Star Trek: Voyager

"Parallax"

2.5 stars

Air date: 1/23/1995
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Story by Jim Trombetta
Directed by Kim Friedman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'm not just a doctor. I've been designed with the information from 2,000 medical reference sources and the experience of 47 individual medical officers. I am the embodiment of modern medicine." — Doctor

On their way home from the Delta Quadrant at maximum warp, a journey that will take them some 75 years, the crew of the Voyager encounters its first adventure—becoming caught in a temporal singularity while trying to rescue a trapped ship. The trapped ship turns out to be a temporal reflection of the Voyager itself.

The technobabble-laden plot involving this singularity is something the Next Generation writers would probably only deliver if they were desperate for a story. Considering the Voyager is out in the middle of completely unknown territory with infinite possibilities of adventure and discovery, seeing a plot like this on the second episode is a letdown.

Fortunately, "Parallax" serves its purpose as the series' first one-hour episode by developing the characters in the genuine Trek style. Unlike the pilot, this one picks a few characters and works with them, rather than spreading it around so much. This makes an easier dramatic line to follow, as the story concentrates on just a couple of people, rather than trying to attack the whole ensemble.

The episode opens with an amusing teaser in which senior engineer Carey (Josh Clark) reports to sickbay with a broken nose after getting into a fight with hot-headed former Maquis B'Elanna Torres. This stresses what will hopefully be a conflict in the series for a while—the uneasy tension between the Starfleet officers and the Maquis. Tuvok wants to put Torres in the brig over the matter. Meanwhile, exaggerations of the incident lead some of the less conservative Maquis to come to Chakotay and tell him they will support him in a mutiny to take over the ship. (He refuses, of course, and tells them they will be in big trouble if they even think about it again.)

Janeway begins seeking replacements for the key officers lost in the pilot, including chief engineer and chief medical officer. After nominating Paris to train as a field doctor (since the holographic medic can't leave sickbay), Chakotay recommends Torres for chief engineer. The fight in engineering makes Janeway uncertain about Torres, but Chakotay tells Janeway to keep Torres in mind. The two are obviously separated on the matter, and when Chakotay goes over her head involving an engineering matter, Janeway calls him into the ready room. Here we get a relatively fiery scene between them regarding the Maquis' position and ranking on the ship. (The conversation ends with Chakotay forcefully saying "Permission to leave," without much of a question mark behind it.)

This is the setup for the somewhat clichéd premise where Torres has to prove herself worthy to the captain. Fortunately, the writing is sincere, and scenes between Torres and the captain are on-target. In staff meeting, Torres solves the singularity's mystery in thirty seconds flat and partially wins Janeway over. Janeway, who could probably take on Geordi LaForge in a technobabble match, has some ideas on how to escape the singularity and realizes Torres has the experience to take on the serious technical situation. Janeway doesn't doubt Torres' ability to apply her engineering skills, but she needs to be sure Torres has the ability to give and take orders.

To escape the singularity, Torres and Janeway take a shuttlecraft out to open a crack in the field using technobabble procedures, etc., so the Voyager can fit through. When returning, the singularity's bizarre properties cause confusion when the temporal reflection of the Voyager reappears. The two can't tell which is the real ship. They must choose one to land on, as both ships show identical properties when scanned. With time to escape running out, they must make a decision. They both do—they choose different ships.

Neither the technobabble, nor even the big decision really matters here. What matters is seeing these two get to know one other and earn each other's respect. The interaction further defines each of these characters' personalities and attitudes, laying foundation for future episodes.

Of course, the Voyager just barely escapes the singularity. Janeway gives Torres the position of Chief Engineer—Torres has much to learn, but Janeway has the utmost confidence in her. As the Voyager resumes its journey back to the Alpha Quadrant, "Parallax" displays Voyager's promise to true Star Trek character interaction while establishing some backstory. Too bad the plot is so tired.

Previous episode: Caretaker
Next episode: Time and Again

◄ Season Index

189 comments on this review

Mal
Fri, Oct 16, 2009, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
It's sad that so early in the show, VOY made so many mistakes. Maybe the seeds of its eventual mediocrity were sown in its very conception.

Caretaker was far too rushed in setting the show up. Parallax only compounds that error by neatly tying up the few loose threads remaining, so that by the end of the episode B'ellana is Chief.

Here's how it should have gone down:

- At the end of Caretaker, the Maqui should have kept their uniforms. It should have been at least a season until (after some seriously tough missions together) everyone decides they are really on the same team.

- This episode should have been about Janeway and Tuvok deciding how to incorporate the Maqui, and realizing that if they were going to have any chance, Chakotay would have to be First Officer. Only then can you hope to bring the likes of B'ellana around.

Remember Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda? Remember how long it took Dylan Hunt to get Captain Valentine and her crew (of mercenaries) to actually believe in the mission? Hunt was out of his time - his "Federation" was nowhere to help him. Sound a little like the Delta Quadrant? Its sad that any Trek would have something to learn from DROM!

Is it any wonder that VOY turned out to be such a pedestrian show? As I said before, the seeds of its mediocrity were sown in its first couple episodes....
Jake
Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
"Remember Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda?"

I don't think anyone remembers it now.
Will
Mon, Jan 4, 2010, 8:44am (UTC -5)
@Mal, Mal, you and Jammer are exactly right. I remember getting the first season of VOY on DVD and being so excited because I'd read about it on the Internet, and it seemed so interesting. It had a hell of a premise.

Then I actually started looking at the blurbs on the back cover and my heart sank, because the blurb for the second episode read: "Voyager becomes trapped within a quantum singularity which will eventually crush the ship". Huh? That's the best you can give us as your second episode? What a waste. I didn't much enjoy the first season because of episodes like this, of which there were many.

No, I think the first season could've been so much better if they'd actually used any of the ample materials which were to be mined. But as it was, they just gave us a load of pedestrian plots centering around anomalies. How dull.
Carbetarian
Mon, Apr 4, 2011, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
I totally agree with everything Jammer, Mal and Will have already said. Oh, and I also agree with Jake. No one remembers Andromeda. I'm pretty sure most people weren't even aware of it when it was on. But, I digress.

This episode feels like something that could easily have been done by any other Star Trek series. That's disappointing for the second episode of a new show. But, if you want to go from feeling disappointed to indignant, take a peek at the background information on this episode on it's memory alpha page.

Branon Braga and the other writers all make comments on this plot by saying how it's "something we've never seen before" and "a new twist" on temporal whatever episodes. Everything they say is so self congratulatory, that it's like they are oblivious to the fact that we the audience have in fact seen Star Trek episodes like this a thousand times before. This is indeed where the seeds of mediocrity were planted.

The writers on Voyager had all put in so many years on Trek at this point, that I think they lost the ability to see things from any perspective but their own. Branon Braga in particular seemed to eventually get to a point where he felt his scripts were above criticism from Star Trek fans. The show really needed new blood and a staff that didn't feel they knew better than the audience. I mean, let's face it. There are some very obsessed Trekkies out there, and I would wager to bet that many of them DO know the show better than most of the writers. The writing staff needed to come out of their bubble and listen to outside opinions more often.

Over confidence and safety became the mainstays of voyager over the years and eventually the same lack of adventure continued on to the dull as dishwater Enterprise. I sincerely think a new writing staff would have helped with this, on both shows.

I think the case and point that proves that, is how much better Enterprise got when they brought in Manny Coto. I don't think he wrote a lot of truly stellar episodes. But, at least I wasn't bored to the verge of slipping into a coma during the stuff he helmed. That in and of itself was a vast improvement over the ambien like mess the show was before he came on.

Anyway, enough rambling, on to the positves here. Voyager premiered during a difficult time in my childhood. I had just moved and switched schools and I really didn't have any friends yet. So, needless to say, I watched a lot of television and looked for something to escape into. I remember really liking Voyager because I could empathize with the hopelessness of being a million miles away from home and having to start over with a volitale group of people in an unknown area. I still like Voyager, partly for nostalgia and partly because I genuinely like the crew. Ok, except for maybe Neelix. But, even he grew on me after awhile.

The likability and charisma of the actors on Voyager, for me, is what saved it from being Enterprise. Where I never really liked the crew of the NX-01 as a whole, I always liked the crew of Voyager. So, even if Voyager did episodes that were just as boring as the first two seasons of Enterprise, they were slightly redeemed by the fact that they crew had good chemistry and were easy to watch.

I enjoyed the subplot about Janeway and B'elanna in this episode. It was a nice bit of character development. However, the episode still manages sneak in some of Voyager's usual half assery with Senior Engineer Carey. I mean, B'elanna punched him in the face and by the end of the episode he's pledging his loyalty to her command without even a trace of sarcasm? That's either terrible acting or lazy writing, in my opinion.

Final conclusion: two and a half stars for this episode from me too.
Brian
Fri, Jul 15, 2011, 11:43am (UTC -5)
Just re-watched this on Netflix ... Garrett Wang's acting was particularly bad in this episode. Maybe it was just bad dialog, but still ... Ugh.
Shane
Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Amazing how quickly Voyager abandoned its premise. This is only the second episode of the series and if it weren't for the plot thread of B'Elanna Torres and Joe Carey duking it out for chief engineer you could drop this episode at any almost point in the series and it would fit.

With TNG it's rather easy to differentiate a season 1 episode from a season 7 episode but in Voyager's case you could put "Parallax" right next to "Nightingale" in the schedule and not notice a difference in the characters. (Unless of course Janeway's hairstyle counts!)
inline79
Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
OK, I understand there was (is?) a syndication market to appeal to, but it's only Episode #2! Last week, at the end of the episode, our Bad Captain just stranded us 75 years from home. Everyone at home thinks we're dead. We're alone here with no Starbases... Is our ship going to last 75 yrs? Are we going to live that long? Should we have kids to take over the ship? etc etc... Yet everyone is acting like they're just out for a jaunt from Earth to Risa. If I were a crewmember, I'd be right mad.

Like many above, I enjoyed the Janeway/Torres development in this episode, but it could have done with a lot less running around black holes, and a lot more mutiny. Like really, a time travel/paradox episode for the second episode already? We barely know the crew or the ship.

I don't think this deserves 2.5 stars, because the technoplot is a write-off.
Caine
Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Right now (October 2013) I'm watching the whole series for the first time - big fan of the other Trek shows.

I agree that the premise of this show was awesome, but that it was handled very poorly by the writers in the first handfull of episodes (all I've watched so far).

In this particular episode there were two things that really made me cringe - o much so that they pretty much ruined the episode for me.

1) When Chakotay is approached by his fellow Maqui about starting a mutiny. he snaps her right into place so fast that her head spins. Wow, what a dull decission by the writers! If only Chakotay had been in two minds a bout it ... but no, he's all Starfleet officer already, loyalty to captain and crew at 100 %, yes sir! Blah! Missed opportunity for gorgeous coflict!

2) When Janeway and Torres find a solution in perfect harmony - even saying the same word at the same time. I half expected them to start giggling and talk about which movie star is just to DIE for ... awkward, painful, ridiculous moment!

After the two first episodes I was certainly not impressed - luckily, in my eyes, the show picked up and had some good episodes later on in the first season.
William
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 11:05am (UTC -5)
This is a pretty great episode. It actually has the crew grabbling with problems of unity and acclimitization.
Vylora
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 10:20am (UTC -5)
Pretty solid early series character-building for a couple crew members set against a decent, if not tired, temporal anomaly scenario.

I understand the integration of the Maquis would be difficult, but I don't think nearly as difficult as some people wanted it to be (myself included). The more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of the Maquis members would understand the benefit of working together to get everyone home. For the most part they were not "the bad guys", to put it simply, to begin with. More could have and should have been done to build upon this in future episodes than what we got, definitely. But not to any severe extent that would undermine what we've learned of the Maquis as people in past storylines.

All being said, this wasn't the greatest overall experience as the birth of a new Star Trek nor is it now going back to it. The sci-fi aspect was more formulaic than anything. The dialogue was less rough overall than in the premiere, though, a bit cloying at the very end. The pacing kept a nice sense of momentum throughout despite a couple scenes falling flat on its face. Most notably the OMG moment between Janeway/Torres in the briefing room. Not a disaster by far but I am spoiled by much better writing that Star Trek is very obviously capable of no matter whom is at the helm.

2.5 stars.
stallion
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
It's pretty obvious with this episode Brannon Braga wanted to tell a story on how Voyager would handle a TNG problem. It probably would had been better if he picked something more in tune to Voyager lost in space premise. He did a good job with the character drama. Some will argue that they won't flesh out enough, but the characters really do come off likeable in this episode.

I feel like Jammer would like a lot of episodes of Voyager and Enterprise more (Night, Hunter, Parallax, Worst Case Scenairo, Void, Catwalk) if they dropped the spacial anomaly or hard headed forehead alien angle.
Skeptical
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Well, that was a bit of a letdown. One episode in, and we're already doing the spatial anomaly of the week routine. I mean, we're in unknown space here. New life and new civilizations. You have a completely blank slate here, and can start to draw pictures of an entirely new Trek. Instead, we get another singularity, something that could have happened at any time and any place in TNG. Sure, these stories can exist in Voyager, but having it happen so soon in the series run is a bit unfortunate.

So the spatial anomaly plot was ok, all things considered. I mean, it was basically routine blah blah blah caught danger technobabble solution drama victory. Same as we've seen dozens of time. Unfortunately, there were two major eye-rolling parts. 1) As soon as we saw a weird ship in the singularity, I immediately half thought it would be Voyager stuck in a stable time loop. Well, I was half right. How is it this can be some brilliant plot twist when it seems like the natural course of action for a Trek show? 2) Event horizons do not work that way! It's a mathematical line, not something tangible! Seriously, Trek should do one of two things: either make everything up as magic technobabble, or use real science. The worst part was when Kes started asking questions and Neelix started explaining everything, except, of course, everything he was saying was wrong.

As for the character pieces, it was also ok. Frankly, the Torres part was pretty routine, and seemed about as standard as you can get. There was nothing bad about it (other than Torres and Janeway squeeing like little schoolgirls over warp particles). What was more interesting, to me, was Chakotay. He had to thread the needle here between keeping the peace and standing up for his old crew. Frankly, he was right and Janeway was wrong. Janeway was actually separating the Maquis and treating them as less than equals, whether she realized it or not. Chakotay could have let it go, recognizing that this was a Starfleet ship. And he could have tamped down the expectations of his old crew, all things considered. After all, they are guests on someone else's ship. But he stood up to the captain, risking further tension now in order to defuse longer tensions later. And he did it in a public manner, which may not have been the best option overall, but implicitly showed Janeway how serious the manner was. A rather high stakes game for him, but he pulled it off well. And in the end, he won, getting Torres posted as chief engineer.

Given that I remembered Chakotay to be a lame character, this was nice to see. From what I understand, part of the problem of Chakotay's character was due to Beltran's animosity towards everyone involved with the show. So maybe that hasn't happened yet. In any case, it felt a lot more natural than the forced conflict and resolution of Torres' plot.
Andrew
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
This episode doesn't depart from the TNG format as much as it could or maybe should have but I didn't think it was bad or disappointing; the anomaly plot felt familiar but not particularly tired and I liked how Janeway, Chakotay and Torres were shown as flawed and conflicted without going too far (and the last scene with Janeway and Chakotay showed pretty good chemistry).
Yanks
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
An OK episode. Not a bad story, but man... can't go without a female Chief Engineer long, can we?

Essssh, the opener we get Chuckles as the XO, and episode #2 boom, welcome B'Elanna.

While I didn't want the Maquis thing to drag out, they could have spent a few episodes working things out. Janeway made a GREAT point at the beginning of this episode:

JANEWAY: The Starfleet officers on this ship have worked all their lives to earn their commissions. How am I supposed to ask them to accept a Maquis as their superior officer just because circumstances have forced us together?

Yup, these Maquis should have had to prove themselves more. If I'm one of those Starfleet officers, I'd be real pissed if a criminal got a position over me, especially right off the bat.

The whole Doc shrinking thing was hilarious. I've watched Voyager at least 4 times all the way through and I still cracked up.

I'm not saying B'Elanna isn't more talented, she might be. But LT Carey really got the shaft. What could and probably should have happened, is Carey should have got the job, then HE should have realized that he was in over his head over a few episodes, or half a season or something, then he should have surrendered the position much ot B'Elanna's surprise.

2.5 stars for me.
Robert
Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 7:14am (UTC -5)
@Yanks - I was always a sucker for this one. I like scientist Janeway and I actually think Chakotay was right. Janeway is right too, but that's what was so interesting about the early episodes. Yes Carey got the shaft, but Chakotay destroyed his ship to save Voyager.

Had he not had to do so the two ships would presumably be flying home side by side and B'Elanna would still be a chief engineer there. Chakotay's point that she shouldn't take the entire maquis crew and make them all nobodies is spot on.

I like Chakotay here, I like B'Elanna here, I like Janeway here. It was a good episode. I'd even give it a solid 3. This is everything I liked about S1/S2 Voyager.
petulant
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
This was the first Voyager episode i saw, i wish i'd watched caretaker first, B'ellanna becoming Chief Engineer wasn't that interesting to me and i think they could have done it better.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Dec 6, 2015, 9:04am (UTC -5)
As others have noted the anomaly is a fairly tired plot-line and something directly out of TNG. But we do have some good character driven scenes and at least a feeling of the tension inherent between the disparate elements of the crew. That Janeway and Torres find some common ground over the science is at least something credible. Paris taking the part of the poor viewer and completely not getting what was going on was also credible! 3 stars for me.
Wilt
Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 1:50am (UTC -5)
You know, I wished that there was far more enmity between the crews as well in the beginning. I never understood how chuckles ever was in the Maquis. He so readily jumped back into the uniform I keep forgetting why he even joined the Maquis in the first place. I sometimes watch TNG's Journey's End for the back story on it. Still he practically dove back into Starfleet head first far too quickly.

He could have just as easily stopped the Captain from destroying their only way back. Instead he just agreed to it and nothing from there. The tension between the maquis and Starfleet crew should have grown a whole lot stronger than it did after that insane act. I almost forgot there were maquis as a part of the crew.

I also agreed 110% about not choosing thugs over Starfleet officers for leadership positions. The writers suddenly forgot that the maquis (with the exception of the wonderful Seska. Wuv u Ms. Hackett) were supposed to be outlaws who had little use for Starfleet and its protocols. Yes, chuckles was a Starfleet officer. I think he was the one who was the instructor at some course that Lt. Ro had graduated from. Captain Picard mentioned it being a very difficult course in TNG's Preemptive Strike but I can't remember the details.

Anyways chuckles did indeed have the training and all. But he also never really came off as a maquis dissident. Whenever I rewatch the pilot I sometimes forget that's how he was intreduced. But then again just about all the maquis settled comfortably into Starfleet without a word of complaint. And at the end of this episode, abra ka dabra, B'elanna's now the chief engineer and snug as a bug. Chosen over a Starfleet officer whom spent years earning his commission and the uniform.

Don't get me wrong, I do like B'elanna. It's just in this case I really have to question why in the world would the writers do something like that? I know, stranded in the Delta Quadrant (mind you by the same captain who broke the Prime Directive more times it seemed than even Archer, and they didn't HAVE a prime directive yet) but that should have made for one hell of a uncomfortable crew for more than half a single episode, especially after she destroyed the array. Seska's defection wasn't even close to enough to satisfy that criteria, as enjoyable as it was. Maybe if there were a few more dissidents that took off with her. That would have been more believable than just her alone. I know she wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Learning Curve was, frankly, a joke. Even the awesome Tim Russ couldn't save that outing. It wasn't bad acting, it was just a very poor (and lazy) attempt to 'tidy up' the maquis/Starfleet conflict.

I think at this point the writers were torn between continuity and anomaly-of-the-week (AOTW) eps. We wouldn't have to wait long to find out which they preferred. This one really could have been in any season. Spin the roulette wheel and where it stops drop it there. You wouldn't notice much difference.

This one I can't give any more than 1.5 stars to. Execution was fine, the storyline is what I am criticizing. And that half star was for Seska staying true to her character even at the beginning. Sometimes I feel like Culluh at the end of S3's Basics when she met her final fate...
Skywalker
Sat, May 14, 2016, 8:38am (UTC -5)
In the second scene, Tuvok is absolutely right about the Captain needing to be informed. But I like how Chakotay isn't just trying to sweep it under the rug and he is loyal to the chain of command, as he showed at the end of Caretaker.

Chakotay to Torres: "The impact fractures along his cranium were pretty severe. If you'd hit him just a little harder, you could have driven some of those bones into his cerebellum." — ?! Really? Nose bones all the way to the back of his brain? Let's assume the writers wanted that to be a joke for the medically literate viewers; B'Elanna takes it seriously for a moment: "I did'nt even come close to hitting him that hard." Haha. Classic Chakotay exaggeration-for-effect. Nice touch! A few seconds later: "I never found your twisted sense of humor very funny, Chakotay." Ipso facto.

I actually liked this episode. It had a lot of Maquis-integration
Janeway showed a lot of bold decision making. "Sometimes you just have to punch your way through." LOL! That had a Star Trek 2009 feel, or even a Star Wars feel. Reading the reviews, and searching my adolescent memory, I thought this episode would be lousy, along with the pre-Seven seasons. Let's see if my lowered expectations allow me to enjoy more of these early episodes!
icarus32soar
Sat, Jul 16, 2016, 9:34am (UTC -5)
You guys all toddlers on this thread? That scene where Chakotay says he won't be Janeway's "token Maquis officer" sizzles with such sexual tension I thought they were going to have a hull breach or something. One of the best done moments in the whole of ST. So is the scene in the shuttle when Janeway tells B'Elana some captains like having their assumptions challenged. Dramatic tension this time. Sheesh! Give the shit a go and look for the subtext. ST is not LITERAL. People making "corrections" about what the writers should have done just plain kill me.
mephyve
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Ok now I remember why I refused to watch Voyager when it was current. I expected to be beaten over the head with girl power stories. It was so blatant here I couldn't even finish.
Add 45 minutes of treknobabble to blatant feminism and you get an episode worth less than 0 points
Odyssey47
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
If I had been Lieutenant Carey and got passed up on promotion to a Maquis that never graduated the academy, I would've shown Janeway the bird and hung out in the holodeck for 75 years. He wouldn't have died a week before they got home either.
Yanks
Wed, Aug 17, 2016, 9:53am (UTC -5)
HAHA!!!!! Odyssey47!!!! Nice.
J.B. Nicholson
Mon, Jan 2, 2017, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
"Sometimes you just have to punch your way through" doesn't make Voyager look good, it sets the stage for some ugly choices Janeway make about how to treat her crew.

It should come off as shockingly bad for the entire series that Torres got her job as Chief Engineer (a job she'd keep for the rest of the series) in the way she did. Chakotay's view of her is one-sided; he doesn't know Carey because by this episode they haven't worked together that much. But ultimately who is Voyager's Chief Engineer is Janeway's decision and she doesn't seem to care about technical things like "the latest Starfleet protocols" or professional behavior including not striking people when one has a disagreement with them.

It's also alarming how quickly injustice is laid down and what consequences come from this. By 26m3s into the episode, Tuvok tells Kim "There was an altercation, but it has been resolved." referring to the beating that started the episode. Resolved? I don't recall ever seeing Torres in the brig (she seemed to be briefly sequestered in her quarters when Chakotay yelled at her a bit, hardly a punishing place to be), being properly questioned about what happened, nor do I recall charges being handled in anything nearing an appropriate fashion. Tuvok continues "The situation may be described as tense, but one could hardly say they are about to become violent". There's already been violence, that's why Carey recently needed surgery for his broken nose (according to the EMH) which almost sent bone matter into his brain (according to Chakotay). Violent again, perhaps? The beating that launched this episode was far too quickly forgotten and ultimately serves to signal how much help Janeway needs to look respectfully authoritative. This also casts Kes' introduction in the first episode "Caretaker", obviously beaten by her Kazon torturers, in a different light now that violence is on the table as a right and proper way of resolving issues even on Janeway's ship and for something as relatively minor as a technical disagreement. Voyager does not do well to promote the idea that no trial, no punishment, denied opportunities, and job promotion are the proper consequences of violence.

Poor Lt. Carey was never told his job was on the line: he was never told that his job hinged on impressing Janeway at two senior crew meetings (one of which he was apparently not invited to) and an away mission with Janeway (to which he was also seemingly never invited). Torres got her Chief Engineer job apparently by beating up the current Chief Engineer (what is this, a Klingon ship?) and (as far as Carey is concerned) secret meeting time with the Captain. So, contrary to what Janeway told Paris about "hiding his credentials" on temporal mechanics, Janeway doesn't evaluate candidates for high-responsibility positions by technical qualification (further evidence of this is Torres' wrong assessment of which ship to dock the shuttlecraft with and why Torres got the answer wrong). We have too little input from Carey to evaluate Carey on this basis. Apparently Janeway promotes people who demonstrate they can think like her and let her in on personal problems Janeway thinks she can mold. As far as we know, Carey never got the chance to charm Janeway in this fashion.

I suspect Carey's fate was sealed when Janeway gave a nod to Chakotay at the end of that first senior crew meeting with both Carey and Torres. The next significant talk Torres and Janeway had was in a second meeting which apparently Carey wasn't invited to. In the shuttlecraft scene, Torres apologizes to Janeway(!) for the way Torres reacted to Janeway's assessment interview for Chief Engineer (a job for which she should not have been considered until after dealing with possible charges and possible brig time). There was no apology to Carey, the crewmember Torres beat. For a show so obviously concerned with showing women doing good work while in charge of important things, this mismanagement and highly unprofessional evaluation of the crew, and Torres' horrible choice of what to say to Carey when she effectively takes his job, does not speak well for the rest of Voyager. If this is indicative of how Starfleet conducts its reviews, it doesn't speak well of Starfleet and this reflects badly on the allegedly fair-minded future Star Trek wants us to think highly of.

