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Skeptical
Sun, May 1, 2016, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

Not my favorite, but not for the same reasons other people are complaining about. Basically, I really, really liked this idea, and just wish they did more with it. The very first Klingon episode of TNG (Heart of Glory) and the very last Klingon episode of DS9 (Tacking into the Wind I think?) dealt with the same theme, as did many of the episodes in between. That the Klingon Empire, with all its emphasis on honor and tradition, had lost its way and was a shell of what it used to be. There was constant tension between those trying to revive the empire (the dissidents in Heart of Glory, the monks in Rightful Heir, etc.), those trying to keep the status quo (K'Mpec, Gowron), and those willing to abuse the lack of honor for their own gains (Duras and company).

Even Undiscovered Country, although it didn't focus on the honor aspect, showed us dissent among the Klingons. It's not surprising that this concept keeps coming up; it's so rich with so many possibilities to mine for from all sorts of angles. We saw political intrigue, religious revivals, good people swallowed up by the infighting, everything you could think of. So another episode in this vain is not a bad idea, but I just wish they did it better. And spent less time focusing on the standard action (of course there will be a bat'leth fight, right?) and more of fleshing out these characters.

For starters, the main Klingon guy frustrated me. So, um, does he still believe in his mission or not? The fact that he flat out tells B'Elanna to lie and claims he only wants to settle down suggests strongly that he doesn't. And yet, he is genuinely shocked that B'Elanna doesn't practice any aspect of the Klingon religion, and then offers his own prayer. He also seems to genuinely want the daughter to be the messiah, even if he doesn't believe it. So which is it? People who have lost their faith often become 100% opposite and turn into militant atheists. They also occasionally slowly fall out of belief, in which they look at their belief with embarrassment but still feel uncomfortable with a complete split. He didn't act like either of these. Instead, he acted how Hollywood seems to think religious people are, that's it's akin to a fashion statement that people choose or not choose on a whim. That the truth doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if she's the messiah or not, just what we can get away with.

If you're going to have a show about religion, why is the main guest star so cavalier about it?

Instead, I think they could have worked it in that he was still a true believer. The bit about convincing B'Elanna to go along with it could still work. He could have talked to her that it doesn't matter what she believes, and tried to convince her to look at it that way. Remember how Kira basically explained the prophecy in scientific terms for the Starfleet crowd in Destiny? And the rest of the crew could have convinced B'Elanna to go along with it. I think it would have been stronger if he had been so desperate to have finally found the messiah that he wanted to believe anything, that he would go to any length to dispel any doubts he may have had. He would have been a more believable character and made his situation more tragic. Instead, he was just the designated hero for the episode with inconsistent writing. What a waste.

Meanwhile, the giant elephant in the room that NO ONE was mentioning was what was going to happen if the Klingons did accept her daughter as the Messiah? Wouldn't they then want to stick around and follow her? Wouldn't they demand B'Elanna stay with them? Surely the scrolls don't suggest the messiah's mom should find them a new home and then leave them, correct? This could have added more tension to the episode.

Speaking of which, the episode completely failed to really show how B'Elanna would feel about this. For one thing, her incredulousness about the whole deal was disappointing after Barge of the Dead. She was willing to risk her life based on her belief in the Klingon religion. Yes, it was ambiguous, and it was more about saving her mother than her own spiritual growth, but it means she's open to believing in such things. So why did she completely reject the possibility? As Tom said, it's an incredible coincidence that they ran into them, that B'Elanna was pregnant at the time, etc. No, she isn't going to suddenly become a true believer, but I could imagine she would be more conflicted. At least give a hint that this whole situation is troubling her beyond simply being annoying...

