There’s been a lot of Voyager-related news going around lately. Here’s my favorite:
I’m not sure I want to know why anyone thought losing two people (one who was a very qualified officer) to keep one person with a lot of emotional baggage and issues was a good idea. It always seemed like a not thinly-veiled enough pro-life argument.
Funny, I thought the ethical decision was a no-brainer. Murdering an innocent, distinct individual who very much wants to stay alive in order to save (or, more accurately, resurrect) two other individuals is ethically no different from murdering and harvesting organs from a healthy individual in order to save the lives of two or more others. But whatever. They’ve already shown that transporters can act as xerox machines so I don’t see why they couldn’t just bring the other guys back while leaving Tuvix alone.
Edit to add: since everyone involved was a fully-formed adult it always struck me as more of a “trolley problem” argument than a “pro-life” argument. And Janeway chose the “throw the unwilling random fat guy on the track to stop the trolley” solution.
Amazing. She really is one of us, isn’t she?
In high school, she got an asteroid named after her because she won 2nd place in the International Science and Engineering Fair!
Yeah, it can definitely be interpreted that way! But I also think it can work as a manifestation of the Trolley Problem. I think there’s enough in the episode for at least a somewhat stimulating debate (with the right debaters).
ETA: More important than the philosophical issues are the fan issues: is getting a slightly less annoying Neelix worth losing Tuvak? I believe the answer is a resounding “no”!
I didn’t view it as murder so much as a rescue. If I were blended with another individual against my will, I’d want my life back. A new life form doesn’t take priority over the rights of the two that created it.
Well Tuvix was a sentient, intelligent being who considered it to be murder, which seems like the more relevant viewpoint in this instance. Besides, the other guys were already gone, not in critical condition lying on an operating table while someone was running around with stolen organs. (A scenario from another episode in which Janeway made exactly the opposite ethical decision, by the way) This was more like a dark magic human(oid) sacrifice in order to bring them back from the dead.
I’ll bet the species from the ST:TNG episode “Identity Crisis” felt the same way about the death of their offspring. Two new members of a species were killed to restore two Starfleet officers. In both cases, medical technology was used to save the officers.
IMO, that Tuvix even made that argument just underscored the reason for the captain’s decision. Starfleet officers may be ordered to their deaths for the good of the crew. Tuvok knew that, and that’s why the rest of the crew didn’t back him when he appealed to them. I suppose they could’ve kept him on as the cook and morale officer, but that was not what was best for the crew.
Yeah, but it’s still murder. That’s why the Doctor’s Hippocratic Oath subroutine precluded him from performing the procedure. It would be like Janeway ordering one officer to sacrifice their life to provide needed organ donations to two others.
Nobody ever accused Janeway of being a softie though.
I disagree with the morality of that decision and we probably won’t be seeing eye to eye on this, but what’s beyond dispute is that it’s completely different moral framework from what Janeway demonstrated in the episode Phage:
It’s interesting that Dr. Crusher had no such problems. She killed those aliens without a debate with Picard. The Tuvix situation was different than the organ donation example for a few reasons. In your example, all three people had long lives leading up to the point of anyone needing an organ. It starts with three people, and ends with two.
This case started with two long lives taken and ended with those two lives restored. Tuvix’s short life was the byproduct of an accident. That doesn’t sound similar to a forced organ donation to me.
I don’t think that’s the same; when Dr. Crusher restored LaForge and Leijten’s human physiology it was after both were able to communicate a desire to be cured. Even in his mutated state Geordi returned to the Enterprise of his own free will after some coaxing from his crewmate.
So it wasn’t so much a case of “ending the life of one sapient being to save another” so much as “respecting a crewman’s express desire to continue life as a human being.”
And, like the Trolley Problem, I would suggest that the answer is to endeavor to save everyone. It might be difficult. It might not work. But the fundamental flaw of that philosophical quandary is that it doesn’t offer the option to try.
Maybe Janeway should have run through a few more scenarios on the holodeck before making the final decision.
That’s exactly what I’ve been saying about comparing an organ transplant to an entirely new created being. It’s apples and oranges.
Sure it was. The aliens’ reproduction process had advanced, and those crew members were their offspring. Under your argument, those aliens had a right to live - which they would’ve done until Dr. Crusher killed them.
She reversed the process in Leitjen by overwriting alien DNA, but what was the patient expressing toward the end of her treatment? When Geordi followed Leitjen back was he more human or alien at that point? The way they had to hunt him down, I’m gonna say mostly alien. In this case, original life forms were given priority over the new ones - regardless of the wishes of the altered crewman. Just like in the case of Tuvix.
No, Geordi was still an independent being who was able to express his desire to remain human. Dr. Crusher was respecting the body autonomy of a sapient being, not forcing one into a procedure against its will.
In his mutated state, Geordi assaulted a crew member and left the ship! He wasn’t running to sickbay, he ran to join up with his new people. That wasn’t expressing a desire to remain human. They chased him down and convinced him to come back.
Exactly. At the end the sapient being at the center of the dilemma consented to the medical intervention.
Now imagine instead that when they caught up with Geordi he was able to clearly communicate “I am no longer the being you think of as Geordi, but another intelligent life form entirely—and I ask that you respect my right to exist.” In that scenario Dr. Crusher would have faced a very difficult ethical quandary indeed.
Now imagine instead that when they caught up with Geordi he was able to clearly communicate
That they had to chase him and he wasn’t able to clearly communicate other than through his actions was my whole point. That’s not an expression of wanting to be/remain human. You are ignoring/discounting the running, the hiding, and the fact that Geordi didn’t say anything. That is very much an ethical quandary that Dr. Crusher and her crewmates overlooked.
To which Janeway replied (paraphrasing):
Both Tuvak and Neelix would have given their lives to save another life.
I was so so frustrated that Tuvix’s response wasn’t “Let them!”