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When Did Star Trek’s Eugenics Wars Actually Happen?

When Did Star Trek’s Eugenics Wars Actually Happen?


Writing speculative fiction can be a perilous
undertaking. Most artists hope that their work endures
in the public imagination long after its initial publication. But sometimes that endurance can lead to problems
down the road, especially if the work in question becomes part of a long-running series. In this video we’ll look at one example
of how Star Trek has encountered this problem, and some of the ways the creators of various
Trek projects have dealt with it, as we wrestle with the question When Did Star Trek’s Eugenics Wars Actually
Happen? First, for those of you who aren’t familiar
with them, what the hell are the Eugenics Wars? The Eugenics Wars are first mentioned in the
Classic Trek episode “Space Seed,” which introduces Khan. A group of genetically engineered supermen
took control of dozens of nations. Eventually they were overthrown, and managed
to escape the planet prior to being executed as war criminals. After drifting through space in suspended
animation for centuries, they are discovered and revived by the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and that didn’t go so well. Subsequent mentions of the Eugenics Wars provide
a bit more detail. On Enterprise we learn that Captain Archer’s
great-grandfather fought in them. We also learn that the genetically engineered
supermen were called Augments. And we learn casualties of the wars were high,
numbering somewhere north of thirty million. As a result of the Eugenics Wars, the people
of Earth continue to take a dim view of genetic engineering into the 24th century. The Eugenics Wars are among the most consequential
and influential events in Star Trek history. Or so we’re told, anyway. Looking back across fifty years of Star Trek
TV series and films, they don’t come up all that often. They’ve never been dramatized, and we have
little information about them. What I just told you is basically it. Except for one detail – the detail referred
to by the title of this video. See, we do know when the Eugenics Wars actually
happened. And that’s the problem. They happened in the 1990s. In “Space Seed,” Spock establishes that
Khan’s reign, during which he controlled over a quarter of the Earth’s surface, lasted
from 1992 to 1996. Since they apparently coincided with the dictatorships
of the Augments, it’s reasonable to assume that the Eugenics Wars took place during roughly
the same period. The thing is, I lived through the 1990s. I came of age in the 1990s. I watched The X-Files and listened to Third
Eye Blind in the 1990s! It was my decade! And I don’t remember any Eugenics Wars happening
in the 1990s! Outside of Bosnia, Rwanda, and probably a
few other places. So, why does that matter? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Star Trek is an empire of lies. Thanks for watching, everybody! Okay. It matters because it’s fun to think about
and talk about. That’s why it matters. I mean, what the hell else are we doing here? The interesting thing about the dating of
the Eugenics Wars is that so far Star Trek has never retconned them into taking place
some other time, which makes them one of the most obvious points where Star Trek’s fictional
history and the real history of Earth don’t agree. And that’s of particular interest to me
as a Star Trek afficionado because Star Trek has a longstanding habit of incorporating
our world’s actual history into its world’s fictional history. My favorite example of this is the inclusion
into Star Trek canon of the space shuttle Enterprise. I’m sure most of you know at least part
of that story, but just in case some of you don’t: in the mid 1970s NASA was gearing
up the space shuttle program, and they announced that they were building the first test shuttle. Star Trek fans wrote to NASA asking them to
name the first space shuttle after the U.S.S. Enterprise. According to a memo sent to President Gerald
Ford by one of his senior advisors, NASA received hundreds of thousands of letters from Trekkies
pushing for the shuttle to be named Enterprise. So Ford went for it, and when the first space
shuttle was rolled out, it bore the name Enterprise. Gene Roddenberry and the cast of Star Trek
– everybody but Shatner – were on-hand for the unveiling. And here’s a detail that isn’t usually