And again, why did she think the problem would simply go away at the end of the episode? The Bible states Mary would have great sorrow in her life, so being the mother of a messiah is not an easy task. And if you want a more pop-culture, secular example, look at Sarah Conner from Terminator. The knowledge that her son was the savior of the world turned her life completely upside down. John Connor did not have a normal childhood. Sarah was not a normal parent. If she was going to go along with saying her daughter was a messiah, wouldn't B'Elanna have to eventually tell her daughter? Isn't that a huge responsibility for her daughter? What if these Klingons somehow find a way to contact the rest of the Klingon empire? What if the entire Klingon race knows about her by the time they get back home? Unlikely, perhaps, but how would they know that? Again, the episode does not treat this idea with the weight it requires.

That's what's missing, the weight. The writers seemed to just have this episode for the fun of having Klingons around. We had bat'leth fights, Klingon romance, trying to take over the ship, boasting about battles, all the usual tropes. Yet the story of a crumbling empire, a decaying culture, and B'Elanna caught in the middle of a religious revival sounds really awesome to me. Too bad that was so downplayed.
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AmagnonX
Sun, May 1, 2016, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

Tried to watch it - got to Doc's BS anti death penalty BS and skipped to the next episode.

If they were already sentenced, then they should have been dead already - time wasting and drawing it out is torture - just kill them and be done with it.

This BS about rehabilitation .. bah .. society is forced to pay for the crimes once .. just kill them cheaply and quickly and move on.
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AmagnonX
Sun, May 1, 2016, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

Obviously time - travel is fantasy and not science fiction, so this show worked for me.

The theory that time is a dimension (ie. Einstien's GR) is obviously mentally retarded - just like the guy who thought it up. Space-Time is a concept - it is not a substance, as such it does not physically exist - its an idea (and a stupid one). Therefore it cannot bend light around the Sun, cannot effect the perihelion of Mercury etc etc ..

The vacuum is a substance, it is the spacial extension of the isotropic vector matrix - it is a fluid under tension, and is in a state of hyper-flux .. it cannot achieve static equilibrium, it is therefore in a state of dynamic equilibrium. The vacuum is not just an idea .. its a substance that has variable apparent density - depending on apparent flow of high complexity polyhedra, which is why 'gravitational' fields bend light, and .. ah bah humbug ..

.. may as well go talk to some rocks ..
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Greg Q
Sun, May 1, 2016, 3:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

Horrible. I want to see the trial once they get back. This episode was one of the worst ever in all of television, even black and white and color television shows. Horrendous.
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SlackerInc
Sun, May 1, 2016, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

Yes, the closing shot was great. I don't always agree with Jammer, but he nailed it in every aspect of this review.

The material with Seven was very well done. But I don't see why Lien had to leave. And it comes across as especially obvious and clumsy that Kes went kablooey, and then the very next scene, Seven's stabilized, human look (with hair and two eyes) is unveiled for the first time. Why couldn't they have both been on the show for a few more episodes, to help make it not look so blatant and obvious?

Agree with Bryan and Nancy that skipping the Doctor's goodbye was especially uncool. Particularly since that scene of unveiling Seven heavily features the Doc, crowing about what a great job he did with her look. Jarring to see no reaction from him, given how close they had been.

And although I'm not a woman, I agree with Nancy that the interaction between Kes and Neelix was handled well (so I guess I do disagree with Jammer on that one point). That was very realistic, I think. She is struggling to explain "it was just..." and Neelix inserted the joke about his cooking, I think, as almost a hint that he didn't really want her to spell out how it was exactly that he didn't cut it for her.

And Nancy, I do think Voyager gets unfairly panned. I'm finding it's quite good to go through selectively, watching roughly half the episodes based on ratings here and on other sites, as well as a friend's recommendation. I imagine you've probably finished by now (three years later), and I look forward to reading your feedback on subsequent episodes. :)

FlyingSquirrel is absolutely right that you can't find a "shark jump" moment in this show, because it was so uneven all the way through.
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Greattrekker
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

A Brilliant episode of Trek's version of Manchurian Candidate.

Perfect pitch, perfect musical/atmospheric score, and characters were fun to watch from Worf's subtle discomfort to Geordi's brainwashing. When I saw this on syndication in the late 90's as a kid, I did not know as much about movies and films as I do now, but I was mesmerized and could not forget this episodes direction.

