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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

"I think 'Darmok' reminds us that we have to hand wave away certain technologies such as the universal translator other wise the show just doesn't work."

It doesn't bother me in this episode. Yes overall there are a lot of problems with the universal translator, such as Klingons sometimes speaking Klingon and sometimes not, the whole mouth movement thing, and how syntax and overall grammar work. Still, if you accept its existence and the way it supposedly functions, Darmok still works. The words are still being translated just like with any alien. The Tamarian's aren't saying "on the ocean" or "his face black, his eyes red" in English, they're still speaking their own language and the UT is translating the words and structure. Like in Troi's example, the UT is taking whatever gibberish is coming out of their mouths and translating it to the equivalent of "Juliet on her balcony," it's just that there's extra meaning behind it that makes the phrase by itself useless.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"It is so interesting that the TNG writers decided to show Soren as pretty much well adjusted after she is 'cured'."

I never read it that way. To me it looks like Soren was lobotomized. Granted there's no drooling, and their whole species talks in an unwavering monotone to begin with, so it's hard to tell. Still, it looks like deprogramming or brainwashing, like she's a robot (more so). It's kind of hard to explain but I've always been creeped out by how Soren acts at the end, she's not the same person anymore, well-adjusted or otherwise. I think that's the point too. Soren's calm may just be a facade covering up her innate tendencies.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Brothers

^ Nice
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Bloodlines

@Silly, I commented about the "season 7-ness" of Aquiel, even though it's a season 6 episode. I pasted it below. I'd also add that the departure of Ron Jones and the subsequent sterilizing of the musical score by Rick Berman in season 4 doesn't help matters either. It's kind of like season 7 is more like a stage play, one of Beverly's stage plays even. You don't have the music, the cast, or the location, so it always feels a little off.

---

I'm always surprised when this one [Aquiel] shows up because it feels like such a season 7 episode, similar in scope and pacing to Eye of the Beholder. I think the reasons is because season 7 has a sort of sterility that's hard to quantify. It kind of parallels the downturn of Mythbusters in its later seasons, even before it became the Adam and Jamie cinematographer wank fest following the dismissal of the build team.

The first season of Mythbusters was also just Adam and Jamie, but they brought in random helpers as needed, and they had interviews with experts. They also documented the difficulties of tracking down the materials and supplies they needed. In the shop, there'd be random people milling about in the background working on other things, and overall there was an active bustling atmosphere about everything. By later seasons, it was much more focused on only the hosts and special guests, and I noticed that the hustle and bustle was gone. It felt less like filming some guys in their workshop, and more like filming two TV stars on a set. They stopped documenting most of their acquisition process too because, frankly, they could call up anyone and get just about anything they wanted by then. Adam even commented once that while driving down the highway with a bunch of pig carcasses in the bed of his truck someone looked over quizzically until they realized "oh, it's the Mythbusters guy."

TNG seems to have gone down a similar path. The early seasons seemed much more active, lived-in, and experimental. There were more people milling about on the Enterprise (especially notable in season 1), they visited planets with more than just three or four high-level government officials, and random characters would get a little bit of screen time, if not some lines. By late season 6 and season 7 though, it all seems much quieter. In a way there's more bottle (or near bottle) shows. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a problem, but it seems like there's nobody around except the people directly part of the story. Yes there's always some extras manning the rear stations on the bridge or lounging in ten-forward, but it still feels strangely empty. It's as if their budget was cut and they couldn't get enough extras to properly populate the sets. On the other hand, after 6+ years, the production crew had built up plenty of sets, props, and construction experience, so they could bang out some nice sets with less resources.

Of course there's exceptions through to the end of each series, but the overall pattern seems to be pretty evident. Aquiel feels very much in this late-stage mold to me.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

"Only a 3/10 for The Neutral Zone? I gave it an 8/10 on my last re-watch. Cryogenically frozen humans are a great sci-fi theme. Picard explaining the economics of the future was good world building."

Good concept, bad execution. They could've told the story without the condescension and self-righteousness, nor did they need Gordon Gekko to be so insufferable and obtuse.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Hollow Pursuits

"This episode fills me with so much rage."

