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unlike Spock

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this May. 30 2013, 7:34 pm

As to the question of could Spock go back, who knows?  Sometimes in the Star Trek universe, time travel is as easy as timing a trip around the sun correctly.  Sometimes it takes a 29th century time cop to tow people back to the right place in time.  The Guardian seems to imply that there is one timeline, whereas the sphere builders refer to multiple timelines.  Abrams and co. are far from the first group to play fast and loose with Star Trek time travel, and by now, there have been so many contradictory Star Trek time travel stories, that I think we all need to just agree that time travel works however it's supposed to work for the plot at hand.


As to the question of should Spock go back or do something to prevent Nero from destroying Vulcan, etc., that seems like a fictional hypothetical far removed from the sphere of simple ethics.  Most people would agree that we have an obligation to help others and to prevent harm, but it's difficult to agree on the extent of that obligation even in more mundane situations.  If I witness an armed robbery, as an unarmed person untrained in and unconnected to law enforcement, what actions am I obligated to take to prevent the robbery?  That's a difficult question much closer to home than the question of whether Spock is ethically obligated to use time travel to stop Nero from destroying Vulcan.  If Spock has that kind of ethical obligation, where does it end?  Why doesn't he have an ethical obligation to go back in time and stop the Xindi from attacking Earth?  Why doesn't he have an ethical obligation to stop every major catastrophe and every premature loss of life?  And why isn't everyone with the theoretical capacity to time travel under a similar obligation?


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

Kilrahi

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POSTS: 405

Report this May. 30 2013, 7:51 pm

You're overcomplicating things KelisthePoet. 


The whole concept of time travel completely mucks up a lot of ethical issues if you don't set some pre-established ground rules.  For one thing, why WOULDN'T you have an ethical obligation to use it to fix all major problems?  As far as I can tell, if time travel was easy, you WOULD have an ethical obligation.  However, Star Trek, and most time travel stories, try to sell you on a few basic rules:


1.  Time travel is dangerous


2.  Time travel can have nasty repercussions.  You can't always predict what will happen if you make that change.


However, within those rules stories have always made one thing abundantly clear.  It is OKAY, and in fact, NECESSARY to undo the damaging results of third party meddling in the time continuum. 


In this case we have 6 billion lives lost by a meddler.  Due to the extreme cost, the risk of time travel becomes worth it (think Star Trek IV for cryin' out loud).  What's more, THEY DON'T EVEN NEED TO TIME TRAVEL TO STOP HIM.  They just  need to spend the next 150 years prepared to:


1.  Save Romulus (either through sucessful red matter intervention or mass evacuation). 


2.  Hunt down the bastard Nero and stop him.


There you go.  They are done, problem solved, and Vulcan lives on, and yes, I say moral obligation to do it.

whywhyme

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POSTS: 6

Report this May. 30 2013, 9:37 pm

What I'd like to know is, what happened to the organization charged with preventing timline tampering? The people that enlist 7 of 9 in voyager to find a bomb planted by someone from the future that turned out to be the future version of the captain trying to prevent the destruction of voyager.

stovokor2000-A

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POSTS: 2001

Report this May. 31 2013, 7:18 am

[quote]However, within those rules stories have always made one thing abundantly clear.  It is OKAY, and in fact, NECESSARY to undo the damaging results of third party meddling in the time continuum. 


In this case we have 6 billion lives lost by a meddler.  Due to the extreme cost, the risk of time travel becomes worth it (think Star Trek IV for cryin' out loud). [/quote]


IF they have a forsseable chance of sucsses with little risk of making things worse.


thats why the examples of "the voyage home" and "first contact" dont help, in those cases there was very little chance of them making things worse.


Spocks situation runs the risk of making things worse.


Not to mention he would be killing everyone in a timeline to save 6 million.


What's more, THEY DON'T EVEN NEED TO TIME TRAVEL TO STOP HIM.  They just  need to spend the next 150 years prepared to:


1.  Save Romulus (either through sucessful red matter intervention or mass evacuation). 


2.  Hunt down the bastard Nero and stop him.


There you go.  They are done, problem solved, and Vulcan lives on, and yes, I say moral obligation to do it.


sorry, past trek stories tells us it wouldnt work that way.Even if they go and kill neros parents before he was born history wouldnt change


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Kilrahi

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POSTS: 405

Report this May. 31 2013, 6:34 pm

I see zero evidence things would get worse than 6 billion lives and all who followed them being forever gone.


I also don't get where you claim history wouldn't change.  It depends on which "Star Trek" time travel theory you embrace.

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this May. 31 2013, 8:28 pm

Quote: Kilrahi @ May. 30 2013, 7:51 pm

>stories have always made one thing abundantly clear.  It is OKAY, and in fact, NECESSARY to undo the damaging results of third party meddling in the time continuum.


