The Instigator
bsh1
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
FaustianJustice
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The Ethics of Star Trek: Autonomy and Society

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/29/2015 Category: TV
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,485 times Debate No: 69160
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (1)

 

bsh1

Con

Preface

This is my fourth installment in 12-part series on the "Ethics of Star Trek." I think Star Trek holds a wealth of moral and philosophical quandaries that are fertile ground for debate and controversy. While some may see these kinds of TV show-related debates as "fluff" topics, I think that the serious ethical implications that underpin the topics I have selected belie that idea.

My hope for this debate and for this series is that I will be able to have some fun delving into my inner nerd and my inner trekkie, while still having some lively and informative discussions.

In this debate, particularly, I hope to explore the concepts behind and ethics of cultural identity, self-defense, autonomy, and freedom through the example of the actions of the Mariposan Colonists.

Full Topic

The attempted, forced cloning of Star Fleet officers by the Mariposan Colonists was wrong.

Context

This debate surrounds events that transpired in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Up the Long Ladder." In this episode, the crew comes across a colony that was previously unknown to them--Mariposa. They soon deduce that the colony's whole population is composed of clones, specifically clones of just 5 people, who had been victims of a crash landing on the planet generations prior. However, continual cloning and re-cloning has caused the DNA in the clones to degenerate such that soon further cloning will be impossible. Once cloning is no longer viable, Mariposan society will end.

In order to save their society, the Mariposan's forcibly clone Cmdr. Riker and Dr. Pulaski (this would acquire fresh DNA for them), but are eventually thwarted when the clones are destroyed before they can fully mature. Pulaski and Riker refuse to undergo voluntary cloning after that incident. Eventually, the crew devises a new solution, and introduces some refugees to Mariposa, who can then populate the planet. [1]

Rules

1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling or semantics
6. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add definitions
7. With undefined words, both debaters agreed to use standard meanings of the words that make sense in the context of the resolution and the debate
8. The BOP is shared
9. Pro must go first
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss

Structure

R1. Pro's Constructive Case
R2. Con's Constructive Case, Pro rebuts Con's Case
R3. Con rebuts Pro's Case, Pro defends Pro's Case
R4. Con defends Con's Case, Pro rebuts Con's Case and Crystallizes
R5. Con rebuts Pro's Case and Crystallizes, Pro waives

Thanks...

...to whomever accepts; I look forward to a trek-tastic debate!

[1] http://en.memory-alpha.org...(episode)
FaustianJustice

Pro

This particular debate hinges on one motive: Survival.

Pertaining to the Mariposans, at what cost might the colony be allowed to survive? Because they were clones, they were subject to being the result of a copy of a copy of a copy... at some point it just fades out unless new DNA could be introduced in part or in whole to reinforce the copy. The colony itself with 5 members had long abandoned traditional methods of breeding, and currently found such ideas as 'repugnant' as it was obsolete, it would serve no immediate purpose as the genetic diversity just wouldn't do it. I believe there were 3 men and 2 females that were the progenitors, however the exact ratio at the time Starfleet stumbled upon them is wholly irrelevant: its expressed they don't have enough genetic 'resolution' left to sustain more than a handful of generations.

They need new genetic material, and they need it fast.

Riker, Picard, Dr. Pulaski, and the Mariposan (Clone) Prime Minster all sit down to talk about this, and when the reasonable solution of asking for genetic donations comes up... its shut down. Not only shut down, but shut down in such a manner that it never leaves the conference room; Picard nor Riker entertain the notion of perhaps letting the crew decide for themselves if they want to help out these colonists with a genetic donation (that would be cloned), and Riker instead appeals to the intangible 'What is a person worth?' philosophical question as their means for denying the Mariposans their means of continued existence. Quite literally, Riker feels he would be less 'special' if there were clones of him helping to sustain this colony. Riker, the same Starfleet Officer that also spent time picking up and bedding a backwater hick that he rescued and got stary-ed for... in the same episode. Yes, Riker, you are a special snowflake with hard fought principles. Picard has no problem with assigning extinction to the Mariposan colonists with the casual agreement that such a fanciful sentiment will be found among all the members of the Enterprise. There were no offers to make a call on the Mariposan's behalf. To add insult to injury, the good Doctor even asks if she might beam down to study their problem further, as its probably one of the rare chances she might get to observe such a thing.

