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The murder of Tuvix, revisited

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/3/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,265 times Debate No: 48278
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Hello, and welcome to another ethical debate of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tuvix".

This episode has proven controversial for its ethical implications that have been analysed many times over - the episode even making its way to a philosophy journal (Wikipedia:Tuvix). I felt that the previous time this issue was debated here, the discussion of the ethics at the core of the episode were lost, and would like another round of this debate.

Cpt. Janeway's decision to destroy Tuvix is unjustifiable from an ethical standpoint similar to ours, and, despite not apparently being unlawful in the setting, bears the hallmarks of premeditated murder of Tuvix by the Voyager crew, lead by cpt. Janeway.

"Tuvix" is the twenty-fourth episode of Star Trek: Voyager. A detailed summary of this episode can be found at (1). In summary, two crew members, Tuvok and Neelix, are caught in a transporter accident upon "beaming back" from a planet. This results in their disappearance and the creation of a being who, upon experiencing life on the Voyager, eventually takes the name Tuvix. Tuvix is a hybrid of Tuvok, Neelix, and a plant indigenous to the planet they were exploring, and contains all the memories and skills of both of the crewmen as well as their genetic information. A method of restoring Tuvok and Neelix is developed after weeks, but this will cost Tuvix his life. Tuvix, now having made a life for himself on the Voyager, does not want to undertake the procedure, claiming his right and desire to a life as a sentient being and stating that this is an execution. Cpt. Janeway, after deliberation, orders Tuvix to undertake the procedure, which the Doctor refuses to perform due to it violating his ethics. Janeway performs it herself, Tuvix is destroyed, and Tuvok and Neelix are returned, happy to be back.

murder - the killing of a [sapient] being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way). (2) We substitute "sapient" for "human" to apply to the setting and disregard the part particular to our legislation - Star Trek seems to suggest captains cannot make life and death decisions if the officer resigns and becomes a civilian, but we can't be reasonably expected to know all the laws pertaining to Voyager's situation.
death - the irreversible cessation of all vital functions especially as indicated by permanent stoppage of the heart, respiration, and brain activity (3)

1. [Sapient] rights similar to ours include right to life, freedom from bodily harm and the right to self-determination. These are fundamental, cross-cultural rights shared by all modern Earth cultures.
2. Only living, sapient beings possess these rights.
3. Tuvok and Neelix had experienced death, their physiological activity having stopped in a way that is irrevocable, including complete destruction of their organs and synapses. They are therefore neither living nor sapient.
1, 2 & 3 -> Tuvok and Neelix do not possess rights at this time, while Tuvix does. Whether Tuvok and Neelix would possess these rights if they could be restored by destroying Tuvix is immaterial; sapient rights are not accorded or removed based on hypothetical alternative situations.
Tuvix' sapient rights were violated by Janeway and the crew in the most serious way possible, in order to bring out a more desirable outcome. I predict an opposing view that such rights could be suspended by membership in a military force such as Starfleet. That would be incorrect. This was not a situation of war or military action, Tuvix was simply ordered to die and indeed physically forced in order to bring out a hypothetical desired outcome.

4. Cpt. Janeway and the officers responsible for Tuvix' physical destruction were sound of mind, and the procedure that allowed creating another instance of Tuvok and Neelix took weeks to investigate.
5. Janeway is shown considering the issue in depth beforehand. As Tuvix resists, she orders security officers to take him to the procedure. They are fully aware this will result in the death of Tuvix, reiterating for emphasis, a sapient, living being who desires to live and disagrees with the "execution".
4 & 5 -> Janeway and the crew did possess premeditated intent and indeed physically forced Tuvix to his death in a sickbay bed after having known him for weeks.
Tuvix' treatment, suspending consideration of the legal issues, therefore has all the hallmarks of murder.In short, Tuvix was deprived of his sapient rights and executed, having been taken to the sickbay by security officers, by the captain of the crew of the Voyager, in order to bring about an outcome more desirable for them (creating a new instance of Tuvok and Neelix), despite his moral, ethical and emotional protests. Whether this benefits some dead sapients is hypothetical and not relevant at the time of the action. It is unjustifiable and murderous.


Thank you for your interest, and I sincerely look forward to your rebuttal.


I would like to start by thanking my opponent for the debate. Hope it is fun.

