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Thread: Watching "Measure of a Man" today...

  1. #1
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    Watching "Measure of a Man" today...

    And something that the JAG officer said struck me as funny, in light of later events in the series. When they transferred Data to Maddox's facility for their experiment, the JAG officer said that Data could refuse the procedure but not the transfer.

    Didn't Riker fight like 2 or 3 transfers/promotions to new ships? And this was before they decided to just say Data was property. So Riker can say no to a transfer but not Data? Or am I not getting a subtle difference in regards to military procedure?
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  2. #2
    Was Riker ordered to take command of the Aries, or offered the command?
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    Was Riker ordered to take command of the Aries, or offered the command?
    Offered.

    Riker, as an organic life form was by default assumed to be sapient. Data, as an android, did not have that assumption, though you'd think they would have settled the issue before he went to the Academy. Dialogue in the ep suggests that there was a hearing at that time, but you'd think then that Maddox would not get a "second bite at the apple" in that case.

  4. #4
    The differences in orders are what the orders are. Riker was offered a command that would be long and difficult, and as he was a living life form and Data is still a machine with intelligence and feelings of a humans imprinted into to his processor is a machine till the JAG session. In the real world it is like as Picard Reads “requested and required to take command…” sometimes you get the options of this or that and even request an assignment nevertheless usually it is “you go here! You do this!”

  5. #5
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    Well, I still have trouble with the general idea of Data's backstory: If they thought he was property, why let him go through the Academy? They could have just played all the instructional information on fast-forward and let him absorb it, and then place him on a starship, but basically as a humanoid computer. Why go through all the theater of taking classes, having rank, etc.

    I mean, if the Moriarty hologram had decided to join Starfleet, could it? Could the EMH from Voyager? Both are examples of "tools" used by humans raised to at least as much sentience as Data.

    I guess maybe I don't get some nuance of the episode: Data was a member of Starfleet, able to make decisions right up until they thought they could reproduce him, then he was property.

    But I'd like to think the FED was better than that.
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  6. #6
    ^Ok, as I understand it:

    Cmdr Maddox was on the committee that examined Data when he applied to the Academy, and was a dissenting vote when they approved his admission. Later (as seen in "Measure of a Man") he tried again to get Data declared non-sentient so he could experiment on him. This led to the trial and Louvois' ruling.

    Starfleet apparently didn't learn it's lesson, because Adm Haftel tried similar shennanigans to get control over Data's "daughter" Lal before she died.

    Moving on to Voyager, the issue of the Doctor's sentience/rights did come up at one point and this time he was outright declared not to have sentient rights ("Author, Author"). At the end of that episode in fact, we find that "decommissioned" EMH Mk 1s do in fact become effectively a slave labor class.

    One of the reasons I have Voyager so much, btw...

  7. #7
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    The Federation (and Star Trek) has entered some fairly morally questionable area's on the part of the Federation, so I interpret the Federation as a Bright, But Flawed, look at the Future. This is due to a lot of the rather Tone Deaf writing of some of the writing staff trying to gin-up 'Drama' including but not limited to:

    1) A.I. Is A Crapshoot. Yeah, Artifical Intelligence tends to get the short end of the stick in Trek, but then most A.I. seems to follow the Berzerker/Terminator model or dumb as a rock servant. There apparently is NO in between in Trek. Which I find really truncated and stupid. LEt's see some actual smart frames or artificial intelligence that is actually helpful developed as characters. It would make things more interesting. And the Treatment of Photonic Lifeforms is appalling by The Federation, who seems to be okay with slaves that do not bleed.

    2) All Hail the Federation....even when they are being complete jerks to you. TOS, which perhaps a bit cheesy on some of it's speechifying, did not get too heavy handed...usually. TNG and particularly VOY suffered from and I really hate to say this "Great White Man come to enlighten the natives." Seasons one and two of TNG were particularly bad in this regard, but thankfully they dialed that back a LOT. The less said of Voyager the better. To fix this tendency, I'd like to see the new crew come across a problem, figure out how to fix in and then soft sell it to the people they are interacting with through understatement and simply stating politely, "This is how we do things." Leaving the contact of the week to think about what they have seen and follow up with politely answering questions, not rendering any judgement unless asked. This would be closer to a more mature set of Federation officers which is kinda playing on Gene's 'Evolved' nonsense.