included when Star Trek fans talk about the space shuttle Enterprise: the original name
for that shuttle was the Constitution, and the unveiling was on September 17, Constitution
Day. So Star Trek fans were able to successfully
pressure the United States government to name the first space shuttle after their favorite
imaginary starship instead of the U.S. Constitution – in 1976, no less, the year the country
celebrated its bicentennial (not the bicentennial of the Constitution, since it wasn’t drafted
until after the revolution, but still). That’s an all-time boss move. I’m not usually an Us vs. Them sorta guy
when it comes to fandom, but beat that, Star Wars fans! Get back to me when you convince NASA to name
something after the Millennium Falcon! Anyway, the space shuttle Enterprise was incorporated
into Star Trek canon pretty much immediately – an image of it is visible on display on
the recreation deck of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Later, in the TV series Enterprise, a sketch
of the shuttle is seen hanging in Captain Archer’s ready room, and footage of the
space shuttle Enterprise being rolled out is also part of that show’s opening credits
montage. We also see a model of a space shuttle, presumably
the Enterprise, in Admiral Marcus’s office in Star Trek Into Darkness. So a space shuttle that was named Enterprise
because of Star Trek is now an official part of Star Trek canon. And sure, you can reconcile that by saying,
well, in the Star Trek universe the shuttle was named Enterprise because of the proud
naval lineage of ships with that name – which is something that was actually mentioned in
the memos to President Ford as an additional justification for giving the space shuttle
that name – but to me it’s a lot more fun to treat it like the inside joke that
it is and leave this world-breaking anachronism right there in the middle of Star Trek’s
in-universe timeline. Just as the space shuttle Enterprise became
part of Star Trek canon, so too has the rest of actual history as it has transpired. Whenever characters from Star Trek travel
back in time and find themselves in the present day, it’s always our present day. When Kirk and crew arrive in San Francisco
circa 1986, it’s not an alternate version of 1986 extrapolated from the Star Trek version
of 1968 we glimpsed during the original series, it’s a representation of the same 1986 the
people sitting in theaters watching the movie were living in – and that’s the whole
point. When the crew of the starship Voyager travels
to Los Angeles circa 1996 in the two-part episode “Future’s End,” it seems pretty
clear that it’s meant to be our Los Angeles. And, oh, hey, would you look at that? Things seem pretty normal despite the devastating
Eugenics Wars that were raging at around this same time, huh? Obviously when “Space Seed” was produced
in the 1960s, the 1990s were still way in the future, so it made sense to set the Eugenics
Wars during that time period. The producers of Star Trek were making TV
for the people watching then, not for people watching fifty years in the future – nobody
expected anybody to still be paying attention to this shit in 2019! But lucky for us, Star Trek grew into a decades-spanning
franchise, a franchise with an in-universe history where the Eugenics Wars still took
place during the 1990s, and where Los Angeles looks like this around the same time. Isn’t speculative fiction fun?! I’m still not over the fact that the year
2001 looked like this instead of this. Could have made a 9/11 reference there. Didn’t do it. Not how I roll. I’ve got a little thing called class. Make a note of that. Write down how classy I am. Anyway, according to Star Trek canon, as far
as I can tell, both of these things are true: the Eugenics Wars happened from roughly 1992
to 1996, and Los Angeles in 1996 was apparently totally unaffected by them – none of the
20th century characters encountered by the Voyager crew mentions the Eugenics Wars, and
none of the Voyager crew expresses any concern about the wars posing a threat to them when
they beam down to the planet. So what gives? How do we reconcile these two things? For the purposes of “Future’s End” it’s
relatively simple: we just assume the fighting in the Eugenics Wars took place outside the
United States. According to Spock, Khan’s territory was
located in Asia and the Middle East. If we assume the countries controlled by the
