Nothing Human

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by JirinPanthosa, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I just watched this episode for the first time in a while.

    Am I the only one who has less of a problem with using medical knowledge that was gained unethically, and more of a problem that those aliens probably do the same thing to other crews they come across?

    I guess the argument is, if you use medical research that was obtained brutally, you encourage brutal research to be done in the future. But if that's the argument the outcome was a little bit hypocritical. They used the research as much as they needed for their own ends then threw it out and felt good about themselves. Isn't that kind of like riding around in a private jet then saying 'For shame' to people who drive hummers? Do other people than B'elana have to die so we can morally square our actions with our beliefs?

    Would the crew have even cared if the hologram was a Vulcan who just happened to have studied the Cardassian's research?
     
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  2. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    The knowledge is out there, however brutally it was gained. Seems stupid to destroy it when it can do some good. It makes all the people who unwillingly suffered for it to have suffered pointless deaths. I don't approve of how the Cardassians gained their medical knowledge and wouldn't support more of the same methods but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Also, knowledge tends to be abstract, the truth existing out there regardless of how and whether somebody finds it. If it were thrown away and then rediscovered through independent effort that involved no baby slaying, who would benefit? It would still be the same truth the Vampire Nazi Berserkers had uncovered, and the beneficiaries couldn't tell from where and how it came to them. The researchers would perhaps sleep more soundly than their VNB ccounterparts (or then not), and then die away just like said counterparts; is that enough benefit to justify the delay in introducing the truth?

    As far as we can tell, the truth wasn't discarded here. A working association with a likeness of a VNB was discontinued, is all; "his" medical knowledge still remained in the ship's databanks, and could have been channeled through a likeness of Albert Schweitzer or Betty Boop if need be.

    The real problem with Nazi medical research ITRW wasn't ethical anguish: it was that the research was utter crap. Modern medical research struggles with the inability to use a comparison group that would have to suffer (or at least to be deprived of benefits); most of the Nazi stuff had pretty much the opposite shortcoming, the no-mistreatment comparison groups being poorly handled and inapplicable. OTOH, the cruelties involved in e.g. exposure experiments weren't systematic or extensive enough to actually let the researchers reach the correct conclusions (and it didn't help that said researchers tended to be hacks, too).

    In comparison, Crell Moset supposedly did credible research. He just happened to do it by deliberately killing people in cruel ways.

    Interestingly, the EMH essentially became Crell Moset at the drop of an ethical subroutine in "Equinox". How about inserting one of those into the Moset simulation? The absence or presence of that subroutine did not seem to be vital to the skills or existence of the EMH...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Spot261

    Spot261 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bear in mind the origins of much of our own medical knowledge aren't always exactly savoury.
     
  5. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    Betty Boop as an evil Nazi/Cardassian scientist :guffaw:
     
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The counterargument is, the next unethical scientist would see that people in the future ignored their methods and kept their results and think "I AM doing good for the universe!"

    But Voyager had their cake and ate it too, saved B'elana and then destroyed it. If they were taking that moral stand they would have had to let B'elana die.
     
  7. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    ^^This. Regardless the cause and reason, humans didn't know any better at the time. A lot has improved since then.
     
  8. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We have a different attitude though when it comes to morally justifying things that happened in recent or ancient history.

    If a medical researcher sees that just a few years ago, a medical breakthrough was gained by killing people, and they condemn the researcher but use the research, that researcher may see himself as a sacrificial hero for “Doing what needs to be done” to save lives on the long term. He pulled the lever, causing the trolley to hit ten people instead of ten thousand, and then nobly accepts the consequences.
     
  9. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, there is no "Voyager had" or "their moral stand." In the episode you have different people taking different positions. Tom, of course, is arguing in favor of using the consultant program. Others, including B'elanna, are against it. The doctor is unsure, and it's the captain who orders it. Afterwards, it is the doctor who decides to delete it. Why? He has decided it would be wrong to keep it, not to mention offensive to the sensibilities of many crew members. Does that make him a hypocrite? Maybe. The Cardassian quite clearly and immediately calls him out on this.

    Ultimately Janeway as captain did indeed have the final say on whether or not they would do the operation regardless of B'elanna's objections. She made the decision that would save her chief engineer, the practical, pragmatic, and logical choice.

    The doctor then made what he felt was the ethical choice afterwards.

    Let me just add...
    I just watched this. I hadn't seen it in a long time. The front end of this episode is just awful. It moves way too fast. People are acting out of character. Seven's stupid comment makes no sense. The tone feels "chipper" and out of place. The bajoran guy is poorly acted, hamfisted, and over the top.

    The transition into the moral quandry is also sloppy, then the last 3rd or so of the episode is suddenly really good, mostly because of the interactions between the two holograms, especially their last discussion.

    The dilemma is ultimately a dumb one. No doubt the doctor, being programmed with the medical knowledge of every Federation world is full of practices, procedures, and cures obtained through the same type of actions the real Krell had taken. Furthermore, no doubt the Bajorans are still using his vaccine back on Bajor.
     
  10. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  11. KJY

    KJY Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Am I the only one who's gonna mention the big elephant in the room? Is it morally acceptable to forceably delete the Moset program because he happens to resemble a war criminal through no fault of his own? Then again, the whole franchise is wildly inconsistent on whether holograms are sentient and deserving of rights.
     
  12. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    I always felt The Doctor was an exception to the rule because of extraordinary circumstances. A regular hologram could become what he became through years of development but its highly unlikely its going to happen again. Also the fact The Doctor was given free reign to improve and develop himself. I doubt any other Starfleet hologram would be given that.

    Cases to be made for Vic Fontaine and Moriarty but in Vic's case it was really more that he meant something special to so many people and he himself never wanted to be anything other than a holosuite program. Moriarty was a fluke and never really outgrew his programming since he was still a villain.
     
  13. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Perhaps a hologram based on/of a real person, particularly one that is created with information and input from said person, not to mention that is constantly tinkered with by people looking to make it better suited for the task at hand (long term CMOship as opposed to auto-doc), is more of a person than, say, your toy doll that talks and wets and cries and crawls (or in a hologram's case, acts as a visual interface for the medical computer)
     
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