SciFi Q of the Day: Neanderthal Temples

This question was inspired by the story “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg.

SciFi Question of the Day: If the only way you could save an alien planet’s doomed population was to introduce a fake religion that forced the neanderthals to take shelter in temples, would you do it?

Facebook Answers:

  Tyler Gurdak Two words: Prime Directive

  Charlie Cecil Riley No.

  Al Hartman Yup! You can always send another messiah after the danger has passed to bring a new revelation.

  Douglas S Caprette The Prime directive prohibits interfering with the development of a less advanced civilization. Extinction is not development.

One of the worse aspects of TNG was the way the writers ‘reimangined’ the prime directive to create dilemas in situations where the original prime directive did not. Sort of like the way the writers of “The Practice’ frequently ‘reimangined’ the canon of ethics, sometimes even reversing it.

  Zoe Derri No – why are they doomed? If they’re not intelligent enough to seek shelter, they don’t ‘deserve’ to survive.

  Tyler Gurdak It does depend on why they are doomed. If it is a natural event, I say no interference.

  AmyBeth Fredricksen You would save them from self-destruction, but NOT from something natural, like a devastating meteor shower or radiation blast?

  James Lucius ‎1. Screw the Prime Directive. It’s nothing more than a convenient excuse for avoiding any action that would unduly upset the Star Trek wish-fulfillment umiverse. 2. Read Poul Anderson‘s story “Day of Burning” for a discussion of both the ethical implications and unintended comsequences of a similar decision.

  Tyler Gurdak If it is natural or something they cause to themselves, no interference. If it is not natural or something we caused then I say help them.

  Zachary Navakuku I’d probably be the reason why taking shelter in temples would be the only way they’d be able to survive. What can I say? The poor thing looked too cute to keep locked away in some dark, dank dungeon miles below the surface of the ocean, so I released the Kraken.

  Al Hartman You can’t save everyone, but I don’t see anything wrong in trying. As far as non-interference, if you’re not introducing new technology, or disrupting their culture… saving their lives is not really Prime Directive type interference.

The whole point of the Prime Directive is to keep them from being destroyed so they have a future to naturally develop into.

In “The Paradise Syndrome”, the Enterprise tried to divert the asteroid. Should they not have, because that was a natural event?

I don’t think creating a religion is the best way to save them, as that is disruptive to their culture…

But, I don’t have a better idea at the moment.

Certainly, a disrupted culture is better than none at all.

On second thought, you could send in teams to sedate and capture villages. Keep them sheltered until the danger has passed and then let them loose… Let them figure out why they suddenly found themselves in a deep cave with food and water to last for a few weeks, and then an earthquake unblocked the entrance…

  Zachary Navakuku Wasn’t there an episode of TNG where a Vulcan-esque primitive society was beginning to revert back to religion because one of them thought they saw “God” and went thoroughly unstable until after he shot Picard who was willing to die to prove that he was no god?

  Tyler Gurdak If introducing a fake religion is the only way to save them, I would still have to say I would not interfere. If there was a way to save them without them knowing they have been saved, then I would save them.

Google Plus Answers:

  Ron Whitmire  Probably. Do the neanderthals have cake?

  Andy Brokaw  Interesting question… I probably would. And while I was at it, I’d give them lots of instructions about being nice to each other. They’d probably ignore those, but at least they’d be around to be dicks.

  Ron Whitmire  Or pie? I would definitely save them for pie.

  AmyBeth Inverness  +Ron Whitmire They have neither pie nor cake, but they have a recipe for cinnamon rolls that’s out of this world.

  Joanna Staebler-Kimmel  yep. re-introducing reason only works if they’re still alive.

  R. Scott Kimsey  So long as they have the cinnamon roll recipe, who cares if they’re reasonable? At least so long as they’re just reasonable enough to offer up the cinnamon rolls on a regular basis.

  Ron Whitmire  A good cinnamon roll recipe is something I could definitely build them a religion around.

  R. Scott Kimsey  +Ron Whitmire Yeah, I’m thinking offering up first born or something like that really misses the mark. Just keep the rolls coming. I could see it ending in bloodshed, however. The inevitable holy wars between the Cassia and Ceylon factions. The doctrinal disputes regarding frosting versus icing. But as the impartial eater of the rolls I doubt I could be bothered with their internal conflict.