other augments were also outside the western hemisphere, it’s entirely plausible that
the U.S. would remain untouched by the conflict. Remember, World War II was the most devastating
war in human history, raged on for years across Europe, Africa and Asia, resulted in over
80 million total deaths, and the mainland United States emerged virtually without a
scratch. The U.S. did suffer over 400,000 military
deaths, and about 12,000 civilian deaths from various causes related to the war, but it
would have been entirely possible to walk through any major American city during the
height of the war and see little or no direct evidence of it. If we expand beyond the immediate setting
of “Future’s End” and assume that the 1996 the Voyager crew visits was the same
as the real 1996 everywhere else besides Los Angeles, finding room for the Eugenics Wars
becomes a lot trickier. We didn’t exactly have world peace during
the ‘90s – there were regional conflicts, acts of terrorism, plenty of horrific violence
– but a global war killing thirty million people? Thankfully, no. I mean, unless we all just missed it. Which is possible. I mean, I watched a lot of TV in the ‘90s,
you all, and wasn’t none of it the nightly news, know what I’m saying? Ha ha ha! The “it happened but nobody noticed” angle
was adopted by author Greg Cox for his series of novels chronicling the Eugenics Wars. With the intention of reconciling the wars
as described in “Space Seed” with actual history, Cox presents Khan’s dictatorship
as more of a behind-the-scenes, shadow government kinda thing. In Cox’s version, Khan is not officially
in charge of anything, but through a vast secret conspiracy it was Khan who held the
real power. And the wars themselves were similarly clandestine,
fought without the knowledge of the general public, the millions of casualties attributed
to civil unrest, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters – in Cox’s novel, the 1993 Latur
earthquake, which killed nearly 10,000 people in southwestern India, was triggered as part
of an assassination attempt against Khan by one of his augment rivals. Those of you who were personally affected
by the Latur quake might find that in bad taste, but in general Cox’s story is a clever
attempt to fit the Eugenics Wars into actual history. The Eugenics Wars novels aren’t considered
official Star Trek canon, but they don’t contradict canon in any major ways, so if
you’re struggling to reconcile the Eugenics Wars with the rest of history, you might find
it useful to add them to your headcanon. One of the most appealing aspects of Star
Trek is the way it positions itself as our future. It doesn’t take place in some alternate
timeline – except when it does – it takes place in our timeline, just a few hundred
years down the road. Of course, the longer Star Trek endures, the
more of its fictional history our real world will catch up to, and we’ll have more opportunities
like this to try and smoosh the two together in a way that makes some kind of sense. There’s a big one coming up in about five
years: one of the best episodes of Deep Space Nine is the two-parter “Past Tense”, which
has Sisko, Bashir, and Dax accidentally thrown back in time to San Francisco circa 2024. Hopefully – fingers crossed – the real
2024 won’t include crowded ghettos where homeless and unemployed people are forced
to live, walled off from the rest of their cities, so we Trekkies’ll have to figure
out a way to explain that when the time comes. Here’s my preferred explanation, and it
can apply to the Eugenics Wars, too: maybe when our real history diverges from Star Trek,
it’s because we’ve somehow managed to change things for the better. The version seen or referred to in Star Trek
is the first draft, and the version we lived is the revised version where we managed to
correct a few of the mistakes that were made the last time around. While Star Trek’s vision of humanity’s
future is mostly very bright – at least by the time we get to the 22nd and 23rd centuries
– its version of our present is often pretty bleak. If our actual present turns out better than
the one we’re shown in Star Trek, maybe it means we’re doing something right. Okay, I didn’t say we’re doing everything
right. Obviously we’re still capable of screwing
up in really big, horrible ways that threaten our chances of reaching a Star Trek future
or any future, but at least we avoided the Eugenics Wars. So far. Nothin’ like ending on a downer!

