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Thomas
Thu, Jun 27, 2019, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

I think both of you are overestimating the value of proactivity - whatever that might mean. Uhura in TOS for example, in my understanding, produced a shift in consciousness for many viewers merely by placing a particular character in a particular role. Was that proactive? Maybe not, I don't know. Could more have been said? Certainly. Yet it was what wasn't said that might have been that people responded to, the silent acceptance of equality as the status quo. I do not think any amount of speeches by Kirk about equality amidst an unequal crew could have equaled the effect of that.

So I'm not really sure why proactivity is so important. For me it's a bit like saying Gandhi's non-violent movements were ineffective because they weren't violent. Quite a few women have pointed out they appreciate seeing Janeway as captain and admire her style of captaincy, things often overlooked by men, and that should tell us something.
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Thomas
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

@Adam

Are you sure faith is always a bad thing? Children have but faith in their parents to do what’s best for them, and without that, they might not learn how to become responsible adults.
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Thomas
Sun, Jun 9, 2019, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

Jason R. - I think I'd know what Kirk would say too, but he was someone who got his kicks out of interfering with alien cultures who largely didn't ask for it and didn't want it. Back when TOS was made that wasn't as well seen because it was (and still is) the same policy as the US and the UK and others who interfered and made colonies out of less powerful nations for their benefit. At the time they may have thought they were doing good, but it was only seen later the 'good' was their own. Similarly, many who watch TOS now - 50 years later - can't believe how egoistic Kirk and the ideals of the Federation are, and how the creators wouldn't have seen that more clearly.

So I'm certainly not saying 'don't strive'. I'm saying if we look closely at why we are striving we may not like what we find. Much that seemed noble or worthwhile at the time may turn out to be not so.
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Thomas
Sat, Jun 8, 2019, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

No, nothing to do with money. Looking within is simply in contrast to looking without. You said earlier that if people didn't work they would be miserable. This is looking outside oneself for happiness, and it is the same as in TNG where it is believed that salvation (as we have been calling it) lies somewhere "out there", in this case in the form of making mankind better. Asking whether that's really true, whether my searching and striving has ever brought me true happiness, would be an example of looking within.
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Thomas
Fri, Jun 7, 2019, 5:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

@Peter G "We're confusing two different issues here, one of which is a *prediction* that automation will cause considerable strife rather than being our salvation - at least at first."

Whose prediction is this? It's just as likely that automation play a role in our salvation. We've already discussed how work is currently seen as salvation. If automation can liberate us from that view, and cause us to look for happiness within, then it may very well be a positive shift.
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Thomas
Fri, Jun 7, 2019, 6:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

I would have to agree with Delenn and co there - as I find I often do. So where does that leave us with the question of automation of work? I don't think it's the role of governments to protect completely subjective preferences by holding back technological advancement. If it were we'd still be stuck with the horse and carriage and the private automobile would never have existed. And no doubt there was plenty of paranoia and fear around that particular change - what if cars started driving themselves? Can we trust them? Surely professional drivers are more experienced and trustworthy, and how will they survive?
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Thomas
Fri, Jun 7, 2019, 12:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

@Peter G

"Jason R. is right that you're creating a false dilemma here. But you also make the mistake of referring to this as a person's "view" of life. It has nothing to do with point of view about work. It is factual (one way or the other) that a lack of meaningful work would erode and destroy people, and this premise doesn't rely on anyone's opinion."

I don't disagree with this as a 'factual' standalone statement, although I would amend it to say that work that is THOUGHT to be meaningful can make us happier. With a little reflection I think it would be discovered that paid employment that is ACTUALLY meaningful is extremely rare, and perhaps it would be useful to bring up a scenario to think about here:

Persons A and B, both with similar skills, apply for a job delivering goods that 80 others have applied for. Person B gets the job while A is unemployed. When interviewed, B replies that it is meaningful work and he is happier, while A replies that he would be happier with the job. But what if A had got the job instead? The goods would still have been delivered. The only difference is that B is not doing it, someone else is. The work getting done has no influence on A or B's happiness, telling us that it is not meaningful that the work is getting done but only that a particular person is doing it.

This is a very common scenario, and yet it doesn't occur to most that the work they are doing is only meaningful because they are the ones doing it, and because they interpret is as meaningful. Who knows what would be the state of affairs if they hadn't done that work? Perhaps there is an accident due to a particular attribute of a worker that wouldn't have occurred with someone else doing that job. Perhaps the extra income allows the family to go on a holiday and their plane crashes and kills them. Perhaps the job is one which will cause environmental problems in the future we are not aware of now. Who are we to tell what is beneficial and what isn't?

