Star Trek: Voyager: Season 5, Episode 8

Nothing Human (2 Dec. 1998)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
6.9
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An injured cytoplasmic life-form attaches itself to Torres, tapping into her body like a parasite. Unsure of how to save his patient, The Doctor creates a holographic recreation of a ... See full summary »

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Title: Nothing Human (02 Dec 1998)

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An injured cytoplasmic life-form attaches itself to Torres, tapping into her body like a parasite. Unsure of how to save his patient, The Doctor creates a holographic recreation of a non-humanoid exobiology specialist to consult the case. The consult is going well until Torres refuses treatment when it is made known that the Cardassian specialist was responsible for tortuous experiments resulting in the deaths of thousands of Bajorans. Written by Meribor

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2 December 1998 (USA)  »

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This takes place in 2375. See more »

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[last lines]
Dr. Crell Moset: Where was your conscience when B'Elanna was dying on that table? Ethics? Morality? Conscience? Funny how they all go out the airlock when we need something. Are you and I really so different?
The Doctor: Computer - delete Medical Consultant Program and all related files.
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Star Trek: Voyager - Main Title
Written by Jerry Goldsmith
Performed by Jay Chattaway
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They missed the point...
23 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode attempted to present an interesting ethical dilemma revolving around the use of scientific research discovered through immoral methods...but it kind of missed the boat. They merely introduced a character with an immoral past and posed the question whether or not this person can be utilized ethically today in a new, unrelated situation. The true ethical dilemma for others (i.e. humanity) does not revolve around whether or not a particular *researcher* is an ethical person, but whether or not the *research* being utilized was gathered in an ethical way. A researcher might be a raging psychopath but being immoral doesn't automatically make everything they might do in life immoral simply through association.

** SPOILERS **

If B'Elanna could have only be saved by using the exact vaccine developed through the immoral experimentation done on Bajorans (the reason given for why the Cardassian was unethical), or perhaps by another new vaccine developed by this Cardassian, then the proper moral quandary that Tuvok raises in this episode would have been properly posed. However, B'Elanna's situation had nothing to do with viruses at all. Instead, her situation depended entirely upon a different scientific discipline (i.e. exobiology vs. virology) that this Cardassian happened to also be an "expert" in. One might rightfully use this Cardassian's past as a good reason why he shouldn't be allowed anywhere near patients, for example, or to ever work on immunological research, but there isn't much of an ethical reasons to stop such a person from doing new research on new problems in other fields, especially when under the proper ethical guidelines and supervision a person would have on board Voyager.

Moreover, given the fact that this plot depended upon a hologram with ethical issues, a slight rewrite in his "personality subroutines" (and perhaps changing his appearance too -- so he didn't appear Cardassian) -- things easily done in other episodes -- would have solved all of the moral issues raised in this episode in a matter of a minute or two.

** END SPOILERS ***

Its not a bad episode to watch if you don't think about it much. But the writers simply missed presenting any real moral conundrum here and ended up with no more than a Chicken Little / "The Sky is Falling" dilemma fabricated by simply making the characters over-react to a non-dilemma instead.


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