100 comments on “When Did Star Trek’s Eugenics Wars Actually Happen?

  1. One good way to answer this is that, going off of Khan's name, the Eugenics Wars primarily took place over southern Asia, from the indonesian arc over and across to the middle east. Lots of people die, but America is America and the vast majority… doesn't really give a Klingon Opera Interrupt about… any of the world, really; let alone that part of it. In fact, I believe that is the canon answer as to why the wars aren't noted. I mean, right now a disturbing percentage of the country is ignoring one of our supposed allies openly bragging about how he's preparing to engage in wholesale genocide and ethnic cleansing… If it's not in America (and even then, sometimes when it's IN America), the majority of Americans just don't care. And… most trek time travel is in America… Soooo…. yeah.

  2. I like your explanation at the end, Steve. I would just add that there most be some dedicated time agent in the 29th century sending back television and movie scripts on a regular basis to try and correct the timeline from some major, negative incursion at some point before the 1960's. Perhaps some clandestine battle in the midst of the time war, or a rogue agent going hard against the agency and Earth.

  3. See I thought Star Trek revised its own history. ST:TNG First Contact.
    Zephram Cochran (I think) says that the world was recovering from WW3.
    First contact being April 4, 2063 as the result of the first Warp Powered Spaceship.
    So, that would put WW3/Eugenic war around the 2050's, which then make all the Time Travel scenes you mentioned perfect.

    Am I wrong?

  4. from what I can figure, the star trek universe split off from our own universe's past somewhere in the '60s, I would say the beginnings were just after the first moon landing, but again this is all my speculations. Project Chrysalis (the program that was created and brought about our good old friend Khan) was stated to have begun sometime in the late 60s. But this is all not counting what happened in the Enterprise series and the change of history where the Nazis were in control of the Northeast US

  5. Perhaps Data, now reincarnated in B4's body, traveled through the Guardian of Forever and prevented the Eugenics Wars by destroying the test tubes the augments were created in.

  6. "Ive got a little thing called class- make a note of that; write down how classy i am."— stop quoting Trump, no matter how inadvertent it was lol

  7. You forgot to mention the fact that the Starship Enterprise was/is/will be a Constitution class heavy cruiser. Just a nice detail for the shuttle's name change from Constitution to Enterprise.😎👍

  8. How about if, instead of our timeline being the revised, better past, really this is the first draft. The farthest back a Star Trek cast go back in time is (I think) the 19th Century, so what about if everything goes fine until a Star Trek crew go back in time, and that screws everything from that point on. Fortunately, it hasn't happened yet, so we can live in blissful ignorance that in a few hundred years, our past will get wrecked!

  9. While something at the scale of the Eugenics wars as described in the shows didn't happen, I don't think we'd need to go as far as that book in making it a secret war.
    We have plenty of instances of large scale war crimes largely ignored by most of the world. I don't get the sense for example that the US ally Pinochet's body count something that most Americans are aware of, and I think we're still figuring out the full extent of the killings in Cambodia and even Bosnia to this day. If it wasn't for the terrorist attacks on US and European soil, I don't think the current wars in Syria and Jemen would get much press either. As you said, the US was largely unaffected by World War 2, and even some 'neutral' European countries got through those years without seeing much of it, I don't think it's all that unreasonable that if the Eugenics wars had actually happened in the 90s, most of the world could've happily ignored it as it happened, only for the extent of the genocide to be unraveled decades if not centuries later, also giving plenty of time to the likes of Singh to escape the planet before getting tried for their crimes.

  10. In Australia well into the 2,000’s, The Millennium, Ford Motor Co. was still making Ford Falcons so there are Millennium Falcons in our History now.

  11. the bell riots are already well on their way in california. homeless people everywhere people with a job living in there cars because of the price of homes and rent. all we need is the wall around the homeless. its sad but true.

  12. Actually eugenics is futile. When carried to its inevitable conclusion, it invariably leads to mass murder, genocide or the like. The genome is rapidly degrading, accumulating mistakes(mutations) with each successive generation. The human race isn't getting better. At some point it will have so many mutations that the race won't be able to continue. So don't make any plans beyond 2097.

  13. When Captain Braxton (the Allan G. Royal version) got thrown back in time, those events altered the timeline, Back to the Future-style. The Eugenics Wars didn't happen in that timeline. That timeline is more closely aligned with ours, such as when Bill Gates, I mean, Henry Starling, started the Tech Revolution.

  14. There sure as shit has been eugenics warfare before the 1990's! Ask anywhere that isn't Europe how they found out about Europe. :-/

  15. Then: groundswell to name a real ship after a heroic (fictional and real) ship!
    Now: groundswell to name a real ship Boaty McBoatface.

    We're doomed.

  16. I'm only here to make a note onh hoyw classy you are AND the fact that the "eugenic" wars will proably be "hydric" wars. since we'll be fighting over drinkable water 🙂

  17. I thought that there wasn't any Eugenics Wars in Star Trek: Voyager was because that pale nerd changed history with technology from the time ship from the 29th century, resulting in the Eugenics Wars not happening because he got to the crashed ship before the pilot did and introduced reverse engineered technology from it years/decades before it was supposed to be invented/discovered.

