The Psi-Phi Project: Re(8629): Andorians seen in Trek

John wrote:

You’d definitely be correct if Humans and Vulcans had evolvedseperately from different evolutionary ladders, etc. That’sprobably not the case, though. It’s been clearly established that an ancient race seeded the galaxy with their genetic code. Humans and Vulcans are most probably the same basic species — just widely variated and at the edge of speciation due to their long isolation from each other.

“The Chase.” Yep, I knew someone would bring that up. Daleks chasing the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki across time and space, and the story where Ian and Barbara finally return to their time.

Oh, wait. Wrong “The Chase.”

You mean the TNG sixth season episode. The one with the progenitor race.

I can’t think of this episode without getting angry. Diane Carey might write crap novels, but nothing approaches the level of scientific idiocy displayed in “The Chase.” I can forgive Ron D. Moore a lot of things, I can even forgive him for Generations , but “The Chase” will always be a black mark against him in my book. Even if what the Progenitors said in “The Chase” were true, that doesn’t mean that humans and Vulcans (and everyone else for that matter) are related in any meaningful way.

First, let’s deal with the timescale. Seeding planets four billion years ago is all well and good, but obviously it didn’t do any good here on Earth. It took another three-billion years plus some for their seeded genetic material to be able to do anything multicellular. Multicellular life on Earth is less than a billion years old on Earth. Life has lasted a long time, but for a good ninety percent of Earth’s history the planet has been little above the lifeless stage.

Second, the genetic material encoding a message. If such a message existed, it would exist (like 42) in everything on Earth. Your dog would have about as much of the message as you, and for that matter, so would some volcano feeder on the bottom of the ocean. Then the timescale comes into play. Across a span of four billion years the message would have been subject to such genetic drift that it would no longer exist.

One phone call to a high school biology teacher would have been enough to tell Ron Moore that, “No, science says this won’t work.” Perhaps if the Progenitors had gone through the galaxy somewhat less than a billion years ago, I might be able to fudge the scientific issue away, but I can’t. Not at four billion years. We don’t know today why the Cambrian Explosion happened. We don’t know why multicellular life took three billion years to happen. But that’s what happened, and no amount of hand-waving will make that go away in the Trek universe. Either Galen had the story all wrong, or the Progenitors didn’t do jack squat.

Any way you cut it, the scientific gaffe in “The Chase” almost makes Ship of the Line look like poetry. And y’all know how I feel about Ship.

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