I do agree though, like inner light, I really wish Geordi's mental reprogramming could have been slowly resolved over a longer arc over the next few seasons to show this episodes impact like Picard's later encounter with the alien memorial.

Still as an episode it deserves 9/10 for sure.
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Darren
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

"Wink of an Eye" is much different. It's where those fly buzzy type sounds are all over the ship. The aliens are moving too fast to be seen.

Eventually, Kirk gets a virus where he speeds up, too, and sees the aliens, but everyone else on the crew is near frozen.

Both "Wink" and "Blink" are on Netflix. While TOS is the better series, "Blink" is a more provocative and thought-out episode. My favorite of the whole "Voyager" run.
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Disappointed
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

Yes - a disappointing episode - and I'm a huge fan of Voyager. Disappointing for all the reasons laid out above - and one thing continues to nag at me. When the mutiny is in full swing, the Maquis crew are all suddenly wearing Maquis costume. Where the hell did these come from? 'Oh, we just thought we'd hang onto these in case we decided to have a Maquis coup sometime in the future!'
Or are they simply wearing their civvies to distinguish themselves from the Star Fleet crew.
All in all, a very silly and disappointing episode.
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JD
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Having read through a lot of your reviews and the comments, I think I'm one of the most forgiving Voyager viewers willing to comment (I love the show). But this is one of the few I'm even harder on than you. Tremendously ill-conceived from every angle I can think. This presumes that the characters are fundamentally ignorant, stupid and silly people. That is the only way we would be having these arguments between the characters. The scene where they're having a "debate" about this? Cringeworthy! I can't even hardly believe they did this to these poor actors. Embarrassing for their characters.

This is a Dear Doctor (Enterprise) level of PURELY NONSENSICAL MORAL QUANDARY. Dear Doctor though, however academically baffling, was produced to be a highly watchable, perfectly paced, very well acted, very tastefully shot hour of television. If you don't actually think about the "point" of that show (which is actually insane), it's as watchable as a slow, thoughtful type of ST gets. Yet, this has all the bizarre and wrongheaded actions of Dear Doctor, without even being particularly watchable or interesting. The wrap-up of Janeway/Torres? I rarely say this, because I usually think it's an unfair critique, but this just doesn't ring true of the characters at all. For any of them really. And what a waste of a Picardo vehicle. What everyone says about the creation of the new doctor program is spot-on. If it had redeeming features of any kind though, I probably wouldn't think twice about it. 1 star.
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AmagnonX
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

Harry just needs to set his phaser to kill - then exterminate all of the annoying people who are retarding his growth - mainly these people are script writers.

However, I would like to see Harry stabbing Janeway repeatedly in the head with a letter opener - it would certainly have me tuning in. Its about time Harry lost his cool - and kicked Chakotay in the nuts, and rammed his head into the coms panel for added effect.

Unlike most people, I really like Harry, but he has certainly been on the wrong end of the script for long enough - its time he went FULL RETARD! Get your self respect back Harry - its going to cost a lot of lives - but so long as its members of the Voyager crew - then all those lives are meaningless.
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JD
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

Easily one of the most enjoyable, well-executed Voyager episodes for me. Mulgrew shows her chops but Mark Harelik sticks out to me as one of the best guest actors to do a one-off character on Trek. It could've gotten either very hammy or bland and underdone so easily. Like exclaiming his right hand's name repeatedly, etc. But he struck the right notes with Mulgrew, didn't let it get away from him. Really enjoyed it. "Prax!"
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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Doctor's Orders

This is indeed a fairly comprehensive and ultimately not very successful retread of ground last covered in 'One'. For me at least the twist didn't work because it had been telegraphed from so far out the twist would have actually been that T'Pol wasn't asleep.

