Sunday, October 05, 2008

Good Knowledge Obtained Still Knowledge

A few weeks ago, I saw a few minutes of a Star Trek: Voyager episode in which the half-Klingon character Belanna has some kind of illness, which can only be cured by activating a Cardassian hologram doctor, who achieved the knowledge of how to cure her by experimenting on captured Bajorans, during the Cardassian/Bajoran road.

(I never watched any of the Star Trek spinoffs, after the first couple of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, because they were just too full of gravitas for me. The original Star Trek, to me, seemed to celebrate man's conquest of space, the later Star Trek's just went to show that man brings problems with him everywhere he goes... or at least, there's always wars, death and destruction everywhere.)

Anyway, the driver of the plot is that Belanna does not want this Cardassian doctor to operate on her. She would rather die than have the doctor make use of technology discovered through torture.

And of course this is reminiscent of the Nazi doctors during World War II, who experimented on Jews, on anyone they termed subhuman. There is a lot of medical knowledge there, but it is buried away and not allowed to be used because of how it was acquired.

And I'm thinking... that's stupid. Why should those people, whom the Nazis experimented on, have died in vain? Surely by making use of the knowledge gained, their deaths will have much more meaning that if they are just allowed to remain nameless victims of such barbarism.

And of course, it wasn't just the Nazis. The Tuskeegee syphilis experiment was pretty vicious, in the 50s apparently the government released various nerve gases in the subways... and is it too much to think that Russia and China would be doing the same thing, given that they care less about humans than democratic countries do?

Here's a review of a book that talks about "Nazi Medicine".

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