Do keep the time period this was made in mind. In 1990 the internet as we know it today had only been launched a year prior, and most people didn't even have computers at the time, let alone internet access. So things like "browser history" and "online privacy" and such were completely unheard of at the time. I give the writers a pass.

I do agree that Barclay's portrayal is awfully ham-fisted. He gets better in later episodes, but we don't need him to be a bumbling fool to see that.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

"Planet spins really fast = time goes really fast...Superman logic. What an amazing coincidence that Voyager arrived just as a primitive society was living on the planet, considering how fast time was moving on the planet the odds of that would have been infinitesimal. Life would have formed, evolved and gone extinct in just a few years from Voyager's perspective."

No, time goes really fast = planet spins really fast (to an outside observer). Considering how quickly this species was advancing in technology, you'd think Voyager could hang around for a while after they were pulled out of the planet's grip. A couple more hours and these people could've invented transwarp or some other propulsion method to help Voyager get home. I wonder if this is why the script made them try to shoot Voyager down near the end, besides the usual "we need explosions for the teenboys!" Get the crew on edge so they hightail it out of there as soon as they can.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

"My memory, while not flawless, is nonetheless shouting that you are correct and Guinan did have such a line in the episode when it first was shown."

I wouldn't have remembered it from then, I was only 10 years old. I think what's more likely is that the Memory-Alpha information has been circulated around and quoted so much that it makes it seem like it's in episode. I first heard about it in the SFDebris review of the episode, but even there he's talking over the scene so you don't hear the actual dialog. Plus I'd think this sort of thing would be reflected in actual scripts/transcripts, but it's not.

It's like another Guinan scene when she breaks out her huge phaser rifle from Magus III and shoots the ceiling to stop a quarrel in Ten-Forward, "that was setting number one, anyone wanna see setting number two?" Lots of people think it's from the episode Sarek, but it's actually from Night Terrors. These El-Aurians are a wily people, maybe she threw us into an alternate timeline.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Mar 17, 2021, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

"There is a great scene when Lal is watching a young couple make-out in the back of 10-Forward and she asks Guinan what it is she is witnessing. Guinan, ever the patient explainer, tells her that when people like each other, they might hold hands, or even kiss."

According to Memory-Alpha, Guinan was supposed to say, "when a man and a woman are in loveā€¦" and in the background, there would be men and women sitting at tables, holding hands. But Whoopi Goldberg refused to say that line, remarking "This show is beyond that. It should be 'When two people are in love.'" It was also decided on set that the background of the scene show a same-sex couple holding hands, but producer David Livingston put a stop to it. Also, Guinan's actual line is "It shows affection. Humans like to touch each other. They start with the hands, and go from there." Completely watered down. I'd swear Whoopi's "when two people are in love" line was there, but it's not. Mandela Effect perhaps?
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

"Scotty did sacrifice his own ride, the Jenolan, so maybe they figured one good turn deserves another. "

I brought this up before, but the Jenolan wasn't Scottie's ship, he was just a passenger. So Picard's line "since you lost your ship saving ours, it seemed only fair" makes no sense. That's either sloppy script writing from the get-go, or Scottie was made a passenger rather than the captain in a rewrite, and they missed this bit of dialog that needed changing.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

"Man, the way they use the holodeck annoys me so much that I have to just let it go. The idea that a holographic simulation chamber could produce radiation because of what it was programmed to simulate is so bonkers dumb that I surrender to the TNG writers. Do whatever you want with the holodeck, it's fine, you can't have done something more ludicrous than this."

I thought they cleared that up pretty well in the episode. Robert noted upthread the dialogue from Geordi:

"'When you get down to basics, the converter is nothing more than a complex series of mirrors and reflective coils. The energy from the field generator down on the planet simply reflects off of elements in the convertor which turns it into highly focused Krieger waves.'

It'd be like if the holodeck replicated the most powerful magnifying lens ever and then had a window to the sun. The 'machine' was on the planet."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

The economic ramifications are important because someone who lives forever would be able to achieve financial independence in relatively short order. Even small savings would accumulate enough to allow one to live off interest/investment/dividend income after a certain point. Assuming the world financial system stays relatively the same anyway. Point being, those people would do only what they want. They may do more academic, humanitarian, or entertainment related jobs, and maybe only for a handful of hours a week, or they'd just pursue hobbies.