Although the episode built to a decent conclusion the early scenes were deathly slow paced and involved a lot of walking round corridors. There were a couple of decent shocks (zombie Hoshi might indeed have spooked the kiddies) but overall not a great installment. 2 stars.
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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Harbinger

Classic 'bitsa' (bits of this, bits of that) episode, and not a particularly strong one. The Harbinger of the title only really becomes interesting right at the end, and as noted above all this really does is throw another unresolved story element into a season long mix.

The T'Pol-Trip thing seems to have been fairly poorly handled to me - obvious jealousy plot, T'Pol jumping him (which seems a bit out of character, even if involving an eye-opening level of nudity unprecedented in Trk history), and then seeming to deny it was actually anything important. If we're to be involved in this as an audience, it seems an odd trio of beats to focus on.

And of course the Reed-Hayes match-up has been brewing for weeks and is nothing more than recycling of male bonding cliches from a million films and TV shows. 2 stars overall.
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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Stratagem

Five strong episodes on the bounce now - it's interesting we are now seeing the "previously on Enterprise" intros to keep all the backstory alive. Degra proved to be a strong character and offered some depth and insight into the Xindi, and the plot subterfuges kept things moving along swiftly. The one thing that did seem odd was the flashback started a little late in the episode - at that point you might just as well have carried on the story through exposition. But no real matter. 3 stars.
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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 10:25am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

Another solid episode, reflecting the fact that the Andorians are clearly the go to guys in this iteration of Star Trek. It never truly takes off but everything about it - performances, production, direction (loving the way Shran's antennae appear above Archer's head on the viewscreen), VFX - are high quality. 3 stars.
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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

Religious fanatics, suicide bombers, a hijacking. It's not hard to anticipate what this was commenting on. Again, this offers no deep insight and riffs on themes we have seen many times before. But in its own right this is another perfectly acceptable entry - it does what it does well. The bad guy is properly bad, the action scenes are suitably action-y, and the moral lesson is learned in the end. Classic Trek in that regard. 3 stars.
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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 5:23am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Carpenter Street

I thought this was OK. No, it's not especially challenging as a watch, but it does what it does effectively and I found it engaging enough. If there's one thing that this series is doing is trying out some different genres - they're not all working by any means but this did have a fairly effective atmosphere. 3 stars.
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William B
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 4:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

@Luke, I agree with everything here and I think you are almost certainly right about Behr and Wolfe, another part of me thinks that literally any change would have to have made the episode better.

I think B or W said at some point that the idea was that they did want to make the audience uncomfortable as well as titillate, and did want to explore whether Risa was a screwed up place and give some credence to Fullerton. I believe that they didn't intend to set up as much of a strawman as they did, and if they think that more nudity would make Fullerton seem like less of a psycho somehow then, well, sure, maybe. I'm pretty doubtful that would have done much good, though....
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Luke
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Wow. That sure de-escalated quickly. In back-to-back episodes we go from what many viewers and critics consider one the franchise's cremes-of-the-crop immediately to what is almost universally considered one of the franchise's absolute worst. I'll be honest, ever since I started these reviews of "Deep Space Nine" I've been really looking forward to absolutely savaging "Let He Who Is Without Sin...". That alone should probably tell you how awful it is. But you know what? After my, shall we say - thorough, critique of "Bar Association", I just don't have the energy to do something similar here. Mostly that's because just about everyone realizes that "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." is an absolute abominable mess, so what's really the point of offering a scene-by-scene or point-by-point rundown? So, I'll just focus on the main problems.

I've long said that this is the worst episode of "Deep Space Nine". Not even "Bar Association" is this bad. The only episode that might give it a run for that dubious honor is "Profit and Lace". However, "Profit and Lace" does, at least, have one - just one - funny moment, something that "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." completely lacks. There isn't a single thing about this episode that is praise-worthy. First off, let me just point you to something said in "The Deep Space Nine Companion" (and on Memory Alpha). Apparently, Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe think that the main problem with the episode is that the restrictions of "family entertainment" and a five o'clock airtime in some markets meant that it couldn't be as sexy as they originally planned. Yes, they honestly think the problem is that the episode ISN'T SEXY ENOUGH! I'll just leave you good people to think about that little nugget of information for a while while I go do something much more productive, like bang my head into a wall fifty times.