The Mariposans then did exactly what they were pushed to: they stole what they needed. Riker and Pulaski were stunned, a few choice cells harvested, the two were then released, the pair NOT EVEN KNOWING something had happened to them that would result in a colony's continued survival.

'Forced' cloning is a term I am inclined to agree with: the Mariposans were forced to act. No reasonable solution was considered by Starfleet in a way to assist this colony, shy of dumping a few hundred refugees (remember a fore mentioned back water hick girl that Riker seduced?) even though it was made clear by the Doctor than any variety of tissue samples could prove fruitful to show how easy a fix might be generated. Mr. Mot (for those unfamiliar is the Enterprise's barber) probably has scads of genetic samples that the customers clearly didn't want that could have been given over. This intransigence to even consider the Mariposan's side of the argument stemmed from the emotional knee jerk dismissal of having oneself cloned. Starfleet continues to pile on their assumed superiority in this episode by demanding the Mariposans accept the refugees the Enterprise picked up, under penalty of having their cloning lab forcibly confiscated to ensure further genetic harvests haven't transpired, ending the colony then and there. Said refugees were not asked if they would like to donate either, by the way. It was just assumed that Starfleet's new 'Special Snowflake' directive applied to EVERYONE, even those not in Starfleet. Doctor Pulaski more clearly defines the extortion by demonstrating to Picard that 'Its not so bad...' should the deal not get taken, a new inhabitable planet with ready made cities and no occupants would be waiting after the Mariposans die out.

The Mariposans were pushed. They were a desperate, ingenious people that could have had their problem easily solved on both theirs and Starfleet's "terms", should the Triumvirate of Picard, Riker, and Pulaski be not so easily swayed by emotions. Solutions could have been found if Starfleet didn't already have a problem in their cargo hold they wanted to pawn off on a group that were clearly already down and out. The Mariposans did what they did to survive, to ensure the continuation of their colony, and there was no ill will, malice, or greed considered in their solution. Even the so called 'victims' in this were not victims: they didn't know they were harvested, nor was their ill effect of such.

This debate is given the frame of 'right or wrong' when its about survival. Fortunately, when Starfleet has its proverbial head screwed on correctly, Mr. Data is usually in on meetings like this, or some other such even keeled individual, and I think I know the perfect quote to leverage against Mr. Riker's desire to be special would be:

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

My addendum:

or the desire of the one.
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Con

The resolution reads: "The attempted, forced cloning of Star Fleet officers by the Mariposan Colonists was wrong."

I am Con, meaning that I am arguing that the cloning of the Mariposan Colonists was right. However, it appears that Pro has already made that argument for me, and has negated the resolution. I need only repeat Pro's words here:

"he Mariposans did what they did to survive, to ensure the continuation of their colony, and there was no ill will, malice, or greed considered in their solution. Even the so called 'victims' in this were not victims: they didn't know they were harvested, nor was their ill effect of such.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

My addendum:

or the desire of the one."
FaustianJustice

Pro

In light of the previous, I have been forced to go full on Trek. So.


A bit of History and Explanation:
The colonists of the Mariposa were of a unique variety when they trekked out from Earth. Sadly, due to the chaos on Terra, their results as a colony were scattered to the wind, hung out in some obscure sector of what later became Federation space. Before their exodus, however, the concept of genetic resquencing or/and engineering already had its day in the sun. The Eugenics Wars, and its fallout [1] reinforced the idea that tampering with the genome beyond removing birth defects was a fast way to generating the worst in humanity out of a test tube. Starfleet, by and large when formed upheld that tradition as well, in keeping that augmented genetics were not allowed in Starfleet, nor were those whom participated in Genetic Engineering as a field allowed to practice that particular medicine. Only very specific genetic procedures are permissible in the Federation for fear of regression back to what caused those chaotic and turbulent times slightly before the Mariposa first left [2].