By defining murder as "the killing of a [sapient] being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way)" my opponent seems to be giving a legal definition. Captain Janeway's actions do not meet the "malice" part of the definition. Malice - a conscious, intentional wrongdoing. [1*] There was no conscious or intentional wrongdoing by Captain Janeway.

I will start my contention with #3 "Tuvok and Neelix had experienced death, their physiological activity having stopped in a way that is irrevocable, including complete destruction of their organs and synapses. They are therefore neither living nor sapient."

Tuvix was a result of Tuvok, Neelix and the specie of orchid they were picking forming a symbiotic relationship. Tuvix was a result of this symbiotic relationship. [3]

At this point I would like to define symbiosis. Symbiosis literally means "living together." It "is the term used to describe ecological relationships between organisms of different species that are in direct contact." [2] By the very definition of symbiosis both Neelix and Tuvok would both be alive.

The crew of the Voyager used the transporter to create several symbiotic plants.The crew attempted to separate the symbiotic plants several times and failed. They killed the created plant each time. And therefore killed the original plants as well.

The Doctor was able to radioactively mark one half of the genome. The crew would then use the transporter. With one genome marked, they were able to extract both individual species. Both were alive. The same happened for Tuvok and Neelix. So neither could have been dead. Both Tuvok and Neelix were still alive. The crew did not extract the corpses of Tuvok and Neelix. Clearly they were not in an irrevocable state. Neither was this a "new instance" of Tuvok and Neelix. Both had been alive in a symbiotic relationship with the orchid.

Captain Janeway had to make tough decisions on more than one occasion. Sometimes a Captain has to make a decision that sacrificies one life for multiple lives. In the words of Spock, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." [4]

Captain Janeway is responsible for her crew. As my opponent has stated, "[Sapient] rights similar to ours include right to life, freedom from bodily harm and the right to self-determination. These are fundamental, cross-cultural rights shared by all modern Earth cultures." As I have already shown both Tuvok and Neelix are alive. Both Tuvok and Neelix have the above stated rights. My opponent stated that after being separated both Neelix and Tuvok were "happy to be back." This indicates that they did not wish to stay in the state of symbiosis with Tuvix. However, both Tuvok and Neelix are unable to speak for themselves. They are being held hostage by Tuvix and his desire to live. Captain Janeway is taxed with making a tough decision. She had to decide what was in the best interest of her crew members (Tuvok and Neelix).

I would like to point out that my opponent seems focused on the idea that the rights of Tuvix were violated. But what about the rights of Tuvok and Neelix? Both Tuvok and Neelix have the same rights as Tuvix. Also, they have the right to end their symbiotic relationship with Tuvix. Captain Janeway has a responsibility to both Tuvok and Neelix. She must ensure their rights are being considered.

My opponent mentioned the following:

"Tuvix' sapient rights were violated by Captain Janeway and the crew in the most serious way possible, in order to bring out a more desirable outcome. I predict an opposing view that such rights could be suspended by membership in a military force such as Starfleet. That would be incorrect. This was not a situation of war or military action."

Starfleet Captains have immense authority over the ships they are assigned. In fact, a Captain of a ship can "order their subordinates to override the orders of a senior officer, even if the captain was not actually on board ship at the time." [5] This is completely understandable. Starfleet Captains must have a high degree authority to do their job. They are isolated (especially Captain Janeway) away from Earth. They make very important decisions. Decisions that could lead to trade with a planet. Or war.

The Captain even has the responsibility of killing crew members at times. Captain Kirk said, "A starship captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive." [6] I wonder if any of those crew members might have the will to live?

Starfleet Charter Articles Article 14, Section 31 has language that "permits the use of "extraordinary measures" in times of dire emergency." [5] I would say that some might consider being stranded 75 years from Earth as a "dire emergancy. But the real point is that no I do not believe that that the Federation was at war with anyone at the time. And they sure were not at war in the Delta Quadrant. However, the entire mission is a military action. And as pointed out in some of the regulations...the Captain has a ton of authority. But this makes sense. A Captain never knows when he or she may have to take action. That action may be to open fire on another ship. While not at war, each mission is a military action.