The problem most certainly isn't a lack of tits and ass. It's that all five main characters (Dax, Worf, Bashir, Leeta and Quark) are tuned into completely unlikable caricatures of themselves only to then have those caricatures undergo massive doses of character assassination! Dax becomes a whinging, spoiled child (I won't get into the details as SFDebris and William B have already more than adequately expounded on Dax's total hypocrisy in this episode). Worf commits what can only be called a terrorist act just because he's upset with his girlfriend. Bashir, always a skirt chaser, morphs into someone who is only interested in getting laid as often as possible. Leeta goes from being an amiable airhead to a complete and utter dipshit. And Quark also morphs into a horn-dog. There's your problem, writers! It's not that you put Terry Farrell in a one-piece swimsuit instead of a string bikini; it's that you utterly destroyed your own characters. The only people to escape from this disaster with their dignity intact were Nana Visitor, Colm Meaney and Cirroc Lofton, only because they don't appear in the episode.

Secondly, the episode fails because it sets up a total false dichotomy. Here, we are presented with a choice between the shallowness of the Risians and the stuck-up, hardcore puritanism of the Essentialists. No moderate voices are ever given a hearing. No one ever pipes up and says, "Hey, this Fullerton guy is a complete jackass and I would never condone his methods, but he may have a point about our decadence. Perhaps all this meaningless sex is a dangerous distraction." No. Instead, the writers spend the entire episode telling us what to think. And what message do they want us to take away from "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."? That social conservatives are bitter, hateful people who (as Vanessa Williams flat out says) just need a good fucking - oh, I'm sorry, a good jamaharoning - to be cured of their hang-ups. Well, you know what? Jamaharon you, writers! I'm not a social conservative but I absolutely hate straw-man arguments. And that is all the Essentialists are - straw-man versions of social conservatives. But what is most sad about this aspect of the episode is that I can see a nugget of a good idea buried in the Essentialists. Like with TOS: "The Way to Eden", with it's space hippies, there was a chance to view the Federation in a new light. Have people from your own camp criticize the way things are being done and offer a new vision. Thereby, the characters might actually learn something about themselves or become better people than they were before. But instead, the execution of that idea - like with "The Way to Eden" - is so horrifyingly bad that viewing it is like spending forty-five minutes watching someone slowly drool into a toilet.

Thirdly, when you stop and think about it, Risa, as a concept, makes no damn sense! Are we honestly supposed to believe that Risians have ZERO standards for who they're attracted to? Or do they simply think that every single person they encounter is sexy? Because all Quark has to do is wave a couple of Horgons in the faces of two random, extremely attractive, passing women and they immediately run off with him to jump his bones all night long. Look, this may make some people uncomfortable, but I'm going there. People naturally have standards for who they want to fuck. And there's nothing wrong with that! If Melissa McCarthy or the mom from "Honey Boo Boo" wants to have sex with me, they're going to be sorely disappointed. If Risians everywhere are willing to jump in the sack with anybody (and not just the women - apparently Leeta has no problem getting a Risian male to screw her), then this really begins to look awfully like culturally enforced prostitution. Personally, I'm against forcing people into prostitution. How about you?

WORST! EPISODE! YET!

0/10
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Chrome
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I don't think this episode was ever trying to give any searing commentary on Earth's society's current treatment of gender. If anything, it's sort of like looking into a mirror of human societies of the early 20th century (in terms of discrimination) but gender-flipped. Overall the message is thoroughly hammy, but if you view the show as a comedy, it works on some levels (Gosh, *poor* Riker).

As for this James-Robert discussion, the crux of the argument seems to be "Things aren't really that bad for women in our society and men suffer from Affirmative Action" with Robert flatly denying this pointing out how hard women have it.

I will say this: history has taught us that the shackles of discrimination can and will be abused by those in power. Whenever it's possible, a gender neutral law is best, and when that's not possible, laws that discriminate based only on tried, tested, and verifiable reasons can work but under scrutiny.