  Ron Whitmire  Each of those variations is merely an avatar of The One True Roll +R. Scott Kimsey. There can be only one. Unless I order a dozen, then there can be a dozen.

  Christopher Clark  no, i follow the Prime Directive whenever possible.

Besides, why save them when we can repopulate them Captain Kirk Style?

  Ron Whitmire  So you’d save some of their females +Christopher Clark? Isn’t that more of an assimilation than anything else?

  Christopher Clark  no, i dont plan to stick around, just introduce new genetic material for the assistance in there evolution, i got other planets to explore. and new space STD’s to contract

  Joanna Staebler-Kimmel  Sounds like you all need the “cinnamon rolls as big as your head” baked by the main character in Sunshine.

  Ron Whitmire  So then you’d undoubtedly become a part of their mythology and have created a religion anyway.

  Christopher Clark  no more so than any other Giacomo Casanova has his own religion.

  Ron Whitmire  Bigger isn’t always better +Joanna Staebler-Kimmel. What we want is the Perfect Cinnamon Roll. And coffee of course. This planet does have coffee doesn’t it +AmyBeth Inverness? If not they are on their own.

  Ron Whitmire  +Christopher Clark you don’t think they would worship you as The Great Progenitor? The Clark?

  Christopher Clark  assuming they are the equivalent of there races neanderthals, the oral history of the conquest of one slightly different male might fade into faded-theory much like the ones on our own planet

  Christopher Clark  just hoping there not some insectoid like thang, that could get messy

  AmyBeth Inverness  The only reason they have coffee is because one of the other humans from your team already introduced it as a religious experience.

  Joanna Staebler-Kimmel  the trick is figuring out if the oral history will fade before they figure out how to write things down. and if it doesn’t fade by then, you just have to figure out if you’ll end up as gilgamesh or as enkidu.

  Ron Whitmire  Messy, yes. For the sake of our own sanity let’s assume they are humanoid primates

  Ron Whitmire  Hmm, +AmyBeth Inverness I can see where the coffee cultists and cinnamon roll worshipers might coexist peacefully for a long time. Until the decaf devil worshipers show up on the scene.

  Christopher Clark  the coffee based religion would form a sect of coffee liquor, and would in turn Rule the world, untill they forgot to go inside for whatever catastrophe happened

  Ron Whitmire  +Christopher Clark you are undoubtedly correct, the Kahluites would perish in The Doom. Only the truly holy, The Caffeinated Ones would be saved. So it has been written in the prophesies.

  Ron Whitmire  I can see where production of the sacred Coffee Bean might become this planets sole source of economy, sort of like Spice on Arrakis. I wonder if our coffee drinking followers would become total bad-asses like the Fremen.

  Ron Whitmire  Or would they wind up just being a group space of hipsters sitting around their coffee shops and drinking Americanos? Holy ****, make sure nobody uses the word “Starbucks” while the natives are listening.

Twitter Answers

LeahPetersen  Leah Petersen  @US_Nessie Oh crap. That’s deep.
JenLKirchner  Jen Kirchner  @US_Nessie Huh. You’d have to really convince me that there’s no other place for them to take refuge. Hard to believe.
I would love to hear what you think! Even if you are reading this post a year or more after publishing, I hope you will leave a comment with your own ideas on this topic.

The previous SciFi Q of the Day is Multiple Moons

The shortlink for this post is

The next SciFi Q of the Day is Tools for a Burgeoning Space Colony

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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7 Responses to SciFi Q of the Day: Neanderthal Temples

  1. Let’s save the population (along with the rolls & the coffee), & worry about the repercussions AFTER the crisis has passed. Much easier to argue right & wrong with the living than with the dead!

  2. Pingback: Ray is Gone | AmyBeth Inverness

  3. Note to self: Other Q ideas…
    If you could have either a realistic replica of the “Throne” from Game of Thrones, or an inflatable or foam rubber version, which would you choose?

    And I have this weird idea about a venn diagram with Game of Thrones and, oh, I dunno, “The Bachelor”…

    • and…
      Anytime in the next 24 hours, you can use the Jedi mind trick just once. It’s gone once you use it, and it’s gone in 24 hours whether you use it or not. What do you do?

  4. Pingback: SciFi Q of the Day: Skills for a Burgeoning Space Colony | AmyBeth Inverness

  5. Pingback: SciFi Q of the Day: Multiple Moons | AmyBeth Inverness

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