The next time we see Torres (around 39m46s), she's being walked into Engineering by Chakotay who is telling her the Engineering crew is "your staff" to which she responds "I'll try not to break any of their noses." and Chakotay apparently agrees (repeating the dialogue two lines later), which highlights how insensitive management is to this entire appalling affair. The new Chief Engineer's last line to Carey is how she's "not up to date on the latest Starfleet protocols" (something you'd think you'd want in a Chief Engineer on a Starfleet ship!) but she "hopes that [she] can depend on [Carey]". Carey, still far more professional than anyone else involved in his demotion, replies "you'll never get less than my best" and congratulating her on her new position. If I recall correctly, Carey's undeserved demotion is not taken up again (I vaguely recall Carey look silly by having him later acknowledge he thinks Torres is a fine engineer and then later killing Carey off).

The worst thing I can say about Carey's choices here is his only line in the only meeting to which he was apparently invited: He questioned whether fixing the EMH's projectors are really the priority. I think that's a bad way of seeing things because it should always be a high priority to keep one's only medical staff (their only doctor, in fact) fully working. I don't charge Carey with much wrongdoing here though because of Janeway's horrible reaction to learning that the EMH's projectors are not working correctly. She heard about the problem (more than once), knew of its adverse effect (including how this would worsen over time), and there was no indication she chose to make good on her promise to get the projectors looked into. Since she's the captain of the ship, she sets the tone and the tone she set was indistinguishable from dismissing this as unimportant. Putting a fine point on how little they value anything in Sickbay, Janeway responds to the EMH's repeated call for someone to fix his projectors and Janeway's last line is to tell the EMH "We're a little busy right now, Doctor, but I'll send a crew as soon as I can.". The EMH has shrunk to the point where he can't possibly do significant parts of his job. We're supposed to think it's hilarious to see the circus mirror effect on the EMH (shrunken so small he's standing in a chair he normally sits in) but the obtuse writing apparently forgets when the sole medical staff is now rendered incapable of doing his job. I guess they're all fortunate that more people didn't require the EMH to be tall enough to reach the biobed, mix a new medicine, or perform surgery as is so often the case in Star Trek (and was in the start of this episode).

If Carey's and Torres's sexes were reversed, this show would have (even at the time of original syndication) been quickly dismissed as horribly misogynist; the horrible treatment I critique would be too obvious to deny. The misandry present in the episode shouldn't be taken as a social step forward for Star Trek. Making a woman benefit from violence and inequity is bargain basement feminism and is no better than the misogyny found in early Star Trek. Given how much room this show had to work with (new crew, new ship, new quadrant of the galaxy), it's sad the writers couldn't come up with anything egalitarian that would have highlighted how a skilled former Maquis engineer with social skill problems or anger management problems rose to the top after working hard in multiple episodes, thus earning respect from her peers and the audience. If I recall the rest of the series correctly, Carey will end up spending the rest of his life as an engineer serving under the unpunished criminal who beat him. Perhaps if more than two Voyager crewmembers knew how Torres got her job and knew of Carey's plight there would have been more complaints about this and they wouldn't have been so rosy serving under Torres or Janeway.
JohnC
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 10:22am (UTC -5)
To follow up on my comments on Caretaker, I don't expect much from this series, so I continue to be entertained. Yes, it's another "spatial anomaly" episode, but I thought the dialogue in the shuttlecraft between Janeway and Torres was sparkling, as they debated whether to choose the Voyager to port or starboard.

As for JB's comments just above, that was an entertaining read, but I'm not as down on how Torres ends up being chosen. Part of a starfleet captain's job is to know how to delegate, and sometimes feelings get hurt. I think it was pretty obvious to Janeway by the end of the first staff meeting that Torres was something special as an engineer. Janeway expressed her reservations about Torres' ability to command others and it was obviously a difficult decision for her, but I think ultimately she decided that she was going to go with her first officer's recommendation of an exceptionally talented and creative engineer with people problems over a cookie-cutter personality who doesn't think outside the box - and if there's one thing that Janeway would know is evident, it's that if you're 70,000 light years from home, you're WAY outside the box. And although it might have provided some episode fodder to have Torres work her way back into good graces and then get promoted, I think perhaps we are to infer that Janeway realizes the importance of assigning roles and duties from the outset. Just a thought.
Robert
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
@JohnC - Glad you're enjoying VOY so far. Early VOY is actually my favorite VOY. It's not as good as later VOY in a lot of ways, but what it was trying to do with the premise and the characters was more interesting than what it ended up doing. Look forward to your thoughts!

Welcome aboard!
JohnC
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for the kind welcome, Robert. Very much looking forward to the journey.... :)
Strejda
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
While coming up with it was fun, the technobabble solution to the problem really hurts the episode. Thing is, when you use technobabble to explain why anomaly is making everyone horny or something, you are setting up the plot, it's the one big contrivance you are allowed to have. When you use it to resolve problems, you are basically giving characters a magic wand that can just make the problem disappear. Seriously, its the same thing. It's not thinking your way out of a situation, if you think a complete bullshit that only works because script says so. So acting as if a mathematical principle is an actual physical barrier you can "punch your way through" is like having your characters get out of jail, by spitting on steel bars and melting them by it. In a serious story.
Ildaf
Thu, Feb 9, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
I was hoping the 2nd episodes dealing with repairing the ship, losses of crew, then how integrating the maquis into Voyager (and handle the delicate problem come with it). Nevertheless, the ship is shiny and it seems the crew never been losses, it just been replaced on some starbase with a maquis crew (albeit having few disgruntled employee). But never a really big problem that require delicate action.

At least we have some unresolved problem with the integration, namely choosing for a new chief engineer.
I like the first half of the show, particularly the opening and banter between Janeway-Chakotay. They both made a solid point and reasonable, but i tend to agree with Chakotay more here.
Then it's revealed they just encounter anomaly with some temporal/time paradox on the mix. So, thats 2 for 2 cliche just on the 2nd episode.
A weak lame excuse to get into the main show, proving B'ellana worth as chief engineer to Janeway.. that is all too obvious.

And it's all go down the hill for the latter half part of the show. We knew Janeway was a science officer. But to made her sprouting techobable match with B'ellana, made each other continue finishing the sentence like they're twins, even wrapped the sentence at the end by shouting "Warp particles" together is too cheesy and way.. way over the top for my taste. Is this a teenager show?.
Hell yes Jammer, Janeway can take La Forge anytime on technobable match.. haha

Even worse after that.. It's contagius, the whole crew also start spewing technobable. Tuvok, Kim, Chakotay.. even Paris. Obviously they don't have enough material for the whole episodes and just trying to stretch it with technonses explanation. The shaking camera for the sake of dramatization made it more annoying.

We go to shuttle, this is not a bad scene. But why after they done widening the rupture they not just go straight out on the shuttle with voyager tailing the tail? Why they have to comeback to Voyager, wasting time and risking more (by have to choose which is the real one, and taking time to go back).

Speaking of wasting time.. Are we going to be treated with long cheesy speech of Janeway at every last scene of the episodes? She's doing it at the end of Caretaker, and now doing it again here. Aren't you suppose to get out as soon as possible before the rupture closing, wtf wasting time with cheesy speech? This is obviously not the time, a brief command will suffice!
I can even imagine Picard voice on my head "Mr. Data, take us out the here. Engage!" or Riker/Data suggest depart and Picard said "Make it so!"

Watchable episodes, but not a good one.
2 (**) star
Mertov
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Odyssey47's comment in Aug 2016... LOOOOOOL
:)))))
DLPB
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:55am (UTC -5)
J.B. Nicholson

I read your whole post, and you are correct. The issue, like always, is gung-ho leftist writers, who don't know how to write a believable strong/smart woman. The most shocking thing is that they don't see that their heavy handed approach backfires. Rather than people seeing Torres as deserving and clever, they see an out of control person, unable to keep their emotions in check (exact same problem with Kira from DS9, which I was labelled a sexist misogynist for pointing out lmao).

The reality is that the leftist writers, safe in their lovely middle class, rural upbringings, are woefully out of touch with the general public and with reality itself. To them, a strong woman needs to act like "a man" - and this means the stereotypical aggressor, or smarmy intellectual. In other words, the writers are projecting their OWN BIAS onto the episode. "Gee, how can we make her look strong and independent? I know! Let's show her beating up her male superior officer, outwitting him at every turn, and then being promoted above him."

All that needed to be done to make this a respectable story was to have a disagreement between Janeway and Chakotay regarding who is next in line, have both candidates face off a few times, and then a respectable meeting between all concerned. It would still have tension and conflict in it, but it wouldn't have a chief engineer who breaks noses and laughs about it. It would also be believable.

As you pointed out, if we reverse this episode and make Torres a man and Carey a woman, people around here (including the media) would be screaming to high heaven about how sexist the episode is. Can you imagine them showing Torres having her nose broken by a male officer? No, neither can I. And that's why the writers are leftie, awful hypocrites. Like always with the left, hypocrisy is their soulmate. It really irritates me, and it doesn't make me watch the episode a second time.

It's the exact same thing with race and religion, too. It's okay to show a white person being made fun of, but not black. It's okay to show a bible being destroyed on television, but not a Koran. The left just don't know when to stop. And it's shows like this where they are free to make their wildest dreams come true and peddle their agenda.
Robert
Wed, May 3, 2017, 8:22am (UTC -5)
@DLPB - You used to just be someone that disagreed with me. Now you're a ranting, raving, alt-right parody lunatic. Just stop. If leftist writers make your blood boil, go watch something else.
Robert
Wed, May 3, 2017, 8:25am (UTC -5)
@DLPB - And the worst part is that I agree with a lot of what you said. Particularly the idea that something that would look really badly when gender swapped is a bad idea/bad writing/is sexist in it's own way. But you don't have to rant about Korans to make a coherent point.
DLPB
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Err, no. I don't think I will Robert. I wasn't even replying to you; I was agreeing with another poster. If you can't stomach other people's views and the fact Trek has a serious left wing bias, YOU go somewhere else. You don't get to tell anyone what to watch or what to review, and I will not be listening to your "advice", so get used to it and get lost ;)
DLPB
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
Also, I have hit a nerve with you simply because you are the exact kind of person I am referring to in the post. And you know it. Makes you feel uneasy. And it should. When the left stop acting like jackasses, I will stop calling them out on it.
Peter G.
Wed, May 3, 2017, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
@ DLPB,

"Also, I have hit a nerve with you simply because you are the exact kind of person I am referring to in the post. And you know it."

Really, you know enough about Robert to claim definitively that he is a middle class hypocritical writer living in suburbia who believes it's fine to make fun of white people and the bible? Wow, you're a better detective than me, because I was never able to figure all that out about him. But you seem pretty sure that he is the "exact kind of person" you were referring to. Which reminds me:

"The reality is that the leftist writers, safe in their lovely middle class, rural upbringings, are woefully out of touch with the general public and with reality itself."

Lol. Since you are such a fan of cold, hard facts, you may want to do a little research before assuming that because you disagree with a writer's outlook that it's because he conforms to your concept of a cushy leftist intellectual. Your description is probably one of the least accurate depiction of most writers I've read about. Typically they are poor and struggling until they get lucky and end up getting decent money for something. Most of them remain poor and struggling. Your view of artists (in Hollywood or elsewhere) seems like the kind of thing cooked up by extremist propaganda, that sadly you appear to have eaten whole.

Incidentally, I agree with Robert in that your assessment of this episode is quite logical, and that the nature of the epithets you let fly come of as intentionally antagonistic alt-right mayhem. I do appreciate the content of some of your posts, and maybe there's no need to be blatantly insulting to people in order to get your points across.
Robert
Thu, May 4, 2017, 9:45am (UTC -5)
"When the left stop acting like jackasses, I will stop calling them out on it. "

I could make a 40 page long essay calling the right out for being jackasses and hypocrites, but there's no need... it's a Star Trek site.

For what it's worth I don't think they don't know how to write strong women. Janeway and Seven are without being violent. I think the issue here is that the maquis have become caricatures instead of freedom fighters. Torres has rage issues because she's always had a hard time with her Klingon half. Suter has rage issues because he's a psychopath. Some of the maquis joined because they like to shoot stuff. It's been discussed. Multiple times on Voyager. Even Chakotay decks one of the maquis later in the season. Being somewhat violent is how the writers are writing the "rough" maquis against the "polished" Starfleet.

Where it falls apart, and where you are right, is where you say "Can you imagine them showing Torres having her nose broken by a male officer? No, neither can I." You're right, neither can I. Carey getting the job after breaking Torres' nose would have come off really poorly and as much as I always liked this episode for the Torres/Janeway relationship they never did address strongly enough what she did. Even making her in charge on a probationary period until she can prove she deserves the title and the rank would have done something. Instead it's brushed aside in a way that would have been disturbing if the violence was male on female.

Where you "struck a nerve" is with garbage like "Like always with the left, hypocrisy is their soulmate." Not because I think you're right, but because I shouldn't have to listen to that garbage on a site that isn't for politics. Jammer is quite tolerant (and rightfully so, which I appreciate because Star Trek can have quite political themes) in letting us discuss politics. But you can discuss the politics of an episode (in this case gender politics are fair game) without going off on a rant the likes of which you'd see on an alt-right hate site.

I always thought you were better than that to be honest. I still do. Maybe somebody pissed in your Wheaties yesterday. But I have always listened to what you had to say, even when we (as is often the case) strongly disagreed. I always read it. I always think about it.
Jammer
Thu, May 4, 2017, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I find it interesting that certain people on this message board go to such lengths to ascribe everything they see everywhere to some sort of leftist agenda that must be mocked and opposed. Seriously, why are you peddling your (false) narratives so endlessly?

Frankly, it's annoying. And it's not annoying because we're such fragile little snowflakes. It's annoying because it's so clearly trollish behavior and false as it pertains the forum in which it is posted. I don't see these supposed leftist PC-mongers making blanket statements about the right on this board, despite all this talk about how much the left is just oh-so-pushy with their stupid viewpoints.

"Clearly, I've struck a nerve." Okay, yeah -- it's the nerve where you bring in unrelated political bullshit where it's not prompted, needed, or wanted, over and over again.

But, hey, I allow it, because I want to be inclusive and allow open discussion and a range of viewpoints. If you don't want to be annoyed, the internet is probably a bad place to be.

But I also pride this commenting forum as a place for civility. This is one of the few places online where people aren't always slinging mud and engaging in pointless partisanship, most of the time.

Now, I usually don't venture into the political fray, because there's little point. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that no one is going to convince anyone else to change their mind. But your political viewpoints are not the issue. At issue is insulting people unprompted with blanket statements based on some presumed political affiliation. Why is that needed here?

@Robert: "I could make a 40 page long essay calling the right out for being jackasses and hypocrites, but there's no need... it's a Star Trek site."

Yes. This. Exactly.
Linda
Fri, May 5, 2017, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Agreed. And this episode smacks of a double standard.

And yet. You’re on a starship in the middle of nowhere. Your engines are failing so badly according to helmsman Paris, that soon everyone may need to get out and push. With acting engineer Lt Carey things are getting worse. Do you throw your best hope to repair the engines into the brig and hope for the best? When crisis is averted, in large part due to the offender, do you nevertheless throw her into the brig for past misbehavior? Do you let her out of the brig only in times of crisis? And even then, she’d probably be out of the brig a helleva lot.

And of course there are plot holes: Paris says they might have to get out and push, but a short time later, they meet the singularity and the engines seem fine and dandy. Torres had been confined to quarters, but obviously at some point had been returned to engineering, because when Voyager runs into the singularity, she responds from there.

Probably because TPTB wanted the crew quickly in their proper positions so subsequent episodes could essentially stand alone, Torres is named chief engineer by episode’s end. I agree with those who believe that Torres should have earned the position after a few more episodes. It could have made for some interesting storylines if handled correctly. Torres learning and practising people skills and taking anger-management classes, bonding with Carey and other engineering crew, it could even have been fun. And at some point her apology to Carey should have been better than, ‘Sorry. Maybe you should go to sickbay.’
Robert
Fri, May 5, 2017, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
@Linda - You're absolutely correct. I think she should have been put in charge provisionally with the promotion offered when she proved she could conduct herself properly. "Acting Chief Engineer" would have been fine, and in most episodes you could still drop the "Acting" when referring to her.
Linda
Sat, May 6, 2017, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Actually, I think at this episode’s end Carey should remain Acting Chief Engineer and Torres is sentenced to the brig, but the sentence is suspended as long as Torres’ behavior warrants it. (After all Barclay is a talented engineer, but I doubt that anybody’s going to say he should be Chief Engineer.)

Of course having Torres on the crew would be a problem for Carey. I can envision his command being undermined by crewmembers respecting Torres knowledge and looking to her for confirmation before following Carey's orders. It could have been interesting seeing that play out.
DLPB
Tue, May 9, 2017, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Frankly, it's annoying. And it's not annoying because we're such fragile little snowflakes.
------

You mean because it disagrees with your political leanings? Of course you do. Star trek is clearly massively to the left - and even leftist contributors here agree to that at times, because it;s a bit hard to ignore. Robert is just pissed off that I call Trek out on it, and so are you ;)

The Right's description of Leftists as "Snowflakes" has got them running around like wild animals because it hits the nerve every time.
DLPB
Tue, May 9, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Also, calling people trolls for disagreeing with you is perhaps the lowest form of intellect on the net I have seen. It happens a lot. People who disagree with you are not trolls. That isn't even remotely the definition.
Linda
Tue, May 9, 2017, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
Merriam-Webster definition of Troll: "a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant or offensive comments or disruptive content."

Jammer: "But I also pride this commenting forum as a place for civility."

Synonyms for civility as per MS Word: politeness, respect, courtesy, graciousness

I happened upon this website in January 2017 while trying to rundown an obscure ST point. Reading the comments of whatever episode, at some point I got riled up. I was ready to respond, only to keep reading and discover that someone else had already posted a very eloquent response representing my perspective. That’s what kept me coming back again and again, reading the great variety of comments, usually civilly bantered back and forth. And it’s one reason why I’ve spent the last few months enjoying the ST series as they’re currently re-running on H&I. Watching and re-watching episodes has been more enjoyable while considering the viewpoints and insights that I've read here. Thanks again, Jammer for allowing and emphasizing civil discourse.
Robert
Wed, May 10, 2017, 9:14am (UTC -5)
@DLPB

"Also, calling people trolls for disagreeing with you is perhaps the lowest form of intellect on the net I have seen. It happens a lot. People who disagree with you are not trolls. That isn't even remotely the definition."

Actually, Jammer didn't call you a troll.

Jammer - "It's annoying because it's so clearly trollish behavior"

Saying behavior or dialogue is trollish is not the same as calling a person a troll. Look at what I said about you

"I always thought you were better than that to be honest. I still do. "

This is us calling you out on what was an UNUSUALLY hostile rant. This is not us calling you a troll. I can't speak for Jammer, so I won't try, but considering his mention of troll was of the behavior and not the person I would assume the point stands.

"even leftist contributors here agree to that at times, because it;s a bit hard to ignore. Robert is just pissed off that I call Trek out on it, and so are you ;)"

The politics of Star Trek itself are somewhat irrelevant to this topic I think. There was a place in this conversation for gender politics, sure but you decided to dive into hypocrisy being the soulmate of the left? Into race and religion? Into white persecution and the Koran? Into Star Trek peddling a hypocritical leftist agenda? Yes, the writers lean left on social issues. As far back as "The Offspring" when Guinan deliberately said "two people love each other" and as far back as the pilot when "Number One" was Majel Roddenberry the show has pushed a progressive social agenda. Many Trekkies pride ourselves on being a part of the franchise that had the first interracial kiss and one of the first same sex kisses. I cannot argue that, nor would I want to. But I am not offended that you discuss it. We have gotten into political discussions on more than one occasion. Yes, Trek is socially progressive and I'm proud of that. Call it out, go for it. What saddens me about the whole thing is that you and I, right and left, actually agree with each other about how the gender politics of this episode are "off" or "wrong" but instead we're having this discussion.

"The Right's description of Leftists as "Snowflakes" has got them running around like wild animals because it hits the nerve every time. "

That's not true. The term is irritating because it's an enabling lie. Claiming that the left is a culture of victimhood allows the right to mouth off hatred while claiming that it's not your incivility but our inability to take a dissenting viewpoint that is the problem. No the problem is your incivility.

And it's not necessary. You can explain what's wrong with the politics of this episode without going on a rant about how the left are destroying society and indoctrinating children. At the end of the day we're both here because both like Star Trek. And that's not all we have in common. We're both coders. We're both enjoy video games. We both like Final Fantasy. We're both the same age. And we both think the fact that this episode would have been received very differently if Carey had broken Torres' nose represents a problematic and unsettling double standard. Can't some of that stuff be more important than some of this other stuff?
Skeptical
Wed, May 10, 2017, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Oy, I don't know why I'm doing this, but here goes...

Robert, DLPB may be acerbic, but he was absolutely (ok, 90%) right in his post. And while he may have insulted a group of people in his post, it was you who made it personal by insulting him.

Let's look at what he said. 1) This episode has a double standard, in that they would never show a man punching a woman in the face and getting away with it. 2) This is a product of the pervasive left-wing thought, 3) this pervasive attitude is even worse, as it creates a poorly thought-out idea of what a strong female presence is like rather than using reality, and 4) this double standard extends to other factors like race and religion.

Now, you seem like you may agree with him about 1 and 3, but think that adding items like 2 and especially 4 are utterly ridiculous and make him look like a lunatic. And yet... #4 is just standing there right in front of us; it's impossible to miss! DLPB simply made the mistake of using the wrong example. I mean, they may not have come out and said it, but it's very heavily implied in Trek that atheism reigns supreme among humans. The idea of a practicing Christian in the TNG era is all but absurd*. You would never see one, right? That seems perfectly natural to you, right?

So why does Chakotay exist? Christianity went extinct, but lame made-up pseudonatural bullcrap religions are fine?

See, double standard. Exactly what DLPB was talking about. It's just that in the 90s, American Indians were the cause du jour rather than Muslims. Hence, Chakotay (note that both Voyager and Pocahontas came out in the same year, for example). So, just like with B'Elanna hitting Carey, it's a double standard. The Trek writers would never think of adding a Christian to the show, but have no problem with a hokey Akusha-Moya claptrap. And I keep mocking Chakotay's religion for a good reason, because it ties in with #3. Just like "strong woman=beating up guys" nonsense that Hollywood pushes on us** even thought its completely against reality, this was a truly made up religion. In their yearning effort to be PC, they didn't even bother to actually research the culture they tried to portray, and thus what was shown was the incoherent ramblings of a scam artist (seriously, go look it up if you don't believe me). They ended up insulting the culture they tried to promote because, in actuality, their devotion to that culture was only a mm thick***.

So you see, DLPB was mostly right about #4, just picked the wrong example. And so, can you really argue that it doesn't come from leftwing thought? That these sorts of things are not due to the burning desire the writers had to want to be politically correct? You know as well as I do that the "diversity" in Trek is all there to appease the American left. There's no great desire to have an Indonesian or a Brazilian in the show, but we must have an African-American! And we must pat ourselves on the back for how tolerant we are, because we are looking to gain the approval of a white guy from Berkeley rather than a white guy from Peoria. You may be "proud" of it, but I still see it as just another form of pandering to white people. And that's fine! Star Trek's audience is white Westerners, after all! What's wrong with pandering to the people who pay your bills? It just doesn't make them moral for doing so...

But anyway, back to #2. I'm not the type of person to judge others, and I'm not going to accuse everyone who doesn't agree with me politically of being evil. But in terms of the thought leaders in the left nowadays... well, look up intersectionality if you want. If you look at what's going on in college campuses, the idea these days is that the world is divided into the powerful (straight white Christian and Jewish males) and everyone else (with varying degrees of powerlessness). And that in order to rectify this situation, it is not only ok but also DEMANDED that double standards be used. Overt discrimination of the powerful is encouraged (I should note that this is the same justification Hitler used against the Jews, but, well, what's a little fascism among friends?). Overt hatred of the powerful is encouraged. Again, this isn't my evil interpretation of it; they're pretty upfront about it.

And again, I'm not going to accuse everyone of believing this. I'm sure, when faced with that, it's only a small portion of the left that believes it. And I do think it's annoying how internet arguments usually devolve into the most baseless accusations on the part of the other person. But the problem is, the "intellectual class" of the left really do believe this! And the other problem is, most people don't think. That's not a criticism or implying people are stupid, it's just the truth. Our brains are wired to ignore anything we deem unimportant, and so we don't constantly question our assumptions. And the "educated" world - the internet, media, education, etc - is downstream of this intellectual hotbed of intersectionality. So as long as its framed in a positive way, people go along with it.