Yes, at one point men weren't allowed to attend schools to be nurses, but women unquestionably have had it much worse and it's only now that things are getting *almost* equal.
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joseph
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

He's gonna paint it.
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James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

""Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."
It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that
1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it."

There's a lot of information available online in regards to the observation of higher degrees of variability in males. The intelligence bell-curve I've been referencing is just one aspect of that.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201101/how-can-there-still-be-sex-difference-even-when-there-is


"2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them."

They receive a 2-1 hiring preference for having the same qualifications and experience. Which DOES indicate that the field is not being stacked against them, and that there are active efforts to bring more women into positions within the field.
https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-1418878112.pdf (same link as before)
"The main experiment (n = 363: 182 women, 181 men) consisted of a between-subjects contest between identically qualified female and male applicants for an assistant professor-ship who shared academic credentials and lifestyles (plus the Y foil candidate). The six lifestyles studied were single without children, married without children, married with children and stay-at-home spouse, married with children and spouse working outside home, married with children and spouse working inside home, and divorced with children. Candidates’ children were always described as two preschoolers. A random stratified sampling procedure was used (SI Appendix). Our data revealed an overall strong preference for female applicants over identically qualified males who shared the same lifestyle (Fig. 1). This preference for women was observed across all three Carnegie classifications of institutions, all four fields, and both genders of faculty, with the exception of male economists (see following)."

And I agree with the authors of the paper here, that the myth of sexism being pervasive in STEM (or, more specifically to this discussion, that STEM is stacked against women) is itself one of the factors in the perpetuation of this drought of women in STEM. In fact, around the 70s-80s was the peak of women in STEM, and not long after the claims of pervasive sexism in STEM began, began the downward descent toward the current trough of women in STEM:

"Once hired, women prosper in the STEM professoriate (14, 16–18): They are remunerated, persist, and are promoted at rates roughly comparable to men’s (14) after controlling for observable characteristics, including academic productivity. However, to be hired and eventually tenured, women must first apply. Unfortunately, despite their success once hired, women apply for tenure-track positions in far smaller percentages than their male graduate student counterparts (14, 16, 18). Why might this be? One reason may be omnipresent discouraging messages about sexism in hiring, but does current evidence support such messages? Despite this question’s centrality to any informed discussion about women’s underrepresentation in academic science, only one experimental study (7) contrasted faculty ratings of the relative “hirability” of hypothetical identically qualified women and men. Results showed that both female and male psychology faculty members downgraded a hypothetical woman’s academic record compared with an identical man’s. However, this study was published 16 years ago and involved only one field, psychology, a discipline that is more than 50% female (14)."


""In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.
Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."
I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue)"

It's both a minor's rights issue, and a men's rights issue. For one thing, circumcision is arguably completely absent any religious aspect except for Jewish people, and even more and more Jewish people are substituting the circumcision ritual with one that doesn't involve genital cutting. It didn't get its inception in the US because Christians still believed themselves to have an obligation to engage in the Jewish tradition, it got its inception from Puritanical values leading people to mutilate their boys to discourage masturbation. One of the people leading the push for this practice was John Harvey Kellogg, the corn flakes guy. He advocated for it to be performed without pain-reducing treatment so that contact with the penis would be psychologically associated with intense pain. He also advocated for girls to have their clitorises treated with acid to discourage sexual activity from them as well. It's a men's rights issue because, despite there being the same "justification" for treating their clitorises with acid, infant girls are protected from genital mutilation. Infant boys routinely undergo it, and have their foreskins sold to cosmetic manufacturers to be used to make various creams and lotions. All justified on baseless religious grounds, by medical bunk, and by aesthetic preference. I agree that parents should have their "right to be stupid", as you put it, cut down to size, but to say that this isn't a rights disparity faced by men on the basis of their sex is simply false. The obligation to the covenant of circumcision, for Christians, is tossed out with the rest of the Old Testament laws. Such as "don't eat shrimp" and "don't wear mixed fabrics". It doesn't have ground to stand on as far as religious background goes.