Could vs Should
I sympathize for the clones of the Mariposan colony, I really do. Their survival as a colony had to be continued through taboo means, even at the time of their crash. While I cannot understand why the most genetic diversity might first be made before the cloning began, I do appreciate their desire for continuation. That, however, is where my sympathy for them ends, and questioning of their motives begins. With replicative fade creeping in, the cloned colony should be jumping at the possibility of introducing new whole genomes to their group. In keeping with the known history from the Mariposan point of view, they left Earth at a time when literally the Khan Singhs and other Augments were in the final stages of being hunted down and killed, their genetic designers being incarcerated: the lesson about making use of genetic material as nothing more than child's building blocks didn't give the respect due to such an awesome power. With appreciate of that power, and the subsequent Down the Ladder that might happen (morally speaking), its no wonder that Pulaski and Riker were so far off the fence as to be hostile on the matter of giving these colonists new material: there was literally no guarantee that such wouldn't be tinkered with more so than already required.

What if the heist was succesful?
The Mariposan clones, I wonder, if they themselves engaged in genetic manipulation beyond cloning. The temptation would obviously have to be there, as it would better serve the colony. As demonstrated, the Mariposans are not above breaking a certain degree of decorum, either, as indicated by the kidnapping and harvesting of Riker and Pulaski for prime cloning cells. The episode mentioned didn't ask the question, but the motive and action I have seen from the group, not to mention the time in which the colony left Terra leads me to think that maybe some of these folks wanted to continue doing exactly what it is that got not only banned across the Federation, but outlawed on Terra proper after WWIII. They seem to be quite proficient at it... already had the lab set up for it... perhaps a race of Augments was the plan, even though it dismally failed in the past. Given the look of the Riker and Pulaski clones, it seemed as though they were specifically cloned with age, and unless some degree of manipulation was used to wipe their mind of what happened, all you have done is create a clone of people that won't help you. The the Mariposans 'blanked out' the mind through cloning, then indeed, these people are bad folks, they are doing exactly what Starfleet and history has demonstrated to be a poor idea. Of course, if the clone is an exact copy, would Riker2 and Pukaski2 help you? The 'original' Riker and Pulaski opinions must still remain. Then what? This is all speculation to be sure, as we are talking about a fictional cloning facility and the logistics of the clones it would create. To be fair, the colony could just have easily slid into such genetic moral hazard out of time and desperation, but that doesn't change the fact that their known history should have them jumping at the chance to change genetic stock, rather than linger on with the same problem (granted in 200 years or so), of replicative fade.

Checklist
I think we should run down the specifics: stunning some one, when its not self defense, is wrong.
Conducting surgery on their stunned form, wrong.
Taking anything from someone one against their knowledge, obviously wrong.
Engaging in a practice that contributed to some of the largest death tolls humanity had seen? Wrong, though for purposes of survival, I will give this one a pass. This pass, however, gets revoked when better alternatives come along. To want to continue with the same variety of reproduction indicates that those of this colony didn't learn from the Eugenics Wars, and the subsequent nuclear holocaust that they were dodging the fall out of.

Conlcusion
Now, this is a lot more Trek than I normally get into, and the references of which are going to be subject to debate on a certain level of detail regarding a time frame, however the thrust of what makes what the Mariposans did 'wrong' was the recent history they knew, and the current events that conformed to that history. The United Federation of Planets had a touchy relationship with genetic engineering. The Mariposans clearly were engaged in such a dealing, and rather than abandon their methods when presented with the chance, instead opted for assault to continue it. Yes, they handled their problem as best as could be imagined at the time of the crash, though such a solution is not a permanent one. Genetic engineering and cloning is what brought them to desperately needing help, and assaulting strangers. I see no way how more of the same could solve the problem, it puts the Mariposans in a position in which they very well would have to conduct the same assault possibly to a greater degree, in the future, and more over, they put themselves in that position knowing the solution they would have to employ.






[1]http://en.memory-alpha.org...
[2] http://en.memory-alpha.org...(episode)

Due to the nature of how 'Memory Alpha' is compiled, continuity errors exsist in time frame, but not specifically referenced event. Since we are working from a TV show, we must assume that what the characters talk about in some way occured, and sadly, because its conversation of a TV show character, its not subject to a codified history. Memory Alpha is taken as 'canon' from all the TV shows, and movies, excluding the animated series.
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Con

Thanks to Faustian. We've agree to ignore the first round. We're starting in R2. The set-up will be as follows:

R2. Faust's case
R3. My case, Faust rebuts my case
R4. I rebut Faust's case, Faust's defends his case
R5. I defend my case, Faust waives

On to my arguments...

-------------------------------

I have very little time, so I will present two brief arguments.

