STAR TREK VOYAGER episode…."morale" question poll

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by joker-scar, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. joker-scar

    joker-scar Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    656
    So I started re-watching my STAR TREK VOYAGER series. I watched the episode entitled “NOTHING HUMAN” with that great character actor David Clennon (Palmer from THE THING) playing the role of a “hologram version” of a Cardassian “Dr JOSEPH MENGELE” who was responsible for tortuous experiments resulting in the deaths of thousands of Bajorans. Now the drama of the show is that Torres is on deaths door and the only way to help her is to use the knowledge obtained from the “Dr.’s” past experiments to save her life. Now the writer’s take on the subject was that it was immoral to use the info obtained from those “horrific” experiments and to delete the program instead of using the Dr. and his knowledge in the future. Ok. So that’s what they did on the show.

    My 2 cents…. I get that they wanted to disassociate themselves with a *-like Doctor working in the sick bay on the ship. BUT… he is only a hologram version and not the real Dr. that committed the actual crimes. The hologram version wants to use the “tainted” info from the past crimes to help future patients. “If” I were one of those victims, I wouldn’t want my death to be in vain and I would want the info gained from those horrific experiments (on myself and others) to be used to help others in the future. Keep the hologram on board and turn a negative into a positive. That’s my own opinion.

    Who agrees and who disagrees…… :confused
     
  2. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,036
    It's hard to say.

    On the one hand, information is natural. How that information is used or obtained can be good or evil. In that sense, the Doctor should be able to use the information to help save lives.

    On the other hand, I understand the argument that using that information might encourage others to obtain the information in the same way.

    My only moral dilemma would be the possibility that, by using this information we might encourage others to use similar methods in the future.
     
  3. PotionMistress

    PotionMistress Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,506
    What is 'horrible' to one set of people, is essentially 'a price you pay' to another. One could say almost every stride in medicine was gained at the pain of others, including animals and humans. The pain of animals is no less felt than the pain of humans, and yet, many feel this is an acceptable price to pay for the information gained to do good.

    I agree with you that, if those animals and people could have a say in how the information gained by their pain was used, that they would choose to have it not wasted. I don't think that its use is an encouragement for future torturous experimentation. We have historical discrimination at our disposal to make judgments on that.

    I always thought that Belana was being stubbornly irrational in her insistance on dying before taking treatment that would save her life. I suppose it was the Klingon honor in her that took over.
     
  4. CessnaDriver

    CessnaDriver Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    4,375
    Yeah I don't subscribe to omitting useful data because you don't like where it comes from.

    If your spouse or child lay dying on the table, what good is it to let them die so you can feel superior? Perhaps if that is what you want. Fine. But you don't destroy the choice for everyone after you.

    So yeah, eff that. It's not logical to me. It doesn't encourage medical crimes
     
  5. 0neiros

    0neiros Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,790
    This was based on the hypothermia experiments done by the nazis. Do we use the info or not. IIRC they did not. The POV was that these people were murdered and not using the info was not letting them die in vain, but honoring them by not lending ANY credence to inhuman monsters. A POV I endorse. I wouldn't want the cure to my diabetes to come at the cost of a river of blood of my fellow man. Not happy about animals either, but I'd rather sacrifice one to save lives over a new eyeliner.
     
  6. Too Much Garlic

    Too Much Garlic Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    3,615
    Much of what horrible things happened in the concentration camps HAVE been used in modern medical research - however horrible it is, it had results no medical engineer or scientist could even remotely replicate in tests today.

    Cruelty happens every day. I would honestly think that the suffering those people went through is better honored by using the info to help save people today. Destroying the results, sure, you disassociate yourself from the cruelty of the person committing it, but also disassociate from the victims out of some form of respect. In my view... it just makes their suffering and death even more pointless. The victims are the ones honored by using the info, not the person committing it, in my view. This is of course no justification to the criminal acts committed by the Nazis or anyone else experimenting on others like that.

    + much of our anatomy knowledge started with people digging up corpses to study... without permission and consent. Should we have tossed that too?

    + much of our radiation knowledge came from the WW2 nuclear bombings of Japan.

    A lot of the knowledge we have today is based on things discovered by people being cruel to others.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  7. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    3,255

    First point clarification. Over Torres' protests, Janeway authorised the Doctor to use the info to cure Torres. Which he did.

    Second point. Yes they did delete the hologram. Afterwards. And rightly so, because although he was only a hologram, he was based on the original's character, including his traits, which included his immorality.