    3) No Genetic Engineering: Okay, seriously. The Augments and the Eugenics Wars were from over 400 years ago. Get over it and yourselves, Humanity. It would be interesting to see other human variants that had not followed the genetic restrictions having built local coalitions that the Terrans would have to deal with or be proven hypocrites. Let's see if that 'Utopia' stands up under scrutiny. there was a novel about a colony of Augments that did not want to interact with the Federation as they heard the horror stories from their ancestors, who were early Augments (think Khan and his Ilk) who they considered nutters, but understandably so. The New Augments were a significantly improved version of the regular augment version, but had certain genetic modifications to make them more stable and personable. They would probably make great Federation citizens, if the Federation wasn't a pack of lunatics form their POV. The commentary result was hilarious, pointing out the obvious flaws in Federation logic with regards to genetic engineering.

    4) Section 31: I had no problem with this showed up in the show. I expected there would be an Intelligence Office around somewhere that kept track of all of the hostile empires surrounding the Federation that worked with Starfleet's Tactical & Strategic office. I also expected there to be a Black bag operation somewhere handling the things the Federation would rather not acknowledge. The fact that it is literally off the grid with no official status or registry, makes it devilishly hard to spot by OpFors and more effective in the deniability area. Where the execution of the idea fell down was that A) distinctive black leather uniforms....that looked horrible and what moron thought those were a good idea? B) s-31 agents should exhaust every other option reasonably before going for what I call the "Bastard Option', but if they have to, just set it in motion and tell the minimal amount of information needed to let people wonder what just happened. And plans within plans within plans to make them effective. IDW's Star Trek Series portrayed S-31 as quiet, manipulative and capable of carrying out contingencies that played the Klingon Empire AND the Romulans like a fiddle. No more of this Federation nativity nonsense. If you are going to have this, then make it a credible threat

    If they kept this, but made these tweaks, it would open up more plot ideas for debate and a bit of a fresh look at older subjects
    A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions -- if only we lived in one.

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  8. #8
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    I loved that VOY episode where they wanted that long range teleport tech, and THEY got 'Prime Directived'; the race that made it didn't want their advanced tech falling into potentially irresponsible hands. They even resisted the "impassioned captain speech"!

    I always laugh at the genetic engineering ban: they can accept all manner beings into the fold ("oh, your species only eats sentient species? I'm sure we can work something out,"), forgive long time and terrible enemies (Worf and 7 Of 9), but one doctor (a rather brilliant doctor who had saved thousands of people and served with distinction at an important post) turns out to be gene modified and he MUST be drummed out of the service. Being gene modified is apparently worse then disobeying Star Fleet orders, violating the Prime directive, stealing Starfleet property, or assaulting Starfleet personnel. Captain, later Admiral, then Captain (again) Kirk did all those things in his career. The worst he got was being 'forced' to return to the captain's Chair, the job he really wanted in the first place.
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    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

  9. #9
    When you augment man, you augment ALL of man, not just physical strength, immune system, etc. You also augment ego, ambition, greed. Those too are a part of man. The result can be (if you're lucky) a Julian Bashir, but (if you're unlucky) may well be a Khan Singh.

    If you're truly Murphy-ed, you get stronger, smarter, faster telepathic kids whose immune systems treat you like viruses and kill you.

    Trek's attitude towards GM is exactly right: we are not gods/God. We are not as smart as we think we are. We are not in control. And we have no business mucking around with something designed and perfected over millions of years (by who or what I leave to other debate). At our level of intelligence, genetic engineering is like giving a bunch of 10 year-olds a Formula One engine and a toolbox and telling them to "have at it".