  18. The most depressing sci-fi movie set at a time we've passed must be Strange Days, set before the turn of the millennium and with the plot revolving around a recording of a brutal murder of an unarmed black man by the LA police, which in the film's conclusion ends up being shown on a big screen to a crowd of hundreds of thousands which gets the guilty cops arrested.

    In real life we get those videos just about daily and nothing happens.

  19. When voyager visited the 90’s… there was a time schism from the time agent attacking voyager, and starling was drastically altering history with his manipulation with 29th century tech salvaged from the timeship…

  20. for a long time now i have subscribed to the idea that Trek Prime is set in an alternative future and do not think it diminishes in any way how i feel for the franchise

  21. I always assumed it was just the Earth calendar changed either around the time of first Contact or during the third world war so that like the dates that give you aren't always the actual date you know I could be things like the entirety of World War 3 was was classified as like a 10-year you know it was decades you know stuff like that

  22. My "in head" explanation of the discrepancy of the eugenics wars is really close to that book. I both hate and enjoy when an artist has the same, or near the same, idea I had. On one hand it was obviously a good idea, on the other hand I cannot use it anymore…

  23. Interesting timing. The Bells Riots in 2024 would be around the time of the end of the next US Presidential Term. Did 90's DS9 foresee a particular result in the 2020 Presidential Race that would result in that dystopia only 4 years later? I'll Take the Fifth on that one and leave you to read in to it whatever you will….

  24. During the Voyager episode when they went to the 90s, didn't they try to sort of retcon the Eugenics wars when they mention the 90s they visited (our 90s) had a level of technology too advanced for what their timeline 90s should have had (barcode readers, etc), suggesting the timeline had been altered.

  25. Voyager doesn't count, as the writers didn't really care about the history of Star Trek anyway when they wrote the show… i mean reset after EVERY EPISODE… need i say more?

  26. This is really all quite simple. The reason some of us remember the Eugenics Wars and others don't is all due to the Mandela Effect. In fact, any diversion of our history and how future historians remember it is all due to the Mandela Effect. Now what is the Mandela Effect and how it was created? IT may be just a strange anomaly that resulted after the Q Civil War that caused many tears in the space time continuum that are still rippling across the known universe in the past and in the future. I still remember the the devastation caused by the Eugenics wars while my wife only remembers Grunge Rock–go figure. Thus, anymore more major events as told by Star Trek that does not occur blame it on the Mandela Effect. Well, anyway I am so looking forward to First Contact with the Vulcans.

  27. do you thin it bothers people that the Star Wars movies happen at least the original trilogy exisists in Star Trek?

  28. It has been stated–as a bit of a joke that "The History that Wesly learned is not the same as what Scottie learned"… mix that in with the many divergent Timelines in Star Trek canon–the fact that Janeway's adventures in the Delta Quadrant have Three Alpha Timelines and a few off shoots from those for the last seven years of that stuff–and well that whole Kelvin Timeline stuff as well.

    What if the reason the Eugenics War didn't happen is because of Time Travel?

    The past that Janeway returned into had already had the Time Agent stuck there for at least a decade. IIRC, he crashed at around the 1960s… and there was a company made around the technology reversed from his stuff. What if that Time Agent's foray into the past is what stopped the Eugenics War.

    Essentially… Janeway is why the Eugenics War didn't happen. This naturally would have caused a spiral effect that would require the Federation to give itself Warp Technology–and have Riker do that Wikiwalk in the Holodeck to study for a speech that was generally inaccurate. As Federation Temporal shielding technology is still rather wonky at these early stages.

    There is so much of Star Trek Canon that is inconsistent that can be explained with either Riker Wikiwalking the Holodeck, or Janeway violating the Prime Temporal Directives with extreme prejudice. Think the Rodney King Beatings… with Janeway being the police and temporal coherence being Rodney King. This would go further to support the headcanon that the Temporal Cold War is also the fault of Janeway as well–and the Time Agents that attempt to pick a fight with Janeway (but lose and Janeway takes their lunch money) are their equivalent of assassinating Hitler.