Again, let's be honest Robert. Regardless of their monetary background (IIRC DLPB is British; he may not realize that middle-class isn't necessarily a condition of the left-wing culture; the US has always been less class-based than Europe), you know as well as I do that the writers of Trek would feel more at home in San Francisco than in Texas. They're downstream of this thought process that demands double standards at every level. So even if they'd like to think of themselves as tolerant of everyone, they might live in a world where they never question their assumptions. Never question if it actually makes sense for a woman who weighs half as much as a man and has far less testosterone to build upper body strength can actually physically compete with a man. May not question that people can be capitalist and still be ethical or interested in science or anything else that is apparently anathema to the Ferengi. Never question that if you are actually serious about creating an atheist future, you have to insult other cultures besides Christianity as well. It doesn't mean they're bad people. It just means they may live in a bubble. And perhaps by criticizing them, we may get them to snap out of that bubble.

Who knows, maybe it might lead to better writing! Unless you think Chakotay is the epitome of a great character, or that Ferengi are a well thought out race...

I can't speak for DLPB, but I still believe in outdated, hate-filled, intolerant ideas like "all men are created equal" and "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Given that, I can be rather sensitive to areas where the opposite belief - that one should explicitly be judged by their skin or their sex - end up sneaking its way into mainstream culture. Perhaps DLPB is as well. And while I can't be certain that intersectionality itself goes back 20 or so years to when Voyager was created, I know the roots of this concept do go back quite a long ways, so maybe it was there as well.

Oh, and Robert? Of course a Star Trek site is no place to rant about right-wing politics. Star Trek is so steeped in leftwing thought that it's completely off topic! =)

So while I generally do agree with you that we should leave politics out of these discussions (I try to as much as possible), there are plenty of people who do inject politics into it... on both sides of the aisle. Mostly, I tend to ignore them, because I don't like dealing with it. Frankly, I don't like it that DLPB tends to bring it up in places, just as I don't like all the older posters who brought up junk from a leftwing perspective. But was the fact that DLPB brought it up here so far beyond the pale that you had to insult him (and thus cause the topic to devolve even further)? Do you also call out the people on the left who inject it in? Perhaps, to prevent such flame wars from breaking out... if we are truly committed to having discussions on Trek only with only the bare minimum of politics as related to the episode only... perhaps we should all only call out the people "on our side". Less chance of things rolling out of hand that way, eh?

* As a complete and random aside, if there is a character in Trek that is a closet Christian (or possibly Jew), I'm going with Joseph Sisko. I have my reasons for believing that, but I'm sure it was never intentional on the writers part. Actually, some of it may be intentional...

** Also as a random aside, I think Kira IS a strong portrayal of a woman even without the utterly absurd idea that she can beat up Cardassians while 8 months pregnant. She has a deep sense of morality and a strong sense of self, and is confident, assertive, and utterly true to herself (other than dating Odo, but that's another pet peeve of mine...). It's why I find it silly that people call her a Ro clone. Ro was a WEAK woman (that's not a criticism, she was a very interesting character because of it), and very much the opposite of Kira. But because they could both be sarcastic, we should find them identical? Sounds kinda stupid to me.

*** As an even more random aside, a NYTimes reporter recently complained because the new film version of Murder on the Orient Express didn't include Asian cast members. So she didn't know either the historical train OR the famous novel! That's what I mean about being 1 mm thick in culture but deep into identity politics...
Chrome
Wed, May 10, 2017, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
@Skeptical

I'm a Christian and I have zero problems with Christians not being present in a futuristic and alien setting. It would feel more than anachronistic to do otherwise. Instead, I'd prefer the writers used cultures within the show's fictional universe to represent Christian values (it happens quite often with Bajorans and even the Federation itself).

The writers of this show are not anti-Christian or atheist, but they do recognize the audience they wrote for *is* predominantly Christian. Thus, to try and break the audience out of its value comfort zone, the writers will bring up alien religions and even lesser known Earth religions because it feels *futuristic*. It's not a double standard, it's a Sci-Fi creative writing method that's existed for centuries.
Linda
Thu, May 11, 2017, 8:47am (UTC -5)
OMG!!! Skeptical, you’re so polite! But are you really? The host of our party (that would be Jammer) has asked his guests (that would be us) to take the fight outside (that would be away from his website). But you are so rational, reasoned and polite, surely, Jammer is wrong, surely YOU can change the hearts and minds of the misguided left.

And I understand, I so do. Many a time I myself think about a particular someone, this person is so misguided, and their very soul is at stake, surely I can reasonably remind them that they believe in Jesus, and Jesus taught us that we cannot serve two masters, and by that Jesus meant that one has to choose, that one cannot walk the path to salvation while also walking the path to riches and wealth. But then, I think, if Jesus cannot change people’s hearts and minds, what chance have I got? And besides, does that really belong on a ST website?

So instead, I’ll stick to commenting about this episode: Was Torres wrong for hitting Corey? Should she have been punished for it? Yes and yes. I can only hope that when injustices happen in the real world, no matter what the gender, race or creed, you and DLPB are just as outraged.
Robert
Thu, May 11, 2017, 9:36am (UTC -5)
@Skeptical

"Oy, I don't know why I'm doing this, but here goes..."

Me neither, it was a resolution of mine 2 years ago to not discuss politics here, but you actually kept (mostly) on topic for the episode, so... here goes! :P

"Robert, DLPB may be acerbic, but he was absolutely (ok, 90%) right in his post. And while he may have insulted a group of people in his post, it was you who made it personal by insulting him."

Fair enough. I was insulting in my post. Maybe 110 days in Trump's presidency we can all feel a little exhausted with rants like that though.

"Now, you seem like you may agree with him about 1 and 3, but think that adding items like 2 and especially 4 are utterly ridiculous and make him look like a lunatic."

I'll just say that adding well thought out points never makes you a lunatic. Utterly ridiculous? Possible. But lunatic, no. I was objecting to the STYLE of it (ranting) as opposed to the content. The more a rant is off-topic the worse is gets.

The problem is that there is a left, but it's a caricature of itself, the same way the right is. Define the right! Abortion, gay marriage, fiscal (::giggle::) responsibility, tough on immigration? What would you add? And that's just the American right. Jeb/Marco were actually ok with a path to citizenship. W spoke in a mosque and called Islam a religion of peace. Rand Paul actually is for fiscal responsibility (somebody somewhere should be for it eventually right?)

When someone goes on about "the left" in a rant-like fashion they are making and attacking their own straw man. As though the left is the Borg with a hive mind. It's silly really. I don't treat or consider the conservatives on this site to be a hive mind.

"The Trek writers would never think of adding a Christian to the show, but have no problem with a hokey Akusha-Moya claptrap. And I keep mocking Chakotay's religion for a good reason, because it ties in with #3. Just like "strong woman=beating up guys" nonsense that Hollywood pushes on us** even thought its completely against reality, this was a truly made up religion. In their yearning effort to be PC, they didn't even bother to actually research the culture they tried to portray, and thus what was shown was the incoherent ramblings of a scam artist (seriously, go look it up if you don't believe me). They ended up insulting the culture they tried to promote because, in actuality, their devotion to that culture was only a mm thick***."

I agree with all of this, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with an attempt to be PC or maybe it's too much PC? I'm not totally sure. You can either argue that they are trying to not insult actual religions by making up a silly fake one or you can argue that they are trying for faux diversity to appeal to progressives (of which Star Trek has in spades). But if Native Americans "sell" in the 90s, I could argue that Chakotay and his fake religion being abused by Hollywood is not leftist group-think but pure capitalist greed. Quark would be proud.

"And so, can you really argue that it doesn't come from leftwing thought? That these sorts of things are not due to the burning desire the writers had to want to be politically correct? You know as well as I do that the "diversity" in Trek is all there to appease the American left."

I just agreed to that, yes. But studios making poor attempts to appeal to audiences they don't fully understand is the studios try to peddle their ways to a caricature of the left. The same kind of caricature being ranted about in the comment that caused my crankiness.

"You may be "proud" of it, but I still see it as just another form of pandering to white people. And that's fine! Star Trek's audience is white Westerners, after all! What's wrong with pandering to the people who pay your bills?"

I'm proud of the parts of Star Trek that have changed hearts and minds over the years. How many guys saw Kirk kiss Uhura and thought that it wasn't as disgusting as maybe they thought it would be? I'm not particularly proud of Chakotay though, no :P

"I'm not the type of person to judge others, and I'm not going to accuse everyone who doesn't agree with me politically of being evil. But in terms of the thought leaders in the left nowadays... well, look up intersectionality if you want. If you look at what's going on in college campuses, the idea these days is that the world is divided into the powerful (straight white Christian and Jewish males) and everyone else
...
Overt hatred of the powerful is encouraged. Again, this isn't my evil interpretation of it; they're pretty upfront about it."

Agree. It's some people taking the concept of "privilege" too far. Being aware of "privilege" so that you can say... realize that a black person from a poor neighborhood didn't have the same opportunities as you is a good way to have a conversation. But that's as far as I'm willing to take the concept. I'm certainly not sorry for being white, male or somewhat wealthy. But it's something to think about when I hear people mouthing off about certain things that their privileged world view is contributing to the fact that they have no idea what in the hell they are talking about. But most people's world view is narrow. Many on the left might not understand that it's frustrating to grow up in an upper middle class community and watch minorities get full scholarships to things that are meant for disadvantaged people because they are a certain color. It's why I think affirmative action should be wealth based. Kids like say... the Cosby family where Dad is a doctor and Mom is a lawyer don't need free stuff. But certain people might see me as racist for saying so. Again, most people are restricted by narrow world views.

"And again, I'm not going to accuse everyone of believing this. I'm sure, when faced with that, it's only a small portion of the left that believes it."

Much appreciated.

"But the problem is, the "intellectual class" of the left really do believe this!"

I'm not so sure about that. The intellectual class that is backing Bernie Sanders has almost nothing in common with the intellectual class backing Hillary Clinton.

"And the other problem is, most people don't think. That's not a criticism or implying people are stupid, it's just the truth. Our brains are wired to ignore anything we deem unimportant, and so we don't constantly question our assumptions."

This is exactly what I just said. 100% agreement.

"You know as well as I do that the writers of Trek would feel more at home in San Francisco than in Texas. They're downstream of this thought process that demands double standards at every level. So even if they'd like to think of themselves as tolerant of everyone, they might live in a world where they never question their assumptions. Never question if it actually makes sense for a woman who weighs half as much as a man and has far less testosterone to build upper body strength can actually physically compete with a man. May not question that people can be capitalist and still be ethical or interested in science or anything else that is apparently anathema to the Ferengi. Never question that if you are actually serious about creating an atheist future, you have to insult other cultures besides Christianity as well. It doesn't mean they're bad people. It just means they may live in a bubble. And perhaps by criticizing them, we may get them to snap out of that bubble."

Since we're questioning our assumptions... why do you personally care if Klingon females have enough upper body strength to compete with a human male like Carey? And beyond that, could your wife (assuming you have one) not surprise you with a sucker punch to the nose? I mean... we're not talking about Kira taking down Klingons right now, we're talking about a Klingon woman giving a Starfleet tech guy a crack in the nose. A woman who's main S1 story arc is that she has anger issues related to her Klingon side. Yes, sometimes feats of strength that are ridiculous are assigned to our heroes. I don't actually believe squishy Sisko or O'Brien could take out a Klingon. And I hope Bajoran bones are made out of adamantium... because DAMN GIRL!!

But here's where I'd love to talk about the actual god damned episode. I disagree with all of you that the gender politics of this episode are left. I don't think the "man can't hit a woman" but a "woman can hit a man" thing is a left idea at all actually. You might argue that tiny female action heroes are left somehow (because the left doesn't want to acknowledge gender differences or some such thing that I don't feel like getting into right now)... but the "men don't hit women thing" is cultural beyond left/right. Just my 2 cents. If anything feminists have tried to push the idea that men can be raped too and stuff like that. That men can be domestically abused. A lot of those concepts can be considered left thought things too. A woman decking her coworker shouldn't really be played for laughs... but I'm not sure that it's the left's fault that it is. Even if the writers are left leaning, not everything that comes out of them is from a place of politics.

"Who knows, maybe it might lead to better writing! Unless you think Chakotay is the epitome of a great character, or that Ferengi are a well thought out race..."

:P

"I can't speak for DLPB, but I still believe in outdated, hate-filled, intolerant ideas like "all men are created equal" and "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Given that, I can be rather sensitive to areas where the opposite belief - that one should explicitly be judged by their skin or their sex - end up sneaking its way into mainstream culture. Perhaps DLPB is as well. And while I can't be certain that intersectionality itself goes back 20 or so years to when Voyager was created, I know the roots of this concept do go back quite a long ways, so maybe it was there as well."

The problem with the type of rant I originally replied to is not that you can't be disturbed by an idea.... it's that it's taking very personally what a small loud group thinks and applying it to the entire left. Including writers that may or may not be liberals. From 20 years ago. With modern ideas. It'd be like if every time there was a conservative concept in Star Trek I started ranting about white supremacists. It's no secret that they exist on the right. But they are about as prominent as women that think men should be discriminated against on the left.

"But was the fact that DLPB brought it up here so far beyond the pale that you had to insult him (and thus cause the topic to devolve even further)?"

Substance no. Style yes. Sorry, it's the truth. If you can't make your point without comments like "Like always with the left, hypocrisy is their soulmate." go somewhere else. These boards are too civil for that garbage.

"Do you also call out the people on the left who inject it in? Perhaps, to prevent such flame wars from breaking out... if we are truly committed to having discussions on Trek only with only the bare minimum of politics as related to the episode only... perhaps we should all only call out the people "on our side". Less chance of things rolling out of hand that way, eh?"

Yes I do. Last March a liberal baited with a Trump comment and when Yanks went off on him they decided to call Yanks a troll and I defended him. I remember because it's the only time I broke my "no politics on this website" resolution last year :P

Doesn't mean I agreed with Yanks' post, but you can't bring up politics in the middle of an election and then call somebody a troll for responding with their politics. If we take Linda's definition of a troll "a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant or offensive comments or disruptive content" bashing Trump in the middle of an election doesn't HAVE to be trollish, but if you want to bash him without inviting a response it sort of feels trollish. Especially if you're going to respond to said debate by calling troll (these were 2 different posters, so not specifically blaming the OP here).

"As a complete and random aside, if there is a character in Trek that is a closet Christian (or possibly Jew), I'm going with Joseph Sisko. I have my reasons for believing that, but I'm sure it was never intentional on the writers part. Actually, some of it may be intentional..."

DS9 seemed the least scared of religion, so why not? And does it have to be in the closet? We ever see him on Sunday?

"Also as a random aside, I think Kira IS a strong portrayal of a woman even without the utterly absurd idea that she can beat up Cardassians while 8 months pregnant. She has a deep sense of morality and a strong sense of self, and is confident, assertive, and utterly true to herself (other than dating Odo, but that's another pet peeve of mine...)."

Me too! I love her. And she's conservative! And not a caricature of it either. :P DS9 had a wide range of political viewpoints on their show. And as I said, it's headcanon that Bajoran bones are made of adamantium.

"As an even more random aside, a NYTimes reporter recently complained because the new film version of Murder on the Orient Express didn't include Asian cast members. So she didn't know either the historical train OR the famous novel! That's what I mean about being 1 mm thick in culture but deep into identity politics..."

But what people don't see is that victimhood and umbrage taking isn't something the left has a monopoly on. Christian clerks are persecuted because they have to sign gay marriage licenses? News flash! We've been persecuting you for YEARS by making you sign second marriage licenses for all of those filthy adulterers. Everyone knows there's no such thing as divorce. Or crying about illegals voting and stealing votes from those good old Republicans (yes, Trump... we found 3 illegal voters and 2 of them were for you). Even Reagan's welfare queen speech encouraged hard working whites to feel victimized by the entire black race (yes, she was awful... and waaaaaay more awful than Reagan knew, that's actually a fascinating story if you ever want to look into it).

I hope nobody feels the need to specifically debate this one with me because I am NOT arguing that the left don't do this. In fact, if you read the entirety of all of my posts the crux of my argument was

"I could make a 40 page long essay calling the right out for being jackasses and hypocrites, but there's no need... it's a Star Trek site."

TLDR - The left sucks, the right sucks, largely because both such things don't really exist and are strawmen. There are no hive minds, neither side is the Borg, and I'm not convinced that the gender politics in THIS episode even have anything to do with the left, but I'd be willing to continue THAT discussion because it's relevant.
Peter G.
Thu, May 11, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -5)
It seems to me the issue here isn't with the accuracy of DPLB's comments. He may or may not be correct about certain views he has of "the left", and that's fine but beside the point. The reason his post was trollish is because it was peppered with the equivalent "you leftist bastards", and since there are obviously liberals on the site the post ends up functionally flaming a large proportion of the readers here. Flame posts are not acceptable; the content of the flaming is irrelevant.

I find political rants here disagreeable in the first place, however sometimes it is unavoidably on-topic with an episode and in order to discuss the content politics does have to be brought up. That's fine, so long as the 'discussion' isn't used as a cheap excuse to fling insults at 'the idiots' on the other side. Every time such cheap insults are let fly it devalues any other good point made alongside it. DPLB may have had a good point in some capacity, the flaming kills its appeal. It's like wearing a smart suit while drooling all over yourself. Doesn't matter how much the suit cost, it's not going to look pretty.
Skeptical
Thu, May 11, 2017, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
Actually, Robert, I do know the reason I responded; because you're one of the best contributors to these comments and thus actually worth responding to... As I said, I thought it strange that DLPB almost had a perfect point with the double standard of religion if he had brought up Chakotay instead, so I was very surprised to see it cause such furor. In any case, I don't care to discuss the politics side either (regardless of what Linda might think of my statement, she can read through the list of my comments to see how rarely I bring it up). All I will say in that respect is this: dude, you SERIOUSLY think Chakotay might not have been a politically correct creation? He (and Journey's End) was such an obvious "look at us, we're so tolerant!" move!

On the general subject at hand, I have said before that Heinlein is the only person I've ever seen pull off a blatantly political story and still have it be good. So I'd rather writers avoid it as much as possible. The single largest problem with political stories (along with online political discussions...) is lack of respect for the subject matter. To again use a Trek example, look at any Klingon-centric episode on this site, and you'll find a few commenters simply responding in disgust that they hate all things Klingon. I certainly wouldn't want them to write a Klingon story, because they have no respect for them. This doesn't mean you have to agree with the Klingon culture, just understand where it comes from. This is actually one of the few parts of Trek that was consistent throughout the entire TNG era; a fundamental respect for Klingon culture (probably due to their popularity) while still demonstrating their flaws. Even though the episodes constantly highlighted corruption or flaws in their system, culminating in Ezri's famous speech, we never lose sight of why people like Worf and Jadzia and Martok are drawn to that culture. We can still understand it. As long as writing like that exists, I'm happy.

The "straw man" version of a lack of respect for the culture you are writing is easy to see and easy to criticize. TNG Ferengi is a clear example of that. But the other side, in which you lionize something you think you should respect while fundamentally misunderstanding it (ie, Chakotay) is also annoying.

Chrome, I don't necessarily want Christianity front and center in Trek, but I do think they do a disservice by the situation at hand. We know Roddenberry was hostile to religion in his TNG years. We know that many people care about upholding the "Roddenberry vision" of the future (even though that vision is TNG Season 1...). Episodes like Who Watches the Watchers strongly suggest all humans are atheists. If that's really what the authors want to do, then so be it. But saying that ONLY whites are now atheist, but that Indians are just fine, is a bit insulting. To both sides, actually. If the authors are saying that the advanced humans of the future are atheists, then doesn't that mean Chakotay and his kind aren't advanced and should be looked down upon?

So while "Christian" stories are probably pointless to most of Trek, if the point is to seek out new life and new civilizations, why not contrast with other civilizations as well? DS9 is well known for having a wide variety of opinions, and for having those opinions clash. So why should all the human opinions be the same? Wouldn't, for example, the idea of Sisko being the Emissary of the Bajoran religion make him (or perhaps other members of his family) a mite uncomfortable if he himself (or other members of his family) was religious? Couldn't that have been an interesting storyline?

Anyway, that's all I'll say on the religion side, other than to again mention to Robert that yes, it's not declarative that there aren't Christians in Trek, but given the Roddenberry ideal that's probably why the "default" belief for Joe Sisko is atheist. And yet... the thing that set me off was when I realized that Ben's sister's name was Judith. Now Joseph, Benjamin, and Jacob are all very traditional Hebrew names, but are also all relatively common enough that I figured that might be a coincidence. But Judith as well? It just strikes me that that had to be intentional... and yet Moore and Behr and everyone else did nothing with it. I'd be curious to know if it was a coincidence or not.

As for the gender issue, yes, it's certainly possible that B'Elanna sucker-punched Carey, and it's also certainly possible that her Klingon heritage makes her much stronger than normal. The whole "woman is equal in strength to man!" trope is just so ubiquitous in TV and movies that everyone practically takes it for granted. Heck, I am reminded of Chuck from SFDebris - who prides himself on having no sacred cows - complaining that Troi and Crusher were not swordfighting alongside Riker and Worf in QPid. We're so inundated with this stuff that the one time the difference in strength is acknowledged, it's seen as weird!

Although I will acknowledge that Trek is so over the top with humans beating up Klingon and Romulans and the like that perhaps there's no point in quibbling over anything of that nature on the show... it's already a lost cause...

As for this specific topic at hand... I'm going to go out on a limb and actually say the double standard, to some extent, is not a bad thing in this particular instant. It IS worse for a guy to punch a girl than vice versa. The problem with saying that out loud is that people then assume you mean girls punching guys is ok, when in reality you just mean its different shades of bad. It's the old Spider-Man moral; since men in general have more upper body strength than women, it is more important for them to restrain that strength around others. It's also why it's a worse thing for an NFL linebacker to punch me than me punching an NFL linebacker.

So I do disagree to SOME extent with DLPB that this is a horrible double standard. But regardless of that (and again, that double standard kinda goes away if B'Elanna's Klingon heritage really does make her equal in strength to human males), it is still absurdly unprofessional of her to punch out a coworker, and the fact that this is barely acknowledged by the end of the episode is disturbing. On THAT front, there should be no difference in punishment from Janeway, even thought there probably is here.

So what COULD they have done differently? Yes, it's obvious that this situation, with the crew trapped on the other side of the galaxy, merits different approaches than what would happen in the Alpha Quadrant. And it is true that the Maquis might get restless if they are seen as constantly being put aside for the Starfleet Crew. And it is true that B'Elanna is a better engineer than Carey (or at least that's what is implied here). However, none of that necessarily merits being made the senior officer. Why couldn't Janeway have acknowledged B'Elanna's strengths, but told her that there's more to being an officer than having smarts? Why couldn't, perhaps, she be left as just another engineer (the focus of episodes, of course, since she's the smart one) until a promotion in Season 2 or so?

Obviously because the writers quickly wanted to settle into an episodic format, which is too bad. The formula would actually be used with Seven a few years later - someone obviously extremely talented but not ready to be given any serious responsibility. It could have been a nice character arc for Torres in the early seasons, and could have made Carey be an interesting character (how would he feel knowing he was basically going to be a placeholder chief and be demoted once Janeway thinks Torres is ready?). Alas, another interesting opportunity wasted...
Peter G.
Thu, May 11, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
Great post, Skeptical.
Linda
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:31am (UTC -5)
Skeptical, if you check my posts on Parallax on 5/5 and 5/6, I think you’d find that you and I share similar viewpoints about Torres.

During the first run of Voyager, I gave up on the series early on. But I have now developed a fondness for many of the Voyager characters, and for reading the comments on this site. The intelligence of the discussions and the civility is very much appreciated.
DLPB
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:49am (UTC -5)
Robert, DLPB may be acerbic, but he was absolutely (ok, 90%) right in his post. And while he may have insulted a group of people in his post, it was you who made it personal by insulting him.
-------

Thanks for the post - and You could have left it right there. Robert didn't like that it that I called out his own bias and that of his own liberal left hypocrisy and turned into an attack on me by riding in like a white knight. Ridiculous.
DLPB
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:58am (UTC -5)
But the Left shoot themselves in the foot every time. Their condescending "you are a racist, Nazi, homophobe" responses to any intellectual debate ritually guaranteed Trump's victory. And he's still trolling them. And, I admit, I LOVE it that he is. It all blew up in the Left's face.

So, Robert, you can whine and whinge and stamp and shout - but people are waking up to how intolerant the Left is when people don't agree with them. We see it in the riots, the rubbish that's going on at Berkeley (left wing agitators and rioters trying to shut up their opponents), and with how the media and shows like Star Trek behave in general.

But Trump won. And the Right will never go away, so you best get used to it. Instead of insulting people, and shutting down debate, you'll have to learn to accept not everyone agrees with your political opinion. That's why the Republicans now hold the Senate, the House, and the Presidency.
N
Fri, May 12, 2017, 6:13am (UTC -5)
What has happened to this thread? I'm so sick of this happening on this site. And I don't get how DLPB presents the "Right" and the "Left" as weird, abstracted monolithic absolutes when a) most people simply aren't ideological and are somewhere in the middle, and when polled will agree with a variety of both right-wing and left-wing policies b) there's a huge spectrum of political beliefs and viewpoints within both right-wing and left-wing politics, and what is understood by "right" and "left" varies greatly in different countries. It's so reductive and childish, to treat "the Right" and "the Left" as if they're these... things. It's facile and really not that simple unless your worldview is totally black and white. I know the internet makes it look as if politics is totally polarised but this doesn't reflect the real world where most people, whether in the middle or on the right or left, are reasonable and non-dogmatic.
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 7:30am (UTC -5)
@Skeptical - Much appreciated.

I think I may have conveyed something wrong. I absolutely think Chakotay was an attempt to be politically correct. But he's not. I, as a progressive, am not proud of Chakotay. I like him in a lot of ways, and I think religion needs more exploring on Trek, but he's culturally insensitive.