It is necessary for whom to undo meddling in the time continuum?  When you make the subject-less claim that it is a moral necessity to do something, you obscure a fundamental complication of any moral imperative, namely the responsible party.  Voyager and Enterprise represented different versions of agencies ostensibly tasked with protecting a time line or time lines from alterations--a premise that makes nonsense of any time travel story that doesn't involve those agencies.  In the 24th century, the temporal prime directive forbids Starfleet officers from altering the time line themselves.  But no one ever suggested that Spock or anyone else in the 24th century was a temporal policeman.


Also, if we want to talk about bad ethical distinctions, it's pretty crummy ethics to say someone has the responsibility to prevent billions of deaths that involve time travel "meddling" but has no responsibility to use the same power and resources to prevent equal numbers of deaths that don't involve said "meddling."


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

Kilrahi

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POSTS: 405

Report this May. 31 2013, 8:43 pm

You sound like you are speaking as a moral relativist (meaning that something is only a moral imperative if a law is set up to say it is a moral imperative).


I have never subscribed to that view of ethics and never will.  In that context ethics becomes pretty meaningless as a term. 


You also created a strawman for me, by claiming I believed someone didn't have a moral imperative to stop the deaths of 6 billion lives when it did not involve time travel meddling.  I made no such claim.


I did make the claim that certainly when a future traveller wipes out your entire culture and six billion lives, and you know how to stop it and have the power to do so, you have a moral imperative to do so, and that ethics demands no less.


Attack that if you want to, but please stay on point of what I'm actually saying.

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this May. 31 2013, 9:29 pm

I'm not trying to equate legal imperatives with moral imperatives.  I'm just trying to say that any imperative must apply to a specific responsible agent.  Janeway has a legal imperative (sort of) to follow the temporal prime directive.  She may also have a moral imperative to do so.  She has a moral imperative to help Seven of Nine regain her humanity.  She has no legal imperative to do so.  But in both cases, the imperative must refer to someone, in this case Janeway.  It would be nonsensical to make the claim: It is morally necessary to help Seven of Nine regain her humanity.  It is morally necessary for whom?


In your last post, you provided a responsible agent for the moral imperative you claim, so thanks.  That makes your position clearer.  Specifically, you write, "when a future traveller wipes out your entire culture and six billion lives, and you know how to stop it and have the power to do so, you have a moral imperative to do so."  According to that line of reasoning, Spock is obligated to stop Nero because he is Vulcan and because he has the power to do so.  I disagree on two levels.


First, I don't think it's at all clear that Spock does have the power to do so.  And if he does, I'm not sure he has the power to do so, except at great personal risk, and I don't think people are always morally obligated to take great personal risks to stop other people from causing harm.  (I'm not saying people should never take risks or that they're not heroic for doing so.)


Second, I don't agree with the premise that Spock has a greater responsibility to Vulcans than he does to other people.


If you don't think that the imperative to use time travel to protect lives should be limited to cases involving "meddling," then how far would you extend the imperative?  Would you make Spock responsible for using time travel to prevent all deaths, or even all Vulcan deaths?  That's impractical as well as unfair. But if you're not willing to take it that far, where exactly do you draw the line with your moral imperatives for individuals to use time travel to combat the harmful acts of others?  The 24th century has a temporal prime directive.  Are you advocating the moral equivalent of a temporal Good Samaritan law?


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

Kilrahi

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 405

Report this May. 31 2013, 9:50 pm

I thought I stated who had the imperative in earlier posts (indeed, isn't it necessarilky inferred by the subject of the original post?).


Either way, lets slow down for a bit.  I was experessing a few things.  The first was that time travel stories in general fall apart quickly (exactly because you start to wonder how far moral imperatives go, i.e., DO YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP ALL BAD THINGS ALL THE TIME?).  If time travel were easy, and had no consequences, then there is a strong argument to be made that SOMEONE would. 


To solve this problem Star Trek has set up a number of conventions in order to give the time travel in its universe rules and boundaries (i.e. that time travel is dangerous, if done for dumb reasons it can be significantly damaging, but that in certain situation it is absolutely called for).  It is precisely within these established rules that Spock "Prime," as many call him, seems so oblivious to, and indeed, willfully violate.  


You may not agree with the premise that we have more loyalty to our own race (me and you to human, Spock to Vulcan or human and vulcan) but we can debate that another time.  I kind of accept that as a given, but it isn't required.  I do think 6 billion lives is a lot of lives, and I do think it's a clear cheat that time travel is used to do it.  Spock from the future clearly played a role in Nero appearing in the past and wiping out his home planet.  Assuming he DOES know how to stop it, doesn't it seem as completely against the Spock we know that he allows it to continue?  These two facts exit:


1.  Time travel killed billions of lives and put his race on the brink of extinction (which he says quite clearly in the movie bugs him).


