July 23, 2004

Upcoming anti-transhumanist storyline in ST: Enterprise

Star Trek: Enterprise will be lauching its fourth season shortly. They will be airing a 3-part episode that has a definite (anti)transhumanist message:
Some upcoming storyline details were also announced. Brent Spiner will be appearing over a three-episode arc playing an ancestor of the scientist who created Lt. Cmdr. Data - the android whom Spiner played in Star Trek: The Next Generation. This ancestor, however, does not believe that artificial intelligence is worthwhile and sets about supporting genetic modifications to human beings - in turn leading to a eugenics storyline. New showrunner Manny Coto explained to StarTrek.com:

"Well, it's a very exciting arc. Brent is going to play an ancestor of Dr. Soong, the creator of Data. However, this character is more of a Dr. Frankenstein. He is not a benign individual. He has brought to life 20 embryos from the Eugenics era. So you have Soong who's leading a band of Khan Noonien Singh's, so to speak. He believes that genetic engineering was on the right track! He wants to improve humanity, and he believes that the Eugenics Wars were an aberration, that these individuals are the future of humanity. Of course he's wrong — they get away from him. They get out of control, and it becomes this three-episode saga that's kind of like 'Apocalypse Now' — Enterprise becomes kind of like a ship going up river, trying to find these individuals, with Soong on board."
This sounds fairly typical of the anti-technologist and reactionary post-Rodenberry era of the franchise. The last thing the writers want to do is have their audience thinking about difficult issues and thinking outside the box (which is what Rodenberry was all about).

No, instead it's, "Me Star Trek fan, me no think. Me know genetics bad because Khan Noonien Singh is evil and he puts crazy things into people's ears that make them go evil also," etc.

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