  29. And the United States have converted to the Celsius by 2024, since it's 15 C, in San Francisco at the Aug. 30 2024

  30. I remember there being genetic experimentation, growing ears and organs on lab mice, using stem cells and right now, fighting against genetically altered food….which in a long round about sort of way, has caused death. It's not a traditional war.

  31. Alternate history is all the rage right now. This is fertile ground for a Star Trek prequel.

    I am impressed with this episode focusing on how we might actually be a better version of the Star Trek universe.

  32. My head Canon is the show is broadcast to the past, which over time (movies series) changing their future and present. Go full time bending Galaxy quest.

  33. Okay, this isn't as good as the Enterprise thing, but have you heard of NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO)? (https://www.nasa.gov/offices/c3po/home/c3po_goal_objectives.html) That isn't the Millenium Falcon specifically, and to the best of my knowledge it doesn't have the same sort of history as the Enterprise shuttle, but still, that's something.

  34. Maybe startrek is actually a warning from the future to stop it from happening, and now leads to a alternative time line?

  35. 1996 of the Star Trek universe. In our universe we never had the Eugenic Wars so we missed out on some important social growth and as a result are doomed to destroy ourselves over petty bullshit. And no one wanted California, even power mad warlords who wanted to conquer the whole world still avoided California.

  36. The problem started in beginning. Since there was no real background history until the show ended. Of course look how many different writers penned the original episodes . In original the eugenics war are ww3. Look at TOS, what they used as future history. Either never happened or at different times.

  37. "Beat THAT Star Wars fans!"
    Not sure it beats anything, but it's kind of cool that Darth Vader's helmet is carved as one of the many grotesques adorning the Washington National Cathedral. And it's not just there as a cheeky in-joke, either. Grotesques are twisted, monstrous depictions of people and things, which certainly describes Anakin Skywalker's fall to the Dark Side. So, thematically, Vader as a grotesque is appropriate!

  38. I always loved the idea, that Khan, growing up in a genetic engineering factory somewhere in India, watched the news about gorbatschow since 1987, saying: "the future lies in russia", then watched the berlin wall falling down 1989, saying: "Now is the time!". So he and some of his augment buddies escaped from the factory, travelling low-key to russia, building themselves up in the backgound (connections and funding), and after the soviet union break down in 1991 he starts to take the power, what he finally suceeded in 1992, his first public appearance in politics and on TV all over the world. This therefore became the moment, in which star trek timeline divert from our reality into that timeline we all know and love so much. So there is no longer any need for authors to explain the divergence between both timelines. Cox's novel is a crap.

  39. I’ve always reconciled Voyager and the eugenics wars via a split in the time line caused by the time ship crashing. Then when causality is fixed they are taken to the Delta quadrant with out having to deal with the wars.

  40. Me: Comes here to learn more about Kahn and the Eugenics Wars. You: A complete oblivious and ignorant idiot. No wonder you disabled the like/ dislikes. BTW: San Francisco is like that now.

  41. We know sll about the eugenics wars courtesy of a series of books tittled THE EUGENICS WARS book 1&2 they were damn good by the way I suggest you pick them up

  42. Although it's not too far fetched, the next thing to become un-canon according to our real timeline is the Bell Riots, which is worse because it was visited in the show and was labelled as an important event.

  43. Funny how if they had pushed it back an extra century, the 2090s actually look like a reasonable spot to theorize the rise of genetically engineered super soldiers. With all the break throughs and high profile debates around genetic engineering right now.

  44. PS: Gene Roddenberry was a time traveler from the future, and he used historical records from his timeline in order to influence ours to hopefully be better.

  45. I was going to say the whole "lets build a wall" – Donald Trump… Just made me think of how he could have made the Districts for people… How it could have gone if Star Trek DS9 had not shown us how bad it could go…

  46. Let me tell you about the eugenics wars. They started in Cambodia and went on to rage throughotu Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Rwanda, Zaire, Russia, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique.
    I could EASILY retcon to ACTUAL 1990s using IRL footage right down to actual war crimes trials by Star Fleet's Forerunner THE UNITED NATIONS.
    You don't hear about the eugenics wars because they didn't hit Your continent.

