Star trek ramble

Not that any of my fine live­jour­nal friends are at all inter­est­ed in Star Trek, but I thought I’d vent nonethe­less. I used to be a big fan of the Next Gen­er­a­tion (well, I still am, I just haven’t watched it much since the series end­ed). I loved it because it was intel­li­gent and philo­soph­i­cal­ly thougtful…and I think that, at least in some ways, it helped mold my moral sensibilities.

I haven’t real­ly got­ten into any of the oth­er Star Trek spin-offs — there was noth­ing it par­tic­u­lar that I did­n’t like about them, but I just could nev­er muster much of an inter­est in them. So, if you did­n’t know about it, there’s a new series called Enter­prise — about the FIRST Enter­prise ship (stars Scott Baku­la as the cap­tain). I had watched part of one episode a while back, but was turned off by the gra­tu­itous T & A.

So, I watched an episode the oth­er night (I was bored)…and found myself deeply dis­turbed by it. The basic sto­ry was: there was one of the crewmem­bers in a coma or some such thing, in need of a trans­plant organ or some­thing, so they decide to clone this per­son so that they oper­ate on the clone and get the need­ed organ. This clone sup­pos­ed­ly is giv­en some sort of rapid aging abil­i­ty, so that it becomes an adult in a mat­ter of days, and while the oper­a­tion sup­pos­ed­ly won’t kill him, he will nonethe­less only have a lifes­pan of about 10 days. They briefly explore the eth­i­cal impli­ca­tions of bring­ing a per­son into the world for the express util­i­tar­i­an pur­pose of using its organs, but dis­miss this moral con­se­quence because they are in dire need of this comatose crew member.

So, they clone this guy, and the lit­tle baby quick­ly becomes an adult (and strange­ly has the mem­o­ries of the per­son he is a clone of). They inform the clone of his pur­pose, and he gra­cious­ly accepts it, until they learn that the trans­plant will end up killing the clone after all. And then he wants to live, and tries to con­vince the cap­tain to attempt a pro­ce­dure that will stop his rapid aging process, so that he can live out a nor­mal life-span. The cap­tain refus­es, and ORDERS the clone-guy to go through with the trans­plant (even though it will kill him). The clone-guy ends up going through with the pro­ce­dure (vol­un­tar­i­ly?), which of course kills him…and they have this nice lit­tle funer­al for him at the end (sniff sniff).

Okay, so that’s the sto­ry — and I find it very dis­turb­ing because of the eth­i­cal posi­tion it seems to be tout­ing: that is, that it is jus­ti­fi­able to treat humans as mere means to a util­i­tar­i­an end…that it is okay to bring a per­son into the world for the sole pur­pose of using them as means. It turned my stom­ach. Picard would nev­er have endorsed such principles.

Kudos to them for explor­ing the cloning controversy…but tsk tsk for tak­ing a stand that does­n’t respect the intrin­sic integri­ty of per­sons. It turned my stomach…they should read some Kant, for christ’s sake…or at least watch some TNG.

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