The scientific advancement that would allow is immeasurable. Think about how long it takes a human to really become a functional adult. We spend the first 20 years, if not more, of our lives simply learning how to learn. It's only after that point that we really start to use those skills. If Isaac Newton was still around he'd be smarter than Stephen Hawking. Put Newton, Einstein, and Hawking together with all the knowledge they accrued and they would change the world. Sure some people would be content to just watch TV for centuries, but those who have something more to contribute would at least continue their trajectory, if not linearly then exponentially.

So what if our base instincts stay relatively the same? The results can still be extraordinary.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

"There's an entire universe of uninhabited Class M planets. It just is too much for me to accept that people would want to face certain death for some rocks. A few people? Ok, sure, whatever. But an entire 15k person civilization being just a brief, bland speech away from flinging themselves into martyrdom for nothing? Nope."

While I do think overall the colonists were drawn a bit too obtuse, one of them said explicitly, "Gosheven doesn't speak for all of us." They went to the trouble to gather up a group of more open-minded and concerned people to listen to Data (can't get too many though because actors cost money). So I view Gosheven as a demagogue. He's riling up the people based on false information, scapegoating, and appeals to emotion.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

"I actually really liked the Gatherers, they are the sort of characters that the show needed to see more from. Rough and tumble types who provide for a nice bit of color when juxtaposed against the overly sanitized and somewhat uptight Federation crew."

They're basically the "Scraps" from Demolition Man, Edgar Friendly et al.

"See, according to Cocteau's plan, I'm the enemy. Cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind if guy who wants to sit in a greasy spoon and think, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, butter and buckets of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green Jello all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to. Okay, pal? I've seen the future, you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sittin' around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake singing "I'm an Oscar-Meyer Wiener". You wanna live on top, you gotta live Cocteau's way. What he wants, when he wants, how he wants. Your other choice: come down here, maybe starve to death."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

ImageByPatrick I can't guarantee that this is the worst portrayal of Native Americans in the series, but I think anything else is more eye-rolling or absurd rather than outright offensive and patronizing as this. Try not to let this sour you too much on the franchise. The Jamake Highwater scandal is unfortunate, since he was exposed as a fraud 10 years before Voyager production began. I guess in the pre-internet days it was harder to do proper background checks, or they just didn't think it was necessary. The impression I get is that they only consulted with him for the initial development of the character, but they did seem to tone down the questionable stuff as the series went on.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

"I just want to say: Judaism is a religion, not a race.

I wish people would stop calling people racist when they choose to insult or discriminate against those of a particular religion. (This applies to Muslims, too. Islam is not a race.)"

True, but at least in the colloquial sense those religions tend to be associated with particular racial or ethnic groups. In the case of Jews (there's an entire Wikipedia article entitled "Who is a Jew?") that's generally those of Israeli descent regardless of religious affiliation. The distinction between a practicing member of Judaism, someone who's Jewish, someone who's a Jew, and someone who's Israeli, is not as clearly delineated as say, white American Christians for example. Similarly, racism towards Muslims seems directed specifically to Arab/Middle Eastern people and not African or Asian.

Maybe think of it along the lines of ethnicity. Gypsies and Hispanic people aren't considered a separate race, but since there's no such term as ethnicism I think it's fair to call discrimination against those groups racism. An "ethnic Jew" is a thing, even if "ethnic Muslim" isn't, as far as I know. Is it sloppy? Yes. Is it silly? Sure. But there is at least a component of race in some of these religions, whether deserved or not.

Star Trek doesn't help the matter by using race and species interchangeably. Ferengi, Klingons, Vulcans, Cardassians, Bajorans, they're all different species, not different races. Yet in some dialogue they use the word race when they should be saying species. It doesn't help that they're all humanoid from a common ancestor (The Chase), we don't usually see different races within any of these alien species for the most part (except for Vulcans and Romulans), and since they're narrative proxies for human races it's not surprising that they'd be referred to in such a way.

