveaux Mediocre Old White Man Premium Member

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    To choose not to act is not the moral equivalent of bad action.

    No, choosing to observe or to move on is not "playing God."
     
  6. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    So if you’re standing on a beach with a life preserver, and someone is drowning, not throwing it to them is not the moral equivalent of a bad action?
     
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  7. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The ethics of being god... Have Pike, Picard, Kirk or Sisko learn to be men before being a god. Is it not their hubris that leads them to be gods. Is it not hubris to be a god...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playing_God_(ethics)

    "Playing God" generally refers to someone using their power to make decisions regarding the fate of another's life or many lives. Theologian Paul Ramsey is noted for saying, "Men ought not to play God before they learn to be men, and after they have learned to be men they will not play God." The religious framework of approach to this phrase refers to said religion's deity having a set plan for mankind, therefore man's hubris may lead to the misuse of technology related to sacred life or nature.[5] Other famous literary texts that allude to a man and God complex include Men Like Gods by H. G. Wells and You Shall Be Gods by Erich Fromm. The notion of god-like knowledge or power in humans goes back at least to the story of forbidden fruit in Genesis 3:4–5 whose traditional English translation includes the words "ye shall be as gods".


    If you want to play God there is a card game...

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11948-020-00176-7


    ......
     
  8. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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    Okay I think I understand Serveaux’s point. I misread it the first time.

    I would agree not throwing a life preserver, or tying an anchor around his head, are not morally equivalent. I would argue both are immoral, but one is definitely worse than the other.

    I guess I’m thinking more about the power to decide than any one intervention itself. At the point you can either help or not help, you’re making a pretty big decision for someone else.
     
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  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sisko took an action to stop the Maquis, and Eddington specifically, from poisoning all the Cardassian colonies in the DMZ.

    And Sisko contaminated one planet, which balanced out precisely because the Cardassians lost one planet due to Eddington contaminating it. Which Sisko warned the Maquis ahead of time, by the way. Eddington gave no warning to the Cardassians, who likely lost a lot of people because of the lack of warning.

    The final log entry even states both sides basically swapped planets.
     
  10. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think Sisko was playing terrorist and surprised he kept his job.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Archer was "playing God" either way.

    He was a human in a bad situation with only bad options at his disposal.
     
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  12. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How was Sisko surprised he kept his job? He was supported by the Federation to stop the Maquis by any means, since the Maquis used WMDs on the Cardassians and were attacking Federation starships. It not like he attacked the Maquis unprovoked without Federation backing.
     
  13. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True. As I've said elsewhere, I wonder what would have happened with the fanbase if Archer had helped the Valakians... would we be accusing him of aiding in the oppression of the Mink?
     
  14. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed, FederationHistorian.

    My wife feels he broke laws in that situation and should have gotten some repercussions. (She loves Sisko, too.)

    I'm definitely in the camp of he did what needed to be done, because the Maquis attacked and crippled TWO Starfleet ships (Defiant and Malinche) and killing who knows how many personnel, poisoned a Cardassian colony killing who knows how many, and was about to do the same to all their colonies. They proved to be an intolerable terrorist threat.

    Sisko restored the balance.

    (And by the way, I used to be on the side of the Maquis... until they waged offensive tactics outside their own systems. They went from defending their homes to being aggressors.)
     
  15. Oddish

    Oddish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Maquis were complicated. Given that they were created for their anticipated role on "Voyager", I think that they were intended to be morally gray, but redeemable.
     
  16. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A Starfleet officer poisons a whole planet of people... It is terrorism... I am surprised the Cardassians did want him in irons... The courts would have weight in about him gooding more good than evil...
     
  17. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why would the Cardassians want Sisko in irons? He stopped Eddington and the Maquis from poisoning more Cardassian worlds, in addition to saving one of their freighters carrying Cardassian refugees from being destroyed.

    And what were Sisko's options? Let Eddington keep going with biogenic weapons and killing millions of Cardassians without any warning? The only Starfleet ship around was the Malinche, and it was crippled by Eddington. Also killing Starfleet officers aboard her. So Sisko had no backup.

    Eddington and the Maquis became out of control. It took a drastic action to stop him, and Sisko stopped them. We may argue the ethics of his actions, but he not only prevented a LOT more deaths on the Cardassian side, he warned the Maquis planet ahead of time, and there were no casualties mentioned. It kept the peace.
     
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  18. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    You have to balance potential lives saved versus lives potentially lost. You also have to balance that this is a fantasy scenario with no real world connection.

    In universe, Sisko took drastic actions that he thought would accomplish his mission. History will be the final arbiter of whether he was a terrorist or not.
     
  19. Ferengi Prime 5

    Ferengi Prime 5 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Sisko again is a Starfleet officer and if I remember rightly the citizens were on the Cardassian side of the border... I can argue he attack the Federation and it's citizens. He as much a terrorist as the Maquis. He was not in a fantasy world. He would have been put before a court marshal board, maybe guilty or not for high crimes...
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Because no one of a captain's rank would be put in that kind of situation. He's the star of the show and it is TV. Impossible choices are what hooks viewers. You can't apply real world morality to a TV show.