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Career Officer
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 263
# 21
06-07-2013, 05:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by f2pdrakron View Post
No, the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

You want a good example? imagine there is a plague now being a "good" Captain you break the Prime Directive and give then the tools to develop the cure ... everything is alright right?

Wrong because the exact same tools that can develop cure to illness can also be used to create bioweapons and that is exactly what happens, you just given then the means to develop bioweapons so did your "help with the suffering" not caused more deaths on the long run?

This is why there is a Prime Directive, interference can lead to disastrous results just in technology alone, society is a slippery slope because in the end you are just forcing a model into a civilization.
.

Exactly curing them may not be enough

The Enterprise episode Dear Doctor explains this very well, for those who didn't watch it they encounter a race that is dying of a illness that they cant cure, at first they try to help but they later learn that another species lives on the planet but are considered primitive and are treated as such by the dying ones.
Yet the doctor discovers that this primitive species is starting to adapt and evolve and could rise to become a dominant species on the planet if they get the chance.

So do you cure the ones who are already evolved thus interfering with the planets development and letting the lesser species remain treated as primitives or let billions die so that these primitive species may one day get the chance to develop their own culture and society.

"We could stay and help them."
"The Vulcans stayed to help Earth 90 years ago. We're still there."
"I never thought I'd say this, but... I'm beginning to understand how the Vulcans must have felt."

- Archer and T'Pol
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 59
# 22
06-07-2013, 05:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by f2pdrakron View Post
No, the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

You want a good example? imagine there is a plague now being a "good" Captain you break the Prime Directive and give then the tools to develop the cure ... everything is alright right?

Wrong because the exact same tools that can develop cure to illness can also be used to create bioweapons and that is exactly what happens, you just given then the means to develop bioweapons so did your "help with the suffering" not caused more deaths on the long run?

This is why there is a Prime Directive, interference can lead to disastrous results just in technology alone, society is a slippery slope because in the end you are just forcing a model into a civilization.
Except that is a flawed argument. Lets work with your plague as an example. If you have the power as a captain to stop this plague, which we know will wipe them all out and there will be no survivors unless you do something, you can do the following.

a) Sit there and do nothing. they are a pre-warp civilization, that is now doomed to fail. You catalogue this planet for future expeditions. You have let millions die because the prime directive says not to interfere and you decided to follow it blindly. Other Civilizations then look upon that as the fact the federation is weak, because despite claiming to be moral and upstanding, they are willing to sit back and watch people die.

b) You can give them the technology to make a cure, giving away valuable technology that they might not be ready for. There is a chance that they can then use this against each other to kill more. Since you decide to hell with the whole prime directive, might as well just blindly jump in and do the most idiotic things possible. At least some survive, but you directly stepping in with out further investigating whether they might use this technology for weapons. But hey, people who don't sit back to watch civilizations fall must be idiots, why not give them schematics to warp engines and photon torpedoes on the way out, because that's the sort of thing that makes sense.

c) Investigate what is causing this plague, and start making a cure. contact Star Fleet command to let them know what you are doing and getting advice, after all, Star Fleet is about improve other peoples lives and humanitarian aid is what Star Fleet is all about. See if there is any way to disseminate the cure so that you don't have to make direct contact, and barring that, try to find solutions where you make contact with the least amount of people possible to reduce the effects of cultural contamination.

You don't give them technology, as you don't know enough to know what they are going to do with it, but that doesn't mean you can't give them the cure. Then report to Star Fleet of your actions and maybe have them check in to make sure that they are doing alright, after all, life is precious, and exploration does not preclude helping those out that you meet.

D) other permutations on option C.

See, with a bit of restraint, planning ahead, and thinking skills, you can both prevent them from having foreign technology that might not be ready to handle, and also save them. You also attempt to keep contact as minimal as possible as culture shock can be a problem, so if you have to make full contact, then at least you know you made every effort to minimize it first. Also, keeping Star Fleet in the loop, and getting advice from your superiors on these sensitive matters goes a long way to helping you make the best decisions. You didn't sit around and calmly watch people die, but you also didn't just say here is the whole new world you didn't know, and hey, look free technology you can abuse just because we can.

Situations like these don't need to be the bane of thinking, but rather represent a greater challenge, one which all captains must be ready to undertake, otherwise they aren't fit for command.

the flaws with your argument is this. You assume that doing something requires the abandonment of the purpose of the prime directive, as it should be. That in order to save a society, you must go all in and break all the rules, with reckless abandon, and that letting a species die is far better then potentially giving them means to do evil, which you have no control of any way.

