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Tom
Mon, Aug 30, 2021, 9:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Not sure what this whole debate is about. The age of consent is 16 in most parts of the world.
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Tom
Tue, Aug 24, 2021, 5:59am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

"Creating a race that enjoyed a good joke would have been a wonderful move on the part of the creators."

This was the whole idea behind Neelix! He has his haters, sure, but they just don't get how revolutionary it was to invert the Roddenberry "glum alien" archetype.
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Tom
Sat, Aug 21, 2021, 12:35am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

I agree with much of your analysis and I think three stars is about right.

But I find this part of your critique quite odd: "For one, I think Tuvix is a little too adamant on living". I think his sense of existential dread is entirely appropriate. Tuvix has to die to bring Neelix and Tuvok back. I think this part of the story works really well.
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Tom
Wed, Aug 18, 2021, 8:16am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

The problem with the "Jesus as hippie" ethos is that he also performed miracles and transcended death. That was as much a part of his life (as the stories tell us) as his loving kindness. So there's an inherent conflict between his life and science which says there are certain natural laws which can't be superceded. Churches might tend to downplay that part of his life in order to attract followers (and being told you're sinful is much more attractive than being told you can perform miracles) but it's still an essential part. So we can forget the idea that Christianity is just the golden rule.
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Tom
Wed, Aug 18, 2021, 3:21am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@Tidd

I welcome your comments. Don't feel the need to stop.

I have different views on the Vedanta. I certainly wouldn't say it's simple, it's very complex in its metaphysics at times. And I also wouldn't say it doesn't have a God - there is the concept of Isvara which depending on the context substitutes for either supreme personal God or universal common denominator of oneness. And there are also a range of deities that are worshiped.

But again, my point was that these are symbolic concepts. They're not in these texts to describe how things are objectively, but for the purpose of attaining moksha - liberation. That is what sets them apart from science, which apparently goes over the head of those who like to pit religion against science.
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Tom
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 7:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@Jason R.

"While religion may not have had a scientific methodology, the purpose of religion was always to explain objective questions about the universe that science now explains, which was not some incidental or secondary purpose but absolutely essential."

My question would be: essential to what?

In the Vedas there are descriptions of the nature of prakriti (matter), which is said to be made up of three qualities - rajas (activity), tamas (inertia, darkness) and sattva (purity). Obviously that's a big departure from the molecular model, and if anyone tried to use it to synthesize new drugs or build a nuclear reactor it would be a failure. That's not what the Vedas are for, nor are their descriptions there to tell us "how it is" - they state very clearly their purpose is to describe how to achieve what they say is the ultimate purpose of life - liberation/enlightenment/salvation.

That's one example but is common to all or most religions. They're not objective in how they describe the universe and they don't need to be for the aims they set out. The descriptions of how the universe is found in religious texts are absolutely incidental or secondary to their larger purpose.
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Tom
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 12:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@EventualZen

"Anyone who doesn't believe in evolution and/or believes in creationism should check out Aron Ra at https://www.youtube.com/c/AronRa . He discusses the evidence for evolution and debunks creationism.

I personally believe in evolution even if we were created or given a helping hand (genetically engineered by aliens) whoever created or altered us must have evolved themselves. "

I watched some of these and I'm confused why "creationism" is always pitted against evolution when the advocates for "creation" frame it as a one-time event - God creates everything then departs. While evolution is a process in constant effect. Wouldn't it make more sense to also view creation as a continuous, ongoing process still in operation? I suppose that would interfere with the common view of sin and having to blame God (as God is defined for most believers) for bad stuff. Still, it makes no sense to me.
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Tom
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 11:47am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@Jason R.

"Haha not to be pedantic but I actually don't think their purpose is different really.

This claim that science and religion answer different but equally valid questions is the desperate rearguard position of the religious as humanism powered by science has supplanted and swalliwed up most of its former territories banishing it to tiny reservations of human thought.

500 years ago no one would have accepted this measly domain for religion."

It's hard to disagree with any critique of "the religious" (an easy target in any debate) but if the shared purpose you refer to is to seek objective knowledge, that would have only been true post-Age of Enlightenment and not surprisingly, science was always going to win that battle.

Seeking proof or objective knowledge of God (whatever that word might mean to you) is simply misguided. As an historical or sociological field maybe religion has a place in academia, but religious studies has no place alongside the sciences.
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Tom
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 5:13am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S2: Strange Energies

If I could have 5 minutes to sit down with the creators/writers of Lower Decks I'd ask them one simple question:

"Why do you believe that this show can't have any quiet moments? Previous Treks had them. Thoughtful discussions between crew members which didn't proceed at warp speed. Holodeck scenes which weren't hectic battles but which were still amusing. Poker games or ten-forward scenes with a relaxed pace rather than ramping the tension up to 100."
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Tom
Sun, Aug 15, 2021, 9:20am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

I'd say Peter G has it right; the way evolution appears to work could easily be taken by a Christian as part of creation (which none of the holy books ever said was complete following their descriptions). For what it's worth though, as Rahul said, evolution is really just another poetic story, and how it all really works is likely well beyond our understanding.
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Tomalak
Sat, Aug 14, 2021, 5:46pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: LD S2: Strange Energies

"Too hyper-active in all regards. Although the references to earlier Trek are always welcome, it doesn't work at all well in this episode, which is just a frantic spectacle jumping from one thing to the next. The interplay between the various characters was scattergun and the pacing felt like it was stuck on 3x running speed. Too much happening too intensely. Exhausting to watch."