That being said, it's pretty simple why I made these points. The claim was that society's deck is stacked against women, by men, for men. I listed out facts which are evidence that the deck is not stacked for men, and if anything it's stacked against them. Which would indicate that if the deck is not working in women's favor, it's not because it's been stacked against them. It's because the deck is garbage - for everybody. Certainly not especially so for women.


"and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights"."

Hardly? It's an objectively superior voting right.


"That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win...."

I already pointed out that this is a rights disparity which results in men who do not participate in the offending system, being refused basic rights and public services. There are still consequences to not signing up for Selective Service, even though they stopped prosecuting for it about three decades ago. So no, it's really not analogous to an obsolete law against sodomy, because people who engage in sodomy anyways are not systemically denied the right to vote, the right to drive, and are not rendered ineligible for various public services.


""Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."
I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different."

I agree that it's not better, just different. In fact I would say that the difference itself makes the human species as a whole better. And that our differences should be cherished as the complementary parts of humanity's whole that they are, rather than denied.


""I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."
I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?"

No, I made that point after you assumed that's what I was talking about (and responded to me as such). Before you replied to me I was making the point that there are mental differences between men and women, because I was arguing against something someone else had said earlier in the thread.


"But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on."

I've chimed in on a variety of points made in this thread, but before you and I started our exchange I don't believe anything I was arguing against had to do with STEM. I spoke about society as a whole (men in particular) not actually stacking the deck against women, and I spoke about men and women having mental differences as well as physical differences, rather than just physical differences as someone claimed.


"At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.
1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.
2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).
3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2)."

I would say this is probably a pretty accurate representation of the main points being discussed in the thread. Some of the things I chimed in on were in regards to more tangential things mentioned by people in the thread, besides those main points of discussion. In my initial post, I used quotes so it would be more apparent that I was speaking about specific things people have said.


"I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit."

Sure.


"So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.
So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?"

I can agree with that.


"So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it."

I don't see there as being a wage-gap based on discrimination, I see there as being an earnings gap based on heavily influential factors mainly in the realm of personal choice. But we don't have to get into that.


"So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."
So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-wit hout-boys.html?pagewanted=all""

I completely concede that in the past, not even a distant past, women had less freedom to pursue their interests. But nowadays that's not so much the case, and in the context of the present, I would say that yes, we have come to the degree of personal freedom that an individual's intense passion would overcome what little cultural pressures remain to inhibit them from pursuing those passions. Maybe that's naive of me to think, but I don't think so. You're right that someone raised in an intensely traditional environment has more cultural pressure to contend with than someone who wasn't. But that is increasingly becoming a rarity, and the institutions themselves have already evolved past the infinitesimal knuckle-dragging minority of people who genuinely seek to typecast the youth into traditional gender roles. You're right though, I shouldn't have dismissed your question so offhandedly like that. I apologize.


""My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."
I'd be interested to hear any of that."

I would say that simply advocating for men's rights and expressing the observation that the world is not stacked against women are themselves very divergent concepts from that which our evolutionary psychology has developed a bias for. Simply recognizing men's vulnerabilities and the ways in which they as a group get the short stick, is very much against our natural intuitive biases of women being a class in need of protection and deserving of pedestalization, and men being a class of disposable, independent people who do the protecting (and harming). Just look at how the very concept of men's rights advocacy is demonized, trivialized, and ridiculed online. It's an open display of cognitive dissonance.


""You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "
You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own..."

Actually, I was being critical of how you conflated and mixed points that I made and topics I was speaking on, and responded accordingly. It results in miscommunication and my words being misrepresented. I take responsibility for that, though. I could have been clearer in my initial comment as to what I was talking about, and when what I was talking about shifted to something else. So, I'll own that and apologize.


"But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better."
So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?"