I suppose Vulcans and Romulans are the same species but different races. It's interesting that they also have black and white skin, so they're more divided up than say the Klingons or Ferengi, or even the Bajorans. There's the Sharon from TOS whose faces are either white/black or black/white. The only other possible example I can think of would be Benzites Mordock and Mendon, who look alike because they're from the same geostructure. We don't know what a geostructure is though, so meh. I think that was just handwaved so they could use the same actor and prosthetics.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

"The Kazon are supposed to be a deadly threat."

They're a threat in the way that roving gangs of thugs are a threat. They're nothing like the Borg or the Hirogen.

"Basic replicators aren't weapons, the Kazon are already a highly advanced species (just not as advanced as the Federation)."

But they're not an advanced species. They're a slave race that overthrew their oppressors (the Trabe) and stole their ships. They're Pakleds ("we need things to make us go"). The Borg even considered them too unremarkable to assimilate.

Also, replicators aren't weapons in and of themselves, but they can make weapons. Aside from things they hand-wave away as unable to be replicated, they're just matter-energy converters. (X) mass raw material in = (X) mass something else out. Or substitute a huge amount of energy input to get some bit of mass output (E = mc^2). Put in enough raw matter or energy and you can get out a hamburger, a billet of plutonium, a gun, a computer, or any number of parts and pieces.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Well, Batai almost died sitting in his garage with the car running, and again when slammed big-time by a drunk driver. Almost. I think Greg landed on the "Could Be" square on his Jump-to-Conclusions Mat.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

I think Remmick and Quinn were compromised after this, by the very organisms they were working to expose. We see later in Conspiracy that those aliens are very good at identifying potential threats, and either assimilating or disappearing them. Remmick and Quinn were prime targets. While they were never specific about what they were looking for, the whole bridge crew knew they were looking for something, and there's no way that knowledge wouldn't make it up the chain. Ironic that Remmick gets the "queen" alien or whatever you want to call it in the end.

I also think Remmick's portrayal in this episode is about 50/50 genuine and putting on an act. He has no problem being so brusque, but at the same time it's just a means to an end. He's investigating something very serious, and not only is there no room for pussyfooting around, his antagonism could also be a tactic to trip up potential conspirators. The admission that he'd like to join the crew would seem to be his more genuine self, it's just unfortunate that he had to burn so many bridges in the investigation, and also the head exploding thing.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Feb 23, 2021, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

"Bonus amusement at the idea of Starfleet bringing in failed actors for low paying gigs for corporate training (something I've personally done) instead of just using holodeck tech..."

I would hope that the "lab" was at least in a holodeck even if the actors were real. Otherwise that's an awful lot of construction for a two minute test of one cadet candidate.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Virtuoso

A couple thoughts on the limited music. Getting anywhere into the realm of pop culture would risk seriously dating the series. Locking it in to the time it was produced, so to speak. The old music is so old it doesn't matter, and yet we can still relate to it as civilized or sophisticated. TNG is squarely an 80s TV show, but it does a good job of (mostly) avoiding the tropes of the day, so it holds up. Had Cetacean Ops (dolphin tanks) actually appeared on-screen, Riker played a synthesizer instead of trombone, and Beverly's plays were instead re-watching of The Cosby Show, it would pull people out of the story. Also how much "pop" music from the 1600s do we listen to today? That's where we are compared to TNG/DS9/VOY. Only the best of the best remains, and there's not a whole lot of it. The show could take the Bill and Ted route and make up some near-future music, but without any contemporary 24th century stuff I think it was just too much extra effort.

Also, the music isn't usually the point, so going all-in on something contemporary would be a distraction. If the Doctor was singing something crazy like the diva from The Fifth Element then it wouldn't be possible to contrast his curated repertoire with the algorithm-based synth dreck Tincoo "composed" for her hologram. Similar for Data and his painting. He should be laser-etching holograms in silicone crystal wafers, not smearing oil pigments on canvas. But if he did that, then that's all we the audience would be focusing on. Not his desire to express creativity and understand emotion. There'd be too much "what" and "how" while losing the "why."

