Spock was no fun, right? Always so serious. If there were any logical flaws in what a person was saying, he was always quick to point it out. The overall goal of everything “making sense” was worth it to him. It was worth it to keep correcting people, even though the rest of the crew thought that he was a drag. There were even episodes of the original ST series where they examined how the other crew members disliked him. Awesome stuff. That’s why he was always my favourite character.
Similarly, Data is my fave character on STNG. He takes the Spock-like behaviour to new heights, sometimes to hilarious effect. Data is the most logical one, and yet, he’s often the comic relief too. Great combination.
Me, I’m more Spock-like than Data-like. Because I don’t see anything funny about this alarming trend towards non-logical, “results-driven” analysis. But then again, I’m not like Spock or Data at all. Because unlike those two, bad unthinking gets my blood boiling.
If a drunk driver has a terrible accident and a child dies as a result, is he a much worse person than every other drunk driver? Why? Because of the bad results. This piece of illogical reasoning was shoved at everyone two years ago, media quoting the grieving family as if they had a good point. They were grieving and I am sympathetic. But they did not have a good point.
Every drunk driver is arguably an idiot. They are all negligent. Whether they have a terrible accident or not, is a matter of luck, the weather, road conditions, and what all the other drivers are doing out there. The amount of liquor that they consumed before driving, affects the degree of their negligence and their carelessness. If they drank a lot, their carelessness reaches criminal levels. But ALL people who drank at that level, are morally the same – regardless of results.
Legally and morally speaking, there is a very sharp line between deliberate actions, and accidents. This much is obvious. But then we have the “results-driven” analysis which throws all logic right out the window. It makes no sense. But yet, many people simply parrot it without thinking it all through.
The “results-driven” analysis goes like this. A child died. Therefore, what THAT drunk driver did, was murder. He is guilty of murderous intent, for getting behind the wheel drunk – because a child died. But, if a child hadn’t died, then he would not be guilty (retroactively) of murderous intent, which works backwards – after the fact. If a child hadn’t died, then he’d be just the same as any other drunk driver – stupid, negligent, careless. But not murderous. This guy is different – only because of the results. (Throw in a few irrelevant facts, like, for example, the fact that he’s wealthy – and voila. You have a great example of how to do a flawed, incorrect moral analysis, which everyone buys into. The ship’s crew support one another in this wrongness, much to Spock’s great chagrin.)
Surely, when you break it down, everybody can see that the analysis of calling him “murderous” strictly because of the results, is incorrect on every level – morally, ethically, legally, and logically.
Yet, this type of backwards non-logical thinking is being flogged all over the place. And intelligent people are being fooled by it.
The worst part of pointing all of this out, for me, is to be accused of being non-compassionate. “You don’t care that a child died!” Well, that is not true. I care just as much, if not more, than anyone else. But I can’t just sit back and allow this type of brain-killing unthinking to seep out there and be spread around, without saying anything.
People would hate Spock just for pointing out whenever somebody was wrong. I know how that feels. But he would simply point out the illogic of being accused of bad character. He figured that correcting errors was his job, so he did it. Similarly, to say that I don’t care about this child or her family isn’t fair or accurate. The negligent person who drove drunk is NOT any worse of a human being than every other drunk driver who drank as much as he did. His moral culpability should NOT be determined after-the-fact, due only to the results that he did not fully control or intend. What I say is the truth. And it should not mean that I am unlikeable just for saying that. But it does. Like Spock, being disliked won’t stop me. But unlike Spock, all of this makes me very sad. Because on top of losing their child, these good people were made into spokespersons for unthinking. These good, grieving people were converted into character assassins. And that’s just wrong.
I speak up about this, even though it makes me unlikeable, because the dangers of retroactive application of guilt based solely on results, are very serious. People can be framed in this manner. People can be finished by this sort of thing, even though they are just the same as many other people who are simply more lucky. Retroactive application of moral guilt, based on results, is a dangerous tool wielded by would-be character assassins who deploy vast segments of the unwitting population. And so I will always fight back against that. Simply because it’s wrong.
Something tells me that not everybody is fooled by that type of unthinking. But many highly intelligent people ARE fooled by it. So I hope that somehow, I can help with that.