Friday, January 18, 2008

Night of the Living Overpopulation Myth

Yesterday marked the 39th anniversary of the first airing of one of the most famous stupid Star Trek episodes ever — The Mark of Gideon.

From Wikipedia:

On stardate 5423.4, the starship Enterprise arrives at the planet Gideon to begin diplomatic relations and invite the inhabitants to join the Federation. Gideon is reported to be a virtual paradise where the people live incredibly long lives in a nearly germ-free environment.

Upon arrival however, the Gideon representative, Ambassador Hodin, refuses to allow anyone to beam down to the planet except for Captain Kirk, who he gives specific coordinates to transport to. Kirk agrees to beam down and finds himself sent from one transporter room, directly to another, identical transporter room. It looks as if he is still aboard the Enterprise; however, after looking around, he finds to his surprise, the ship is completely devoid of any crew.

Back on the "normal" Enterprise, Mr. Spock is later informed that the Captain never arrived on the planet, however Ambassador Hodin refuses to allow a search team to investigate. Spock contacts Admiral Fitzgerald of Starfleet to report Kirk's disappearance and request further instruction, however Starfleet is bogged down by bureaucratic red tape between the planet Gideon and the Department of Planetary Treaties. Fitzgerald orders Spock to "stand by" for the time being.

Spock knew the coordinates were to send Kirk directly to the Gideon council chamber, so Spock asks to beam a member of the Gideon council up to the Enterprise to test the transporter. Hodin agrees and sends a member of his staff up to the ship and then back down to the planet. The transporter appears to be working normally.

Meanwhile, Kirk wanders the deserted Enterprise and then notices a strange bruise on his arm. He eventually runs into a beautiful young woman named Odona, who is apparently from Gideon. She too, has no idea how she got to the empty Enterprise, recalling only that she was in an overcrowded auditorium and struggling to breathe. For the moment, she is just relieved to have freedom of movement.

Kirk learns from Odona that Gideon is severely overpopulated, with crowds of people everywhere and no privacy. To her, the privilege of being alone, even for a moment, is a dream come true. Kirk thinks Odona's beauty is a dream come true, and the two share a passionate kiss. Neither notice the strange ghostly image of a dozen faces appearing on the bridge monitor behind them.

As Kirk and Odona leave the bridge, Kirk hears a strange sound outside the ship. He goes to a viewport and catches a glimpse of a crowd of people dressed in tight fitting body suits. The scene quickly fades to a view of normal space and he realizes something is very wrong. Kirk confronts Odona about what is going on, but she denies knowing what is happening. She then quickly falls ill, fainting to the floor.

Kirk carries her to sickbay where he encounters Ambassador Hodin. Hodin explains that Kirk is part of a secret experiment. Odona is his daughter, and Kirk has just infected her with Vegan choreomeningitis, a potentially lethal virus that Kirk carries in his blood but has an immunity to. Hodin's plan is to infect his people with the virus in an attempt to "control" the overpopulation problem caused by the people's long lifespans in a germ-free environment.

Kirk is angered that he has been an unwitting pawn, a Mark, in their hideous plan, and questions why the Gideons haven't tried sterilization or birth control regulations. Hodin explains that the Gideon people have regenerative abilities that have foiled sterilization attempts, and that their people hold love and the ability to create life sacred.

Kirk is also horrified to learn that he must remain behind to supply the virus as needed, however Kirk believes that Odona can fulfill that role now that she has been infected. Hodin explains that Odona must die from the virus so that she will become a "role-model" for the youth of the world, who will step forward and give up their lives for the benefit of the population. [emphasis mine]

I was reminded of propaganda like this recently at work when we got an e-mail from a fellow who told us, among other things:

You must realize that all organized religions, in order to keep the flock believing, must develop answers to those that would challenge their beliefs for the flock to use in defense of the organization's dogma. But, the organization's argument always ends in one way or another that, "you must have faith". Therein lies each organization's dilemma, and their weakest point. Unless the flock convinces themselves that this defense mechanism (and the dogma) is true, the organization loses members...and $.

But back to abortion for a minute. Unless the population of humans on this planet is curtailed and reduced to about 1850 to 1900 levels and kept there, we'll destroy this finite marble floating around the universe.

I pointed out to this chap the irony in making snarky comments about "dogmas" whilst simultaneously subscribing to dogmas that one doesn't even realize are dogmas.

Alas, he didn't see my point.

Ah well. I tried.


Square Zero: Babies Are Eating the Planet!

Posts from Generations for Life:


Anonymous said...

Good to bring up the point..

chestertonian said...

Chesterton has a great quote about the tyrranical dogmas of those who claim they have no dogmas. Usually, it is such folks who want to put everyone else in shackles and lead them to the executioner.