Now my opponent has mentioned multiple times the length of time between when Tuvix was created and when Tuvok and Neelix were restored. Captain Janeway mentions that had a solution been found immediatley she would not have hesitated performing the procedure. Chakotay agrees. I would like to ask my opponent if they agree with both Captain Janeway and Chakotay (as it seems that way)?

[2] Campbell, Neil A. "Biology" 3rd edition page 528
[3] Star Trek Voyager "Tuvix"
[4] Wrath of Khan
Debate Round No. 1


Welcome macaztec, and thank you for a thought out reply. It does start "fun"!

While your counterarguments are swaying and well-formulated, and I feel for the loss of Tuvok and Neelix in this situation, I feel above all we must keep a clear and level head in discussion of ethics and rights. Your objection seems to stem from the idea that Tuvix and Neelix are alive still, so let me address that first.

First of all, let's briefly consider the contention that Tuvok and Neelix are still alive. Let me ask a rhetorical question then - where are they? Their organs and synapses are nowhere to be found on the Voyager or the planet. From there it already follows they meet the physiological criteria of death, even if they can be "brought back" later. Indeed, what happened to them was not symbiosis but symbiogenesis. In order to reproduce with them, the orchid they were examining merged itself with them on a micro-cellular level. (1)(2) This was the offspring of the orchid and these individuals, not something holding Tuvok and Neelix hostage! Surely the presence of DNA, or even cells, of one individual in another is not evidence that first individual still lives and has rights - else, for example, we would have to consider the rights of the cells of your parents within you! I will not explore the implications of destroying the orchid's naturally reproduced offspring to not distract from the more salient points.

After the transporter accident/the orchid's reproduction - while we feel sad for the loss of Tuvok and Neelix, we must realize they are at this time dead. Ethics must be considered in the present situation, not a hypothetical alternative. Let us be clear: even though they were brought back, they were physiologically and neurologically dead. Even though one could argue the outcome brought them back in some sense (whether resurrecting one that has been dead by re-arranging molecules and DNA is actually bringing them back is beyond this debate), it is my argument the procedure should not have been attempted in the first place because of its immorality and malicious nature.

My opponent contends it was not malicious. Janeway may have had good intentions, but there is no greater malice than deliberating and then cold-bloodedly killing another person. In legal terms we can establish malice from the total disregard for the life and desires of Tuvix, Janeway being an actively malicious individual is not necessary. (3)

We can sometimes make the argument that killing another should be done to prevent future deaths, to protect another, or as part of a justice system. This was none of the above; it rather violated the orchid's natural reproduction and sacrificed one individual to harness his DNA and cells. I would characterize Janeway's decision as muddled by emotion, overcome by a desire to have Tuvok and Neelix back, which tempted her - and tempts all of us - to act unethically. It is therefore she feels conflicted at the end of the episode, and not happy that she did the right thing and held on to her ethics, as we would expect if the decision had been fully justified in her mind and Tuvix had no value. (2)

My opponent asks if I would have been more happy with the decision if Tuvix had not had time to establish himself as an individual on the ship. No, ethically I would not have been, but it would have been easier for me to understand individuals acting rashly in great emotion and panic. Watching Tuvix' friends of weeks turning on him murderously for his DNA, to bring back their old shipmates, however, was very painful.

Let us now proceed to the question of "the needs of the few". This is indeed an interesting point. Interestingly, my opponent quotes Spock and Kirk both, who were at times highly at odds in the matter! Indeed, Kirk later returned the quote as "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many". (4) I feel Spock's quote is often taken out of context of saving his shipmates.

There are many parallels to old Earth militaries which would lead you to expect Tuvix could be ordered to die outside of combat, although such barbarism is not practiced anymore. However, especially saliently, in "Measure of a Man" we establish that by resigning one's Starfleet commission one can be protected from such orders, in the parallel situation where lt. cmdr. Data's life was threatened to benefit "the many". This was not contested, but rather Data's sentience and capacity to resign. I would expect the same regard for civilians to be present on the Voyager.

In Earth history, the benefit of the many vs. individual rights has been a very prominent theme, with notable lapses but an overall trend towards evolving and preserving individual rights. There is a good reason for this.