Under your logic, the federation would be just as responsible if the ferengi decide to buy medical equipment, find this plague ravaged world, and save them at the cost of become slaves as they set them selves as gods, even if you didn't know that the ferengi were going to use this technology for this purpose, or if they got the technology many years before. Are you going to come back and wipe them out because they should have died, just to prevent a culture that has had cultural contamination?

Quote:
Originally Posted by f2pdrakron View Post
I dont think it is, its just you have to deal with then because they can see you and find you ... at that point you can no longer ignore them and they also have a effect on you as they can reach your worlds.
it is, but you are also right, it's hard to be isolationist when they can find you. But that is a problem with isolationism. While it is noble to not interfere with how other societies develop, eventually cultures will meet, and they will bleed together. That is the natural order of things. The Warp thresh hold is just an arbitrary point in which we can be certain that they are ready to meet new races. Some could handle that before Warp capabilities, and some not even after, but it's still a blind game of chance to figure out which ones, thus pre and post warp.
Imperial Secret Order. "we are the ones that maintain the balance of power in the universe. May our shadow never fall upon you."
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 59
# 23
06-07-2013, 06:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcastleton View Post
Exactly curing them may not be enough

The Enterprise episode Dear Doctor explains this very well, for those who didn't watch it they encounter a race that is dying of a illness that they cant cure, at first they try to help but they later learn that another species lives on the planet but are considered primitive and are treated as such by the dying ones.
Yet the doctor discovers that this primitive species is starting to adapt and evolve and could rise to become a dominant species on the planet if they get the chance.

So do you cure the ones who are already evolved thus interfering with the planets development and letting the lesser species remain treated as primitives or let billions die so that these primitive species may one day get the chance to develop their own culture and society.

"We could stay and help them."
"The Vulcans stayed to help Earth 90 years ago. We're still there."
"I never thought I'd say this, but... I'm beginning to understand how the Vulcans must have felt."

- Archer and T'Pol
Yes, but this is also considered on the worst episodes of Enterprise and turned off many people. for several reasons.

1) they already made first contact, thus negating the prime directive. the damage was done. it's not like they can just rewind time and never show up. They are now involved in events, having promised to help them find a cure if they could. Not necessarily a smart decision, as it was not thought through. Also, Archer never contacted Star Fleet, and consult with them about what they should and are capable of doing, including the limits of their assistance. Was it wrong to help? no. But at the same time, if they ended up staying there for fifteen years, then they are not doing any body any good either. this is where critical thinking comes in.

2) they did eventually find a cure, but chose not to use it. This has to be the most F$@ked up thing the did. While the circumstances where not the best they could be, they had already offered to help. albeit a short sighted thing, not necessarily a wrong thing. Once they learned of the other inhabitants and the way they were treated, they decided to impose their own judgement on the situation.

3) Just because they don't agree with the way the people are treated, does not give them the right to then choose how things will unfold. This is why Archer should have at least contacted the Admiral, get some advice, and see what Star Fleet was willing to do, as well as do some home work on the people. In any case, once he offered help, taking it away is just as bad as playing god, because they are deciding who lives and dies.

The worst part is, the more "evolved" society probably figured out what caused Archer to stop helping and wiped away the other species, especially with how bad they were treating them.

4) You're quote of Archer to t'pol is also a straw man. Yes, avoiding people will keep them out of your life, maybe, but one part of exploration is to seek out new life and make contact. Partly to better one self through the exchange of ideas. This means you will have contact with those people for the rest of your civilizations life and maybe beyond. It's true of the Vucans with the humans, the Humans with the Klingon's Romulans, Bajoran's, ect. ect. ect.

If you can't handle being there in some fashion, then you are playing the wrong game. (space exploration, that is.) It's not even like the Vulcans were babying the humans, they kept a presence, like we do with foreign countries, so that we can help out if they need help and keep up with what they are doing. Alliances can be closely compared to friends. You get involved with other people's lives because in the long run, you want some one the share your life with.

And every one treats development like there is a plan some where, and if you so happen to show up, you can tamper with events. A world develops in an organic way, when something new is introduced, it becomes a component in future development. And if there is a divine plan, who is to say you aren't part of it.

Finally, I would have changed the episode so that they gave over the cure, or what they knew, but inform the more "advance" inhabitants that you don't wish further contact because you don't agree with the treatment of the "lesser" beings. This would have had a much greater impact on creating social justice then walking away, and after all, the only reason we could even possibly think the decision not to give the cure is because we want the "lesser" beings welfare to improve.
Imperial Secret Order. "we are the ones that maintain the balance of power in the universe. May our shadow never fall upon you."
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,627
# 24
06-07-2013, 06:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
Except that is a flawed argument.
No, its not ... its a simple case.