100% agree. It also doesn't even tend to affect the plot very much. Like other Star Treks, the actual plot is about dialogue between the characters and that is what moves things along. So all the madcap spectacles just feel like filler. And there is definitely an element whereby the action packed scenes are so intense that even very major events are devalued. A whole solar system going supernova seems less meaningful than a shot of Picard looking very concerned.
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Tom
Wed, Aug 11, 2021, 9:53am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

It might not sound very far, but 52 light years still takes 2 weeks to traverse at warp 9. So it really depends what is "an awful long time" to you.
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Tomalak
Sun, Aug 8, 2021, 11:41am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

I think they changed their minds without offering any explanation.
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Tomalak
Sun, Aug 8, 2021, 7:22am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

Jason, if you think discussing whether fiction makes sense is inherently a waste of time I don't think this is the forum for you, to be honest.

So "We know Data is sentient because that is what the writers ordained, end of story" wouldn't sway me even if I believed it. But if you watch Measure of a Man, the classic episode devoted to this issue, it's not even what happens. The fact they weirdly forgot all nuance later on doesn't, for me, remove the question.

Tidd, yes, I think that's right - there is a difference between a machine convincing someone it is conscious and it actually being just that.
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Tomalak
Sat, Aug 7, 2021, 9:57am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

"Well ok if it's not complexity than what do you hypothesize it might be? Why are humans sentient and not single celled amoebas?"

It's not that complexity is irrelevant. I would have thought we could all agree that complexity is a necessary condition - but the question is whether it's sufficient condition for sentience.

"I happen to be in the camp that thinks true or 'strong' AI is likely alot harder than we thought and may be a long way off in the future but I can't see how a materialist would reject even its possibility out of hand."

There is a lot of space between rejecting it out of hand and concluding that Data, the EMH et al are surely sentient life forms, and I'd locate myself in that space. Materialist or not, I don't think anyone here has rejected its possibility out of hand. The way I would put it is that I don't start from the premise that Data is just a metal version of you or me, so it's reasonable enough to think he is sentient. I start from the premise that he is a more impressive version of Alexa, so if he's to be deemed sentient I want to understand why. The greater complexity point doesn't seem to get you very far towards an explanation.
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Tomalak
Sat, Aug 7, 2021, 3:06am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

I don't think trying to prove a negative is a good starting point? I would start with something like "Is the desk I am using now sentient? Or the Fitbit I have on my wrist?".

Assuming we all agree the answer is no, then Star Trek does seem to be assuming complexity is the missing variable that makes them different from Data or the EMH, as Tidd says. Jason's example is just another way of saying that complexity is what makes the difference. I can't say I find that convincing.

One point worth making is that Measure of a Man is much more modest than later episodes about this question - and probably stronger for it. The hearing definitely doesn't end with Data declared a sentient being. But later TNG episodes like this one certainly have characters asserting it in a way that suggests it's no longer controversial. Voyager even more so with a similar question.
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Tomalak
Thu, Aug 5, 2021, 6:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

Is your clock sentient? Your laptop? Your Alexa? As Tidd says, the Star Trek view seems to be that once technology gets complex enough it somehow becomes sentient. It really doesn't make sense if you think about it.
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Tomalak
Thu, Aug 5, 2021, 2:27am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

I think that's right. Modern Trek has multiple episodes that simply take it as read that certain machines are conscious and sentient - but no real explanation is given, just the implication that scepticism shows the sceptic is narrow-minded and limited in their thinking.
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Tomalak
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 7:23pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

The Riker quip seems fine to me, but I thought the whole point about photon torpedoes v phasers is that the former are faster than light. They effectively travel at warp speed. So his original request is like asking someone to chase after a bullet or something.
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Tomalak
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 7:15pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Yeah. If you're going to claim that seeing alien supersoldiers in a fictional far future locked up once they've outlived their usefulness supports your views on Brexit, then the burden of proof probably shouldn't lie with those of us who raise our eyebrows quizzically.
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Tomalak
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 6:59pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: Dax

Good post, Silly. I think a big problem with this episode is that it dodged the only interesting question - what do you do about a Trill murderer after they change hosts? - by making Curzon innocent of the crime.

Measure of a Man wouldn't be a classic if it had dodged the central issue of the hearing in the same way.
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Tomalak
Sun, Aug 1, 2021, 5:05am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S1: Q-Less

I think the episode was weak and interaction he had with Sisko was nothing to write home about, so that may be why they never brought him back.

In-universe, you could argue that Sisko handled him far better than Picard - his impatience with Q and lack of respect or intrigue may have made Q decide he wasn't going to have much fun with Sisko and never come back.
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Tomalak
Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 7:08am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Trish, I agree with your post earlier but not your most recent one. What is "rude" is similarly subjective - and certainly not consistent across cultures - but that does not stop reasonable people pointing to rude behaviour or non-rude behaviour even if people wont always agree. If I said it isn't rude to tell some old lady to fuck off if she politely asked for directions, I am sure you would have a sensible explanation for why I was wrong. No sensible person would be convinced if I then said "Oh, Trish, don't you realise rudeness is subjective?". Similarly with Riker
As you say, he wanted a normal romance built on mutual attraction and was put off by any sense of obligation on Yuta's part. Calling this creepy is just very weak, and pointing to subjectivity doesn't change that.
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Tomalak
Thu, Jul 29, 2021, 3:34am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

It's a long time since I've seen the episode, but I don't think you're right about obnoxious or leering. There seems to be an unargued assumption in some of the comments on this site that any flirtatious behaviour or attraction to the opposite sex is inherently creepy. It seems very out of touch. I'm not getting at you, Tidd - your comments are always worth reading and you're not the only one. But I do disagree.
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Tomalak
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 5:07pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

Sorry, Tidd, but yeah. It's one of the most famous phrases in Latin ever, so it really shouldn't be attributed to one of Ancient Greece's greatest.
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