2. Time travel, or even just influence, could save them, and yet no plans are put forward to do so.


That seems both unethical and lazy. 

stovokor2000-A

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2001

Report this May. 31 2013, 10:01 pm

[quote]I see zero evidence things would get worse than 6 billion lives and all who followed them being forever gone.[j/quote]


"IF we aqre talking about a single timelinbe theroy"


then like I asked you before....how many lives do you suppose there are currently WITHIN THE INFLUANCE OF THE FEDARATION, in the new timeline?


If Spock were to change the timeline, all those currently living in the new timeline would no longer exsist.And that number is bounbd to be laRGEWR THEN 6 MILLION.


I also don't get where you claim history wouldn't change.  It depends on which "Star Trek" time travel theory you embrace.


I may have misspoke there, but from what we have seen, my guess is that we ewould gat a timeloop that contionues to repeat and would never end.


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KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this May. 31 2013, 11:48 pm

"Either way, lets slow down for a bit.  I was experessing a few things.  The first was that time travel stories in general fall apart quickly (exactly because you start to wonder how far moral imperatives go, i.e., DO YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP ALL BAD THINGS ALL THE TIME?).  If time travel were easy, and had no consequences, then there is a strong argument to be made that SOMEONE would." 


 


I agree (though it doesn't necessarily stop me from enjoying time travel stories while I'm watching/reading them -- lots of stories, especially in the science fiction genre, involve devices that don't make sense but can be halfway ignored).


 


To solve this problem Star Trek has set up a number of conventions in order to give the time travel in its universe rules and boundaries (i.e. that time travel is dangerous, if done for dumb reasons it can be significantly damaging, but that in certain situation it is absolutely called for).  It is precisely within these established rules that Spock "Prime," as many call him, seems so oblivious to, and indeed, willfully violate.


 


I don't agree that it's an establihed rule or convention in Star Trek that time travel is "absolutely called for" in "certain situations."  The temporal agencies in the 29th and 33rd centuries seem to have some protocols for when interference is called for.  Starfleet officers like Kirk, Picard and Janeway pretty much fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to deciding when and why to time travel and interfere with time lines.


 


Spock from the future clearly played a role in Nero appearing in the past and wiping out his home planet.  Assuming he DOES know how to stop it, doesn't it seem as completely against the Spock we know that he allows it to continue?


 


I think it's plausible the Spock we know would want to stop Nero using time travel.  It may be possible that Spock would feel (misguided) guilt for the role he played in bringing Nero into the past.  I don't think Spock or anyone else has a moral obligation to stop Nero using time travel, and I don't think they have any other way to stop Nero.  As to why Spock doesn't use time travel to stop Nero if he might want to, I think for the purposes of this story, time travel is not represented as easily done--which is admittedly inconsistent with some other Star Trek time travel stories, many of which are also inconsistent with each other.  If time travel is truly as doable as they made it look in Star Trek IV, I'm surprised various characters have not tried to use it to solve all kinds of problems long before Nero came along.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

Kilrahi

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POSTS: 405

Report this May. 31 2013, 11:54 pm

I just don't see any way around the fact that you are talking about six billion lives.  Our Star Trek heros have always done "the right thing."  What that entails has varied, but it's been big stuff (Earth in TMP, mass genocide in STII and STIII, Earth's existance in STIV, Peace in ST VI, a lone planet in Generations, Earth again in FC, a peaceful puny race in Insurrection, Earth again in Nemesis, Earth again in ST 2009).


See the pattern?  The moral thing to do was clearly supposed to be to save lots and lots of people.  I can't help anyone who doesn't see a moral imperative to save 6 billion lives when you CAN, that is . . .  that's just an entirely different argument.  Certainly, though, it is out of character for them not to try.


Unless you believe they COULD NOT do it, but I just don't see how that can be argued, which is why it remains, I think, a critical flaw in the 2009 movie.

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this Jun. 01 2013, 12:18 am

They can't do it (save Vulcan, that is) once it's already been destroyed, just like Archer can't save the people on Earth killed in the Xindi attack, just like Riker and the Enterprise crew can't save the people killed at Wolf 359, just like every moral Star Trek hero can't undo past tragedies--except in the few odd cases where at-will time travel was presented as a serious possibility, which arguably mess all the other stories up, not just this one.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

Kilrahi

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 405

Report this Jun. 01 2013, 12:36 am

I get your point there, and you're right, take out the time travel, and assume once it happens the future alters in such a way that that you can't alter what Nero did to Vulcan by acting on the future, and Vulcan is toast. 


It's just hard for me to do that when the stakes are so high and previous stories took the time travel "out."  It's part of the reason I get real sick of time travel as a plot element (and it was one of the reasons Enterprise wore very thin on me really fast). 

KelisThePoet

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 636

Report this Jun. 01 2013, 10:45 am

Yeah, I agree.  Personally, I have an easier time accepting time travel in stories that more regularly employ it, like Back to the Future and Dr. Who, not because it makes any more real-world sense in those cases, but because the fictional premise is more integrated into the story.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

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