    We already know this in real life, but we're ignoring it because we're told to by the very corporations who make massive profits out of it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by BouncyCaitian View Post
    3) No Genetic Engineering: Okay, seriously. The Augments and the Eugenics Wars were from over 400 years ago. Get over it and yourselves, Humanity. It would be interesting to see other human variants that had not followed the genetic restrictions having built local coalitions that the Terrans would have to deal with or be proven hypocrites. Let's see if that 'Utopia' stands up under scrutiny. there was a novel about a colony of Augments that did not want to interact with the Federation as they heard the horror stories from their ancestors, who were early Augments (think Khan and his Ilk) who they considered nutters, but understandably so. The New Augments were a significantly improved version of the regular augment version, but had certain genetic modifications to make them more stable and personable. They would probably make great Federation citizens, if the Federation wasn't a pack of lunatics form their POV. The commentary result was hilarious, pointing out the obvious flaws in Federation logic with regards to genetic engineering.
    To paraphrase another great Trek line: "If only you could hear yourselves. 'Augments.' Why, the very name is racist."
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  11. #11
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    it would be more like, "We have never considered ephemeral attributes such as the amount of melanin in one's epidermal layer to be relevant other than considering protection verses solar radiation. Ones genetic's simply are. Your fixation on remaining genetically human in spite of the fact you often interbreed with various xenos we consider a mild form of mental barrier or perhaps disorder. We have adapted to our environment as we see fit. You do not enter into how we factor our long term survival and your emotional state is irrelevant to us in that regard. We do have some genetics tools you may wish to purchase to assist with the removal of genetic diseases your species still suffers. We are open to negotation."
    A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions -- if only we lived in one.

    Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone"

  12. #12
    Seriously, though, the terminology—'augment,' 'significantly improved'—is simply reifying a set of assumptions that simply reproduces racism and ableism: the idea that there is some essential characteristic the bestows greater 'value' or 'superiority' on one individual over another. You can't have ubermensch without the untermenschen, and a culture dedicated to that kind of iterative creation of successive super-men isn't going to be a great fit in the Federation, especially since the basic conflict in such a society over which of ubermensch is the uberest flies in the face of the Federation's stated values of equality.

    EDIT: I mean, TNG has a bridge crew two two cyborgs, an android, one guy with literally superhuman strength and vitality, and woman who could probably disable the rest of them with mind-rays if she practiced enough. Not once do they act like a VISOR makes him an 'augment' instead of a normal person and Federation citizen with a VISOR.
    Last edited by The Tatterdemalion King; 11-30-2016 at 12:46 AM.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    To paraphrase another great Trek line: "If only you could hear yourselves. 'Augments.' Why, the very name is racist."
    No it isn't. It is an accurate description of a community of people who have been genetically augmented.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    Seriously, though, the terminology—'augment,' 'significantly improved'—is simply reifying a set of assumptions that simply reproduces racism and ableism: the idea that there is some essential characteristic the bestows greater 'value' or 'superiority' on one individual over another.
    Pleaase don't play cute with us. Objectively measured, if you are stronger, faster, intellectually more capable than others, you can be so described and it not be "racist" and the whole notion of "ableism" is one of those BS made up words that denies objective reality.

    You can't have ubermensch without the untermenschen, and a culture dedicated to that kind of iterative creation of successive super-men isn't going to be a great fit in the Federation, especially since the basic conflict in such a society over which of ubermensch is the uberest flies in the face of the Federation's stated values of equality.
    Which is why the Federation bans genetic enhancement.

    EDIT: I mean, TNG has a bridge crew two two cyborgs,
    Abusing the frak out of the term.

    an android,
    I'll give you that one.

    one guy with literally superhuman strength and vitality,
    Who comes from a race of people whose mentality is shaped by those traits to believe that the strongest rule the weakest and value martial prowess over all else. A natural result of their biology.

    and woman who could probably disable the rest of them with mind-rays if she practiced enough.
    Uh....no.

    Not once do they act like a VISOR makes him an 'augment' instead of a normal person and Federation citizen with a VISOR.
    Has nothing to do with genetically enhanced people.

  15. #15
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    Cool

    And the Herans (the Augmented humans) have already had this argument and debated the daylights out of it. After much debate in the book, they held a vote. The first was potential conquest of the Federation (which most thought was a bad idea), Second was Joining the Federation after careful negotations (this failed). The majority Chose going there own way because Humanity was too neurotic and not worth the effort to conquer. Much to Picard's amusment
    A brave little theory, and actually quite coherent for a system of five or seven dimensions -- if only we lived in one.

    Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Now We Are Alone"

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