Yes, lack of meaning 'destroys and erodes' people, and that is why some turn to destructive habits like drugs and terrorism, in which there is also found meaning. Finding meaning in something doesn't mean we should strive to provide that something or protect it, which is what we are seeking to do when we are perceiving work as an end in itself as meaningful.
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Thomas
Thu, Jun 6, 2019, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

"It's also true in my experience that the people who work in their old age, regardless of occupation, live longer and seem happier to me than people who retire. I would rather pick up trash or man a cashier in my old age than relax in a retirement home (even a nice one).

Work of any kind gives people dignity and purpose, not to mention income. The Daystrom idea of "freeing" man to do greater things isn't just wrongheaded, it is a trap that would enslave us, not make us free. "

It's true that if you view life as having no purpose other than to work, which it's clear most people do, then if the only options are between relaxing and working the obvious choice would be the latter. For those in the minority that don't maintain such a view, the more time they have to pursue their chosen purpose the more likely they will be able to realise it. So I would say work is freeing only to the extent that one is chained to the notion that it is needed to give them purpose, dignity and so on. Which is rather like upgrading to a larger prison cell.
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Thomas
Thu, Jun 6, 2019, 6:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

"It's a fact that automation, more than outsourcing, more than any other factor, is squeezing humans out of the job market. There are certainly other forces at work to be sure but automation is the only factor that seems to only point in one direction. Faith in the triumph of the human spirit isn't a plan for a future where AI may be able to do everything from driving trucks to filling out your tax returns and writing your legal contracts. We are already very close to that point as we speak. "

Sounds great. Bring it on. I can't see any downsides to a future where our time no longer needs to be taken up by menial tasks.
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Thomas
Wed, May 15, 2019, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

"I'm saying that if Data, a being with a positronic brain of all things, can be truly alive, then that means that life *is* more than just an arrangement of molecules and is something far greater, something much more mystical than we'll ever know."

And yet Soong knew enough to be able to create it. You can't have it both ways: either life is completely demystified by Soong's ability to create it, or Data and any other arrangement of matter does not give rise to life on any other level than in appearance. If we accept that Soong can create life out of matter, we have to accept it is no more mystical than a machine.

These issues are all ones I find interesting and believe Star Trek is open to and encourages their discussion. That's why I watch it.
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Thomas
Tue, May 14, 2019, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

@Lizzie

The problem as I see it is that you are not sufficiently distinguishing between appearance and reality. You say you can plainly see that Data is alive. But if a computer could appear to walk, talk and interact with others and yet still be completely unaware it is doing so, would it still under your definition be considered alive? Just because Data appears to do these things and appears to imitate life doesn't necessarily mean anything. Yes, Pulaski is prejudiced but that by itself does not mean she is wrong about Data. We treat computers as if they are 'less' than human and most people would say there are valid reasons for doing so. If in truth Data is no more than a extremely complicated and intelligent computer then by placing him on the same level as living beings we are devaluing life itself. And even leaving aside consciousness, perhaps Dr. Pulaski was aware that as of 2019, humans were yet to create anything more intelligent than the simplest living organism, and with good reason doubted Soong's ability to synthesize life in any form whatsoever.
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Thomas
Tue, May 14, 2019, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

@Lizzy

What is it exactly you find objectionable about Dr. Pulaski's attitude toward Data? As far as I'm concerned, if we upgrade Data from a machine to a living thing, then by necessity we downgrade all living things to an assembly of matter and limbs. Do you really find nothing special about life that it can be described as an arrangement of molecules and nothing more than that?
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Thomas
Thu, May 9, 2019, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

Well, as far as I'm aware, Christians believe the story of Jesus, including the miracles he was said to have performed. Miracles which contradict some of the laws of science, or at least suggest that those laws aren't set in stone.
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Thomas
Thu, May 9, 2019, 2:17am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

"Why would a higher being place us on an mid sized planet flying around a mid sized sun in one of the smaller arms of a mid sized spiral galaxy which is part of galaxy group which is part of a super cluster which is part of a super cluster complex.

I never understood how a rational person could know that and be religious."

I might be able to help you out there. I think you lack some understanding about Christianity. The question assumes that God has placed us, as bodies, on planet Earth. But the whole basis of Christianity is that we are not mere bodies, but that our real identity is Christ - perfect, holy, divine love. If that is true then our senses deceive us and bear witness to the absence of God - and to existence in a nihilistic, cruel and massive universe where life is meaningless and death is certain. Such a universe cannot be God's creation, but it can be a symbol of a "fall" or "separation" from Him, and therefore cannot be real because God is all there is and one cannot separate from Him.