Consider the moral obligations of suggesting murdering Tuvix to create individuals from his DNA and cells, outside of the scientific contest. If we accept this action, even in extenuating circumstances, we are reaching the broader conclusion that at times it is acceptable to destroy one individual to benefit others - from the example kindly provided in the comments of harvesting one living child's organs to benefit several more established individuals, we can surely see this is not a path we want to walk down. Utilitarianism and consequentialist ethics at times seem attractive on the surface, until we consider the implications of removing the sui generis value of sapient life has on larger society. (6) While a court might consider great leniency for Janeway because of extenuating circumstances, in ethics we cannot. We must find the right or wrong.

If we establish that an individual's right to life can be sacrificed to benefit the many, we will have reached a conclusion that fundamentally undermines our ethics and valuation of individual life. Logically applying such a principle would have had Star Trek: Voyager play very differently, and so life itself. Surely that is not what my opponent is attempting to justify?



My opponent has made some interesting counter points. I will delve right into them.

My opponent suggests that it is merely an idea that Tuvok and Neelix are alive. He even suggests that because Tuvok and Neelix can not be found on the planet or the Voyager that they are in fact dead. I wonder if those are the only criteria for life? It is not merely an idea that they are alive. We see them alive after Captain Janeway rescues them.
My opponent suggests that it is merely symbiogenesis. To see the problem with that we must first explore symbiogenesis. Symbiogenesis is "the merging of separate organisms to form a single organism." A good example of symbiogenesis is mitochondria. [1]

Mitochondria are organelles that produce ATP. Originally,mitochondria were free living prokaryotic cells. Another nucleated cell engulfed one of these prokaryotic cells. Both cells thrived. Mitochondria have their own genomes. However, let us say that we plucked a mitochondrium from a cell. What would happen to the mitochondria? It would not survive. This was not the case with Tuvok and Neelix.[2][3]

Let's go back to the original prokaryote that was engulfed. Why was it engulfed? The engulfing process is known as endocytosis. Cells perform endocytosis in an effort to eat them. Now my guess would be that the prokaryote probably was not looking to be a victim of violence that day. I would say that the same is true for Tuvok and Neelix. Let's say we did the same thing as above. We pluck the prokaryote from the attacking cell. Would the prokayote have lived?

It has been suggested that we do not consider the rights of my parents cells inside my body. However this is a very different situation. Using myself as an example, I am a combination of my parents DNA. Half of my DNA was supplied from one parent. The other half from another. Let us say that we were able to isolate my father's half of my genome. The we were to use the transporter to separate the two. What would happen? Would we have my mother and father standing there? No there would be a hot mess. We are not considering the rights of the cells. We are considering the rights of both Tuvok and Neelix. [4]

Let's consider something else about the rights of Tuvok and Neelix. My opponent suggests that " violated the orchid's natural reproduction and sacrificed one individual to harness his DNA and cells." At what point do either Tuvok or Neelix give consent to being part of this act from the orchid? They did not. The orchid violated their rights from the beginning. Their rights continue to be violated by Tuvix. Again, Captain Janeway is taxed with defending the rights of her crew members. Furthermore, Captain Janeway does not "harness DNA" from Tuvix. She restored Tuvok and Neelix after their rights had been violated.

My opponent again suggests that Captain Janeway acted with malice in her actions. He even says that "we can establish malice from the total disregard for the life and desires of Tuvix." This is not true. One can disagree with Captain Janeway's actions. However, Captain Janeway was acting in a manner to defend and save her crew. She was not acting with evil intent toward Tuvix. This clearly does not meet the legal definition of "malice."

It was mentioned that someone can resign from their position in Starfleet to be protected from an order to die outside of combat. First, I would like to say that Tuvix did not resign his post. Even after directly disobeying Captain Janeway's order to accompany her. However, being ordered to die was not what I was referring to. I was referring to the fact that a Starfleet Captain may occasionally have to make decisions that may cost lives to save lives. A Captain hopes that that day never happens, but must be prepared if it ever does. [5]

My opponent suggests that if we "If we establish that an individual's right to life can be sacrificed to benefit the many, we will have reached a conclusion that fundamentally undermines our ethics and valuation of individual life." He also spent quite a bit of time about individual rights. However, his focus seems to be on civilians. We are focusing on actions in a military setting.