Your actions have repercussions, you are not God and you dont have the right to act as if you are God and stopping a plague by giving then the means to do so leads to giving them the ability to manufacture plagues because science is a double edged sword.

Unless you stay and make sure they are using it the "right" way, that is forcing your morality and society unto them, regardless of if they want it or not ... for their own "good".
Romulans ...
You start your career off as a simple farmer... then you launch yourself into a galaxy filled with intrigue, power plays, and high stakes games of interstellar conflict, as your career careens upwards onto your final destination ... a level capped Dilithium and Fleet Mark Farmer!
Republic Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 59
# 25
06-07-2013, 06:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by f2pdrakron View Post
No, its not ... its a simple case.

Your actions have repercussions, you are not God and you dont have the right to act as if you are God and stopping a plague by giving then the means to do so leads to giving them the ability to manufacture plagues because science is a double edged sword.

Unless you stay and make sure they are using it the "right" way, that is forcing your morality and society unto them, regardless of if they want it or not ... for their own "good".
Except that we are back to giving them the technology and giving them the cure itself. In one instance you are handing over lab equipment and the texts to allow them to use said technology, the other you inject them with the cure.

it's akin to you getting a flu shot. You got one and are now benefiting, but you don't have the knowledge of how to make it or other bio chemical substances.

Can you see the difference?
Imperial Secret Order. "we are the ones that maintain the balance of power in the universe. May our shadow never fall upon you."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 179
# 26
06-07-2013, 06:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
But it's a captains job to make the best decision based on all the facts available, and then live with the consequences. Not all actions are going to result in a good out come, nor can some one see into the future. But that is where good judgment, a sense of morality to do the right thing, and above all, respect for others really comes into play.
That 'live with the consequences' thing is a big part of it. What's worse, failing to save a species because you couldn't do anything about it, or trying to save them and failing or even worse, trying to save them and in doing so doom them?

Regardless of the outcome staying the same, (they all die) doing nothing, by the Prime Directive, absolves the Captain of blame. Where if the Captain does not abide by it then he is responsible for his actions which means that he is responsible for taking part in the destruction of a species. Even if he was trying to help.

Yes it is cowardice but it is a necessary cowardice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
Not lifting a finger would have actually doomed them based on the possibility that they would not survive anyway.
Correct and regardless of the possibility, by not lifting a finger then the Captain had no part in their destruction. For good or ill. At all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
the real question is this. Not knowing what all the ramifications will be, based on the knowledge that you can save a people by preventing the catastrophe, or sit idol and let them die, which would you do? and would you feel good about your decision? And can you call you actions morally right, given the context that life is too precious to waste and that we consider people letting others die because of inaction just as bad as the ones killing people?
The Prime Directive's only moral standing is that interference with other cultures is wrong. Even for saving them. A sort of 'only do this if you know you can get away with it' warning in that sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
Other Civilizations then look upon that as the fact the federation is weak, because despite claiming to be moral and upstanding, they are willing to sit back and watch people die.
However now diplomacy and politics can come into play. Reasons can be provided for why no action was taken and ultimately the species died because of natural or internal causes. Because there was no action taken by the Captain/Federation, it's the species own fault for dying out. (Being unable to cure the plague/engineering it themselves.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
c)
The only issue with this option is if you don't have time to contact Starfleet (say the plague spreads exponentially and mutates rapidly) and there is a particularly extreme situation that would be hard to research (the plague is actually a part of the planet's life cycle and curing it would kill the planet forever.) But overall this is the type of outside intervention that a Captain can get away with ignoring the Prime Directive.
If bad things still happen then at least the Captain did his best with the plague.

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
the flaws with your argument is this. You assume that doing something requires the abandonment of the purpose of the prime directive, as it should be. That in order to save a society, you must go all in and break all the rules, with reckless abandon, and that letting a species die is far better then potentially giving them means to do evil, which you have no control of any way.
The problem with your argument is that you make the assumption that trying to save a species outweighs what actually happens to them. It is a 'do or do not, there is no try' state. You either did something in which case you are responsible for whatever happened, or you didn't do something in which case whatever happens isn't your fault. Which would boil down to:
1. 'You saved and had minimal influence on them so we can play politics around the Prime Directive.'
2. 'You saved them but now they've changed forever, you've abused your power as a Captain of a Starfleet Vessel.'
3. 'You tried to save them and failed, so you've taken part in their destruction.'
4. 'You didn't do anything and upheld the Prime Directive, so it's not your fault.'