If you had the choice between these two self-concepts, seeing yourself as beautiful perfect love or alternatively as a miserable speck of dust, you should be able to understand why the Christian finds theirs more appealing.
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Thomas
Tue, May 7, 2019, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

You mean felis catus? I’m with you, Trish. ฅ^•ﻌ•^ฅ
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Thomas M
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

@Dave

You don’t know that. A National Socialist movement or something similar may have been inevitable in Germany, regardless who led it.
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Thomas
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

- Internet conspiracy theorists have come up with a way to validate my dislike for the show based on speculation and liberal interpretations of real news.
- The showrunners refuse to release potentially damaging information about their show.
- Since the showrunners don’t release news that validates my opinion, the internet conspiracies that do validate it must be correct.

Riker: What a perfectly vicious little circle.
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Thomas
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

"Everybody however, has a different threshold where it comes what level of complexity in their entertainment is no longer entertaining. If a story is entertaining to you, but not to me because of its inherent lack of complexity, should I consider it flawed because the creators deliberately made it to simplistic for my mind to find any engagement with it? "

This may be true when talking about Discovery alone, however when you consider the show as part of a 50+ year old tradition which, on occasion, sought to do more than entertain are we asking too little of it now when we reduce every aspect of it to how entertaining it is on a personal level.
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Thomas
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 7:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Alan Roi
"I've interpreted from day one and always pointed out that Discovery distinguished itself in a big way from other Trek series by being *very* demanding on its audience, that it can be a very hard nut to crack, and view this as a feature, not a flaw, and that it is the writers' intention to make it a relatively hard show to figure out when compared to past shows."

I would ask - to what end is the complexity? What is its purpose? If it's a story about saving the galaxy and nothing more, aimed at entertaining us, then would a simpler storyline be just as enjoyable as a complex one? If so, then I would argue the complexity is needless and is a flaw. If it's there just because the creators intend to make it tough to figure out, and for no other reason, then I think most would say it's a flaw - and this is something that applies to just about every human endeavor, from art to architecture, mathematics papers, literature.
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Thomas
Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“Empire is dark but as in any mythos, the characters are facing hardship and moral dilemas. They struggle, make mis-steps and then carry on the good fight for light. They choose light in the darkness. That choice to carry on IS the inspiration and hope.”

Se, I think most fans of this film would argue that this is exactly what’s presented in TLJ. The rebellion is thwarted at every turn, the hero Luke seems to have *almost* given up. But the heroes do keep up the faith and learn a lot about themselves. Even a young boy is inspired by the rebels in the end. Like Empire, grief is a primary focus of this film, but were ultimately left with a vision of a brighter future,

“Having my archetypal hero hiding and giving into despair, thinking of killing his nephew, not trying to reach the good in him...not inspiring.”

It just shows that while Luke is a hero, he’s also a human being. Heroes don’t need to be perfect. In fact, it’s easier to relate to heroes who are imperfect, as most of us are the same way. So, Luke has a lapse of rage which he fought internally and later regretted. That he can turn back from a dark temptation and learn from that mistake is very heroic in my opinion.
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Thomas
Mon, Mar 25, 2019, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@MmeH

Are you sure you’ve seen Empire? It’s not exactly the most uplifting and positive entry in the series...
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Thomas M
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

@MadmanMUC

It really does sound like you need to watch it again. Pike mentions that Control is likely still out there waiting to strike and has advised all S31 to purge the Control system and stop using it. Later after the Red Angel appears, the S31 ship’s main systems go offline. Leland attempts to get them back online using his security overrides. The ship glitches for a moment then starts working normally at which point the controls gouge Leland’s eye sockets leaving him for dead while taking his security overrides. We then hear *Leland’s voice* tell Tyler that he’s ready to proceed containing the Red Angel. We’ve seen Control imitate officers before on com systems, so you can make your own conclusion what’s going on.
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Thomas M
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

@Artymiss, Madman

I thought it was pretty clear Control killed Leland as the next scene has *his voice* telling everyone the containment field is ready while the real Leland lies dead/unconscious. The implication of course is that Control is interested in stealing the Red Angel’s technology, and thus helps everyone contain her.
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Thomas M
Fri, Mar 22, 2019, 5:10am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

The time crystals are just used to power the mechanism developed that actually does the time travel. What Alan Roi is describing could theoretically serve that purpose. It’s certainly more scientific than say, the Flux Capacitor, (and to be fair, BTTF does promote real science in other parts of the story).
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Thomas
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

@Kinematic

Canon isn't much of a concern for me either. It's just that it's hard to feel any emotion upon, say, the occurrence of a shuttle explosion or any other life-threatening, when the resident Federation surgeon-magician at the nearest starbase can resurrect anyone involved with a bunch of cybernetic implants. Same goes with Culber's spore-womb revival. In this universe, the price of death it seems is rather cheap.
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