When I said "But if Native Americans "sell" in the 90s, I could argue that Chakotay and his fake religion being abused by Hollywood is not leftist group-think but pure capitalist greed. " I'm saying that he's a product of trying to be politically correct without understanding the concept. Pandering to the progressive left without getting them. Although maybe I'm remembering the 90s wrong and progressives WERE proud of him in the 90s. He's definitely an ATTEMPT at political correctness :P

And yes, I agree with you. The "power" of different races in Trek is terrible. It runs on plot force. If the Romulans are descended from Vulcans, and the Vulcans are as strong/fast as the baseball game implies... No human should be able to take one.

"Complaining that Troi and Crusher were not swordfighting alongside Riker and Worf in QPid. We're so inundated with this stuff that the one time the difference in strength is acknowledged, it's seen as weird!"

I don't know that review, and I had no problem with the men fighting (both Riker and Worf are supposedly martial arts experts) but the girls are actually trained in how to use the swords and the men weren't. So I wonder if the review was a behind the scenes complaint :)

I completely agree with your post, it's excellent. And I think you hit on an interesting point. Your body is a weapon. When my brother learned Karate they were told that sensei was giving them a weapon in a sense and that if he ever got word of them using it for anything but self defense that they would be introduced to his weapons. If you're stronger, more deadly, Klingon, whatever you need to be more careful with your weapon. With great power comes great responsibility. Actually it almost would have been more interesting if she has severely hurt him with her Klingon super strength, a parallel to Worf killing that kid and a real consequence for her anger issues. But you are right that the particular double standard isn't bad. If my 6 year old hits her friend with full force I'm going to be pissed, but if she punched the baby it's a different level of offense. It doesn't make a woman hitting a man less unprofessional, but depending on her strength level it could make it less dangerous.

"Alas, another interesting opportunity wasted... "

Voyager's tagline :P
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 7:36am (UTC -5)
@DLPB - "And the Right will never go away, so you best get used to it. Instead of insulting people, and shutting down debate, you'll have to learn to accept not everyone agrees with your political opinion. "

If you think I want everyone to agree with me or that I want to shut down debate or that I'm trying to make the right go away or that I was being a white knight instead of just tired of certain kind of rhetoric after all I've posted on here... I don't think you get me at all. Maybe I'm doing a poor job explaining myself but in either case I'm bowing out of this one.
Chrome
Fri, May 12, 2017, 8:38am (UTC -5)
@Skeptical

All I'm saying is that you can tell a story with Christian values or any religious values without explicitly mentioning the religion. Lord of the Rings is a great example of fiction that's highly influenced by Catholicism in imagery without a single character being religious per se.

I agree it may have been interesting to explore how Sisko's family may have reacted differently if they were of a different religion, but then again at least Jake is pretty well indoctrinated with Federation values, so there's at least conflict to that degree. Offhand, I'm curious as to why you think Joseph Sisko is Christian, is it because he played a pastor in FBTS?

I've heard things about Roddenberry's religious views on this board before though I haven't read anything specific that confirms any of it. I will say that at least some of the writers were Christian, or at least pro-Christian. Look no further than TOS's "Bread and Circuses" in which McCoy describes the Christianity as "a philosophy of total love and total brotherhood."
Linda
Fri, May 12, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Chrome, I was also thinking about “Bread and Circuses.” But truthfully I think ST has always been a curious mix of many contradicting elements, and I don’t know how “Bread and Circuses” fits into Roddenberry’s overall views. As a kid, I watched TOS simply because we only had one TV in the house. But I later had friends who loved to get into conversations about Spock and ideals and stuff. I always wondered if sometimes they read more into ST than was actually there. Or saw in it, things that they wanted to see.
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Gene wasn't an atheist to my knowledge, nor was he against Christianity. AFAIK he just felt that contemporary Earth religions would be gone by the age of Star Trek. That doesn't mean there wouldn't be a successor to carry on the Abrahamic religions... just that he didn't care to speculate I think.

Wikipedia attributes this quote to him "It's not true that I don't believe in God. I believe in a kind of God. It's just not other people's God. I reject religion. I accept the notion of God."

If you think more people will head in THAT direction... well it makes total sense that you'd want to leave religion out of it totally. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if the DS9 writers had intended Joseph as Christian. I mean... the DS9 writers often skirted and went over the line with regards to Gene's visions.
Skeptical
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Chrome, I think there's a separation in philosophy between TOS and the rest of Trek, hence why I was focusing on the TNG era. Besides Bread and Circuses, Balance of Terror made it clear that there was a chapel (er... besides the one in sickbay...) on the Enterprise as well.

Not to play armchair psychologist or anything, but I think Gene's ego grew a few sizes too big after TOS turned into a massive cult following. From what I understand, he was being invited onto college campuses and being considered a "visionary" of the future and all. It's hard to get all those accolades and not start to think all your personal ideas are brilliant. We know for a fact that a lot of the problems of early TNG were due to Gene's specific views of what the future was like, of what is and isn't Star Trek. He said humans must be better at everything than anyone else, hence why the 1701-D was more advanced than anything until the Borg showed up. He said there must not be any interpersonal conflicts of any kind, hence why everyone was so bland. And we know it seeped into the political. There's hardly any Season 1 episodes that DON'T have a random snide comment about how awful 20th century humanity (re: America) was.

So whatever Gene's personal view on God was, he obviously wasn't religious. And that definitely seeped into the TNG era, even if one can argue that Kirk and Bones were at least nominally Christian.

As an aside, this is the first time I've watched TOS all the way through. I like the characters in TNG better, the worldbuilding in TNG better, the plots about 1000 times better. And yet, the feel of TOS is still, in some ways, better. And it's not to do with this Christianity discussion per se, but rather because the world feels more believable. Space IS a frontier in TOS. These ARE recognizable humans. TNG can feel like an epilogue, like everything is already complete. Like running around a videogame that you've already finished. Humanity seems so stagnant and boring in the TNG era (and again, TNG is my favorite series, so I'm not trying to find ways of criticizing it). It's not surprising that every single other Trek franchise tried to go back to the feel of TOS, of being on a frontier and being a little bit rough around the edges. They didn't all succeed, but it seems that Gene pushing TNG to be his vision of utopia also lost something of what Trek should be... which is STRIVING for that utopia.

As for Joe Sisko... I didn't remember him as the pastor in FBTS, but I'll take that as part of my argument! Then again, if that was true, you'd think Worf would have been better in Take Me Out to the Holosuite... In any case, like I said, the main reason comes from the naming convention. I had noticed the interesting coincidence of Joseph, Benjamin, and Jacob all being Hebrew names. That's what got me idly thinking about it. But when looking at Memory Alpha to see if anyone else had caught this connection, I saw that one episode had named Ben's sister as Judith (again, Hebrew). Given how uncommon Judith is as a name, I'm seriously questioning if that can be a coincidence.

And the rest of his lifestyle seems to fit more closely with a traditional way of life rather than a Trek-way or even modern 21st century life. These aren't necessarily specific to Christianity, but they are part of the feel. The Siskos are easily the most positive depiction of family life* for a human or half human character in Trek (compare Ben's relationship with his parent to Picard, Riker, Troi...). It seems Ben has multiple half-siblings, compared to the typical one or two children of the Trek world (and, again, modern Western civilization). Memory Alpha puts Joseph as having 4 kids. The commitment to family life rather than casual dating seems to have rubbed off on Ben, as he married Jennifer at a relatively young age and was serious about marrying Kassidy. While not a luddite like Robert Picard, he likes working with his hands, likes traditional work, and likes being a part of a community. This all seems different than the typical view we see of Trek characters, where they are all so focused on Starfleet and advancing their careers and casual dating and so forth. Joseph just wants to raise his kids right, be there for his family, and use his talents in cooking in order to make others happy. There's no "improving oneself for the betterment of humanity" there, but he still has a strong, positive view of life.

Of course, given that the naming convention is what first set me off, it's possible he's Jewish. But I got the impression that the Siskos were long-time residents of America. And there just aren't enough black Jews (whether members of Beta Israel or otherwise) here in the 21st century to think that they would retain both of those traits throughout the centuries.

And DLPB... I defended your first post because I thought it had to do with Trek. Can't we please keep focusing on Trek only and not the Left vs Right battle?

*The LaForges might also qualify, but that was a one-off episode that was never mentioned again, so I'm not counting it.
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
@Skeptical -

"Humanity seems so stagnant and boring in the TNG era (and again, TNG is my favorite series, so I'm not trying to find ways of criticizing it)."

I love TNG too, but you're right on the money. People might be offended at how far DS9 traveled from Gene, but as a pre-teen in 1993, watching Bashir/O'Brien play Battle of Britain, darts and the Alamo I can honestly say that they seemed more fun to hang out with than the TNG crew. Although I am VERY fond of the TNG crew.

I also agree with your assessment of Sisko. I don't know if it's Christian, something else, or both but I've always been very attracted to the Sisko's portrayal of family in the future. There's something special and completely unique about their family in all of Trek.

As a guy who married his first girlfriend I can honestly say there's something very refreshing to me about Sisko's approach to matters of love. And as a person who likes TV and thinks that most Trek "hour long romances" suck, I'm super happy that they just let him do that.
Peter G.
Fri, May 12, 2017, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
I guess there should be a giant spoiler alert stickied to this thread for anyone who hasn't seen DS9 yet, heh.

Robert,
"As a guy who married his first girlfriend I can honestly say there's something very refreshing to me about Sisko's approach to matters of love. And as a person who likes TV and thinks that most Trek "hour long romances" suck, I'm super happy that they just let him do that."

Not only that, but his wife meant so much to him (as compared to a utopian love of civilization) that when she died he *didn't* get over it. So the depiction of family there not only involves something other than a romance of the week, but also the idea of people having problems that can't be solved with TNG-style superior reasoning and a bon mot from Guinan. What I liked best about the DS9 crew was that they were all significantly flawed, sometimes fatally so. It's definitely not Gene's vision of perfect humanity, but in a way it's more Gene's vision than even Gene was capable of, because if there's one thing an enlightened society should have, it's acceptance of human imperfection. The idea of having eliminated imperfection (so that a Ro Laren can end up being a "troublemaker") smacks more of "The Masterpiece Society" than an actually enlightened era. At times I almost feel like TNG takes the piss out of its own sense of the perfect future. "Hollow Pursuits" is one of my favorite episodes, and a great case in point of certain writers poking a hole in the stuffed-shirt decorum on TNG at times.
Corey
Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Comments above berate Voyager for "pushing a silly Native Indian and his religion upon us", which is "hypocritical because Trek would never do this with Christianity". This, apparently, is "typical liberal double standards."

No. It's sticking up for underdogs. A TV series made in a predominantly Christian country in which nutty Christians wiped out Native Indians in the name of nutty values, doesn't need a blatantly "Christian character". But an Indian? That's kind of cool. And touching. And aside from the 2 or 3 episodes where Chakotay's Native Americanness is directly addressed - awful episodes which reduce him to a trope - he's an excellent and original character. When written well, and at his best, he's sexy, dignified, clever, brave, and with interesting cadence. He just also happens to be Native American. And the banality and matter-of-factness of his Indian roots is inclusiveness done well.

90s Trek was ahead of the curve in trying to portray a bevy of peoples and cultures. It didn't do this to pander to demographics or to chase dollars and markets, as is common now (see the recent Star Wars movies). It didn't cast blacks, latinas, lesbians and Indians to coax target audiences. There was an authenticity and well-intentionedness that differs from some of the more cynical characterizations of today.
Yanks
Fri, Jul 21, 2017, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Corey,

Glad you liked Chuckles, but he's just a stereotype indian... front and center see his tatoo...

I liked Chuckles too for the most part. He would have been the same had he been just a regular dude.

Man, this topic really got fired up. :-)
Peter Swinkels
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Mostly agree with the review. Nice character interaction, okay story involving a spatial distortion. Oh, it probably doesn't really matter since review is years old already, but there appears to be a typo: "big" instead of "brig" :-)
Peter Swinkels
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
(the)
William B
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Skeptical's comment pretty perfectly sums up my feelings about the episode -- I agree that the Torres material was decent but the Chakotay stuff was a highlight and that the SF plot was weak, especially given their flagrantly bad attempts to use real science. I am hopeful that Neelix's bizarre explanation of the event horizon was meant to be Neelix being an idiot, BS-ing a fake backstory to make himself seem impressive to Kes, except that his description of the event horizon as some kind of energy barrier yadda yadda seems to be the take the episode wants us to buy, too. Guys, just make up fake phenomena! Anyway the episode really does fall apart for me when it focuses on the SF plot, which is drenched in tech, makes little sense even on its own terms, and somehow is *also* too slow-paced and obvious (wasn't it clear to everyone that they were seeing the Voyager from early on?), but the character bits are worthwhile.

Regarding the issue of whether the Torres v. Carey thing is fairly handled, I think the general point here is that fairness doesn't come into it. I'm sympathetic to the point made above that Carey maybe didn't know that his job was in jeopardy, but I think the broader point is that no one was stopping Carey from coming up with the explanation for why they were in trouble; Torres supplied it because she's a quicker thinker and better scientist/engineer. Chakotay points out that attempting to assign seniority will give automatic preference for Starfleet personnel, and Janeway provides a good counterargument that Starfleet personnel *are* trained to work on starships in a particular way. But the bottom line is that Voyager's situation is unique. Its survival depends on having the best crew. Its survival should also depend on having crew who can control themselves, which is why Janeway's initial skepticism about Torres is *also* warranted. I think what we learn in this episode is that Janeway is a scientist before she's a commander, in her heart, and she tends to see Torres' intelligence and insight as a greater asset than Carey's competence and self-control, in a situation where they will be constantly encountering new phenomena. And I think that the idea of having a brilliant loose cannon is a pretty believable, appropriate trope -- lots of people who are gifted in one way or another also have big demons, in real life as well as in fiction. Janeway's looking to what is distinct about Voyager's situation, when they are far from reinforcements, from other starships is a good sign about her command ability. I think that stronger characterization of Carey would have helped the episode, certainly, and there was potential for Tuvok to make a stronger case to Janeway that discipline would be jeopardized by letting Torres off the hook for the punching and so on; having Tuvok and Chakotay play a kind of Spock-McCoy bifurcation with the captain balancing the two extremes probably would have worked. But yeah, I'm pretty happy with the personnel aspect of the episode overall.

I think the punching element has to be taken in the context the episode supplies -- it was an escalation, starting with a push and then Carey pushed back, and then finally punch; we also apparently learn that this type of thing is common on Maquis ships. This seems a bit of a dubious premise -- how do Maquis ships get anything done? -- but they're anarchists, I guess, whatever. It *is* the premise; Torres is a Maquis so picks up their habits, and she fit in with the Maquis because the Maquis was a place where her habits were tolerated and even encouraged. That guy with Seska talking openly about mutiny was hilarious -- the way the usual "We're with you" / "What does that mean?" type of exchange usually plays out is with a *slightly* more explicit take, not a "what I mean is, I will mutiny with you." Chakotay's scenes with Janeway really are great, and I love the idea that he really *is* partly looking out for his crew because he recognizes that if he doesn't, they will not be controllable and Voyager will fail, because it needs the Maquis aboard. This is also potentially a rationalization for Chakotay to play favourites.

If Torres' profs at the academy loved her so much, maybe one of them should have said something to her.

2.5 stars seems right given how incoherent the SF plot ended up being.
Skottle
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 7:33am (UTC -5)
Stupid episode.

Why sit and debate a bunch of left/right political nonsense about a show that seems like it was written by 12 year olds?

The shrinking EMH was pretty funny.

1 1/2 stars.
DLPB
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
I do want to note here that I find Robert to be a very good contributor, and it would be a very boring place without divisions or conflicts of opinion. I am going to vehemently disagree with him on most things, because his political views (and that of the writers) is in many places a polar opposite of mine.

Still, I do apologize that I employ brute force tactics and that I am clearly not a people person. I find those a strength and a weakness. Generally, Robert has gotten a bit of a raw deal with me simply because I am extremely angry and frustrated with how our world works, and he represents, to some extent, the embodiment of the root of many of the causes. But that's not an excuse for how I sometimes conduct myself on here.

I doubt how I operate will change, but I want you to know that I am not oblivious to my short-comings. And I am not unfeeling.

Daniel
Robert
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
@DLPB - "Generally, Robert has gotten a bit of a raw deal with me simply because I am extremely angry and frustrated with how our world works, and he represents, to some extent, the embodiment of the root of many of the causes."

Just wanted to restate a bit of what I said up top. At the end of the day we're both here because both like Star Trek. And that's not all we have in common. We're both coders. We're both enjoy video games. We both like Final Fantasy. We're both the same age. I think some of that stuff is more important.

I actually gave you a hard time earlier on this particular thread not because I dislike you, but the opposite. There are some epic level trolls on these boards sometimes, and most of them I don't even care enough to respond to. I guess what I mean is... you can't be aggravated by something you don't care about. I was happy hearing from you after the attack in your hometown.

And although we often disagree on many, many things I still appreciate hearing from someone who views the world differently than I do. IDIC is a good thing. Even when you occasionally want to shake the other person :)
Skottle
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 3:58am (UTC -5)
Get a room.
Del
Tue, Nov 7, 2017, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Observations, Likes, Dislikes, and Hopes about this site and these discussions (as a long time Trek fan and a regular (but silent) reader of Jammer's reviews:

Observations: These reviews and discussions can be engaging and informative -- pointing out things I may have missed in particular episodes and offering interesting opinions about episodes or Star Trek more generally.

Likes: Thoughtful discussions about character development, story development, political and philosophical points, science and technology, humanity, religion, history/culture, background information about the writers, directors, producers, and sets, etc.

Likes: Good writing, new insights, and good humor. I also like the time span of the comments, which may be years in some cases. Thanks Jammer for such a long term endeavor!

Dislikes: Name calling, making discussions too personal, back and forth arguments by the same people that repeat the same points or variants of their points over and over, monolithic oversimplification of US politics and what the purported "left" or "right" or "feminists" think, and relitigating the 2016 presidential election. When discussions get nasty and laborious, I go do something else or scroll ahead in hopes of seeing more of why I come to this site in the first place.

Hopes: To keep this site rich and worthwhile, IMO, online discussion forums need to be civil and on topic. Discussants need to be self-restrained and kind toward one another, especially when disagreeing.

Finally: In writing and submitting posts, again IMO, more is not necessarily better, and more of the same is definitely worse.
Startrekwatcher
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
2.5 stars.

I normally like anomaly stories but this one was too confusing and too much technobabble although I did like the twist of a temporal reflection and janeway’s reasoning used to figure out the rught ship was real

The more interesting stuff was belanna and janeway. After Caretaker, Janeway has another string outing. Asserting her science bona fides was sooo much fun. I did like the episode establishing the hydroponics bay, Paris as a nurse and trying to find a chief engineer.
Ruby
Wed, Dec 13, 2017, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
I don't get why people hate tech talk so much. That's the best part of star trek alongside the space battles! Seeing so many ways for future tech to work
Rahul
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Not surprised that the 2nd VOY episode is a bit of a letdown and plays on very familiar themes -- escaping from a black hole and a crew trying to work together. It's really about Janeway and Torres forming a relationship of captain and chief engineer while Chakotay pushes hard for it. It's a workmanlike episode without anything outstanding. Lots of setting up is being done and that's perfectly understandable and makes for an adequate hour of Trek.

I did like Janeway laying down the law on Chakotay for trying to go over the captain's head with Torres initially. Good frank dialog between them. The theme of StarFleet vs. Maquis is an interesting one as far as characters and dynamics in the series.

Plenty of technobabble here and the whole temporal reflection and quantum singularity was nothing special but it basically gives Torres a chance to outshine the StarFleet candidate for chief engineer. It seems Janeway sees a lot of herself in Torres and gives her the job -- whatever, seemed abrupt for me.

Paris has quickly become a reliable senior officer considering where he was at the start of "Caretaker" -- he's definitely one of the more interesting characters here, as is the fiery Torres. Nice bit of humor with Doc's holographic image getting distorted -- ending scene was funny with him about a foot tall. We can count on Doc for most of the humor on VOY.

A low 2.5 stars for "Parallax" -- a Torres episode to get the chief engineer position sorted in fairly typical style where she solves a problem and thinks the way the captain would -- got kind of silly how the 2 were totally on the same page after Torres blew up when she came to see Janeway. Nothing really special here but a credible VOY episode nevertheless.
Elliott
Mon, Oct 8, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***.5, 5%

A gold shirt is having his broken nose repaired by the EMH in sickbay while delivering his report to Tuvok and Chakotay. This man is Lt Carey, the acting Chief Engineer and that he an one of his subordinates got into a tiff over some technobabble. Chakotay vows to deal with the situation while the EMH engages in hilarity with his lack of compassion. Chakotay has already confined the upstart, Torres, to her quarters but Tuvok wants her imprisoned in the brig.

CHAKOTAY: She's a Maquis, and in the Maquis, sometimes you have to push people out of your way to get things done.
TUVOK: Miss Torres is no longer a member of the Maquis, and with all due respect, Commander, neither are you.

So, I find the idea that the Maquis behave like thugs to be kind of absurd. Yes, many of them lacked Starfleet training, and I can see them holding little water for procedures and regulations, but open hostility with each other? Why would this be necessary to their “cause.” On the other hand, Tuvok's declaration that the Maquis are over on this ship reinforces my observation from “Caretaker”; the Maquis certainly lack Starfleet training and discipline, but unless they are especially hard-headed and stupid...wait, what am I saying? Of course, they're hard-headed and stupid. That's why they refused to fucking move to new planets where they wouldn't antagonise the Cardassians for no reason, after all!

Character-wise, I do like that Chakotay seems to hold Tuvok in contempt for his espionage. He's polite with the security chief, but brimming with resentment, not wanting to relinquish his role as leader to his old crew. He is confronted by a couple of these old crew, Ja-Rule from “The Search” reincarnated as a Bajoran blue shirt and a human gold shirt. They are ready to mutiny over this incident, fearing general retribution against the Maquis for Torres' insubordination.

He finally confronts a fuming Torres in her quarters, who greets him by throwing something at him. Beltran and Dawson turn in compelling performances here—Chakotay is understandably irritated with being stuck in the middle of things, with temperamental, but understandably anti-authoritarian Maquis on the one hand and an overly by-the-books Starfleet on the other. Torres, for her part, is suffering the mediocrity of her department head, which is very relatable. Chakotay wants to correct this error and promote Torres herself to chief, but warns her that part of that job means earning the trust of the department, including Carey. He leaves her, having given her somewhere to direct her feelings besides Carey's nose, having decided his next task will be to convince Janeway of his plan.

Act 1 : ***, 17%

Janeway's log informs us that the routine maintenance of the ship is exacerbated by their isolation. In the conference room, a meeting to discuss means of conserving energy and filling out the crew roster is interrupted by Neelix and Kes, the latter literally pushing his beloved into the room ahead of him. Neelix apologises for their tardiness, even as Janeway politely informs him that they weren't invited on purpose. Janeway bristles at the notion of breaking protocol by letting them remain, but recognises that the locals probably have some helpful suggestions. Paris, in a smarmy gesture that goes completely over Kes' head, offers her his seat. Blegh. Kes is assinged the task of creating a hydroponic bay in Cargobay 2 and Neelix pompously boasts of his yet-unseen skill in the kitchen.

Chakotay takes the opportunity to suggest the promotion of some of his people to officer positions, including Torres to Chief Engineer. Janeway is again highly skeptical, but tables the discussion for the moment. Paris is assigned, despite having a full-time job and a crew of stir-crazy Maquis, to shadow the EMH and learn some field medicine. Before Chakotay can tell her that her bias against his people might become a liability, the ship starts shaking and they run to the bridge. There's some space turbulence or whatever and Janeway is quick to perform her own analysis. I like that when confronted with science, Janeway is in her element, a contrast to her limited vision as a captain. There's a Quantum Whatever and a vessel trapped inside which emits a distress call. Neelix takes the opportunity to brag about having once survived a quantum, leading Kes across the bridge like a child and generally being an insufferable pompous twit. Chakotay calls Torres directly to ask about potential technobabble solutions to this problem, and she instantly has one. He assigns her the task, but Janeway cuts him off and asks for Carey's opinion. He endorses the idea and Janeway puts Carey in charge of the project instead, giving her XO some serious side-eye. She has him join her in the ready room while Neelix makes stupid (“Uh oh, busted!”) faces at the camera.

Janeway calls Chakotay out for being “out of line” when he called Torres. He claims that he was just being practical—knowing she could give him an immediate answer. Janeway points out that he violated the command hierarchy—which is true—and then Chakotay essentially admits that part of his motivation is forcing his people into positions of authority. Janeway points out that his actions are divisive, treating the (former) Maquis and Stafleet as adversaries jockeying for position on the ship. Janeway's argument reminds me of those misguided Libertarians and meritocratic liberals who believe that social and economic justice is achieved through a strict and literally application of equal opportunity, ignoring the social factors that create inherent inequality. Janeway has decided that she isn't going to treat the Maquis as political prisoners because, again, what would be the point? But, they haven't graduated the Academy, so the letter of the law would mean they all have to start at the bottom of the food chain. Chakotay gets to be an officer because he graduated and has experience in command. While I strongly disagree with her, it does seem natural that she would fall back on the books like this after her decision in “Caretaker.” She broke the rules for the sake of morality and it got them all stranded; best not to repeat that mistake again, right? Chakotay rightly puts Janeway in her place, letting her know in no uncertain terms that she's going to have to be more flexible for this to work, ironically couched within the regulation framework of “permission to speak freely” and “permission to leave.” Nice touch.