First:

The whole purpose of any government is to protect its people and its society. "[L]et us recognize that the functions, commitments and obligations of governments are not the same as those of the individual...[Government"s] primary obligation is to the interests of the national society it represents, not to the moral impulses that individual elements of that society may experience. No more than the attorney vis-a-vis the client, nor the doctor vis-a-vis the patient, can government attempt to insert itself into the consciences of those whose interests it represents." [1]

The Mariposan government faced a stark choice: violate the rights of two, or lose its entire culture. Clearly, the government's interest to its own society outweighed its other concerns.

Second:

We should default to utilitarianism. "A deontological moral system should include both a moral duty not to lie and one to keep others from harm, for example, but in the above situation how is a person to choose between those two moral duties? A popular response to this is to simply choose the 'lesser of two evils,' but that means relying on which of the two has the least evil consequences and, therefore, the moral choice is being made on a consequentialist rather than a deontological basis." [2]

So, we should weigh the future and the health of an entire society and culture over the rights of two individuals.
FaustianJustice

Pro


The Mariposan government faced a stark choice: violate the rights of two...”


Con indicates that it is just one pair of people that is being violated for the purposes of continuing the colony. Pro is not so quick to end the chain there and call that the actual number, though. The purpose of stealing their (Riker’s and Pulaski’s) material was to clone them. This would mean it’s going to be more than just one pair that has their bodies violated in such a fashion, presumably with the same opinion. Ultimately, the “Founding” line of genetic stock will fade into extinction, all that will be remaining is an entire colony of Rikers and Pulaskis, and we well know of their stance on the matter. If the purpose of government is to protect its citizens or continue its citizen’s will, thinking into the future should be practiced. Applying just a small bit of projection to this situation, it demonstrates that the cloning of the pair isn’t solving the problem to protect the citizenry by correcting genetic fade, it is a delaying of the inevitable. The Riker and Pulaski clones will be subject to the same genetic fade, and the Mariposan Clone colony would presumably end the minute the last clone from the “Founders” passed. Now the citizens of such a government in question will quite literally be comprised of nothing but clones that were adverse to cloning to begin with! That isn’t protecting their citizenry, that is a slow march to the gallows. Genetic fade would renew itself in the next batch of clones, leaving only those who found the idea reprehensible at its core in the wake.



Secondly, the current clones from the Mariposan adopted cloning and the subsequent moral complications from necessity, not as an adaptation of culture. They didn’t leave Earth with the intent to create an entire collection of clones to perpetuate life in deep space, were I to understand the Prime Minister correctly. To call that their culture I think gives short shrift to the intent for which they left Terra.



'Lesser of two evils,'


Utilitarianism is a great method of deciding what to do for once instance or moral ambiguity when choices are limited. However there is something hiding in the phrase “choosing the lesser of two evils” when it comes to these clones. There are a lot more choices on the table than 2. The Mariposa clones were not sterile. They were opting to steal genes and clone them out of convenience, not necessity. In the Prime Minister’s explanation to Pulaski, Riker, and Picard, he explains that the colony suppressed the natural inclination to sexual activity with drugs, and that after generations were lab grown, the drugs were no longer needed: the idea of sex became ‘repugnant’. Lesser evils shouldn’t hinge on such fickle personal preference. The health of the society could have easily been maintained if the clone colony was willing to accept the fact that cloning, the stop gap, temporary solution that it was, simply didn’t have to be done anymore. Shouldn’t that have been the ultimate goal to begin with? With Starfleet now knowing of this colony’s existence, trade and settlers could be established, and new genetic stock, those in line with the original intent of a culture, that which the Founder’s had, could finally be fulfilled.

Debate Round No. 3
bsh1

Con

Thanks again to Faust! I will be quoting him throughout this speech, and I will put comments that he made in italics.

PRO's CASE

"The Eugenics Wars, and its fallout reinforced the idea that tampering with the genome beyond removing birth defects was a fast way to generating the worst in humanity out of a test tube. Starfleet, by and large when formed upheld that tradition as well, in keeping that augmented genetics were not allowed in Starfleet...Only very specific genetic procedures are permissible in the Federation for fear of regression back to what caused those chaotic and turbulent times slightly before the Mariposa first left...Their survival as a colony had to be continued through taboo means, even at the time of their crash."

