Star Trek Canon Database

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Database started: 1999-07-27
Page generated: 2014-04-21

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TNG Season 6, Ep# 146: "The Chase"

DATA: Professor Galen is still inside his vessel. His vital signs are barely registering.

PICARD: Get him out of there.

WORF: The shuttle is within a tractor beam -- the Transporter cannot penetrate it.

Transporters: the transporter cannot beam through a tractor beam. It's possible to beam right down the axis of a tractor beam (ie- from the originating ship to the target ship), but it's apparently impossible to beam anything in or out from a third-party location.

TNG Season 6, Ep# 146: "The Chase"

BEVERLY: Wait a minute. These fragments all have similar protein configurations... they could be chemically compatible.

PICARD: How can that be possible? They're different species... from different planets. There shouldn't be any compatibility at all.

Culture: Picard insists that Vulcans, humans, Romulans, and Klingons are "different species" and that they shouldn't be genetically compatible, even though he knows perfectly well that various combinations of the above have been breeding for decades.

That fact instantly contradicts his belief that these "species" are incompatible, yet he continues to cling to his belief anyway. This reminds me of certain racists who believe that there are genetic incompatibilities between whites, blacks, asians, etc.

In fact, a registered nurse racist bitch once earnestly explained to my wife that she should beware marrying a non-white man like me because our children might not be genetically viable. A similar brand of repulsive ignorance and racism seems to pervade the Star Trek universe.

TNG Season 6, Ep# 146: "The Chase"

GEORDI: I know how it sounds, but there's no way this could be a random formation. It's definitely part of a program.

BEVERLY: This fragment has been part of every DNA strand on Earth since life began there... and the other fragments are just as old. Someone would've had to write this program over four billion years ago.

PICARD: So four billion years ago, someone scattered this genetic material into the primordial soup of at least nineteen different planets across the galaxy.

DATA: The genetic information must have been incorporated into the earliest lifeforms on those planets, and then passed down through each generation.

Realism: this episode is horribly wrong on many different levels:

  1. The process of evolution involves DNA alteration. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that a particular fragment of DNA would survive without alteration through billions of years of evolution. In fact, there are strong reasons to expect that it could not possibly survive without alteration.
  2. The first organisms in the primordial soup wouldn't have had any DNA.
  3. The process of evolution is driven by environmental conditions, and changes in those conditions are unpredictable because a planetary environment is a complex system. For example, who could have predicted that an asteroid would eventually wipe out most of life on Earth, radically transforming the biosystem in the process? In light of this unpredictability, it is utterly ludicrous to imagine that the genetic similarities between humans, Vulcans, Klingons, and Cardassians could be explained by a genetic similarity from four billion years ago.
If you still think that the "seeding" idea can explain why Vulcans and humans can mate, then consider this: humans and brussel sprouts share a common genetic ancestor from four billion years ago. Hell, we even share the same environment, and we evolved in the same biosphere, which means we have far more in common with brussel sprouts than we would ever have with any alien species, no matter whether they were "seeded" or not. So does this mean you can breed with a brussel sprout? I'd like to see someone try (actually, on second thought, I'd rather not see that).

PS. this "seeding" idea betrays an assumption on the part of the writers that humanoids are the ultimate, inevitable conclusion of the evolution process. This assumption is common among creationists but not biologists, who understand that it's really just happenstance that we ended up looking the way we do. The assumption bundles numerous quasi-religious assumptions together, such as "we are created in God's image", and "everything occurs according to a Plan". In reality, there is no reason that the evolutionary process must lead to humanoid life forms, never mind humanoid life forms which are so similar to a template that they will still be able to cross-breed after four billion years of separate evolution in different environments. Furthermore, there is no reason to assume that we are the ultimate product of evolution. A million years from now, if we're gone and the insects rule the Earth, it will turn out that insects are more highly evolved than we are. Some of us tend to declare ourselves the ultimate product of evolution because of hubris, not science.

TNG Season 6, Ep# 146: "The Chase"

HUMANOID: Our scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds, where life was in its infancy. These seed codes directed your evolution toward a physical form resembling ours -- this body you see before you.

Culture: the assembled group actually accepts this horrendous misrepresentation of evolution theory, which suggests that their knowledge of biology stems from the same deep wellspring of scientific ignorance from which creationism draws its strength.

It is impossible to "direct" the evolution of a biosphere through the insertion of a DNA fragment at the primordial stage, because evolution is driven by environmental conditions. You can affect its current state, but you can't control its future direction (especially not for four billion years into the future).

TNG Season 6, Ep# 146: "The Chase"

PICARD VO: Captain's log, Stardate 46735.2. Our frequent use of high warp over the last few days has overextended the propulsion systems. We are finishing minor repairs before returning to Federation territory.

Propulsion: their warp drive is physically damaged by frequent use of high warp.

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