Act 2 : **.5, 17%

While the Voyager stares down the quantum space anus, Kes begins her assignment by activating the EMH and asking him for some dirt. Why the doctor would keep dirt samples in sickbay is left unasked and unanswered, but we are at least treated to more Robert Picardo hilarity:

EMH: So it begins. The trivia of medicine is my domain now. Every runny nose, stubbed toe, pimple on a cheek becomes my responsibility...I am not just a doctor...I am the embodiment of modern medicine... Now I know how Hippocrates felt when the king needed him to trim a hangnail.

While we learn a bit about the Doctor's backstory, we can surmise that his lack of curtesy is at least partially the result of the same kind of frustration Torres is feeling. He isn't being recognised for his enormous ability. Torres' talents are ignored because she's just a Maquis, his because he's just a hologram. Prejudice sucks. But anyway, we get a goofy little side plot of the doctor having shrun about a head since Kes turned him on.

Meanwhile, the technostuff has been completed but something goes wrong and the ship starts shaking again. Serious danger....serious danger...blah blah blah...Janeway concedes that they're going to need some help and decides to contact an alien planet which Neelix had suggested.

Later, Janeway calls Torres into her ready room for a chat. Janeway seems a little more open to the possibility of Torres' promotion, but remains highly skeptical, citing numerous disciplinary issues during her time at the Academy—oh, and there's that broken nose, too. When Torres explains that she doesn't handle regulatory conformity well, letting her Klingon temper break through a bit, Janeway retreats, reminding her that she intends on maintaining “that same system” on the Voyager. Torres leaves in a huff and the EMH calls her up to complain about his ever-shrinking matrix. Other crewmen are beginning to suffer space sickness or whatever—probably because of the space anus. Fucking quantum, always messing with people. At least this discussion yields the conclusion that the de facto CMO should be informed about potential biohazards.

Then the ship shakes again; the ship has somehow returned to the space anus—just like the Enterprise in “Where Silence Has Lease.”

Act 3 : **.5, 17%

Again as in WSHL, they try and outwit Quantum, but without the aid of space buoys. This eats up some tedious screentime until Janeway orders all stop and calls a meeting. Chakotay convinces her to have both Torres and Carey represent Engineering. Carey, for his part acts all smug to Torres when delivering the news. Way to be magnanimous in command there, buddy. Bajoran Ja Rule gets in a little side comment, cueing us in to a pre-existing friendship between the two women.

Kim, meanwhile, is being a little gossip, trying to get the juicy details about the Engineering drama out of Tuvok. Tuvok is amusingly impatient, in that classical Vulcan way, but Harry is determined to upstage him with a startlingly-unconvincing onset of space sickness. Oof.

A fun-sized EMH delivers his medical report via com-channel to to the senior staff at the meeting. Janeway, for her part, can't make any sense of the science. Chakotay asks Torres a straightforward question which she answers, directly, “yes.” She adds that Carey's idea is futile, venting her frustration with his mediocrity yet again, BUT adds a diplomatic caveat—she says his idea was a good one, just insufficient for the circumstances, asserting her superior knowledge and ability without metaphorically bloodying his nose again. Janeway invites her to come up with an alternative. B'Elanna's technobabble makes an impression on the captain—she was inspired by the EMH's shrinking problem to look at the quantum in a new way, and manages to brush aside Carey's snide little remark about priorities to boot. Having proven a willingness to control her temper, Janeway gives Chakotay a nod after the meeting, indicating she's turned a corner herself.

So the babble the technos and discover, after more tedium that the distress call they received came from the Yamato, I mean theVoyager herself. Dun dun dun!

Act 4 : *, 17%

So, Torres explains the techno-nonsense through an analogy about a pond, with Janeway over-excitedly interjecting (keep your eye on Beltran in this scene, it's really hilarious the way he keeps rolling his eyes over this silliness). Janeway (the writers) are a little too proud of their effect preceding cause conceit, but eventually she and Torres begin metaphorically jerking each other off over their science metaphor and land on a techno-solution. WARP PARTICLES. They find a “rupture” in the event horizon...which...yeah. This is pretty painful to sit through, but eventually, Janeway and Torres leave on a shuttle to widen the rupture so the ship can get through.

Act 5 : **, 17%

In the shuttle, Torres apologises for her anger and concedes that her volatility probably disqualifies her from leadership, as Janeway had suspected. Turns out Torres received an endorsement from one of her professors:

JANEWAY: Some professors like students who challenge their assumptions, B'Elanna. And so do some captains.

This character resolution interrupted by your tedious plot, already in progress. Shaky cam, shouting out of numbers, and they succeed in widening the rupture. But...new problem, the “temporal reflection” Voyager is also there and they can't tell the ships apart. Torres and Janeway don't agree about which is the more likely real ship. Janeway reasons that she's right and...she's right. Yay...”drama.”

Janeway decides she's going to “punch her way through” the rupture. So just like with Torres, having learned that she may need to loosen the regulations out here, she ignores what she learned in command school and takes the riskier path. This isn't very subtlety-framed, but it works okay.

Sigh...more shaking and techno-bullshit and they escape the space anus. There's a little epilogue where Chakotay introduces Torres to her new post as chief, and extends an olive branch to Carey, who swallows his pride, finally, and welcomes his new boss aboard. Janeway and Chakotay also mend fences a little bit, before we get a TOS-style comic ending with the EMH having been shrunk down to the size of a pineapple and Paris giving him shit.

Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%

Let's get it out of the way—the techno-quantum-space-anus plot is awful. The only good elements, mostly in the first 2 acts, are lifted straight out of “Where Silence Has Lease,” and the rest is barely-tolerable nonsense. Likewise, Neelix is incredibly irritating here. If he had been around for the final acts, I probably would have totally lost my patience with the episode. Like in “Caretaker,” the action elements eat up way too much screentime.

However, the real point of this story—the development of Janeway, Chakotay and Torres, succeeds quite well. The performances are top-notch and each of them has to bend and grow a bit to meet in the middle. It seems as thought the show has realised that there aren't deep ideological divides between the Maquis and Starfleet—it's really just an issue of personality, and those can be worked through.

The EMH subplot is pretty funny, if a little hokey at the very end, but I appreciate that the doctor is afforded some positive character growth himself, even amidst a goofy story.

Final Score : **.5
Gil
Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
A respectable, though derivative, outing for the newly conjoined Starfleet/Maquis crew that sees them pitted against each other and a temporal conundrum in a Race Against Time®. Picardo's EMH contributes acerbic comic relief in the face of "his" whittling humiliation, while Janeway and B'Elanna technobabble their way to multiple dry orgasms.

It's Voyager's first official outing 70,000 lights years from home and this is the best the Delta Quadrant has to offer? A second-hand TNG plot.

-*** for unoriginality
+ * no forehead bumps

Final Score: **
Caz
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 3:36am (UTC -5)
I know a lot of people think Star Trek is incredibly left wing. It isn't. The gender and racial aspects of the show have been progressive throughout its history, and its economics are murky-left, but otherwise, the Trek franchise is about how to operate in a command hierarchy and the values on display are conventional to Western civilization, at least when they are consistent.

They are also somewhat masculine. The Carey and Torres issue here is an example of it. Of course the optics of people beating each other up in engineering look terrible, and when you swap the genders, they make this entire episode horrifying by modern tastes. But look at it like a locker room brawl amongst a bunch of guys, and a fairly normal response would be to put them in different corners, have them cool off, and then try to keep things off the books unless future problems look inevitable. That's a masculine ethos, and in the 90's, when gender equality didn't necessarily mean completely subverting anything that resembled stereotypical masculinity (and could occasionally mean embracing it like Kirk seductively embracing a hot alien of the week), it was an acceptable response. The writers of this show might have considered a woman getting slugged in a fistfight to be crude and ugly to watch, but also might have considered it a side effect of gender equality.

This show is not "woke", in that it does not see all masculine traits as traumatizing and oppressive. It sees people as more resilient than that. For both the left and right wing people commenting here, remember that this show is a product of its time. It's effectively a foreign culture. Try to respect it.
Strejda
Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
@Corey Ignoring the politically charged, ugly discussion above, I do think it's hypocritical to insist humanity has moved beyond all religion, except that one. To be clear, I do NOT think Trek should be 100% anti-religious and historically, it hasn't been. And maybe the writers intended to just be more positive about spirituality in general and just chose Chakotay's religion for it, I think it needed to be made more clear, because even if said religion wasn't mostly just bunch of stereotypical nonsense made up by a con-man, it comes of as the creators making an exception due stereotype of Native Americans as in one with nature noble savages.
Strejda
Fri, Aug 9, 2019, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
@Ruby (I'm sorry for not making this a part of my of comment, hope this is okay) Maybe this isn't true for most, but I would say for many, the problem isn't people yelling science shit at each other in general, just Technobabble aka bullshit. And my problem with it, is that it's often there to fill out time and the worst way to do that is with useless nonsense. If caring about science accurracy is dumb, why have it there in the first place? And when used to solve problems like in here, it basically allows characters to win by pulling nonsense out of their asses, while pretending to be clever.
Sarjenka's Brother
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Way, way, way, way too soon for an anomaly episode.

This should have been an aftermath episode with much, much more Star Fleet / Marquis conflict ... OR ... another visit from the Kazon (or both). I didn't love them, but they were the first villains they came up with. We probably should have gotten another visit.
Jamie Mann
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Not a bad second episode for a new series. But then again, not a particularly great one.

As other people have said, this feels like a fairly generic TNG anomaly-of-the-week episode, albeit with a bit of crew drama thrown in. And while the latter is fine, the former is distinctly underwhelming, especially when you consider how much of a blank canvas the Delta quadrant is at this point.

Sadly, with the benefit of having already watched my way through most of Voyager, the writers decided to opt for more of the former and less of the latter as the series progressed - indeed, by the very next episode, virtually all dramatic conflict between the Marquis and Federation crew members had already vanished without a trace...
Mal
Sat, May 9, 2020, 10:50am (UTC -5)
@ Skeptical and @ Chrome and @ Robert,

It is fascinating to think of Joseph Sisko as a Christian. Your points as to the names of everyone in his family being from the bible is a good one. But what really enhanced the possibility for me, was this scene in one of my favourite DS9 episodes, Far Beyond the Stars,

JOSEPH: I've got to get back to the restaurant. My customers have never gone this long without me. The question is, what are you going to do?
SISKO: The only thing I can do. Stay here and finish the job I started. And if I fail -
JOSEPH: I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
SISKO: I've never known you to quote from the Bible.
JOSEPH: I'm full of surprises, aren't I? And so are you.

A surprising turn to be sure! Ben Sisko’s dad quotes from Timothy ( https://biblehub.com/2_timothy/4-7.htm ), the New Testament. Now how many non-Christians even today can quote from the New Testament - how many fewer by the time we get to Gene’s vision of the 24th century? But more than that, Ben Sisko is also “full of surprises”. Ben recognises the quote from the Bible! Tell me, even today, how many non-Christians would recognise that quote as coming from the Bible?

Ben has obviously been brought up to know and value his heritage. He owns one of the largest collections of African masks. He knows the history of Gabriel Bell. He even knows about the darkest pages, which is why he is so reluctant to join the gang to save Vick Fontaine, in "Badda-Bing Badda-Bang”. At least a few key parts of the Bible were part of his upbringing. If Joseph was really a Christian, it makes a lot of sense that he would have made sure his son at least knew his Bible.

And for those who somehow think that is against Gene’s vision, remember, Gene allowed Leonard Nimoy to portray the Vulcan greeting by using a Jewish hand gesture. Doctor McCoy cited the Genesis story from the Old Testament, in Wrath of Khan. Star Trek is not a universe that does not have the Bible. But, it seems, there are not very many Christians who join Starfleet. 24th century Christians are probably more like Picard’s brother, Robert. They want nothing to do with military service.

Even Chakotay, who retains the religion of his tribe, only joined Starfleet against the wishes of his family. For that matter, Joseph Sisko didn’t raise Ben to join the service:

SISKO: You didn't raise me to be a liar.
JOSEPH: I raised you to be a chef, for all the good it did me!

- "A Time to Stand”.

I get the sense that Starfleet just isn’t the place for anyone with human religious beliefs. (Obviously Vulcan and Klingon and Bajoran rituals are just fine, for whatever reason?!?).

It is unfortunate that every time we see Earth in the future on Star Trek it is San Francisco or Iowa or New Orleans or Montana. It would be nice if they visited Rome, or Istanbul, or Damascus, or Jerusalem, for a change.
Booming
Sat, May 9, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
@Mal
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
The USA are still the most religious country in the Western world, it is no surprise that a little bit of religion found it's way into the show. Plus you can know the bible and not be a Christian.

Furthermore this scene was mostly about the whole dream and the dreamer connection. In the sense that Ben's father is a preacher in the dream, that is why he uses a bible quote to highlight the connection between the dream and the dreamer.

And about Ben Sisko knowing a bible quote. Without him acknowledging that it is from the bible the scene wouldn't have highlighted the connection between the two worlds portrayed. Plus knowing the bible doesn't make you a Christian.
For example I have a biblical name but my father is an atheist through and through. I know parts of the bible and the Quran but I'm agnostic with no desire to follow any religion. Personally, I find the concept of religion fairly silly.

In Roddenberry's vision of the future humanity had grown past such follies as building your life around stories and rules people wrote down often several thousand years ago.

And about the matter that we see religion in other species. That is what Star Trek is about. Earth and humanity are a humanist paradise which then has to deal with problems elsewhere that are often reflections of our reality.

" At least a few key parts of the Bible were part of his upbringing."
complete speculation. He could have picked up some bible stuff at any point in his life. As you mentioned, his heritage is important to him, maybe he studied the bible for the parts that justify slavery?

"Gene allowed Leonard Nimoy to portray the Vulcan greeting by using a Jewish hand gesture."
That is not true. The director of the episode allowed it (not Roddenberry) and nobody knew back then that it was a Jewish sign.

" Doctor McCoy cited the Genesis story from the Old Testament, in Wrath of Khan. Star Trek is not a universe that does not have the Bible."
Mccoy could have picked that up anywhere. The bible is certainly not forbidden. Like all the major religious texts it is significant in the formation of numerous cultures. But we never see a church, we never see a Christian priest or Christian in general (or any other belief). People have just outgrown it.

"24th century Christians are probably more like Picard’s brother, Robert. They want nothing to do with military service."
His brother wasn't Christian he was anti tech and I like to mention that 2/3 of the US military personal are Christians. Why would future Christians, if for some reason they would exist in Star Trek, not join the far less militaristic Starfleet?!
Elliott
Sat, May 9, 2020, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Christopher Hitchens, the Elon Musk of anti-theism, could quote from the Bible and the Quran at length. Knowledge of a thing does not signify adherence to its philosophy.
William B
Sat, May 9, 2020, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
"Christopher Hitchens, the Elon Musk of anti-theism"

I wonder what baby names Hitchens would have.
Peter G.
Sat, May 9, 2020, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
"I wonder what baby names Hitchens would have."

Not-Reuben
Not-Jacob
Not-Benjamin


etc.
Booming
Sun, May 10, 2020, 12:26am (UTC -5)
How dare you compare human wreckage Hitchens with Elon Chesus Ganthi 9x4k E==) Scorpio Musk. The Elon will crush your soul with his mind if he hears of this!
And then he will buy the cemetery on which you are buried and build a Tesla factory on it.

NEVER !
INSULT !
THE !
ELON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mal
Sun, May 10, 2020, 7:02am (UTC -5)
@ Booming, your unique perspective may be colouring your view of Star Trek. But whatever the reason, you are of course incorrect. Star Trek does have Christians.

Just take Picard. His ideal fantasy in the Nexus was to spend Christmas with his family.

https://youtu.be/Hkk-IYaXlVQ?t=29

Why would that be, unless the Picards were Christians? Now, I imagine you can come up with all kinds of possible scenarios where the Picards are not Christian. But sometimes, @Booming, just go with Occam's Razor. Picard's ideal fantasy has something to do with the home in which he was raised.

And of course, there is also Dr. Phlox from an older Enterprise. He attended not just a Christian Mass on Earth. But also other religious rituals as well.

Here is the relevant scene from 1x11 Cold Front:

PHLOX: It's not unlike the Hindu faith, Commander. They also believe that the universe goes through repeated cycles of rebirth.
ARCHER: I didn't realise you were familiar with Earth religions, Doctor.
PHLOX: Oh, yes. In fact, while I was there I made it a point to study a number of them. I spent two weeks at a Tibetan monastery where I learned to sing chords with the high lamas. I attended Mass at Saint Peter's Square.

Now I get that you, @Booming, are a US-based non-Christian. But I think it is fair to say that most Christians do not live in the US. There is every reason to believe that that continues to be true in the Star Trek future.

That's why it would be interesting to see Earth from vistas other than just the US.

What exactly does a Christian Mass in Rome in the 22nd century look and sound like? Have they kept all the trappings of the Catholic ritual? Is it in Latin? It would be fun to see - that's probably why Dr. Phlox went - he was curious! So am I!

Most of the time on Star Trek, we get to know a race through a thin sliver of a society.

This is how @Jammer has described the problem: "An entire planet's culture (and this has frequently been one of my complaints about Trek) is represented based solely on a dozen villagers who seem more like isolated nomads than part of a real, larger society."

Similar thing for Earth. Other than that one episode on TNG (Family) when they showed us life in a village in future-France, whenever we go to Earth in the future in Star Trek, it is almost always to the US, and that too, a very secular slice of the US. Usually San Francisco, or a few other places in that country.

But it would be nice to see what the other billions of humans are up to on Earth. Those people who aren't in any way affiliated with Starfleet. Those who continue to live their lives much as their fathers did - like Picard's brother. IDIC.
Mike
Sun, May 10, 2020, 7:11am (UTC -5)
If you think that scientific progress is concomitant with disproving God, or somehow makes 'outgrowing' God inevitable sometime in the future, then quite simply you have a misunderstanding of what science is, or of what God is. Probably both.
Top Hat
Sun, May 10, 2020, 7:51am (UTC -5)
Can we entertain the possibility that something of Christian culture has survived in the 23rd and 24th century (hence things like Christmas still being celebrated, and the Bible still being quoted) but not as religion? There are scant examples on Star Trek of prayer or church attendance or displaying crosses or crucifixes in personal quarters or anything that would unequivocally demonstrate "Yes, this character is a Christian."

I do kind of understand why Christian Star Trek fans setting out with the premise of "my religion survives into this future" would comb through tiny, scattered details for anything that supports it. But it starts to become very flimsy, very quickly.

I find the logic of Biblical name = parents must be Christian an especially stretch. When you hear of a person named Jason or Diana, do you assume that their parents must be worshipers of the Greek gods?

In "Data's Day," Data remarks on a shipboard celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights. In TOS, Lt. Rahda displays a bindi. These are more concrete signs of the survival of Hinduism than Star Trek has supplied about Christianity (at least prior to the Discovery version of Pike).

Now, if you want to assert that there are plenty of Christians out there in the Star Trek universe and we simply don't see them, I would agree that that's a reasonable commonsense speculation (emphasis on "speculation"), but it's also not something the show has actually demonstrated.
William B
Sun, May 10, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -5)
I'll add that Christmas in particular is celebrated by many (my family included) in a secular way. One might reasonably say that it's not celebrating, then, or that it's appropriative, but, I was raised in an atheistic home where we still did the Christmas thing, with tree and carols and Santa and family togetherness, not so much the church service. I don't think this is particularly unusual based on other atheists or agnostics I know living in countries with historical ties to Christianity. I also can quote the Bible in the same way I can quote Shakespeare: imperfectly, with marginal relevance to the current situation, and with no divine belief.

I'm not particularly arguing (at the moment anyway) whether Christianity appears to be prevalent in the Trek world or not, just that the presence of Christmas in TOS or Picard's Nexus thing never struck me as conclusive, or even particularly suggestive of actual theistic belief.
Top Hat
Sun, May 10, 2020, 8:48am (UTC -5)
Same here, and that's why I think we need this concept of "cultural Christianity" to thread this needle a bit. I wouldn't deny that much of my worldview is informed by saturation in a largely Christian culture, but that's different than practicing Christianity as a faith and believing in the transcendent truth of its claims.
Booming
Sun, May 10, 2020, 10:23am (UTC -5)
@ Mal
"Booming, your unique perspective may be colouring your view of Star Trek. But whatever the reason, you are of course incorrect. Star Trek does have Christians."
You know what. I, an agnostic, had a similar sentence in my post but I erased it because I found in needlessly insulting. You, a Christian, didn't seem to mind.
As a matter of fact you are incorrect. It may have escaped your attention but Star Trek is not a time capsule from the future but the creation of Gene Roddenberry who was an not a fan of religion. Maybe I can enlighten you. Though as many point out: "You cannot convince someone with rational argument who bases his view on irrational arguments."
Let's see what happens. :)
Quotes are all from memory alpha.

To quote Roddenberry:"I have always been reasonably leery of religion because there are so many edicts in religion, 'thou shalt not,' or 'thou shalt.' I wanted my world of the future to be clear of that.”
hmmm

You wrote "Why would that be, unless the Picards were Christians?"
My family and all the families I know are non religious but still celebrate Christmas which by the way is as Christian as Saturn and Mithras. The celebration of Saturnalia is from Roman times and the tree comes from several other pagan rituals.

I know the episode of Dr. Phlox you are referring to. It was created 15 years after Roddenberry's death when the decent into generic murder Trek, which we have the misfortune to see now, had already begun. One could also mention that we don't know what actually happened. Maybe it were like 10 people and a hundred years later in 2250 it was completely gone.
To quote Ronald Moore:"Gene felt very strongly that all of our contemporary Earth religions would be gone by the 23rd century,..." and "It was a core tenet of Gene's Trek."

"Now I get that you, @Booming, are a US-based non-Christian"
I'm actually a non US-based non-Christian.

"That's why it would be interesting to see Earth from vistas other than just the US. " Well, we see Paris and it kind of looks like San Francisco. trekish so to speak. Same goes for Japan. Plus there a quite a few places I would like to see than places of religion.

To quote from Top hats post "I do kind of understand why Christian Star Trek fans setting out with the premise of "my religion survives into this future" would comb through tiny, scattered details for anything that supports it. But it starts to become very flimsy, very quickly."
This is very true and as the quotes and descriptions I gave you have proven beyond a reasonable doubt: No Christians in Star Trek.

This time I left the personal stuff in this which makes me feel kind of bad. Maybe this time you will at least use the one cheek (and still have the other in reserve)


@Mike
a very Christian post. :D To quote GandhI (I'm not a Hindu, just sayin'): I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians because they are so unlike Christ.

"If you think that scientific progress is concomitant with disproving God, or somehow makes 'outgrowing' God inevitable sometime in the future, then quite simply you have a misunderstanding of what science is, or of what God is. Probably both."
(concomitant : I learned a new word today!:)
As some here know I'm actually a social scientist at a very good university (sorry, I have to say that. My insecurities force me to.)
There is actually a meta study ( a study that uses a big amount of other studies and compares the results) from 2013 (http://diyhpl.us/~nmz787/pdf/The_Relation_Between_Intelligence_and_Religiosity__A_Meta-Analysis_and_Some_Proposed_Explanations.pdf)

To quote from that study:"A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity."
On average a religious person has a lower iq (between 6.3 and 7.8 iq points). So yes, the more educated/intelligent (intelligence is a somewhat shaky concept in the social sciences) the less religious they are.
Why do you think the most religious states in the US are also the ones with the worst schools.
William B
Sun, May 10, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@Top Hat, yeah, agreed.

@Peter, lol re: baby names.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, May 10, 2020, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"On average a religious person has a lower iq (between 6.3 and 7.8 iq points). So yes, the more educated/intelligent (intelligence is a somewhat shaky concept in the social sciences) the less religious they are."

Do I really need to explain to a "social scientist from a good university" that correlation isn't equal causation? Or the fact that a scientist should not be misusing statistical data to support a personal opinion?

To paraphrase your Gandhi quote: "I like science and the scientific method, but I don't like your arguments because they are so unlike science" ;-)

@Top Hat

Agreed.

Picard, at least, was obviously not a religious man (Christian or otherwise).

Also, religions evolve and change. Even if Christianity survives into Trek's 24th century, it isn't going to be the same thing that it is now. It's fascinating to think about how this could go.
Booming
Sun, May 10, 2020, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
"Do I really need to explain to a "social scientist from a good university" that correlation isn't equal causation?"
very good, very very good!

These numbers mentioned are from the meta study. You can read it if you want to. The science seems solid, all three scientists involved are from respectable institutions. i haven't looked into the actual method (the n value seems a little low sometimes, don't know how they factored that in). Meta studies are tricky but if it was coded right and the statistical methods are sound then in this case correlation (probably) means causation. Doesn't mean that religious people are all idiots obviously, just that more intelligent people tend to be less religious.

" Or the fact that a scientist should not be misusing statistical data to support a personal opinion?"
How is it misused? and how is quoting from a study a personal opinion? I don't know if religious people are on average less intelligent. I only know that study and personally I found that scientists are less religious/not religious but that is only a personal perception.