    In fact, the hologram was already starting to show such traits.

    So they did well to delete it.

    As for real life, TMG said it all :thumbsup


    PS - To the poster above me, English please :lol
     
  8. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,670
    Good episode in the wrong series. Bajoran/Cardassian conflict involving previous war crimes and the moral dilemma about the treatment of innocents? DEEP SPACE NINE. At least if it was done there, they could have used the real doctor instead of a hologram that could have been reprogrammed to just look different.
     
  9. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

    Trophy Points:
    5,550
    No moral person wants their benefit to come at the expense of someone else, but in the case where we are talking about past wrongs (both in the show and in regard to the Nazis), the damage had already been done. There is absolutely NOTHING that you can do today that will change the evil that has been done in the past. Using or not using the information will not bring those people back or take that pain away from them if any are still alive today. If something good can be derived from that horror, why in the world wouldn't you use it? Let their suffering and pain be for SOMETHING good as opposed to nothing at all. We can talk about honoring memories or whatever, but if I were one of those who were tortured in the past and something that was learned from my pain could be used to help someone in the present, I would absolutely want it to be used.

    Now, if you are talking about something in the present or future that derives benefit at the expense of someone else, that is another matter entirely, but when you are talking about a past event that you can't change, I don't know why anyone would throw that information away. To me, that is adding insult to injury.
     
  10. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    3,255
    I rather enjoy trek 'cross-references' myself :)

    That episode of Voyager was in Season 5, while DS9 was in its last Season 7.

    On the other hand, it's also very trekkie to 'expand' from one series to the other even without overlaps, like Ensign Ro's appearance in TNG ('91), being the basis for the Bajoran situation in DS9, that started in '93.

    etc etc etc yada yada yada. A thread in its own right that subject :lol
     
  11. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    3,080
    I always thought the crew of Voyager was too moral, frankly. I'd be more like the Starfleet captain of the ship that was being powered by dead aliens. :lol

    Anyway: what Art said, basically.
     
  12. PotionMistress

    PotionMistress Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,506

    I don't see Voyager as being 'too moral', as The Federation has had several hundred years to refine their ethical codes at the time of this series. But Enterprise was way too 'moral' for it's time; at least as far as it was originally set up with TOS (thus explaining Kirk's many Prime Directive violations). These earlier times of exploration were much more crude and full of fear of the unknown, so they should have reflected a rougher set of codes.

    I suppose Vulcan scrutiny may have had something to do with it, but Star Trek has always reflected the ethical issues of OUR day, and that is what has made it so thought-provoking. Still, continuity is lost somewhat between these shows.
     
  13. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    3,080
    I think they refined their ethical codes straight into nonsense. How many times did Janeway risk the lives of 140? crewmates to save some stranger, or uphold protocol, etc etc etc. What is she, a martyr? She'll be eaten by lions before trampling the ikons of Starfleet? She takes preposterous risks with her crew's life and well-being for her ethics. Standing up for a principle at the cost of others' lives is kind of moronic. And before anyone brings up war, most of the wars widely regarded as righteous aren't for some principle but directly related to national security. They are fought to protect loved ones and their way of life, not for abstract notions like "democracy" or "capitalism."
     
  14. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,830
    I think it has to be appreciated that (by TNG on) there is a lot of emphasis that the people of the 24th century are "better" than us of today. Whether you like or dislike that notion, it is a part of Star Trek.

    Their code of ethics (including the Prime Directive) is their "religion." It is not a set of rules, it is a philosophy and their way of life. To serve in Starfleet means to uphold these beliefs, even if it means sacrificing yourself.

    The crew of the Equinox (who were using the aliens as power cells to get home) were not just "breaking the rules", (in the eyes of Starfleet) they were committing atrocities against another species. "We" might be able to see it their way, but in the evolved 24th century they were the lowest of the low.

    Many people are willing to die for their beliefs- the Prime Directive is Starfleet's (and Janeway's).


    Kevin
     
  15. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    3,080
    Yes, I get that the Equinox crew was committing atrocities. There was definitely a bit of hyperbole meant when I used that example :)

    There's also this "all life is precious" idea that seems to pervade the ST universe (and ours). When Seven needs a new brain piece, Janeway considers taking it from a live drone. Why not? Is a drone "alive?" Of course, there's an obvious social allegory there (stem cells, cloning, abortion, whatever), but within the ST universe, allegory aside, exactly what value does a Borg life have? Zip, seems to me. Save Seven.
     