The Eugenics Wars resulted in a ban on genetic engineering, not cloning [1]. The former involves changing the human genome, whereas the latter involves mere replication of it. In fact, there is no canonical information I can find that suggests that cloning was prohibited in the Federation or its allies, and there is even evidence to suggest that cloning was permitted to some extent. For instance, on Bajor, clones had full rights as human beings, implying that the process of cloning wasn't unheard of. [2] On Voyager, students cloned potatoes. While this wasn't human cloning, it shows that the Federation did not at least consider all cloning to be illegal. [2] At the very least, there is no available evidence showing that the Federation viewed cloning as an illicit offense, and there is some slight evidence to affirm the idea that cloning was permissible (and that the rights of clones mattered.)

It is important to note that the Mariposan colonists did not genetically engineer anyone; they'd cloned themselves. Therefore, what they did was not "taboo" as Pro suggests.

"In keeping with the known history from the Mariposan point of view, they left Earth at a time when literally the Khan Singhs and other Augments were in the final stages of being hunted down and killed."

Actually, just for factual accuracy, the original Mariposan colonists lefts Earth in the 22nd Century, while the Eugenics wars occurred around 2026. [1, 3] So, anywhere between 74-174 years could've separated the first colonists from those wars, so there is no evidence to support Pro's claim that the two events occurred rapidly after one another. 100+ years is a lot of time by human and cultural standards.

"The Mariposan clones, I wonder, if they themselves engaged in genetic manipulation beyond cloning. The temptation would obviously have to be there, as it would better serve the colony...The episode mentioned didn't ask the question...perhaps a race of Augments was the plan, even though it dismally failed in the past...Taking anything from someone one against their knowledge, obviously wrong."

Here my opponent delves into the realm of pure and unsubstantiated speculation. Speculation is no foundation for an argument, esp. when there is no available canonical evidence to suggest that they engaged in genetic engineering. Rather, the mere fact that the Mariposans needed outside DNA (i.e. that of Riker and Pulaski) intimates that they were NOT engaged in advanced genetic projects. If they had been able to correct for the fading or if they had been able to engineer the genome somehow, why would they need that DNA?

"The Mariposans are not above breaking a certain degree of decorum, either, as indicated by the kidnapping and harvesting of Riker and Pulaski for prime cloning cells."

Breaking decorum in defense of your society seems like a perfectly reasonable reaction. By violating the rights of just two people they could save their entire culture. We should not condemn the Mariposans as lacking in "decorum" or manners just because they acted in that way under understandably dire circumstances. When put in situations of pressure like that, very few of us would not be willing to commit some small rights violations to reap such large rewards.

BROAD REVIEW

Pro offers no ethical framework with which to weigh the arguments or the round. So, all of his impacts regarding the wrongness of unjustness of actions fall flat, because he gives us no ethical system with which to assess whether those actions really were wrong or unjust. Pro just assumes (bare assertion fallacy) that said actions were wrong. At the very least, we need to weigh his impacts under some kind of framework, and as I am the only one to even give any analysis of broader ethical systems (e.g utilitarianism), you need to default to my framework to weigh his impacts. I will show next round how I outweigh.

He also tries to situate the Mariposan situation in the context of prior historical events, but the connect is just invented. There could be as much as 174 years separating the two events, and the Mariposans are not engaged (and Pro never proved they were engaged) in the kinds of activities that the Eugenics Wars entailed. Moreover, Pro doesn't even really give much explanation as to the importance of this supposed historical link. But even if you buy that there is some relevance there, the link is so tenuous as to not really matter.

So, with that, I negate.

SOURCES

1 - http://en.memory-alpha.org...
2 - http://en.memory-alpha.org...
3 - http://en.memory-alpha.org...
FaustianJustice

Pro

Through the course of this discussion, various points have been touched on, ranging from the history of humanity, implications of cloning, moral frameworks, and culture. While a lot of it must be viewed through the lens of a TV show script and subsequent assumed events, a few hard points of relevance were available from the episode in question that we can decipher what morality the Star Trek universe operates around, as well as what solutions can be potentially employed.