My opponent claims that over the years we see a migration toward personal rights over the rights of the many. This is not the case in the military. Once during World War II, a B-17 bomber was headed back to base. The ball gunner on the bottom of the aircraft was trapped. The landing gear did not work. A taxing decision had to be made. The aircraft landed. The gunner was crushed under the plane.[6] I doubt that this man wished to die. But the pilot had to make a decision to save the rest of the crew.

[5] Star Trek Voyager "Tuvix"
[6] Ambrose, Stephen E. "Citizen Soldier" pgs 300-301
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, and I would likewise, now that we're in the last turn, like to thank Con for taking the time to explore the issue in such depth. Thank you, and now on to our final arguments --

In his round two rebuttal my opponent focused on the biology of the issue. First of all I would like to point out that Tuvix was indeed an offspring of symbiogenesis as we can establish from the Doctor's research (1). Whether his cells are independently viable is not an issue and indeed we can't reliably assess that - we don't have the information. How exactly did Tuvok and Neelix merge to form Tuvix? Because Tuvix is the size of approximately one adult human male and Tuvok and Neelix are two large males, we can for example establish that about 50% of mass was lost. Now, a human that has lost 50% of his tissues - is he in good health, can he survive independently? I do not know. It would depend on what exactly happened.

In brief -- people die in transporter accidents. To reiterate, Tuvok's and Neelix' physiological and brain functions stopped irrevocably at the time of transport. A new procedure had to be developed and they had to be reassembled from another organism. This would never have happened in the lifetime of Tuvix, the recipient of (some) of their matter. They met the criteria for death, accidental and tragic though it may be.

Matter does not know an owner, nor does it have rights. Organic matter on Earth, for example, has been part of countless organisms; as time goes on, more and more of them intelligent as humanity has been present in the biomass longer. We do not usually consider this an issue in rights. We all carry the genomes of countless ancestors in us. We do not normally consider them to have rights over our present state,

There was also the issue of malice. I would like to reiterate that complete disregard for another's well-being constitutes malice in itself according to, at last, (2)


However, I do not feel that one should need to be a biologist, or a lawyer, to understand ethical issues. What we must concentrate on here is the rights of Tuvix, or the lack thereof. The matter is indeed simple. Tuvix was a living, breathing individual on the starship Voyager. He had made friends, he was lovable, he had his own desires. Neelix and Tuvok, on the other hand, were dead at the time. They were alive in the minds of the crew only, after their vital functions had ceased and their bodies lost in a transport accident. Unless we invoke a supernatural vitalist force we cannot consider them to be physiologically alive even though (some of) the matter they were made of still exists. This transporter-"accident" was in fact a strategy of reproduction for a specific plant, intended to create a new organsm. We may feel the deaths of Neelix and Tuvok were unjust, and bad for Voyager. But like all such deaths, what should have happened is that people move on.

What happened on the Voyager, instead, is this. Tuvix' friends, after deliberation, turned on him, and, in a chilling display, stripped him of his position on the Voyager (in the final moments of the episode) and had guards escort him to sickbay to his death, which he, fully understanding the issues, had objected to, only submitting after he could not escape. There they overrode the doctor who would not do it on ethical grounds, and ripped apart his body with a transporter beam to harvest tissues and DNA to reconstitute the dead Neelix and Tuvok. Naturally Neelix and Tuvok were happy - momentarily, at least; we do not see enough of what happens after to see if they feel guilt. But we do see that Janeway does. That should already tell us this is not right even in her mind.

My opponent, for round two, has brought up a situation where one person was sacrificed in a situation of no alternatives, as a plane had to land to save the lives of many. This is not what happened here. Tuvix did not have to die. The crew of Voyager wanted him to die to bring back their friends. We can sympathize. But, outside of extreme emergency such as to save lives from future violence, we must not accept murder to bring out a desirable outcome. Recreating Tuvok and Neelix was not such. You may feel tempted to say so, but consider that they were already dead and thus not in a state where it can be considered to do them harm to remain dead. The beneficiaries here were the crew of the Voyager, the murderers. And consider the consequences of justifying this action.