Scenarios 2 and 3 would indeed be grounds for a Captain to be removed from duty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
Under your logic, the federation would be just as responsible if the ferengi decide to buy medical equipment, find this plague ravaged world, and save them at the cost of become slaves as they set them selves as gods, even if you didn't know that the ferengi were going to use this technology for this purpose, or if they got the technology many years before. Are you going to come back and wipe them out because they should have died, just to prevent a culture that has had cultural contamination?
It's far more likely that either Starfleet would stop them (it violates a treaty relating to borders/colonization etc.) or since the Ferengi have decided to make that species problem their problem, they're responsible for it in terms of intergalactic politics.

The Prime Directive is after all only for Starfleet.

Last edited by yargomesh; 06-07-2013 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Clarification and rewording.
Rihannsu
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,627
# 27
06-07-2013, 06:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by methodus2063 View Post
Can you see the difference?
You do realize there are mutations, also there is the Transmission Vector that in the "Black Death" case seem to have been the Oriental rat flea.

Immunization is not a solution, not to say how do you Immunize millions of people ... even if you do that, you have to set up centers because you cannot just beam it down, do you trust people into actually distribute the cure instead of just hogging it or segregate who receives it and who doesnt it? How people are going to view you?

Regardless you are taking responsibility for their entire culture because you saved them, you interfered with their natural evolution ... we survived the Black Death despite it killed millions, if the Vulcans come and given us the cure it would mean we would likely skipped the entire Renaissance, the US would have never been formed either and everything we did from the last 5 centuries would not had happened.
Romulans ...
You start your career off as a simple farmer... then you launch yourself into a galaxy filled with intrigue, power plays, and high stakes games of interstellar conflict, as your career careens upwards onto your final destination ... a level capped Dilithium and Fleet Mark Farmer!
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 365
# 28
06-07-2013, 08:21 PM
The Prime Directive is a joke. It has been broken by every single captain in both timelines for various reasons. It does seem to be a captain's priveledge though because Janeway came down hard on Harry and Tom when they broke the Prime Directive for the exact same reason Janeway.

Star Fleet even has a F the Prime Directive Directive when it comes to the Omega molecule.
Cheers from Antonio Valerio Cortez III, Half-Celestial Archduke of the Free Marches Confederacy.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 318
# 29
06-07-2013, 08:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordvalecortez View Post
The Prime Directive is a joke. It has been broken by every single captain in both timelines for various reasons. It does seem to be a captain's priveledge though because Janeway came down hard on Harry and Tom when they broke the Prime Directive for the exact same reason Janeway.

Star Fleet even has a F the Prime Directive Directive when it comes to the Omega molecule.
Omega Directive is the only order that has higher precedence than the Prime Directive, as such, a captain is obligated to "F the Prime Directive" when it comes up. This is because the repercussions of the Omega molecule are much wider than just a single species. A single Omega molecule detonated and destroyed 29 Borg vessels, and that type of detonation makes it completely impossible to form a stable warp field, negating the standard manner of faster than light travel. Imagine if a species attempted to weaponize it without realizing this? Entire sectors could be rendered impassable because of their ignorance.

As for every captain breaking the directive, the shows would have been really boring if they never did anything because it would interfere with another species.

Last edited by jbmaverick; 06-07-2013 at 08:39 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 909
# 30
06-08-2013, 06:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by f2pdrakron View Post
No, the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

You want a good example? imagine there is a plague now being a "good" Captain you break the Prime Directive and give then the tools to develop the cure ... everything is alright right?

Wrong because the exact same tools that can develop cure to illness can also be used to create bioweapons and that is exactly what happens, you just given then the means to develop bioweapons so did your "help with the suffering" not caused more deaths on the long run?

This is why there is a Prime Directive, interference can lead to disastrous results just in technology alone, society is a slippery slope because in the end you are just forcing a model into a civilization.



I dont think it is, its just you have to deal with then because they can see you and find you ... at that point you can no longer ignore them and they also have a effect on you as they can reach your worlds.
How can you be sure that the scenario you propose will occur? What you know is that the present scenario shows millions of deaths. And you have the means to stop it. What may or may not happen is neither here or there. It's a possibility not a certainty. Obviously that every action we take may cause more harm than good on a long run but that is part of life. That's why we help people who are starving, who have illnesses and so on. Pondering consequences is valid and a must, but sitting back and do nothing never solved much.
Here's another follow up to your example you didn't consider:

Species dying. You give them the technology and assistance to develop the cure. They make it. And now, instead of starting making bioweapons, their "primitive" scientists make an accidental discovery that will benefit your own species; say a cure for some sort of degenerative disease, helping millions of your own kind.
If we go into supposition there's no limit.
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