Here are some of the highlights:

Culture: The Mariposan Clone colony were stuck between a rock and a hard place with little means of recourse. While the exact time frame is debatable, history or recent history dictated how fast moral hazard can be found with using the human genome to serve your purpose. Clearly, the cloned colony was intended to be one of science, a budding culture away from Terra for reasons of their own devices, though it could be safely assumed that depending on self replication via cloning was not part of it. If the goal is to re-align the colony with what the founders wanted, surely mugging those whom have come to help for prime cloning cells should have no part in it, and drugs or 'punitive laws' regarding sexual reproduction wouldn't be a requirement either.

Cloning: on the table is whether or not making copies of a person risks moral turpitude, or strays into 'genetic engineering'. Pro would argue that yes, from the information present, what the colony engages in could easily be construed as a immoral as it continued post Star Fleet's renewing of ties. The reason for cloning was now obviated: fresh genetic stock, whole enclaves of scientists and those dedicated to their cause could be found. Starting from Diana's first warning that the Prime Minister was 'hiding something', to the kidnap and stealing of tissue from Enterprise crew members, to the ultimate end where the colony's sole population is comprised of Riker and Pulaski clones, this situation was one that could be avoided with the arrival of the Enterprise and the subsequent trade it could have brought.

Moral Framework: Pro would like to think 'bodily autonomy' would be in of itself enough of a guide. Its my body, my cells, my DNA. If you are denied its use, find alternate means. With regards to the Mariposans Clones, that 'alternate means' was as simple as asking StarFleet to 'put us on the map', and accepting new members into the society. A lesser of two evils pales in comparison to NO evils being done, and that solution was possible if patience ruled the day. Instead, we are forced to look at the implications from what has been stated in the episode. Riker and Pulaski were NOT willing to be cloned. Riker and Pulaski, against those wishes got cloned. This means that the clones created would be spitting images, complete with their own intelligences that they were cloned, against their wishes, and it posits the question how much help they would really be to the colony. Of course, the other possibility is that they are cloned with one or two tweaks in design to prevent that opinion from occurring to make the clones more compliant... such would be a most beneficial augmentaction.

As it was asked:
"If they had been able to correct for the fading or if they had been able to engineer the genome somehow, why would they need that DNA? " --- replicative fade is just making a copy of a copy of a copy. Using a copied engineered genome over and over again doesn't solve the problem, it just makes for more efficient copies. Pro did admit, though, that such was speculation. The lab was there, the clones were there, it would make perfect sense to engineer a labor class, were not such a thing frowned on. In either case, Khaan,... I mean, Con is correct, there is no evidence of what was banned taking place, as viewed through the lens of that episode.



Conclusion:

The cloning of themselves was obviously not what the 'Founders' had in mind for their new society. The concept of cloning, at the time the Mariposan Colony ship left earth was the foundation for some of the largest conflicts Earth had seen. Cloning, in general, throughout the StarTrek universe resulted in diplomatic chaos, to cold blooded murder. StarFleet itself never made use of cloning to a means for anything, refer to Captain Janeway whom very well could have benefited from a cloner's mentality for people rather than potatoes. The means for the Mariposans to acquire new genetic stock for fresh clones constitutes theft in the Episode in question. Cloning doesn't lead any place beneficial. With so many frailties, and moral complications, why continue in a process that is no longer needed? Why continue in a process that was so obviously not in line with what the 'Founders' hoped for when trekking out from Terra? Why kidnap and hold hostage 2 people, and their successive clones for a method that is convenience rather than necessity?

The morality employed by the Mariposans fast falls apart when given the chance to look beyond themselves. I would urge the gentle readers present to NOT fall for the trap that the Mariposan clones laid for themselves. I would urge the gentle readers present to consider what ultimate end the Mariposan colony has for itself, and the new culture it would have to adopt, one of kidnapping and assault, to continue. I would urge the gentle readers present to ask what benefit or solution to the Mariposan replicative fade issue was being permanently employed rather than delayed by such an assault and theft.

I would urge the gentle readers present to vote Pro, that the forced cloning of StarFleet officers by the Mariposan Colonists, because it was demonstrably obsolete, because it served no purpose to a sustainable solution, and because it was NOT within the Founder's plan of a colony, was indeed wrong.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
bsh1

Con

Thanks, Faust! Per the revised structure, I will defend my case and summarize the debate thus far. Again, Iquotes from Pro may be italicized.