If, so casually, outside of an emergency situation, one life can be wilfully destroyed for the benefit of many, what kind of ethics are we left with? Will we accept the situation of sacrificing a child to harvest their organs to extend the life of others? We must emphasize that this was not self-sacrifice on Tuvix' part, where Spock said his maxim, it was death imposed on him to benefit the living. If we so casually disregard the value of life to benefit the many, why not pay for Voyager's return trip with the happiness of Seven of Nine in the episode "Think Tank"? Why not deliberately sacrifice the (somewhat intelligent) aliens to speed up Voyager's journey home in "Equinox", but instead hunt as criminals the ones who knowingly do so? Obviously this is against all Starfleet believes in - except in the case of Tuvix. The case of Tuvix is a remarkable lapse in ethics, but it happened. Will we now say we lament it, or will we "excuse" it, admitting our human right to live can be suspended at times to benefit others? I would not like to tell anyone to think so.

As we now close I would like to ask the audience to not get trapped in issues of biology or emotions. What is most important here, what Starfleet has always held most dear, is ethics. I personally believe that while emotions are human, and wishing Tuvok and Neelix back is human, what is noblest in humanity is our capability for profound consideration, and our sense of ethics and justice. We may find many mitigating factors here, but fundamentally we must condemn this deadly breach of ethics on the crew's part for what it was, even though the outcome was consoling and favorable, because it represents a path we do not want to walk down. A path where any of you or I could be condemned to die to benefit others, despite our own wishes and rights, without a trial, and without justice, as Tuvix was. It is not a "slippery slope", it is a matter of the fundamentality and undeniability of human rights. Therefore we must now be crystal clear that we do not allow for even the possibility that such can be justified by circumstances.

Thank you.



I would like to extend a thanks to my opponent for this interesting debate.

My opponent still seems intent on writing Tuvok and Neelix off as dead. Perhaps it is easier to abandon them if they are dead. "The biology of the issue" is very important. My opponent keeps pointing out that Tuvix was a result of symbiogenesis. The biology of the issue shows that Tuvok and Neelix were alive.

But let us look at it from a logical point of view. What type of logic dictates that two dead beings can be crammed together to created a third living creature? It doesn't make sense. And that is because Tuvok and Neelix are still very alive. We see that when Captian Janeway comes to their rescue. [1]

For the next point I must be candid. My opponent shows a clear ignorance of the legal term malice. Malice is "a conscious, intentional wrongdoing either of a civil wrong like libel (false written statement about another) or a criminal act like assault or murder, with the intention of doing harm to the victim." Notice the clear wording of intentional wrong doing. Malice does include " total disregard for the other's well-being." However, it is not defined by being a total disregard for other's well-being." [2]

My opponent's definition of malice opens it's own can of worms. Let us just use logic once more to examine this. For this example we are using my opponents idea of malice. To be clear, his idea is "complete disregard for another's well-being constitutes malice ." So imagine that you are at your home. An intruder comes into you home. The intruder thinks that no one is home. You surprise him. There is a struggle. In self defense, you kill the intruder. However, because you show "total disregard" for his well being you are guilty of murder. Or at least according to my opponent's definition of malice. Does this sound correct? It does not sound correct because it is not correct. That is precisely why there are cases of justifiable homicide. Captain Janeway was not acting with malicious intent. She was acting to protect her crew members.

My opponent continues to talk about the crew turning on Tuvix. I am not quite sure where he is getting this. The crew did not drag him to sick bay. The crew did not hold him down and inject him with the isotope. I can only think that he keeps focusing on this as some kind of shock factor. The simple truth is that Captain Jane is solely responsible for the actions. The actions that I must once again point out saved the lives of Tuvok and Neelix.

Once again my opponent is making outrageous claims. No where have I suggested that the organs of children be harvested. Both the cases of "Equinox" and "Think Tank" are completely different than the case of Tuvix. My opponent touches on it. In the phrase, "If, so casually, outside of an emergency situation, one life can be willfully destroyed..." he says it all. The key words are "outside of an emergency." By my opponent's own admission this was not a transporter accident. Rather an attempt at reproduction. Neither Tuvok or Neelix gave their consent to this act. Further more after this act, Tuvok and Neelix are held against their will by Tuvix. In this case of emergency Captain Janeway acted with their well being in mind.