It just bothered me that the one guy/gal swoops in and declares: "Christianity proven to be a part of Star Trek." Apparently nothing can be free of it. Religion must be everywhere. Every religion has, for obvious reasons, a totalitarian element and I think Roddenberry just didn't like that. As he pretty clearly stated in the quote.
Mal
Sun, May 10, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, agreed, it would be fascinating to see how Christianity had evolved in the 24th century.

Just imagine that when Kasidy and Ben Sisko got married, they followed the Kasidy family preference for a minister, instead of Sisko's preference for letting Admiral Ross perform the ceremony -

SISKO: What do you say we have Bill Ross to perform the ceremony?
KASIDY: My mother would prefer for her daughter to be married by a minister. But an Admiral's the next best thing.
SISKO: That's good. I'll talk to him.

- DS9, Penumbra.

What would a ceremony performed by a 24th century minister be like? Fascinating.

Given how much Christianity has changed in the last three and a half centuries, wouldn't it be interesting to see what happens in the next three and a half centuries? To put that length of time in perspective, consider: Harvard was founded around three and a half centuries ago as a place to train Christian ministers. Today only about a third of Harvard is Christian. What will it be like in the 24th century? Maybe someday these Star Trek folks could stroll through Harvard square and give us a gander?

What will elite christian centers of education outside the United States look like in the 24th century? It is only in an alternate timeline (All Good Things...) that we see Data has Isaac Newton's old job. Newton of course was at the holy Trinity College at Cambridge - which of course is also where Stephen Hawking studied.

It would be great if every once in a while, Star Trek could actually take us to these places and show us these vistas.

But like the bathroom (so prominent in other scifi like nBSG, B5, and Demolition Man ;) it appears that religion also has a tough time making it on screen in Star Trek.

Still, unless you are like @ Booming, and consider everything made "years after Roddenberry's death" to somehow be suspect, its pretty clear from the Kasidy family desire to be married by a minister, Picard's Christmas fantasia, Joseph Sisko's bible quote, and Phlox attending Mass in Rome and chanting at a Tibetan Monastery - that Klingons, Vulcans and Bajorans do not have the monopoly on religion in the Star Trek future.

And now I leave you with Miles and Keiko O’Brien’s beautiful Shinto wedding ceremony:

https://youtu.be/EVG0xNk33wQ

No religion in Star Trek indeed.
Top Hat
Sun, May 10, 2020, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
I find it peculiar that the same person who earlier made a case for Ben Sisko's family being Christian is citing what seems to be evidence to the contrary -- the fact that he is not the one who raises the possibility of a religious service.

Perhaps somebody more knowledgeable about Japanese culture could tell me if having a Shinto wedding is necessarily evidence of religious faith, rather than simply being cultural? It's not like Keiko's faith in "In the Hands of the Prophets" seems to be anything but scientific materialism.
Booming
Mon, May 11, 2020, 1:55am (UTC -5)
@ Top Hat
I provided the guy/gal with direct quotes from Roddenberry and Moore in which it is made clear that religion didn't make it past the 23th century IN STAR TREK but hey what do these guys know.

Having a ceremony/celebration influenced by religious themes is fairly normal like with Christmas. Mal also seems to have missed that this "Shinto wedding" is not performed by a Shinto priest (and many more aspects of an actual Shinto wedding). I think that including this stuff is either lack of imagination (coming up with a new form of ceremony is harder) or just laziness because Japanese = vaguely Shinto.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, May 11, 2020, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"How is it misused?"

Are you serious?

You quoted a statistic that says group A has 6-8 less IQ points than group B, in an attempt to discredit group A.

Such a statistic, taken on its own, is meaningless. Either you knew that, which makes your post a deliberate attempt to mislead. Or you didn't, which means that you are ignorant on the basics of your own profession.

Not sure what's worse, really.

(for those who wonder *why* such numbers are meaningless, see my two examples further down)

"Doesn't mean that religious people are all idiots obviously, just that more intelligent people tend to be less religious."

Not necessarily. Such a conclusion depends on the distributions as well as the averages.

But even if it were true, it still wouldn't mean anything.

Here is a very simplistic model that will give you exactly the same result:

1. 70% of all people live in religious households.
2. People with a low IQ always follow their parent's faith.
3. People with a high IQ always think for themselves, with 60% choosing God and 40% choosing atheism.

In this model, 70% people with low IQ's would be religious, while 60% of the people with high IQ's would be religious. So the dry averages would seem to say "Smart = nonreligious"... Yet God still wins among the smart ones by a ratio of 60-40.

Or another model:

1. 95% of the people with both low and high IQ's tend to believe what their peers believe.
2. People with low IQ's mingle with the general society, where belief in God is commonplace.
3. People with high IQ's tend to go to the academia, where belief in God is frowned upon.
4. Among the 5% of the people who *do* think on their own, regardless of their IQ, become believers 100% of the time.

Again you'll see the same kind of averages. And this scenario is even less friendly for the atheist position then the previous one.

In short, the numbers you've given are simply meaningless.

"Meta studies are tricky but if it was coded right and the statistical methods are sound then in this case correlation (probably) means causation."

No true.

A meta-study is just a combination of many studies into one. It has absolutely nothing to do with the "correlation vs causation" problem.

I suggest you stop trying to mislead us with big scientific words, because some of us actually know what those words mean :-)

"Religion must be everywhere. Every religion has, for obvious reasons, a totalitarian element and I think Roddenberry just didn't like that."

Huh?

What's so "totalitarian" in expecting an utopian vision to have some diversity of human faiths? Isn't that what's IDIC is all about?

It just makes sense that 24th century humans would have many different kinds of faiths and points of views. Different strokes for different folks, respectfully coexisting in a great spiritual symphony. That, my friend, is IDIC.

@Mal
"its pretty clear from the Kasidy family desire to be married by a minister, Picard's Christmas fantasia, Joseph Sisko's bible quote, and Phlox attending Mass in Rome and chanting at a Tibetan Monastery - that Klingons, Vulcans and Bajorans do not have the monopoly on religion in the Star Trek future."

I'm all for having human religion in Trek's 24th century (and it does flourish on earth in my head-canon) but none of the things you stated is actual proof.

The Phlox quote is good, but it only tells us about the 22nd century rather than the 24th.

The rest of it is just evidence for a Christian-influenced culture. There are atheists who celebrate Christmas and quote the Bible even today.

To be fair, I'm actually glad that we didn't get to see a more direct hint of 24th century human religions. In the name of real-world IDIC, it was good that Trek basically left this question open. That way, each viewer can fill-in the blanks as they please.

(it's amazing how, despite Roddenberry's own views on the matter, Star Trek managed to remain mostly neutral on this topic)
Mal
Tue, May 12, 2020, 12:17am (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, you're absolutely right. Roddenberry seems to have taken IDIC pretty seriously, and made sure questions of personal faith were left out of the show.

Star Trek is, after all, basically a work-place drama. And not just any work place, a uniformed one at that.

I've always taken Picard's words from "Reunion" to be the best reflection of how Star Trek deals with religion:

PICARD: Mister Worf, the Enterprise crew currently includes representatives from thirteen planets. They each have their individual beliefs and values and I respect them all. But they have all chosen to serve Starfleet. If anyone cannot perform his or her duty because of the demands of their society, they should resign.

https://youtu.be/jQoMIg4WqP0?t=37

People confuse Starfleet with humanity.

We see very little of human civilian life in the hundreds of hours of Star Trek television and movies. It is no accident that the professionals par excellence we do follow on an episode by episode basis, leave their religions at home. Chakotay tells Janeway that no one has seen his medicine bundle.

Nevertheless, even Starfleet officers have to explain humanity's beliefs on occassion:

KIRK: Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.

Actually lots of people think Kirk gets it wrong in "Who Mourns For Adonais?" But that's the whole point of Starfleet's rule keeping religion off the bridge. Even someone as impressive as Kirk is still probably unqualified to speak to something like God on behalf of all mankind.

Harry Kim probably would have had a much better answer than Kirk.

KIM: I really can't say. I don't know what happens to your people after they die. I don't even know what happens to my people after they die.
HATIL: Don't you have thanatologists, people who study death?
KIM: Well, sort of. There have certainly been medical experts, philosophers, theologians who have spent a great deal of time debating what happens after death. But no one's come up with an answer yet.

No one has come up with an answer yet. Even in the 24th Century. But they still have theologians debating the question.

Some things, like Christianity, god, death, marriage really are best reserved for civilian life. Starfleet isn't the right institution to address them.

But just because a thing isn't on the bridge of the Enterprise, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For Christianity in the Star Trek future, evidence is ample. If you care to see it.

But if you are personally invested in there being no human religion in Star Trek as @Booming seems to be, it will be very hard to convince you.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Booming
Tue, May 12, 2020, 2:43am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
All these debates I'm involved in have almost nothing to do with Star Trek so I'll try to be brief. (added after writing: I failed in this)
"You quoted a statistic that says group A has 6-8 less IQ points than group B, in an attempt to discredit group A."
It does not say that. The study "says" that 63 studies that researched religious belief and IQ found a statistically very significant negative correlation between religious belief and IQ. And the Average is as stated.

"So the dry averages would seem to say "Smart = nonreligious"... Yet God still wins among the smart ones by a ratio of 60-40."
I don't know if you made that model up or if it based on actual science but alright. If you would write "smart= more likely to be non religious" or "The Majority of smart (high IQ) people coming from religious households remains religious" Both would be correct.

You second model I find very normative. Sure, there could be variables, in your second model that would be environment, who influence the dependent variable but a good study would check for these (by, for example, looking at people with high IQ who are not in academia).

"A meta-study is just a combination of many studies into one. It has absolutely nothing to do with the "correlation vs causation" problem."
I guess you could argue that becoming religious doesn't make your IQ go down but you can also argue, which is what the study does, that having a lower IQ makes it more likely to be religious. Lower IQ leads to a higher likelihood of being religious and that is causation.
I think the problem you are having is related to the ecological fallacy. You are religious and think that I'm saying that you are less intelligent because you are religious. To give a common example for that fallacy: People from poorer neighborhoods have a higher likelihood of committing crime. But that doesn't mean that a person from a poor neighborhood is a criminal.

"What's so "totalitarian" in expecting an utopian vision to have some diversity of human faiths?"
That is not what religion is about. Every religion believes that they are right and that if you follow their rules that you will be rewarded and if you don't will be punished, often for eternity. Believing to possess an absolute and eternal truth is in my view a totalitarian element that every religion has. It is something, I hope, many religious people are aware of and deal with that element in a humble and loving way.

"It just makes sense that 24th century humans would have many different kinds of faiths and points of views. Different strokes for different folks, respectfully coexisting in a great spiritual symphony. That, my friend, is IDIC"
I don't know if it makes sense but it is certainly possible or maybe even likely. My point is just that Gene Roddenberry was categorically against that in his telling of the future. So Human religions in the future maybe, Human religions in Star Trek nope.

I can imagine a future without religion and a future with religion. Religious people, as you can see in Mal's viewpoint, have a problem with the first part of that sentence.

Man, this is far longer than I planned. Sorry everybody.

@Mal
I giving you the Moore quote about Roddenberry again, maybe you understand it this time.
"Gene felt very strongly that all of our contemporary Earth religions would be gone by the 23rd century,..." and "It was a core tenet of Gene's Trek."
If the thought that a future could exist where Human religions are no more is too much for you, then Star Trek is not for you.
Mike
Tue, May 12, 2020, 3:38am (UTC -5)
"That is not what religion is about. Every religion believes that they are right and that if you follow their rules that you will be rewarded and if you don't will be punished, often for eternity."

And this takes us back to the necessity of understanding what religion actually is. The dictionary says it's belief in God or a higher reality - nothing to do with reward or punishment. If the authors of a scientific paper think it is about that, or includes it, how useful or accurate is it going to be?

It's kind of like asking whether scientists are more intelligent and then including alchemists and witches, because many would call themselves scientists.

I'd also point out that "every religion believes that they are right and that if you follow their rules you will be rewarded and if you don't you will be punished" could also describe the fields of biology, physics, medicine, biochemistry, immunology, etc...
Booming
Tue, May 12, 2020, 4:09am (UTC -5)
@Mike
"nothing to do with reward or punishment"
*cough* hell, heaven, Nirvana, Zeus wrath *cough*

"If the authors of a scientific paper think it is about that, or includes it, how useful or accurate is it going to be?"
That is not in the meta study. That is just me making an obviously true statement.

"I'd also point out that "every religion believes that they are right and that if you follow their rules you will be rewarded and if you don't you will be punished" could also describe the fields of biology, physics, medicine, biochemistry, immunology, etc... "
That is so true. When I try to inject something into people then the police wont let me #doctordictatorship! When I try to tell people that trees eat people I'm not taken cerial!! Wake up sheeple!!! #gluesniffing4life
Top Hat
Tue, May 12, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
Proposing that "there are lots of religious people, we just don't see them because they're not well represented in Starfleet" sounds like wishful thinking, but let's follow that logic for a moment. Is the implication that religious people don't enlist in the service that might put them into contact with superbeings like Q, Trelane, Apollo, etc., who can perform many of the feats ascribed to their god(s) with casual ease? In other words, they keep their heads buried into the sand because they don't want to have to confront those things that might undermine the bases of their belief system? I have a hard time seeing this as an especially rosy view of religion.

Per Mal, "For Christianity in the Star Trek future, evidence is ample. If you care to see it." Again, there's every evidence that trappings of Christian culture survive... but who actually said otherwise? There's an odd conflation of "religion" and "Christianity" throughout this thread. I always wondered if Kirk's notorious "We find one perfectly adequate line" was meant to allude to the idea that the humans of the future are deists or something similar, and perhaps the idea is that there are no discrete religions because the role of religion has been syncretized with other cultural institutions over time. Obviously an angle that failed to be developed meaningfully.
Top Hat
Tue, May 12, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
There's another exchange that hasn't been raised yet, from "The Ship":

KILANA: Do you have any gods, Captain Sisko?
SISKO: There are things I believe in.
KILANA: Duty? Starfleet? The Federation?

There are a number of ways to take this, but one reading would support that idea that religious feeling or sensibility still exists, but it's been subsumed into commitment to institutions.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, May 12, 2020, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I have absolutely no interest in debating the "validity" of your dishonest rhetoric.

Reminds me of the infamous Bell Curve Study that was supposed to "justify" racism towards blacks. You, sir, are a bigot.

"Every religion believes that they are right and that if you follow their rules that you will be rewarded and if you don't will be punished, often for eternity."

Have you noticed that the only person here who believes this "My way is right and you are all wrong" mantra is you? Nobody else here seems to have any problem with different theological opinions. And nobody here is sending you to hell for being an atheist.

And I was 100% serious when I suggested my vision for a multi-faith humanity that lives in peace with it self. Different societies who approach the concept of God and the nature of reality in different ways, and share there views for their mutual benifit.

There are already people who are doing this right now. Atheists too. It's one of the Trekkiest endeavors I can think of.

"If the thought that a future could exist where Human religions are no more is too much for you, then Star Trek is not for you."

I have no problem accepting a future setting where human religions no longer exist. I *do* have a problem accepting such a setting as utopian sci fi.

To me, that's like a future without music, or a future without art, or a future without science and exploration. You only get these kind of things in a dystopian setting. That's not what Star Trek is all about.

@Top Hat
"I always wondered if Kirk's notorious 'We find one perfectly adequate line' was meant to allude to the idea that the humans of the future are deists or something similar, and perhaps the idea is that there are no discrete religions because the role of religion has been syncretized with other cultural institutions over time."

I had a very similar thought.

My interpretation is that humans have reached a consensus that goes something like this:

'There's wonderful order in the universe. A single unified reality. We acknowledge the importance of this, even though we do not agree on were it came from or what it means.'

In my view, that's the meaning of "the one". It's just a starting point for every human's exploration. Different people and different cultures would have different ways of doing this, and all of them would be legitimate. You don't even have to call it a "god" if you don't want to (Picard certainly doesn't, yet he is clearly a very spiritual man who has great respect for the mysteries of the universe).

In short: Monolithic religious institutions may well be a thing of the past in the 24 century, but this doesn't mean that there are no Christians (or Muslims or Hindus). Religions, just like any other human endeavor, evolve over time.

"Is the implication that religious people don't enlist in the service that might put them into contact with superbeings like Q, Trelane, Apollo, etc., who can perform many of the feats ascribed to their god(s) with casual ease?"

Why would Q or Apollo threaten a believer's point of view? They are just powerful aliens.

I think Mal's point is that Starfleet, as an organization, is secular. It's also a quasi-military institution with specific codes of conduct. So we shouldn't think of the crew's behavior on a starship to be indicative of the general way of life on earth.

There's also the question of what, exactly, does "being religious" mean in the 24th century. Does it mean following the orthodoxy of a specific traditional religion? Or does it simply mean a belief in a personal God and forging a relationship with that entity?

Traditional orthodox types are not the kind of people you'd expect to sign up to become galactic explorers. So I wouldn't expect finding many of these in Starfleet.

So crewpersons of the second kind are probably be much more common. The question is: How would you expect to recognize such a person? Their beliefs would only manifest itself in private moments of retrospection. It would be like trying to infer that Tuvok is meditating regularly, without ever seeing him do it.
Mike
Wed, May 13, 2020, 12:49am (UTC -5)
Booming,
I'd like to have a constructive discussion with you on this, but it's difficult if you do not respect those you are having the discussion with.

I personally know dozens of religious people - that is, believers in God or a higher order of reality. None believe in punishment via hell or wrathful gods. Those are seriously outdated beliefs.

Do some people believe in them today? Yes. But if you identify as a scientist, which I'm guessing you do based on previous posts, how would you like to be grouped in with alchemists or astrologers? I'm guessing not too much.

Science evolves, religion evolves. It's very possible religion in the 24th century will have little resemblance to what we see in operation now in the Vatican, etc. That's my hope anyhow.
Booming
Wed, May 13, 2020, 2:27am (UTC -5)
Guys and gals you are blowing my mind. :D
@Mike
Ok, now you are the reasonable one?! I don't respect those who don't deserve respect. For example Omicron had a real meltdown not so long ago and was somewhat ignored and I, idiot that I am, felt bad for him and answered to him as if nothing had happened. Imean we all go crazy every now and then but now he is calling me a bigot, not what I write but me as a Human being, because I'm explaining causation and that meta study to him. He didn't bother to read it, of course. He obviously perceives me as a dishonest actor, if that study had said that 98% of religious people are super smart I would have accepted that, too. He apparently is not willing to accept results that he dislikes.

And my second point about religions having a totalitarian element. I give my reasoning for that opinion and how religious people should approach doctrine (humble and loving) to not go down some dark roads because at the end of these roads are LGBT "pray the gay away" camps, stonings and crusades/Jihads.

My third point was that in Star Trek in the 24th century religion is no more. With NuTrek everything is up for grabs but in Roddenberry's original vision religions were gone in the 24th century. Does this mean that they will be actually gone in the 24th century. No.

Now to your post. " None believe in punishment via hell or wrathful gods." Sure. But hell and heaven are core tenets in the big monotheistic religions, and heaven is only open for members. It's in the bible and the Quran. So what religion do the people follow that you know?

"Do some people believe in them today? Yes. But if you identify as a scientist, which I'm guessing you do based on previous posts, how would you like to be grouped in with alchemists or astrologers? I'm guessing not too much."
One is an occupation that follows reason to produce results or to use the definition of the Cambridge dictionary: "(knowledge from) the careful study of the structure and behaviour of the physical world, especially by watching, measuring, and doing experiments, and the development of theories to describe the results of these activities."

The other one is a believe system. The comparison is off.
I guess in earlier times alchemists often did something that could be called a form of proto science. Astrologers on the other hand are snake oil salesmen/women. They are not scientists because they don't follow scientific method. People may follow different belief system but they are all religious.

Your prior statement (I'd also point out that "every religion believes that they are right and that if you follow their rules you will be rewarded and if you don't you will be punished" could also describe the fields of biology, physics, medicine, biochemistry, immunology, etc...) sounded like this whole "scientists are leftist politicians in disguise, climate change is a chinese hoax, vaccines are made by the devil and so on" I always find it funny that many people think that elite universities are some form of leftist indoctrination machines. Sociologist tend be more left than right but economists are more right than left, same goes for lawyers. Who is more important, sociologists or economists? Who is more important, sociologists or lawyers? But strangely enough nobody ever complains about the right wing bias in these fields. So if it was not your intention to imply that climate scientists or sociologists are a communist cabale hellbent on recreating the soviet union then I have misinterpreted your statement.

"It's very possible religion in the 24th century will have little resemblance to what we see in operation now in the Vatican, etc. That's my hope anyhow."
You don't want 80 year old male virgins tell you how to have sex and live your life?! That's crazy. :D
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, May 13, 2020, 5:00am (UTC -5)
@Booming

"He apparently is not willing to accept results that he dislikes."

I have no problem accepting the results of the meta-study. I don't even find them surprising.

What I do have a problem is with people who misuse these raw numbers to promote hate and intolerance.

"I give my reasoning for that opinion and how religious people should approach doctrine (humble and loving) to not go down some dark roads because at the end of these roads are LGBT "pray the gay away" camps, stonings and crusades/Jihads."

I agree. We should, and many of us are already doing it.

If you are on the side of being humble and loving and respectful towards those who are different then you, then we are on the same side.

The question is: Are you? Or are you on one of those dark roads where "My folks are better then your folks and here is a meta-study to prove it"?

"Astrologers on the other hand are snake oil salesmen/women. They are not scientists because they don't follow scientific method."

Sure, this is true *today*. Because today, we know better.

But in the past, the best astronomers were also astrologers. So Mike's analogy is spot on.

The only difference is that religion is taking a bit more time to mature and throw away the bad stuff.

"You don't want 80 year old male virgins tell you how to have sex and live your life?!"

I don't see how that's any worse then the secular people who blindly accept what the media says, or the government, or their favorite experts.

Dogmatic thinking is the problem here. Not any particular viewpoint on the God question.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, May 13, 2020, 8:07am (UTC -5)
And now back to Star Trek:

"My third point was that in Star Trek in the 24th century religion is no more. With NuTrek everything is up for grabs but in Roddenberry's original vision religions were gone in the 24th century."

True.

But there's a difference between that and a vision of an all-atheist future. Roddenberry never intended that. Star Trek is not "atheistic". It is SECULAR. This just means that in Trek's 24th century, a person's belief is their own business.

Take this bit of dialogue, for example:

DATA: I have a question, sir.

PICARD: Yes, Data. What is it?

DATA: What is death?

PICARD: Oh, is that all? Well, Data, you're asking probably the most difficult of all questions. Some see it as a changing into an indestructible form, forever unchanging. They believe that the purpose of the entire universe is to then maintain that form in an Earth-like garden which will give delight and pleasure through all eternity. On the other hand, there are those who hold to the idea of our blinking into nothingness, with all our experiences, hopes and dreams merely a delusion.

DATA: Which do you believe, sir?

PICARD: Considering the marvelous complexity of our universe, its clockwork perfection, its balances of this against that, matter, energy, gravitation, time, dimension, I believe that our existence must be more than either of these philosophies. That what we are goes beyond Euclidean and other practical measuring systems and that our existence is part of a reality beyond what we understand now as reality.

---

This bit of dialogue isn't from post-Roddenberry Trek. This is TNG Season 2 ("Where Silence Has Lease"). It's a really good example of Roddenberry's humanist stance.

So what does this mean for present-day religions? Is there a place in Star Trek for 24th century Christians who quietly walk their own path, mind their own business, and think independently?

I don't see why not. The only reason Roddenberry didn't make such an exception, is that he wasn't aware such a thing is even possible.
Booming
Wed, May 13, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -5)
I guess I'll turn the other cheek, Omicron. Would have been nice if you had taken back the bigot but alright. I'll skip the non Star Trek part.
--- This is a simple explanation of causation in social science, if you don't want to know then skip that---

Causation in social science has a different meaning than causation for laymen. Causation means a reproducible change in the (explanatory) independent variable leads to a change in the dependent variable, in other words a change in x (IQ) leads to a change in y (chance of being religious). The explanation why that is, is a different matter. for example low intelligence people tend to gravitate towards strong rules and limiting systems.

---

What you are doing and Mal even more is confirmation bias. Top Hat somewhat explained it. You want religion to be in Star Trek because religion is an important part of your life so you go through hundreds of episodes with the intent of proving that there is religion in Star Trek. I'm kind of surprised that nobody brought up NuTrek Pike because, if I remember correctly, he said that he is a believer because Kurtzman loves faith.

"So what does this mean for present-day religions? Is there a place in Star Trek for 24th century Christians who quietly walk their own path, mind their own business, and think independently? "
That is head canon. We never see Christians (or any other Human religion). No churches, priests, nothing. There are also the many quotes from Roddenberry and others about the non existence of religion in 24th century Star Trek. Could there be personal spirituality in dealing with death for example, sure but this is again head canon.

Believe it or not i actually don't care that much. BSG had religion which didn't bother me. Star Trek is, I think, the only science fiction show that doesn't have Human religion. Why the need to have Human religion in Star Trek, too. Can there not be one show without it? In the end it is a made up world. What's the difference if there is religion or not?
Top Hat
Wed, May 13, 2020, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
I find it interesting that people seem prepared to accept that religion -- either religion in general or a specific religion like Christianity -- would be transformed before Star Trek's time, but also not to entertain the prospect of them having been transformed into something so different that the term "religion" as we understand it doesn't apply. One can draw an analogy from Christianity itself. which subsumed its competitors to the degree that plenty of ancient pagan traditions may be said to survive, but in a form that's drastically distorted and repurposed. In TUC, Spock describes a Biblical scene as "ancient Earth mythology," which is notably not language even a non-Christian today would likely use today.