CON's CASE

"Ultimately, the 'Founding' line of genetic stock will fade into extinction, all that will be remaining is an entire colony of Rikers and Pulaskis, and we well know of their stance on the matter. If the purpose of government is to protect its citizens or continue its citizen’s will, thinking into the future should be practiced. The Riker and Pulaski clones will be subject to the same genetic fade, and the Mariposan Clone colony would presumably end the minute the last clone from the 'Founders' passed. Now the citizens of such a government in question will quite literally be comprised of nothing but clones that were adverse to cloning to begin with!"

The clones are merely the bodies of Riker and Pulaski, they do not share the minds or memories of them. Cloning is the cloning of DNA--it does not replicate memories, feelings, or beliefs. So, just because the original donors objected to their forced donation, that does not mean that the clones will object to the process, or harbor any ill-will against the original line of colonists. In fact, there is every reason to believe that if the clones of the two grow up in the Mariposan culture, that they will readily consent to the process of further cloning. So, there is no reason to believe that the colony would end the minute the original line died off; in fact, logic suggests that the Rikers and Pulaskis would continue the society.

Pro then agrees that the purpose of government is to protect its citizens and to "continue their will." In order to ensure the continued existence of Mariposan culture and society, the very essence of which is tied to cloning, the government must acquire new DNA to enable that culture to perpetuate. It does its citizen's will by preserving that culture; TURN Pro's argument against him, here.

And sure, there may eventually be issues with replicative fading with the Rikers and Pulaskis, but it would have bought Mariposa many generations, possibly more than a hundred years, to either solve the fading problem or to find new (hopefully willing) donors. Recall, the original colonists and their line survived more than a century before the replicative fading issue became dire.

"Secondly, the current clones from the Mariposan adopted cloning and the subsequent moral complications from necessity, not as an adaptation of culture."

Pro does not give any thought to how culture develops when he writes this. Consider, many cultural practices arose out of necessity, but then, those practices became traditions as they were repeated and passed down from generation to generation. One example of this would be the Jewish prohibition on eating pork. [1] Pork was historically a vary dangerous meat to consume due to its high microbial content. Eventually, it became a cultural practice to avoid eating pork, and this cultural practice was even incorporated into religion to reinforce its validity. It was adopted, at first, out of concerns over health, but later became a cultural or spiritual phenomenon. So, it is fundamentally incorrect for Pro to say that just because cloning was originally adopted out of necessity that it cannot be an element of culture. In fact, cloning is the main foundation on which their society evolved and is structured, so it is very clearly an important aspect of Mariposan culture.

"However there is something hiding in the phrase “choosing the lesser of two evils” when it comes to these clones. There are a lot more choices on the table than 2."

Pro's whole argument against utilitarianism hinges on his claim that the Mariposans had options other than to forcibly clone Riker and Pulaski. If I show this to be untrue, then my original argument stands.

"The Mariposa clones were not sterile. They were opting to steal genes and clone them out of convenience, not necessity...With Starfleet now knowing of this colony’s existence, trade and settlers could be established, and new genetic stock, those in line with the original intent of a culture, that which the Founder’s had, could finally be fulfilled."

There are three objections that we can raise to this line of argumentation. The first is one of genetic diversity, the second is one of culture, and the third is one of knowledge.

The colonists could not reproduce among themselves due to issues with genetic diversity. Science tells us that for a population to be self-sustaining over time, it needs a certain amount of genetic variation in its members. [2] When members of a population are too genetically similar, genetic faults like hemophilia proliferate, the population isn't diverse enough to withstand disease, etc.. So, cloning was the only available means with which the colonists could sustain their population.

Now, Pro suggests that once introduced to Starfleet, they could've accessed sources of genetic diversity (e.g. other people). But this is an incredibly ethnocentric view to take. Pro suggests that the colonists should revert to their colony's original intent, but its original intent is not reflective of its current culture. What Pro is basically saying is that its past culture is better than its future one, but preferencing one culture over another is inherently prejudiced. There current culture is valuable and worthy of preserving, just like any culture is. And, there is nothing inherently wrong in the Mariposan culture. Forced cloning is not something they want to do (in fact, they did ask permission), but they felt it was the only way of maintaining their current culture.

We may even say that we are violating the clones rights by forcing them to reproduce in order to save their society when they don't wish to.