  16. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,670
    Or sacrificing two entire species because "we don't know what the consequences will be". I especially loath how Archer doesn't give the Valakians hints about how to develop warp drive technology because they need to help themselves. Let me try to explain this. The Valakians can only use non-warp capable ships in their quest to find a cure for their entire species, and Archer says no because they need to develop it first. Archer, the human who discovered warp technology was some drunk bum in Montana who was only in it for fame, money and sex. These aliens are in it BECAUSE THEY'RE TRYING TO SURVIVE!

    The code of ethics and Prime Derective should not be looked at as beliefs to be followed no matter the circumstances. They were developed by humans, and humans are flawed. If you're going to follow them to the absolute level, you're going to get flawed results.

    And again back to Dear Doctor, Archer literally condemned two species to die. Why? Because they don't know what the consequences would be if they did cure them. Well, all I can see is instead of the Enterprise crew looking like intergalactic saviors who helped an entire species, they are now looked at as a civilization who left them die even though they had the means to help. I'm sure every single Valakian will understand why this had to happen, especially when they have to tell their loved ones that they weren't worth saving because they weren't smart as that old drunk bum in Montana.
     
  17. SSgt Burton

    SSgt Burton Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,830
    Like it or not, that's exactly how it works.

    Anyone who has followed Star Trek knows the Prime Directive was born out of catastrophic mistakes by mankind when they first encountered less advanced species while exploring the galaxy. So the tough choice of non interference was considered the lesser of two evils.

    But from a story telling point of view to me it makes for great drama-

    A species is going to die (or one of the crew members *cough *cough Wesley is going to be executed). But we can't interfere because we are bound by the Prime Directive so either...

    -We do nothing and allow the species/crew member to die

    -We try to find a clever work around so as to satisfy saving the species and not break the Prime Directive (or just bend it a little)

    -Or we outright break the Prime Directive and deal with the consequences later (good story telling would also require substantial consequences and not have our heroes get off scott free)


    Take away the Prime Directive with a "do whatever we feel like" attitude (despite how "right" it might be) and the show becomes boring fast- it ends up being an action fest in Space. :rolleyes

    I don't know about you but I like my drama to include gut wrenching moral decisions too.


    Kevin
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  18. PotionMistress

    PotionMistress Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,506

    Do you mean Zephram Cochrane here, (instead of Archer)?
     
  19. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,670
    No, I was too in the moment that I was imagining that I was strangling Archer by the neck and telling him that.
     
  20. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,670
    And the moral of "Dear Doctor" was?

    Dr. Phlox: All I'm saying is that we let nature make the choice.

    How is this in any way a gut wrenching moral when everyone agrees with it and stands by the decision to allow a whole species to die? I thought Star Trek was supposed to show how humanity broke out of it's prejudice side and become enlightened in the future.

    Troi: *Regarding Earth's future* Poverty, Disease, War. They'll all be gone in the 50 years.

    Oh, sure. We "enlightened humans" can create cures for our own diseases that would "naturally" kill us, but when we come across a species that wants to do the same thing but only lacks a warp core, it's in everyone's best interest that we shouldn't help them. Can you imagine what kind of chaos would ensue if a scientist were to discover a cure for Aids but decided not to distribute it because he doesn't want to mess with nature? Because that's what happens here! Phlox created a cure but told Archer not to use it, and Archer agreed!
     
  21. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,670
    So like JJ Abrams' Star Trek. That had a Kirk who had a "Do whatever I feel like" attitude.
     
  22. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    3,080
    And to be honest, I think it DOES have gut-wrenching moral decisions. Janeway (and others/and in other series) does wrestle frequently with what's right. I just don't always agree with her decisions. If your characters are always predictably moral/Pollyanna-ish, that's just as boring as mindless action. It gets dull and sanctimonious. See Luke in the last couple years of the EU. I expect him to start withering with guilt over all the bacteria he kills shaving in the morning.
     
  23. Jeyl

    Jeyl Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    2,670
    Yes. Janeway certainly does wrestle with these moral dilemmas.

    *Tom wants to warn the inhabitants of a planet that is about to be annihilated.
    Janeway: You have no idea what the consequences might be if you involve yourself.
    Paris: The consequences would have to be better than mass destruction.
    Janeway: You are not to warn these people. That's an order.