The more cynical take is that modern songs, even covers, would require licensing deals and extra fees. When the production won't pay SAG for a couple extras to speak a line, then it's not too surprising they'd want to avoid the cost (and hassle) of getting rights clearances. In a more modern context, there's even the concerns about playing in international markets, where music/imagery/pop culture needs extensive vetting lest it offend China's social gatekeepers. Yes that's a much more recent thing, but even back in the day, bland and inoffensive almost always won out over the alternative. Rick Berman was famously anti-music in the sense that he wanted the musical score for the episodes to be background wallpaper. We only got a little more than halfway through TNG before he fired composer Ron Jones for being too good at his job, leaving the rest of that series, plus DS9 and VOY in a bland musical wasteland.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Feb 15, 2021, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: 11001001

"Riker isn't very likeable in season one, and Frakes' acting isn't always that great either. Nothing worse than a smug trombonist."

He is a bit more combative and dismissive, but not to the extent of season 1 Picard. He was much more grumpy, on top of the smug sanctimoniousness that permeated all characters in season 1, and season 2 as well.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

"I think Brooks really started crying during it?"

Oh absolutely, he went full method in that scene. I think he even worried the other cast members a bit because they didn't realize how big it was going to be.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Where No One Has Gone Before

"Wesley's Jumper - orangey red roll neck with chevron ribbing. Reference to the design of the new uniform and his move to crew membership?"

I'd chalk it up to generic 1980s grandma fashion. His frumpy sweaters may have been used to contrast his more polished acting ensign uniforms, symbolizing his growth/maturity/etc. More likely they knew where they were going with the character and just didn't want to spend too much on wardrobe that would only be used for a few episodes. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a thrift store find.

Wil Wheaton said in his review of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" on the defunct TV Squad site: https://web.archive.org/web/20071015030529/http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/10/27/star-trek-the-next-generation-where-no-one-has-gone-before/

"A few minutes later in engineering, Kosinski whizzes on the engine and Riker and Argyle follow as he gets ready to do his thing. Trekkies who may have begun to dislike Kosinski immediately start a fan club for him when he stops mid-stream to ask "why is this child here?" in reference to Wesley Crusher, who is working on a school project and decked out in a really sweet burnt sienna sweater, straight out of famed Klingon designer K'Talh Ba'akQoth's fall collection. (No joke: William Ware Theiss, the original costume designer, had me go to some dude's house to have my colors done. As a 14 year-old who was really into the sweet pastels and bright neon colors of the late 80s, I was horrified to discover I was an 'autumn with a hint of winter, honey,' who would get to wear oranges, browns, greens, and pukes until I finally got my official spacesuit, which honestly wasn't much better.)"
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: In the Hands of the Prophets

"...imagine on Earth a secularist going into a religion community to teach science."

Well how WOULD you approach that, especially when you start teaching about evolution or plate tectonics and the students/administrators insist that god created all life and Earth is only 6,000 years old? I don't see a way to do that without stepping on their beliefs at some point. "Just don't teach those things" isn't an option either.

Also, be careful equating culture and religion. There's much less nuance to that in Star Trek because we just don't have the time for it, but the real world isn't so simple, and in most cases the two are very different. Regardless, the Picardian respect of all cultures is a somewhat naive position that can very quickly lead to dangerous relativism. Some ideas/beliefs/cultures do not deserve respect, no matter how they internally justify themselves.

People deserve respect, at least until they prove otherwise, and one can respect another person even if they don't respect that other person's beliefs. That's why Keiko's response to the question of whether the celestial temple exists in the wormhole "I respect that the Bajoran people believe that it does" is spot on. Jake is being a bit undiplomatic, sure, but he's also just a kid.

The complicating factor of course is that in-universe we know the prophets exist, they are powerful, and they interact with the corporeal world. There's also Q and other god-like beings kicking around, not to mention all manner of crazy space phenomenon. Arguably that makes them all part of the natural world, not supernatural. That doesn't mean people won't worship them. Heck, people worship Donald Trump, literally praying to him. Does that deserve respect?
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