Moreover, this appeal to origins is ridiculous. Why does something's original intent outweigh its current state? We wouldn't say to Jamaica that it should revert to a slave colony because that was its original intent, just as we wouldn't tell Australia it needs to return to being a penal colony or tell England it needs to become an absolute monarchy again. Cultures evolve, and that is a natural process--we shouldn't mandate regression just because there are things we dislike in a given society or things we think are impractical. That would unjustifiably impose our opinions on others. Pro talks a lot of bodily autonomy, but what of the autonomy of societies to have their own cultural views and function accordingly?

Thirdly, Pro presupposes that the Mariposan colonist knew that there were refugees available to them. But that's false. They were not necessarily aware of the existence of the refugees abroad the Enterprise, nor were they necessarily aware that these refugees would be willing to help them populate Mariposa. Given their lack of information, and given the urgency of their need to find fresh DNA (with replicative fading they couldn't wait long to find suitable, human colonists capable and willing of reproducing with them), the Mariposan's choice were an understandable reaction to what seemed to them to be a situation with no desirable solutions, only DNA theft.

REVIEW

Pro's arguments rely on four points: (1) the importance of bodily autonomy over other concerns, (2) that the clones Rikers and Pulaskis would not cooperate with the Mariposans, (3) that there were viable alternatives to the forced cloning that obviated the need for it, and (4) the historicity of conflict and genetics. Each one of these arguments falls.

Pro fails to offer any framework or warrant to justify the importance of bodily autonomy in this debate. He just assumes that it matters, and appeals to our moral intuitions to verify this. Unfortunately, this is just one giant bare assertion/ipse dixit fallacy on Pro's part. We must therefore default to my framework options (e.g. government duty and utility), which I justified in R3.

My argument about the duty of government shows that any government is tasked with preserving its society (which may include doing things not normally considered moral). To preserve a society founded on cloning, the government took actions to preserve its cloning heritage. I have shown that Pro's claim that clones from Riker and Pulaski would cooperate, and so Pro's one objection here fails. I can win on this framework option. I have also shown that there weren't really any good options, from the Mariposan point of view, for preserving their society accept to engage in the forced cloning. So, from a utilitarian stance, we can also vote Con. Finally, I illustrated that Pro's claims that cloning caused wars was false, because there are important distinctions between cloning and genetic engineering. So, Pro's assertions lack any historicity.

With that, I negate. VOTE CON!

SOURCES

1 - http://en.wikipedia.org...
2 - http://learn.genetics.utah.edu...
FaustianJustice

Pro

Star Trek and ACDC.

Winning combo.

Yes, its clone related.

https://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GrimlyF 12 months ago
GrimlyF
Capt.Kirk "We come in Peace,strange Alien creatures".What, that humungous Federation Fleet with all those Phasers and Photon Torpedoes?.They're here with the Ambassadors luggage.Star Trek?Ehics?It is to laugh.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Which is why I provided that paragraph in R1 that gives important background info into the episode. And, you did a lot to summarize the episode too. So, any voter who read the debate should have quite a bit of useful context.

But, even if that context is useful, it's not necessary. You could still understand and render a good decision without it, because the moral arguments being referenced are not case-specific. Issues like autonomy, governmental obligation, utilitarianism, etc. arise in all kinds of instances.
Posted by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
FaustianJustice
Contextually speaking, it sure helps.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
@Faust - You don't need to have seen the episode to understand the debate.
Posted by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
FaustianJustice
"Context

This debate surrounds events that transpired in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Up the Long Ladder."

"Though I've never seen the movie, there are some obvious reasons why I've voted for con."

... greaaat....
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Lol...agreed. Yes, well met.
Posted by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
FaustianJustice
Minus a 'tiny' problem, I think it went well. Kudos and well met.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Thanks for the debate, Faust.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Just reminding Faust that he has to "Waive" in the final round.
Posted by bsh1 2 years ago
bsh1
Sorry, I forgot to include the links:

http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca...
http://atheism.about.com...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lee001 2 years ago
Lee001
bsh1FaustianJustice
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Though I've never seen the movie, there are some obvious reasons why I've voted for con. 1st of I believe con won with his statement in round 3 stating "The whole purpose of any government is to protect its people and its society" he clearly stated that it was much more important to secure the society then to just violate the rights of 2 people. Con also rebutted every argument by pro. Pro didn't really rebut anything, then just re-instating new points and arguments. Good job!