    I didn't modify, alter or even condense a word of that exchange. Janeway presses Tom to not do something out of ignorance. Tom replies that they know the world will be destroyed so how could warning these people make things worse? Janeway decides that rather than contemplate the moral dilemma of the situation she and Tom are in, pulls rank instead.

    Yes. What's "right" for Janeway is total planetary annihilation. Are you sure you want to use her as an example when it comes to the ethics of the Prime Directive? Because she sounds more inclined to follow the directive as long as it involves destruction and chaos.
     
  24. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,306
    For me, rather than trying to analyze Trek's morals, I appreciate it for what it is, 1 hour long morality plays (the movies are a little different and never quite dove into the morality of the television shows). We can analyze all we want about Janeway's motivations (and Kirks, Picard's, Sisko's and Archer's) but just remember Trek as a whole is fiction aimed squarely at us. Sure, people have dismissed Roddenberry's science fiction vision on television as dated and silly (created by a guy who was a big a womanizer, it is almost as if Cochrane's portrayal in First Contact was meant to be a Gene Roddenberry analog, and now I feel it was). But, compared to some of the crap that occupies television today with the moral that "we are humans, we can't change so why should we even try," Even the Star Trek spinoffs at their worst are still more enjoyable and uplifting to me as at least they let you think rather than treating you as brainless.

    As for the use of research from ill-gotten means, America and the allies after WW2 benefitted from such things. Maybe not so much the * hypothermia research and the like, but I recall there were some Japanese military officers involved in chemical warfare and biological warfare experiments on American prisoners of war who essentially got pardoned because the US wanted that research for themselves and didn't want the Soviets to get it. Debate also rages to this day about how much Werner von Braun knew about * attrocities when he was building A-4/V-2 rockets for Hitler. Granted no Jewish concentration camp labor was used to make those rockets, but plenty of other prisoners died in the appalling working conditions in the underground V-2 manufacturing facility. Those V-2s helped form the basis for the rockets that were part of the space race of the 1950s and 60s.

    I would say that the question is not one that can easily be answered as the answer will never be 100% black or white. But, the fact that the question is being asked at all tells me that we still have a place for morals. When we no longer have morals, the world doesn't seem to be a decent place to live in anymore. As long as I keep asking those questions myself when they come up, I know at least I am still human.
     
  25. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

    Trophy Points:
    3,080
    Jeyl, I agree completely. That's a perfect example of her abstract "ethics" standing in the way of reality and people getting hurt because of it.
     
  26. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    3,255
    Can't agree with you on this one though.

    Archer did not condemn 2 species to die.

    Only one, the more 'advanced' one.

    In fact, Archer's decision was made because the lesser 'advanced' one was showing signs of an evolutionary leap, that would eventually lead to them becoming the dominant species on the planet, while at the same time, the more 'advanced' species would die out due to natural selection.

    Archer's entire decision, the indications of the first steps towards the establishment of the Prime Directive, stems only from the fact that he is told, by Phlox if I am not mistaken, something to the tune of "It's like aliens visiting Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago and deciding to save the Neanderthal as they were dying out while man as we know him today was developing contemporarily.

    It would interfere with the natural development of life on a planet, a basis for the eventual Prime Directive.

    That is why Archer hated to admit that he started to understand the why Vulcans didn't help Earth by directly providing technology on a silver platter. (Same generic principal-ish of a degree of natural development having to be allowed.)

    Giving that alien species warp drive technology boiled down to the same thing as directly giving them the cure (which Phlox had in fact developed IIRC), as it would in all probability lead to them finding a cure due to being able to contact hundreds of other species.

    It was therefore still viewed as interfering.

    In the ST world, his decision was the correct one.

    The situation cannot really be compared to an alien species not theoretically giving us the cure for Aids, because there is no major natural evolutionary development at stake in the case of Aids.

    In fact, throughout the ST franchise, there are plenty of times where giving a non-warp capable species a cure for a disease was given without a second thought, as the Prime Directive did not apply in any of those cases.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  27. renaissance_man

    renaissance_man Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    1,786
    When I read the title of the thread I thought this was about keeping morale up on the ship during the long voyage home through the Delta Quadrant.
    I'm guessing you are referring to the ethics or morals of what Krel did as detailed in "Nothing Human"
    It is a very tough question to answer and one I don't feel I could weigh in on.
     

Share This Page