Booming asks: "Why the need to have Human religion in Star Trek, too. Can there not be one show without it? In the end it is a made up world. What's the difference if there is religion or not?" I think this question strikes at what makes Trek different from other Star Trek different from other SF franchises: that it's not only depicting a future for humankind, but a future based on developing human potential to its utmost... a BETTER future. And if that vision hinges on the absence of religion, at least in terms of organized religion, that's real challenge. So one approach to that challenge is to rationalize that it's not so against religion after all.
Peter G.
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Top Hat,

"a BETTER future. And if that vision hinges on the absence of religion, at least in terms of organized religion, that's real challenge."

Roddenberry's problem was with religion that tried to control and brainwash people rather than teaching them to think for themselves. He no doubt had a problem with prevailing Judeo-Christian cultural hegemony, but I doubt very much he had any problem with people gathering to discuss things important to them - even spiritual things. The whole Trek ethos is "there's room in here for us all", which includes all views of life. What he didn't not see there as any room for was organizations that thrive on keeping you down and in the dark to take advantage of you. That much we can maybe all agree on. But where some people want to take that is "therefore there's no room for religion!" But if you think closely about that, that would be saying that certain types of opinions of life would be banished? But that makes no sense and is not concordant with IDIC. So it must mean something more like that organization religion would cease to be a socially oppressive force, and would instead become more of a personal belief sort of thing in the marketplace of ideas.
Top Hat
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
"But if you think closely about that, that would be saying that certain types of opinions of life would be banished?" I suspect Roddenberry (and I shudder a bit as I type that, since placing words in his mouth is a longstanding tradition) would think of it more in terms of humanity shedding these opinions and ideas than their vanishing through banishment... of course that process is a necessarily vague ones. It appears that to be the case that Roddenberry didn't so much think that people COULDN'T be religion in the future he envisioned as that they wouldn't... he ascribed religion to a childhood that humanity would surpass as it enters the stars. Feel free to call that naive or unlikely or even totalitarian, but it does appear to be what he believed.
Peter G.
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
@ Top Hat,

"It appears that to be the case that Roddenberry didn't so much think that people COULDN'T be religion in the future he envisioned as that they wouldn't... he ascribed religion to a childhood that humanity would surpass as it enters the stars. Feel free to call that naive or unlikely or even totalitarian, but it does appear to be what he believed."

Well if TOS is to be our main guide, we see plenty of cases of the show being against some primitive people being held back by an entity controlling them. The issue was always being unable to advance, not the belief in higher powers. The thing is, TOS gave us plenty of 'higher powers' in plain view, so there should be no doubt people could believe they exist. Likewise, we have commentary such as from Uhura "they mean the son of God" which shows that certain beliefs are either very much alive or else at least in the public awareness. What they *are not* is a controlling establishment keeping humanity stuck in its progress, and I think that's the main point, beliefs are one thing, but cowering on the floor worshipping some rock statue in a state of infancy is a bad thing.

I mean, let's face it, Roddenberry was a libertine, and probably half of what he imaged was a future free of telling him how to have sex and how many people to have it with. But that does still go towards "make your own choices" rather than have them made for you by some autocratic establishment. And 'make your own choice' could include pretty much everything that respected the freedom of others. I think we see lots of beliefs in TOS respected, so long as they aren't an oppressive force.
Booming
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Top Hat writes quite correctly:"he ascribed religion to a childhood that humanity would surpass as it enters the stars. Feel free to call that naive or unlikely or even totalitarian, but it does appear to be what he believed."

To quote Moore again "Gene felt very strongly that all of our contemporary Earth religions would be gone by the 23rd century,..." and "It was a core tenet of Gene's Trek."

Brannon Braga said that "In Gene Roddenberry's imagining of the future [...] religion is completely gone. Not a single Human being on Earth believes in any of the nonsense that has plagued our civilization for thousands of years. This was an important part of Roddenberry's mythology. He, himself, was a secular humanist and made it well-known to writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and superstition and mystical thinking were not to be part of his universe. On Roddenberry's future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And that world is the better for it."
Top Hat
Wed, May 13, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -5)
I would wager a lot of people today know that Hercules is a son of Zeus. Is that evidence that belief in and worship of the Greek gods is commonplace?
Robert
Wed, May 13, 2020, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
The Enterprise had a chapel with a cross in it. Just sayin'
Peter G.
Wed, May 13, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Those are valid points, except of course what Braga says, since ENT. We may have to revert to an old point that's been made here, which is that Trek was never a carbon-copy imprinting of Gene's vision of the future, but a co-mingling of his ideas and those of others who agreed with a hopeful future. If you're right that Gene absolutely thought religion would be eradicated, that is not really what's reflected on the show, even though it might show its head from time to time when he got his word in. But others got their word in as well, in ways that somewhat contradict that message. I think I generally agree with Omicron that Trek appears on its face to depict a secular, not an atheistic society.

Incidentally, "atheist" is a word that gets tossed around a lot in pop culture, but to actually be an atheist is an incredibly forward and positive statement about reality. It requires far more faith to be a true atheist and declare with certainty there is no God than to say you're not sure or think there might be. What data could that be based on? And if we're using TOS and TNG as guides, there can actually be no basis for it, because while the issue of God is undetermined there are clearly gods running around left and right. I think the most secular-minded society based on science would default to something like "we don't know and can't say", which is possibly what many 'atheists' think anyhow. But it's easy to confuse this with the Hitchens version, which outright attacks the idea.
Elliott
Wed, May 13, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
This is the weirdest episode thread to be having this conversation.

The thing that I maintain about Star Trek is that it is always allegorical. Human beings represent one vision of the human condition, largely (but not entirely) shaped by Gene Roddenberry's (not always consistent) values. But all the other races in Trek *also* represent the human condition, specifically, other visions of it. Obviously, the framing of the stories, with humans as the protagonists and the heroes most of the time, frames Gene's vision as the best option, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for disagreement. That's why we have Klingons and Ferengi and Bajorans and Romulans.

As to whether the text supports the existence of religious belief in the 23rd and 24th centuries, there's evidence for both possibilities, but not for the possibility that humans practise religion in the same way as many do now. There can definitely be no Pope, for example. Religious belief that could survive humanity's evolution would have to be the sort of passive spiritualism that doesn't hold together along strict doctrines. Because of this, it's basically impossible to institutionalise or organise. And because of this, it would likely fall out fashion for a large majority of the population.

And for the record, I am definitely an atheist but there are religious icons decorating my home, I celebrate Christmas, and a quarter of my income comes from religious institutions.
Booming
Wed, May 13, 2020, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert
"The Enterprise had a chapel with a cross in it. Just sayin' "
Yeah that room screams Christianity :D
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/memoryalpha/images/d/df/Enterprise_chapel.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150603133416&path-prefix=en

The TNG Enterprise didn't even have that.

@Peter
Do you think Braga was lying about what Roddenberry said to the writers?
Top Hat
Wed, May 13, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
It resembles a cross... sort of. https://i.stack.imgur.com/wsL2f.jpg
Robert
Wed, May 13, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
For those unfamiliar, that's a Christian lectern in Booming's picture:

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/640x360/p07vnjl1.jpg

Guess this muddies the waters a bit.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, May 14, 2020, 9:51am (UTC -5)
@Top Hat
"I find it interesting that people seem prepared to accept that religion -- either religion in general or a specific religion like Christianity -- would be transformed before Star Trek's time, but also not to entertain the prospect of them having been transformed into something so different that the term "religion" as we understand it doesn't apply."

What's the difference between the two options? Sounds to me like more of a semantic quibble than anything else.

"It appears that to be the case that Roddenberry didn't so much think that people COULDN'T be religion in the future he envisioned as that they wouldn't... he ascribed religion to a childhood that humanity would surpass as it enters the stars."

That's exactly right. And that's the context in which we need to take all his anti-religious statements.

Let's see what other things that Roddenberry included in this "childhood": Prejudice, racism, greed, corruption, oppression, etc.

Now look at what Roddenberry has to say about religion:
'I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will - and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain.'

See the connection? That's the stuff that Roddenberry wants to keep in the past. That's why he was so vehemently opposed to having present-day religions in his setting. Nothing more, nothing less. Context, people, is everything.

@Booming
"Do you think Braga was lying about what Roddenberry said to the writers? "

He didn't lie. But his understanding of the source material doesn't seem too hot, either.

For example he wrote:

'On Roddenberry's future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And that world is the better for it.'

Yet Roddenberry himself wasn't an atheist. He was anti-religion but was also a very firm believer in a higher power (he was a pantheist). So no, Roddenberry most certainly did not envision a future were everyone is an atheist.

if you want to know what Roddenberry's views were, you should read his own words rather then second-hand hearsay.

Just Sayin'

@Peter
"Well if TOS is to be our main guide, we see plenty of cases of the show being against some primitive people being held back by an entity controlling them. The issue was always being unable to advance, not the belief in higher powers."

It's not just TOS. It's the entire canon.

"Anti-religion" Trek episodes are never about religion itself. They are always about a specific danger that religious people should be interested in avoiding.

If oppression and allowing your leaders to rob your freedom of thought is part of your religious experience, then you are doing religion wrong.

@Elliot
"This is the weirdest episode thread to be having this conversation."

You got that right...
Yanks
Thu, May 14, 2020, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Just watched BoT last night.

Kirk was non-denominational(ly) ... lol .... fulfilling his Captainy duties by performing a marriage ceremony. The female crew member that lost her husband-to-be is clearly praying at the alter at the end of the episode.
Booming
Thu, May 14, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
To the Great Kirk in the sky!
Peter G.
Thu, May 14, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Good post, Omicron, that is more or less what I was trying to say also. And especially about Braga basically being a dolt...
Mike
Thu, May 14, 2020, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G
"Incidentally, "atheist" is a word that gets tossed around a lot in pop culture, but to actually be an atheist is an incredibly forward and positive statement about reality. It requires far more faith to be a true atheist and declare with certainty there is no God than to say you're not sure or think there might be. What data could that be based on? And if we're using TOS and TNG as guides, there can actually be no basis for it, because while the issue of God is undetermined there are clearly gods running around left and right. I think the most secular-minded society based on science would default to something like "we don't know and can't say", which is possibly what many 'atheists' think anyhow. But it's easy to confuse this with the Hitchens version, which outright attacks the idea. "

Logically speaking, the atheist position as I understand it is that if God existed, we could and would all be able to observe the evidence confirming it, and I assume that means through the senses and not just top-down reasoning. I don't think it requires faith at all, although some versions of it might.

What's interesting is, if that were the reasoning, then Q would come as close as I think is possible to qualifying as "God" - he's seemingly omnipotent, with nearly nothing he can't do. He could probably exist in all times and spaces if he wanted. But no one in their right mind would say that Q is God (and Picard says so). Roddenberry obviously had no qualms including Q in the show. There are also other beings like the "wormhole aliens". So if atheists watching Trek say there's no God in the show, but it would be possible to show God, I have to ask - what would God look like to them?

As a former atheist, I can say pretty confidently my position came from faithlessness and the belief that If I can't see it then it doesn't exist (which is really just another form of faith, in a way), along with a misunderstanding of what God meant. An all-powerful Q-like being wasn't even close.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, May 15, 2020, 12:24am (UTC -5)
@Mike
"If atheists watching Trek say there's no God in the show, but it would be possible to show God, I have to ask - what would God look like to them?"

Saying "there's no God in the show" is not the same thing as "there are no religious people/believers in the show". So I don't think the way you phrased that question is entirely fair.

The second half of your question is both fair and interesting: If you had to depict God in a sci fi setting, how would you do it? Would He be just another power-hungry alien like Apollo or Ardra? Or will He be something more... interesting.
Booming
Fri, May 15, 2020, 2:54am (UTC -5)
@Mike
"that If I can't see it then it doesn't exist (which is really just another form of faith, in a way)"
Believing that something doesn't exist that cannot be measured or perceived in any provable way is not another faith. That is seeing things for what they are. It is always on the side who claims that something exists to provide proof. If that side cannot provide that proof then that is belief. Not accepting that belief as true is not another belief.

What is god or gods? That is an interesting question. We think, because we are more intelligent, that we can tell animals how to live and they accept it because we provide them with shelter and food (and force them to behave if necessary). Are we gods pets? Many people seem to believe that.

One could, as some have argued, go the pantheistic way, which treats the universe like an almost intelligent or evolving thing.
To me that all sounds like emotional safety blankets:"Don't worry, every thing is gonna be alright. There is some form of plan to all of this." That is naturally more comforting then what we know so far:" absolute randomness."

So yeah, I don't think considering that something like Q exists that there is even room for god or gods in Star Trek anymore. The Q's are like gods, so why are they not gods, then? Could one not say that gods only exist for beings who don't know enough and when they reach a certain point all godlike beings would transition to superhuman like beings.
Cody B
Fri, May 15, 2020, 3:37am (UTC -5)
Above 80% of all atheists believe in aliens. Vaguely human sky beings. Angels in other words. A great many of them also pray when things go really really wrong in their life. Personally I’ve always thought of atheism as kind of pouting with your bottom lip out and your arms folded “we’re all alone and there’s nothing good out there!”. It’s a very hollow and unhealthy spiritual existence. Which isn’t to say you must take every thing in your chosen religion’s bible literally. Personally I think of god as a frequency or wavelength you should aspire to be on. Love, positivity, wisdom.
Jason R.
Fri, May 15, 2020, 4:26am (UTC -5)
"Above 80% of all atheists believe in aliens. Vaguely human sky beings. Angels in other words. A great many of them also pray when things go really really wrong in their life. Personally I’ve always thought of atheism as kind of pouting with your bottom lip out and your arms folded “we’re all alone and there’s nothing good out there!”.

Whenever someone makes this kind of statement I can never be sure if as an atheist I am being trolled or you guys could really be this deluded about how other people think.

Incidentally, I am going to go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of mainstream atheists are technically agnostic (myself included) but when that "agnosticism" leads you to reject virtually all human religious or spiritual belief that's essentially a distinction without a difference.

To borrow an analogy from a Christian believing in some abstract unknown godlike force in the universe gets you closer to Jesus (or any earth religion) like standing on your roof gets you closer to the moon.
Booming
Fri, May 15, 2020, 6:25am (UTC -5)
Yeah 80% sounds a little (and with little I mean very) high. Jason pretty much summed it up. Study please or call I BS on that.
" Which isn’t to say you must take every thing in your chosen religion’s bible literally."
That's comforting, considering:
In the bible and the Quran you have justifications for slavery, and when it is ok to kill people and for what and so much more. The old testament has 36 capital offenses. In the new testament Jesus states:"He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die."
The Quran is not much different. Why anybody would say:"Sure, I will base my morals on that." is beyond me. And saying, oh don't read the murder, infanticide, genocide and slavery parts, concentrate on the other stuff, is very puzzling, too.
And these are the holy books for around half of the earth's population.
No wonder Roddenberry didn't want that stuff in Star Trek and I read an interview with him where he detailed how the execs wanted to force him to include religious symbols and more.

You write this about atheists "It’s a very hollow and unhealthy spiritual existence." and then you write this " Personally I think of god as a frequency or wavelength you should aspire to be on. Love, positivity, wisdom."
I guess you have still a lot of aspiring to do, then.
William B
Fri, May 15, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -5)
The aliens figure might depend on what is meant by "believes in aliens." "There might be intelligent life in the universe other than on Earth" is probably a more common belief than "there are intelligent human-like beings who have had contact with and are interested in us." A friend of my mom's is into the ancient aliens stuff, believes that aliens are going to take the good humans on the mothership to a paradise (!!!) and it seems obviously to be a direct substitute for certain kinds of religious belief, providing solace that the injustices in this world will be rectified in the "next life" which is the true one. I don't know if he'd even identify as an atheist, and IIRC he thinks Jesus was an alien. I sincerely doubt that 80% of atheists are like him, though I don't think he's unique. I have heard that people who believe that aliens have visited humans have similar experiences to religious visions, in near-death/psychadelic experiences, etc. But belief that alien life is possible in the abstract sense (or agnosticism about that), which has likely never had contact with us, seems common enough. I also don't think such belief is necessarily any kind of substitute for/equivalent to religion, if there's no particular belief about what such aliens would believe or want (or what human behaviour this should imply).
Booming
Fri, May 15, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
My thoughts as well. I believe that intelligent life exists on other planets in the universe, doesn't mean that I'm afraid of being kidnapped by aliens. Cody seems to have an agenda.
Top
Fri, May 15, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
As usual, people are far too hung up on doctrinal purity. I see no reason why the label "atheist" can't apply to someone whose attitude is "I don't think that there are any God/gods and so they don't factor into my decisions." Whether such a person is actively anti-religious is immaterial to the label, and a person can believe in God and be anti-religion (as many deists are).
Peter G.
Fri, May 15, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
@ Top (is this Top Hat?).

"As usual, people are far too hung up on doctrinal purity. I see no reason why the label "atheist" can't apply to someone whose attitude is "I don't think that there are any God/gods and so they don't factor into my decisions." Whether such a person is actively anti-religious is immaterial to the label, and a person can believe in God and be anti-religion (as many deists are)."

Ironically it's been my observation that doctrinal purity doesn't occur in religious people as much as you'd expect, but can be found in 'secular' circles quite frequently (see: any political discussion). The reason I personally made my comment above about the term atheists was mostly in regard to the other comment made that in Roddenberry's world everyone is an atheist. Now in a piece of sci-fi I could accept that premise - what if in the future everyone is an atheist; ok, that's an scenario we could investigate through a story. But I also know that for many people it's not enough to say they personally don't believe, but have a significant agenda to get others to admit that religion is bad or stupid. So to that extent I wanted to qualify somewhat to avoid an unstated assumption being left out there that in our ideal future obviously everyone will agree that religion is stupid and wrong.
Booming
Fri, May 15, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
"Ironically it's been my observation that doctrinal purity doesn't occur in religious people as much as you'd expect, but can be found in 'secular' circles quite frequently"
Yeah, it is the non religious people who are the real fanatics.
Tell that to a lesbian couple that cannot hold hands in Russia, or a thief who gets his hand chopped off in Saudi Arabia, or gay teenagers in Bolivia who are forced into a torture camp by their parents, or tell that to women in Georgia who can get 30 years in prison for an abortion.
William B
Fri, May 15, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Yeah not to harp on it too much but my impression is that while there are some atheists who are uninterested in converting anyone, and of those who are interested in converting, certainly some atheists are anti-religious for the sake of point-scoring, a lot of anti-religious activism comes down to the harm that various institutions in the world do for ostensibly religious reasons, trying to ensure that the state maintains separation from religion, protecting people from predation from religious authorities, etc., rather than a "my-way-or-the-highway" style insistence that others must conform to their beliefs. There's some bleed-over of course (the existence of religious persecution makes some anti-religious activists particularly zealous in viewing all religion as oppressive, for instance).
Cody B
Fri, May 15, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

I can not find the study that showed that the percentile of atheists who believe in aliens is in the 80s. I don’t expect you take my memory as any sort of proof but I can promise you the study was either 82% or 84% of atheists surveyed believed in aliens. I did find some interesting links though

Here is study explaining atheists are 76% more likely to believe in aliens than a religious person http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3999273/

And here are a few links explaining how believing in aliens is your surrogate religion
http://www.psypost.org/2017/04/study-finds-belief-aliens-religious-belief-share-similar-psychological-motivation-

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/belief-in-aliens-may-be-a-religious-impulse/
Cody B
Fri, May 15, 2020, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

I notice you keep bringing up “RODDENBERRY’S VISION” (TM). Gene Roddenberry was a Baptist until well into his adult life. He also fought in the US wars you seemed to have a problem with in that other thread. Killed two people when he crashed a plane he was piloting. Cheated on his wife with Nichelle Nichols and Majel Barrett. Those are the confirmed ones at least. I’m quite sure there’s many more. No wonder he started to dislike the idea of holy matrimony. His 1960s “vision” can be boiled down to “can’t we like.... love each other maaaaan?”. It’s just not deep. At all. Star Trek evolved way past TOS.
Top Hat
Fri, May 15, 2020, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
Whether Roddenberry was saint or scoundrel, the lack of human religion in the future is one aspect of Star Trek that the writers have almost perfectly consistently upheld.
Booming
Fri, May 15, 2020, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
@ Cody
Roddenberry also did a lot of drugs. Artists have to be pervy deviants, it's in the bible.
If you want to know what he thought. This is a fairly long interview. They also talk about how much he loved the Baptist church.
http://trekcomic.com/2016/11/24/gene-roddenberrys-1991-humanist-interview/

"He also fought in the US wars you seemed to have a problem with in that other thread."
I was a soldier, too. And Roddenberry never participated in battle, he therefore technically killed more US soldiers (2) than enemies (0), plus the second word war was maybe the one war during the last 100 years the US didn't start based on lies. Not to be overzealous again but my critique in the other thread was about war movies. Say what you will about Eisenhower but naming all the stuff you could build for one B 52 bomber is quite illuminating, especially considering that the USA, all things considered, spends 1.25 trillion dollars every year on defense. People need a lot of propaganda to accept such a high number in (basically) peace time.
Jason R.
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -5)
Cody I don't have much trouble believing your 80% of atheists believing in aliens - I am surprised it isn't higher. I just don't know what you think that proves. Are aliens supposed to be god or angel equivalents? Do you think 80% of atheists *worship* aliens?
Top Hat
Sat, May 16, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
I'm guessing that the insinuation is that there's a psychic need for belief in SOMETHING. "Fairies" would serve the same basic purpose as "aliens" in this rhetorical maneuver. It's trying to discredit the idea that anyone can function with faith or some sort.
Top Hat
Sat, May 16, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Above, that should be "without faith of some sort."
Cody B
Sat, May 16, 2020, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R

No the point is that the BELIEF in aliens is about faith. There is absolutely zero evidence. It will come down to “well some smart guy said the Galaxy is so big the probability of aliens is large”. The same way a historian said Jesus turned water into wine. No evidence. Faith. It’s a surrogate religion. A strange warped version, like the beginning seed of a religious belief, but it’s a way of believing there’s powerful beings in the sky and we are not alone. Check out those bottom two links I posted above it is interesting stuff.
Top Hat
Sat, May 16, 2020, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Even if we were to accept that "belief in gods" and "belief in aliens" are fully equivalent concepts, let's observe that those people who believe in the Rigelians don't tend to engage in inquisitions against the people who believe in the Argellians, and people who believe in the Greys don't engage in holy wars against those who believe in the Reds.
Jason R.
Sat, May 16, 2020, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Cody I won't deny that some people who believe in aliens seem to worship them like gods and such beliefs might qualify as religious. However, equating *any* belief in the existence of aliens to a religious faith merely because the belief happens to lack direct evidence is so specious.

Even if the belief in the existence of extra terrestrial life is irrational or lacking credibility, unless it invokes some supernatural idea or invites *worship* then how can it be in the same category as a religious faith?

I mean if I believed that in the real "delta quadrant" of our galaxy there were literally Kazon just like they are portrayed on Voyager, that to you is equivalent to me believing in angels from God? If I believe (rightly or wrongly) that there's a spec of extra terrestrial intelligence somewhere in the cosmos that's equivalent in your mind to worshiping God? Seriously? This is coming from a Trek fan?
Cody B
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
@Top Hat

Bringing up holy wars as the reason religions are bad is like saying there are a few bad episodes of Star Trek so the entire series shouldn’t be watched. Don’t you think there are some better “episodes”, those that speak to the human condition, could make you a better person? As far as saying atheists/believers in aliens aren’t starting wars well that’s because they can’t. I have no doubt if aliens were confirmed real and everyone had access to technology of space exploration humans would get themselves into all kinds of trouble
Booming
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
@Cody

Looking at the huffpost article, the question the company asked is not a very good one. I looked at the actual study and it is not really about non religious people believing in extraterrestrials but about how religious people have problems accepting the likelihood of alien life existing because in their religion only Humans can exist. It would have been better to ask if you believe that alien life could exist and then have a scale from impossible to certain. Also the company who did the survey basically pays the participants which is not a good system. They (survata) describe it like this"Consumers are asked questions in exchange for access to content or a service, such as free Wi-Fi." *cough* ok...

Onwards to the second article. Here I also made a quick looksy into the study. Method hmmm:"Participants were 274 undergraduate students (129 female, Mage = 20.32, SDage = 11.88) from a large Midwestern uni-versity." If I'm not mistaken that midwestern university is the North Dakota State University and they got a credit for participation. That is of course a very specific group and obviously not representative. I won't go into the specifics but it is not as clear as the article makes it seem. Plus the guy who made it has some odd sponsors and says stuff that borders on having a normative quality. That is how they end the interview:"I have been doing this research for a number of years and for the last year or so have been writing a book on this topic, which will be published later this year. So if any of your readers are interested in this ideas [sic], they can check out my website clayroutledge.com which has information about this work and will have information about the book once it is finalized and a publication date available." Well that screams journalistic and scientific integrity.