My opponent asks that we not get tied down with emotion. Yet he continues to try to tug at heart strings in regards to Tuvix. On the flip side he continues to dismiss the rights of Tuvok and Neelix. What kind of world would we live in if we were to follow the thought process of my opponent? A world where it is is perfectly acceptable to rape, kidnap and hold someone hostage? My opponent asks that we not get tied down in the biology of the issue. The biology of the issue clearly shows that Tuvok and Neelix are still alive. This is a very important part of the issue. And because they are still alive Captain Janeway must make a difficult decision. A decision to end a life to save the lives of two crew members. Crew members that can not speak for themselves. And that is precisely what she did. Saved the lives of two members of her crew.

[1] Star Trek Voyager "Tuvix"
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by HappyWeapons 1 year ago
Tuvix was a third party completely innocent of the accident that happened to both of his "parents". Thats all there is to it. Janeway basically murdered an innocent person to get two of her crew back, this is the simple, factual reality of the question, and is probably one of the (if not the most) disgusting episodes of the series from a moral perspective.
Posted by AnarosRhedos 2 years ago
Legality is only one contention for the debate, though. There's still every other reason why this may or may not be okay.
Legality doesn't strip Tuvix' right to live. It may strip him of his right to legal defence, or Janeway's prosecution, but Tuvix is still allowed to live.
Murder as a response to a crime isn't so much "you're not allowed to live anymore" as "we won't punish anyone for killing you now". If I'm wrong, then that sounds like a very inhumane legal system.
The right to live doesn't offer anything the right to not die. A person is allowed to live for as long as they are able to sustain their existence. Once their existence is over, their rights to live are void for at least as long as they're dead.
The right to kill is inherent in anything that can. It's simple - "if you can kill something, you are allowed to. Resident laws will decide what happens next". This doesn't conflict with the right to life - the right to life only applies for as long as you can keep yourself alive. If something kills you, you don't deserve to be brought back. That's not to say you shouldn't be brought back, but certainly that nobody should expect it to be so.
The rights to life and to kill are natural laws. Most biological organisms follow them and it works. Legal law doesn't really have much hold over them.
My point is that the argument ended on an unsatisfactory note. Tuvix' individual rights weren't properly addressed, Tuvok and Knealix' state (quite definitely dead, in my opinion) was defined in technicalities that seemed pretty dubious. In all, a lot more could've been said - and should've. The debate focused on a trivial contention.
Posted by ScarletJ 2 years ago
Macaztec thanks for the now finished debate. We both clearly did our best and pushed things a bit! I hope my advocacy wasn't too annoying.

But having said that, since we're talking, analogies are always flawed. You use them to illustrate how we would behave under other similar circumstances. In this case the child thing illustrates two issues.
a) It does not matter if Tuvix has been alive for only some weeks (since we don't consider destroying children right despite their inferior chronology)
b) We do not generally consider harvesting organs or tissues from unwilling live donors to be ethical even though we could save several organ donation patients with another's organs

I felt I elucidated that poorly above though. The rest, of whether Tuvok and Neelix (who I really do believe are dead at this time, since they've ceased experiencing stuff - denying them their tissues does not make them any worse, nor will they care -- they don't have a brain to care with) have a claim to those tissues is in the debate... but even if a child were living on a "stolen" kidney and that were somehow possible, taking it back by killing the child would be a super tricky ethical issue, I think. Material for another debate. Of whether right to life exceeds justice.
Posted by macaztec 2 years ago
@Ragnar I am guessing Tuvix is the child in this comparison. Tuvok and Neelix are the two friends. This is a poor analogy. A better analogy would be that the child took the kidneys from the two friends. Took them against their will actually. Then you restored them on behalf of your incapacitated friends.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
I think his points could be summarized with an analogy. Two friends of yours will die without a kidney each, you've found a young boy who is a generic match for both of them. The good intent of saving them, does not remove the murder of harvesting what you wanted from the unwilling donor.
Posted by Hematite12 2 years ago
Even if you thought Tuvix has the same rights as a normal human being, killing him essentially resurrects two innocent humans. Also, Tuvix hasn't lived long enough to have his life be worth the same as two people who have put much more time into their lives.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
I hated Neelix, so it was hard for me to see benifit in restoring him to life.
Posted by Dufflepud 2 years ago
Cool debate! I don't know that I can adequately fill the role of Con for this, but I'll be paying attention!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This boils down to whether the crew acted with malice or not. Pro failed to prove malice and therefore con gets the win.