Actually, when I said "we're contrasting the form of intelligence...", I was addressing them without the gender attribution, essentially saying "we're not contrasting male and female forms of intelligence, we're contrasting this kind of intelligence and this other kind of intelligence". I made the point that men, who do typically trend towards one form of intelligence, did not come to their place of historical power through physical domination. I said they came to that place of power not by physically dominating women, but because they are more inclined towards striving for positions of leadership and high-status (this is actually a directly causal effect of having more testosterone), and because they trended towards a form of intelligence that was of great practical use for facilitating a position of leadership.
And yes, these divides still exist today, when people have more individual freedom to take what path in life they choose. Men are still more often engineers, scientists, large-scale leaders (women actually have an advantage - again, evolutionarily based - in community leadership, and this is reflected in the forms of leadership they trend towards pursuing), and hard laborers. Women still predominate schooling, community organization, professional childcare, psychology, pediatrics, etc. I wouldn't put it as "men are better at non-baby jobs", because that would be an oversimplification of what I'm pointing to: a evolutionarily rooted divergence between the genders in trends of interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits. The interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits men display trends in, are what led to men taking on those positions of power. Not physical dominance, which is what I was arguing against.


"You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets."

Should I? I don't think they're worse at it either, I just see them as less often doing so because of biologically-ingrained difference trends between the sexes.


"But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant."

I'm the one in this thread who addressed the different forms of intelligence without the attribution to gender, first of all. And yes, the form of intelligence women trend more often than men towards is, in fact, worse at landing spacecrafts on comets than the technical, mathematical forms of intelligence men more often trend towards.

In other words, the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective teacher, social worker, community organizer, or psychologist, is obviously less practical for landing spacecrafts on comets than the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective mathematician or engineer. I don't need to prove that, it's pretty self-evident.

But yeah, all of that really is irrelevant to what I actually said because I was making an argument against the claim that men maintained their historical position of social power through physical dominance.

Also, in early humanity's hunter-gathering societies, there was more often a matriarchal social structure (male-led societies took off around the agricultural revolution). Because women evolved to trend towards the form of intelligence which makes them good community leaders, and because of evolutionarily rooted biases towards the pedestalization (and often deification) of women. This is literally the same argument I made for how men didn't come to their positions of power through physical dominance, but just on the flipped side of the coin, explaining how women came to their positions of power without physical dominance.

I think I have explained everything I was saying with the utmost clarity at this point. Again, I apologize if it was the way I wrote that caused the conflation and confusion here. Hopefully now everything's clearer and I won't feel compelled to respond again.
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jeroen
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Eye of the Needle

love this episode! first introduction of the romulans for me (this is my first star trek show)
the only thing i don't get is the fact that they teach Kes so much and she talks about medical school but she will die in about 5 year from old age.
they rely on her a lot but if their journey will take 70 year she will only be alive for a really small part of it
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Diamond Dave
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

The only thing that keeps this episode from being a slam dunk 4 star is the very thing that the very similar Tuvix didn't duck - that in the end it was Sim's nobility and self-sacrifice that prevented Archer having to make a life or death call, and in so doing got the writers out of a big hole by having Archer take such an extreme position.

But that aside this was something of a tour de force - provoking and affecting in equal measure with some really strong performances and many great scenes. "Damn, this is a screwed-up situation" indeed. 3.5 stars.
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robrow
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Death Wish

There's the rub. If you read Julian Barnes History of the World in 10 and 1/2 chapters, the last section tells the story of an everyman who gets sent to heaven, gets everything he ever wanted...and then the pleasure gradually diminishes til it loses any meaning. He ends up wanting to die. I suppose one philosophical criticism of this story is that it ultimately reduces omnipotence to human standards - it's like saying God can tire of his creation and all that heavenly praise (yeh I know Trek never explicitly sets up the Q as being a divine creator, but they share some of it's attributes). I'd grow bored rigid, but that's just my necessarily limited perspective. And it led to an absorbing, very well acted and - at times - funny story. 4 stars from me.
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