Now the third source.
Ok the third source is an article by Michael Shermer who writes about the study from your second source. So there is no new info here. I'm also not a huge fan of Shermer. He is ok, I guess. Not a big fan of religion, I believe.
Cody B
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason R

Like I said before you should check out these links. It probably comes down to humans being hardwired for some type of belief/faith. It’s kind of like you are tricking yourself by saying you have no belief or faith yet that’s exactly what you have. Belief and faith in the magic sky people of which there is no evidence. Here’s those links hopefully they can answer your questions better than I can

http://www.psypost.org/2017/04/study-finds-belief-aliens-religious-belief-share-similar-psychological-motivation-

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/belief-in-aliens-may-be-a-religious-impulse/
Top Hat
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
I’m absolutely baffled trying to navigate this conflation of religion faith, liking Star Trek and believing in real aliens. But I can say with absolute certainty that the evils done in the name of organized religion do not come close to justifying any good done in its name.
Top Hat
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
It's really a frankly bizarre equivalency, and really makes me wonder if it's being made with a clear head. There are bad episodes of Star Trek, sure. But nobody forces people to watch them, much less die over them. The same cannot be said of holy wars or other unpleasant things about religion that you're apparently just prepared to slough off as basically irrelevant.
Cody B
Sat, May 16, 2020, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
@Top hat

Oh my head is clear. Not like I believe in aliens or anything like that. I think you understood my point just fine but it mad you a little mad. Don’t know why else you’d start in with the insults. Yep there have been holy wars. Long long time ago. People died. No one you could name or knew personally or could produce a photograph of though. You could probably point to some Islam related things but those are fanatics and I would fully agree with you that fanatics are dangerous and that’s not the kind of thing I would support (I’m not singling out Islam either). Along with the bad things you list about religions there are just as much good. It depends on the person.
Cody B
Sat, May 16, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming

Oh you’re not ‘not a huge fan’ of the guy who wrote the article. Well that settles it then! I’m not really looking to get into one these exhausting back and forths. Here’s a few more links. You probably won’t like them, that’s okay we can disagree. I provided enough proof that there is something to what I originally said, evidence of believing in aliens being a surrogate religion, and that’s good enough for me.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/opinion/sunday/dont-believe-in-god-maybe-youll-try-ufos.html

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/culture/2019/6/4/18632778/ufo-aliens-american-cosmic-diana-pasulka

https://opentheword.org/2015/04/19/no-infrared-no-proof-but-still-many-atheists-believe/
Mike
Sat, May 16, 2020, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron

"Saying "there's no God in the show" is not the same thing as "there are no religious people/believers in the show". So I don't think the way you phrased that question is entirely fair.

The second half of your question is both fair and interesting: If you had to depict God in a sci fi setting, how would you do it? Would He be just another power-hungry alien like Apollo or Ardra? Or will He be something more... interesting."

You're right, it's not the same thing. I'm more interested in the relationship between scientific progress and belief in God, then Booming posted the meta-study which turned this into a discussion on how religious people in the future will be. I'm not sure what they have to do with each other.

How would I depict God? I think any attempt is bound to fail, by putting God within space and time, turning God into a deity, a limited thing with form and substance. Which is what pretty much all religions have done.

How do you depict infinity? We have a symbol for it, but like the word "God" it isn't it.

@Booming
"Believing that something doesn't exist that cannot be measured or perceived in any provable way is not another faith. That is seeing things for what they are. It is always on the side who claims that something exists to provide proof. If that side cannot provide that proof then that is belief. Not accepting that belief as true is not another belief."

I agree that it makes no sense to believe something you can't measure or perceive. But if I say "well, I haven't experienced it so it must not exist", that rules out that I might be able to experience or perceive it, no?

I don't want to bring up philosophy since I know you're not a fan, but Plato's cave allegory is pretty useful here. Believing that all we see is all there is can be demonstrated as false quite easily.

The problem is not proof but proof dictating its own terms. Discussion of proof of God is, in most cases, comparable to someone locked in a cave for life demanding proof of the sun. The sun isn't in the cave, so therefore it doesn't exist. The cave-dweller might say that is seeing things as they are, but it isn't the truth.

"What is god or gods? That is an interesting question. We think, because we are more intelligent, that we can tell animals how to live and they accept it because we provide them with shelter and food (and force them to behave if necessary). Are we gods pets? Many people seem to believe that."

Yes, unfortunately. God telling us how to live, is more intelligent and forces us to do things - no wonder society is less religious than ever. It's encouraging we're turning away from such beliefs.

"One could, as some have argued, go the pantheistic way, which treats the universe like an almost intelligent or evolving thing. To me that all sounds like emotional safety blankets:"Don't worry, every thing is gonna be alright. There is some form of plan to all of this." That is naturally more comforting then what we know so far:" absolute randomness."

Couldn't agree more. I think it's pretty evident the universe doesn't care about what happens to you or me. For the pantheists I know (quite a few) there's quite the internal battle going on, no matter how much they try to cover up the dark parts.

"So yeah, I don't think considering that something like Q exists that there is even room for god or gods in Star Trek anymore. The Q's are like gods, so why are they not gods, then? Could one not say that gods only exist for beings who don't know enough and when they reach a certain point all godlike beings would transition to superhuman like beings. "

Well, I think I've said enough on the point that the Q bears absolutely no resemblance to anything I would think of as God. They could do to primitive religious types (which are still around today). So I don't see belief in Q as much of an evolution from belief in "godlike beings" (whatever that might be).
Booming
Sun, May 17, 2020, 3:06am (UTC -5)
@ Cody
I'm not a huge fan of Shermer because I have read stuff from him and he is a little scatterbrainy and less scientist and more public educator. He is also anti religion.

I have tried to explain to you why the study that guy from North Dakota State made is not a good study, which you ignored. I also pointed out the severe problems with the first "study", which you also ignored. Then I said that the third article didn't provide any new information because it is actually talking about the results of the second link you provided. Again ignored.

Then you give three new links (one of them is a dead link), The third is about a book of somebody who looked into ET fans and the second is from "open the word - a bit of bible, a bit of life, a bit of politics." and really doesn't give any useful information.

"I provided enough proof that there is something to what I originally said, evidence of believing in aliens being a surrogate religion, and that’s good enough for me."
It is not proof by any measure but it is obviously good enough for you. I would need 20 pages to explain the endless amount of reasons why this is a tough thing to proof.

You want to believe that everybody is actually religious, even the agnostics and atheists and that it would be better for them to choose the original (religion) then believe in a surrogate aka aliens. I guess you have some doubts about your own beliefs and try to silence them.

@Mike
" don't want to bring up philosophy since I know you're not a fan, but Plato's cave allegory is pretty useful here."
I'm a little douchy when it comes to the field's future, That is just my inner asshole talking. Plato's cave allegory is a very apt observation. In more scientific ways it is still a question pondered:"How can we study society when we are part of society." To apply it here. If you tell people there is god then they will believe it. If your parents tell you or people of respect in your community then you will believe them because not to would be disrespectful. So the cave could be the religious community one lives in.

But to your example. You basically say, if I understand correctly, that we cannot measure god because we do not know god. The problem here is that we don't even know that god exists. That is not like in physics where they know that some particle or dark matter (or something with the effect) has to exist and then look for and find these things ,as it has happened now with the help of Cern. No. We have no rational reason to believe that a monotheistic or polytheistic god(s) exists. The Christian god is as real as Scientology's Xenu. In other words god is not a missing part like the Higgs-Boson, and if god does not exist then it cannot be found.

"to anything I would think of as God."
Q is somewhat like maybe a greek god or the old testament Christian version. Less like the more aloof form of the new testament, I think. Not that I know much of the bible.
Mike
Sun, May 17, 2020, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"I'm a little douchy when it comes to the field's future, That is just my inner asshole talking. Plato's cave allegory is a very apt observation. In more scientific ways it is still a question pondered:"How can we study society when we are part of society." To apply it here. If you tell people there is god then they will believe it. If your parents tell you or people of respect in your community then you will believe them because not to would be disrespectful. So the cave could be the religious community one lives in."

It could be, yes. It could also be the scientific community, when its limitations are ignored. Scientists with enough humility and understanding of their field will always acknowledge that it (and science as a whole) has limitations - among its great and many functions which have served us well over the centuries.

And I would like to emphasize that saying this doesn't mean I believe climate change is a hoax, or that vaccines don't work. Climatology is a perfectly suitable means for the study of climates, and immunology for vaccination.

Yesterday I was watching an ant crawl across the book I was reading, then onto my arm. I thought, is this tiny thing aware of me? Is it even capable of being aware of me? Could the human body, its senses and functioning, be unaware of something right in front of it, just as an ant is completely oblivious to my existence?

Coming back to Star Trek, that's why I don't think a few hundred years of scientific advances or higher IQs will produce any development here. The best we can hope for is the "great being in the sky" idea of religion will die out and we turn our attention elsewhere. And considering the harm religion has done over the years, almost anywhere is better.
Cody B
Mon, May 18, 2020, 1:22am (UTC -5)
@Booming
“If you tell people there is god then they will believe it. If your parents tell you or people of respect in your community then you will believe them”

Many times it’s the exact opposite. Kids from religious families try to rebel against religion. Famous people with preacher fathers include Alice Cooper, Aleister Crowley, Sam Kinison, Jon Jones,Malcolm X. If they didn’t outright abandon Christianity they made careers that their families weren’t proud to discuss in church. One of those links I posted earlier discusses how a lot of atheists come from religious families and feel they saw hypocrisy growing up. Instead of realizing they are not their parents and that Christianity is about knowing you are imperfect and forgiving imperfections in others.
Booming
Mon, May 18, 2020, 2:53am (UTC -5)
@Mike
"Scientists with enough humility and understanding of their field will always acknowledge that it (and science as a whole) has limitations - "
No disagreement there.

"Could the human body, its senses and functioning, be unaware of something right in front of it, just as an ant is completely oblivious to my existence?"
We are not ants, of course, but all the monotheists and, I suppose, the polytheists, too believe that god or gods have made direct contact and even beamed down or up rules everybody should follow. Moses, Mohamed, Jesus and all the others. I have no problem with a god that just does his/her/it's thing without me noticing, while I search for sugar. Sadly that is not the case. I'm living 200km away from Poland where the catholic bishops harass LGBT people and call them horrible things. And I hate them for it.
These people are darkness.

"And considering the harm religion has done over the years, almost anywhere is better."
Hear hear!

@Cody
"Many times it’s the exact opposite. Kids from religious families try to rebel against religion."
That really depends on your definition of many. For the vast majority it is not true.

" Christianity is about knowing you are imperfect and forgiving imperfections in others."
For you maybe but for many people in many countries it is about intolerance and harassment of others. For example, in your enlightened country 700.000 people were forced into "conversion therapy" and after having experienced the loving hand of Christianity in that have an extremely high suicide risk compared to other LGBT people (9x higher). Deus Lo Vult.
Cody B
Mon, May 18, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
@Booming

And now it’s MY turn to discredit YOUR study. Im not a fan of the writer. Case closed. Lol no I’m kidding. First off as far as I can tell the vast majority of it is not related to Christianity. The people surveyed ranged in age to up to 59 years old so a survey done in 2017 means they were born in 1958. Different times. That study is not a accurate reflection of current times. Also what you and the study refer to as “conversion therapy” are considered a number of different things. As little as speaking to a licensed therapist that was not officiated with Christianity. I understand how difficult being gay in certain areas in the 1960s may have been but if speaking to a therapist about your sexuality is the most difficult thing someone has gone through in life I would call them lucky. But if families in the 1960s, a vastly different time, worried for your child and what being gay means in those times, took their child to a licensed therapist and then someone wants to link that to Christianity and “conversion therapy” I think that’s a dishonest. Now if you go by the YouGov poll which shows only 8% of Americans think “conversion therapy” can have any effect, yet 65% of America identifies as Christian, you get a more accurate picture of NOW. Besides all of this you are kind of doing what Top Hat did which is focus on one area (in his case it was Holy Wars) and want to discount and tear down an entire religion because of actions taken by few. There are 2.3 billion people on Earth that identify as Christian. Some of them are bad. A lot of them are bad. The actions they take as individuals reflect upon them not a entire religion. Like I said before extremists exists and they are dangerous. It’s a sad thing anyone would have to go through shock therapy because they were gay but the number that have is not near 700,000.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, May 18, 2020, 7:25am (UTC -5)
@Mike
"I think it's pretty evident the universe doesn't care about what happens to you or me."

It has been my experience that people get what they expect on this front.

Spiritual people often report seeing constant evidence that the universe is constantly looking after them, with things like synchronicities and personally-tailored life lessons. Nonspiritual people, on the other hand, don't understand what all the fuss is all about.

As a person with over a decade of experience on both sides, I can tell you that both are correct. Apparently, whether the universe appears "personal" or "impersonal" is largely a matter of individual perspective.

@Cody B
"Personally I think of god as a frequency or wavelength you should aspire to be on. Love, positivity, wisdom."

Yup. Pretty much.

But how did you get from that to "atheism is a very hollow and unhealthy spiritual existence"?

Atheists can strive to be loving, positive and wise. Just because they call these values by a different name, does not mean they don't pursue them in their own way.

Indeed, in my experience there's no correlation (either positive or negative) between religious belief and a healthy spiritual existence.

@Booming
"We are not ants, of course, but all the monotheists and, I suppose, the polytheists, too believe that god or gods have made direct contact and even beamed down or up rules everybody should follow."

No, not all monotheists believe that.

How - exactly - does an infinite timeless being make "direct contact"? Whatever contact The Source has with us, it is never going to be direct. It will always be filtered through our own culture and our own souls and our own expectations.
Mike
Mon, May 18, 2020, 8:12am (UTC -5)
@Omicron
"It has been my experience that people get what they expect on this front.

Spiritual people often report seeing constant evidence that the universe is constantly looking after them, with things like synchronicities and personally-tailored life lessons. Nonspiritual people, on the other hand, don't understand what all the fuss is all about.

As a person with over a decade of experience on both sides, I can tell you that both are correct. Apparently, whether the universe appears "personal" or "impersonal" is largely a matter of individual perspective. "

Yes, that's been my experience too. I was talking more from the perspective of the personal self most of us identify with, equated with an individual body, rather than an overarching non-dual Self. For that Self there is no "you" or "me", no death or loss, but when there is belief in duality then there is conflict.

So I think no matter our expectations, the universe will never lift the human forms of Mike or Omicron into its caring arms and caress them lovingly forever - the best we can expect is to be led out of all we thought we were and knew, and into freedom from it, AS that freedom. But I'm not complaining, freedom sounds like a pretty good deal to me :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, May 18, 2020, 8:51am (UTC -5)
@Mike
"I was talking more from the perspective of the personal self most of us identify with, equated with an individual body, rather than an overarching non-dual Self."

It's not an either/or proposition.

Not all forms of spirituality negate the self. Mine certainly doesn't. I don't see a contradiction between "being me" and being part of something bigger. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

And from my personal perspective, at least, it certainly looks like the universe is looking after me. It also seems like it has a really bizarre sense of humor :-)

"So I think no matter our expectations, the universe will never lift the human forms of Mike or Omicron into its caring arms and caress them lovingly forever"

Yeah, I agree with you on that.

Not sure why anybody should want that, though. We are not babies or kittens, are we?
Booming
Mon, May 18, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -5)
@ Cody
I don't know what study you are referring to. I guess you mean a UCLA summary report?
"That study is not a accurate reflection of current times."
It is 18-59. And there is also this number: "57,000 youth (ages 13-17) across all states will receive conversion therapy from religious or spiritual advisors before they reach the age of 18." The important word here is: will, oh and maybe religious. But hey 60.000 tortured kids don't bother you.

" Also what you and the study refer to as “conversion therapy” are considered a number of different things. As little as speaking to a licensed therapist that was not officiated with Christianity."
I don't know from which part of the study that is and what do you mean with not officiated with Christianity?? Like a christian therapist? And a professional telling you that all your sexual desires and feelings are wrong and that you can be not gay/trans if you really want to, what damage could that make, especially considering that studies have shown again and again that you cannot change your sexuality and why do you think somebody would want to change their sexuality and why always from gay to non gay but never the other way around. Yeah, it's a mystery... Plus, this would be the best case scenario. Far more likely are parents and ministers shouting at you in a basement somewhere for weeks, month, maybe years.

"but if speaking to a therapist about your sexuality is the most difficult thing someone has gone through in life I would call them lucky."
Framing it like this is a very shitty thing to do. Like the people who say that slavery wasn't so bad. The Negros had their chickens and were singing nice ethnic songs and picking cotton.
Yearlong mental torture often done by the people who should have protected you. No biggie.

"Now if you go by the YouGov poll which shows only 8% of Americans think “conversion therapy” can have any effect, yet 65% of America identifies as Christian, you get a more accurate picture of NOW. "
ok 8% using your numbers that means more than 26 million people are pro conversion out of 213 million Christians. In other words 12% of Christians in the US believe in conversion therapy or let's call it what it is, horrible mental (and often also physical) torture that leads to extremely high suicide rates. But hey no biggie.

" The actions they take as individuals reflect upon them not a entire religion."
If the holy books these religions consider the word of god are openly homophobic then these religions are responsible and not the individual.

Let me end this with one quote from a vid I saw yesterday: "You are so far away from the truth that if somebody would drop an H bomb on the truth you wouldn't even get radiation burns."

And because you think I hate Christianity. That is not true. I think the Lutherans are ok(In Germany we just call them protestants).
- Women are equal
- LGBT is accepted
- loving attitude towards non-believers
If a religion follows these three things it's fine with me.

Bon voyage, dear Cody. My workload has tripled during the last week and I don't have the time anymore to unravel your... creations.

@Omicron

"No, not all monotheists believe that."
hmm really? I guess not all. :) But a religion without rules is no religion at all. That sounds more like personal spirituality.

Sorry Cody really exhausted me.
Cody B
Mon, May 18, 2020, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
“But how did you get from that to "atheism is a very hollow and unhealthy spiritual existence"?“


Athiests don’t believe in higher power of any sort. No spirituality. A person who has no belief in higher power when going through difficult times will think something like “all these random events through time have led up to me having a horrible life.” Anger or something in the neighborhood of anger. Negativity.

A person with a spiritual belief would think “things happen for a reason. This will make me stronger. I have faith things will get better”. Positivity

Sure you can argue the atheist could have a similar sort of attitude but without the spirituality and over years and years I don’t think it would be authentic
Cody B
Mon, May 18, 2020, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5a6f549ee4b0ddb658c929e4/amp

Makes it clear that MOST of those “estimated” numbers are not Christianity affiliated. That’s the study you brought up.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, May 18, 2020, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"But a religion without rules is no religion at all."

I've never said that there are no God-given rules. Nor do I believe that.

My point is that figuring them out is going to be a little more challenging then just opening a book. Even if it is The Book with a capital B.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, May 18, 2020, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B

You're "analysis" of how atheists think is worryingly similar to some of Booming's earlier "analysis" of how religious folk think.

I hope that one day, both of you will be able to appreciate the irony of this.
Mike
Tue, May 19, 2020, 3:02am (UTC -5)
@Omicron
"It's not an either/or proposition.

Not all forms of spirituality negate the self. Mine certainly doesn't. I don't see a contradiction between "being me" and being part of something bigger. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

And from my personal perspective, at least, it certainly looks like the universe is looking after me. It also seems like it has a really bizarre sense of humor :-)"

I'll put it a slightly different way: The universe wants to kill you. I don't know what exactly you mean by the universe is looking after you, but you can't overlook the fact that even if you escape the ravages of disease, hunger, poverty and all the demands the universe places on you, your living body still only has a couple of decades of what we call "life". Life in the universe means certain death. Is that what you would call benevolence?
Booming
Tue, May 19, 2020, 3:36am (UTC -5)
Ok I'll throw in my view.
I don't think that the universe wants to kill us or cares for us personally. I think that the universe is an energy pattern and we as Humans are part of that pattern, when we come into our current form, we for a while become this form of pattern and when happens what we call death then we change back to the energy pattern that we were before. In other words, it's all just shifts of energy patterns.
In a billion years when Humanity will be long gone, the universe will still be what it is today. An always changing energy pattern.
Cody B
Tue, May 19, 2020, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

Okay now I can start to reach middle ground with you. Now take what you just said above and add to it “maybe there’s something to the stuff Jesus preaches. Maybe trying to be Christ like isn’t such a bad idea” and thus not really wanting bash Christianity, the Christians who do really try to be Christ like anyway, and you can get an idea of where I’m coming from.
Mal
Wed, May 20, 2020, 12:51am (UTC -5)
@Cody B, I think @Booming has already said something to that effect when he wrote above,

"I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians because they are so unlike Christ"

Which to be fair, is probably true of all dogmatists, including (especially?) atheists.

Glad to see everyone is coming together in civil discourse. This truly is the unique magic of @Jammer's website.

That's probably why we keep coming back. Year after year. Decade after decade. This is the right place for us.

https://youtu.be/VhD0hbGEDSU?t=28

Faith manages.
Cody B
Wed, May 20, 2020, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
@Mal

Never saw where booming had said that but that’s an old Gandhi quote. Considering how much Gandhi cheated on his wife I can understand his distancing from Christianity
Mike
Wed, May 20, 2020, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B
He probably noticed that if Christians are so focused on sin and repenting, while their messiah and teacher spoke nothing of it and taught forgiveness instead, then they can't be a very clever bunch.
Booming
Wed, May 20, 2020, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Cody, let me put it like this:"You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting."
https://giphy.com/gifs/goodbye-x-men-79ZFYdMsStRYI
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, May 20, 2020, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
@Mike
"I'll put it a slightly different way: The universe wants to kill you."

Not really. I am not my body. There's a reason why we say "I have a body" rather than "I am a body". :-)

And yes, I agree that the temporary nature of our current physical vessels is - to put it mildly - annoying. It's not fun getting this shock to your system every century or so. But who said life was easy?


@Booming
"I don't think that the universe wants to kill us or cares for us personally. I think that the universe is an energy pattern and we as Humans are part of that pattern, when we come into our current form, we for a while become this form of pattern and when happens what we call death then we change back to the energy pattern that we were before. In other words, it's all just shifts of energy patterns."

Pretty much.

Now the only question that remains is - where is our individual place in all of that?

I'm not pretending to have a definite answer. Just saying that this is the question we should be asking ourselves.
Booming
Wed, May 20, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
I don't know if you have seen the new RedLetterMedia video about STP. it includes a Sisko speech:"It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge and that is why I'm here. Not to conquer you with weapons or with ideas but to coexist and learn."
I think that is a wonderful sentiment.
Either we as a species get to a mindset like this or we will perish.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, May 20, 2020, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
@Cody B
"maybe there’s something to the stuff Jesus preaches. Maybe trying to be Christ like isn’t such a bad idea”

The million dollar question is: Do you really need to be Christian to be "Christlike"? Is there even a correlation between being Christian and being "Christlike"?

If that's the thing you're trying to convince Booming of, then you're not doing a very good job.

Speaking of which:

"Never saw where booming had said that but that’s an old Gandhi quote. Considering how much Gandhi cheated on his wife I can understand his distancing from Christianity"

Why is this your standard reply for everything? You said pretty much the same thing about Roddenberry earlier. Why is it, that whenever somebody famous says that they don't like Christianity, you immediately turn it into an ad-hominem attack against that person?

Does that sound to you like a Christlike thing to do? It certainly does not sound like it to me. From where I stand (and I have a feeling Booming will concur), your behavior here refutes your own arguments.

@Booming

Amen to that.
(and people say that DS9 did not have the Star Trek ethos...)
Booming
Wed, May 20, 2020, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
I concur.
Cody B
Wed, May 20, 2020, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
@omicron

“Is their a correlation between being Christian and being Christlike?”

Yes

“Why is this your standard reply for everything? You said pretty much the same thing about Roddenberry earlier. Why is it, that whenever somebody famous says that they don't like Christianity, you immediately turn it into an ad-hominem attack against that person?”

Not sure if two times is a “standard reply” but I think it’s about the same amount of times you interjected when I was speaking to someone else and took a rude tone with me. Why is being confrontational your standard reply when I’m speaking to someone else and just attempting to give the viewpoint of and not bash Christians? My Roddenberry reply was because Booming had brought up Roddenberry several times on this thread and others within a span of a couple days. Frankly I was sick of the front that Roddenberry’s “vision” was at all deep or that he was some sort virtuous guru. The Gandhi comment I was trying to be humorous and lighthearted I guess it didn’t come off that way. That’s communicating in text for you.

“Does that sound to you like a Christlike thing to do? It certainly does not sound like it to me.”

Being sick to death of the facade that Roddenberry is a benevolent altruistic perfect visionary and attempting to make a lighthearted humorous comment about Gandhi? No I probably wasn’t being very Christ like. I have all kinds of faults and problems.

I attempted to say I could see some middle ground with Booming and tried to explain how we could have similar ideas. I was trying to be kind, I understood where he was coming from in his comment. Since then there’s been some unwarranted “concurring” about me out of the blue. It’s all good though. Again I’m sorry if the Gandhi comment came across in a way that wasn’t my intention.
EventualZen
Thu, May 21, 2020, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
@Mal
>Glad to see everyone is coming together in civil discourse. This truly is the unique magic of @Jammer's website.

Does anyone want to join me in a nagging campaign to get Jammer to review more sci-fi and add new comment sections for us to debate and appreciate?

I'd love to discuss shows like Sliders, Quantum Leap, Babylon 5, Futurama, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone with you guys.
Cody B
Fri, May 22, 2020, 1:06am (UTC -5)
@EventualZen

I’m with that. Even he doesn’t have time to review or doesn’t like a particular show we could still leave or thoughts on episodes. Make it so!
J
Fri, May 22, 2020, 1:42am (UTC -5)
He's not going to review any of those shows. He said a while back he hasn't seen them and doesn't want to see them.

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