  47. Unfortunately I believe that we are headed for this kind of Future, in reference to DS9 Ep. Maybe not in line with the ST timeline but definitely elements of this continue to plague our society and may actually happen in part or in whole.

  48. Steve: "We Got NASA to Name a ship after our Fandom, Do Better than that Star Wars Fans!"…

    Challenge Accepted… May 4th, Star Wars Day… Trekies may Have Gotten an Iconic Historical Space Shuttle Named for their Fandom… but Star Wars got a Day in the Year Named For their Fandom… And just saying, but one of these two Keeps Coming Back Every Year, and most people KNOW about it… The other, is Left to the past, as Relevant to the Present Day as a the Ship it was Originally meant to be named for, a Neat Story to hear about, but that's about it….

  49. The first “test tube” baby was produced in 1978. In 1989 preimplantation genetic selection was first used to produce a child without cystic fibrosis. The use of genetic selection continued in the 90s and 2000s to produce “enhanced” humans.. They are already around you and running things but you missed the silent war. 😜

  50. My idea involves time travel. Our future is brighter because we have something the past of Star Trek did not have. We have Star Trek. That vision of the future. In some far off future series airing decades from now, they go back to the 1960s and give a written account of Star Trek's past (their history)…. Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise, Archer, DS9, Next Gen, all of it (except Discovery) to a TV producer and writer named Gene Roddenberry. His adaptation of these ideas is what changes the timeline. We avoid the Eugenics Wars, the ghettos of the 2020's etc… because he gave humanity a vision of a brighter future. We became better because of the 'fiction' of Star Trek and thus alter our future for the better. It would be a kind of cool closed loop to answer all the discrepancies.

  51. Didn't I see several retcons of the eugenic wars in TNG? Maybe Im thinking of WWIII, but I often think of those two "wars" as being the two branches of the same wars. I thought it was retconed to something like the 2150s, which works well with our current technological development; I mean, genetic engineering is our current, perhaps most profoundly transforming technological power/challenge to face; currently, with crisper available commercially and no laws governing genetic mortification of one's self, we are eminently in danger of speciating along class lines, with augments dominating the upper classes. I think it's important that ST remain relevant, both to inspire technology, and to inspire responsible concern of what happens when we don't manage these technological developments responsible; genetic engineering, AI, anti-matter management, and technologies like the warp drive might all act as "great filters" if not managed well enough. Until we successfully cross that road, I don't want pretend we aren't in danger of augments and WWIII. We haven't made it yet.

    As for resolving the inconsistencies, I like to think that there was a lot of exact dates, and history lost in the nuclear war, and accurate dating has gotten better through the eras of the shows. But for that matter, in my head cannon, we only ever "see" shows based on the Star Fleet logs, as if that were the chief form of entertainment in the federation 🙂

  52. Steve, I am a big science geek, and while I love your ethics, I've gotta say, there are times when I really feel like you get elements of the science part wrong, or more precisely, you miss important scientific frontier issues being hit upon. My best example would have to be the Genocide episode of Enterprise.

    While the episode certainly failed to adequately exposition this, i still feel like it was implicit; populations, entire species can develop bad genes, and those species can even evolve coping mechanisms that layer atop those bad genes, Just look at all the junky genes the Neanderthals had. They were a lot older than us as a species, and it shows in their genome, and not in a good way (though they certainly had many advantageous traits). Weather it was inbreeding cause of their sustained low populations,…. and remember, excellence isn't the hallmark of natural evolution, doing it just good enough is. That said, there are also a number of theoretical issues that could arise, like metabolic dependence on a radioactive element in their primary amino-acids, which is now so far into it's half-life that they are unraveling, and of course, the Doctor is privy to future, and alien knowledge of genetics and evolutionary science that we the views have yet to discover (though I don't think that was the empty excuse used here). In any case, I'm fairly certain that "curing" that species of their inherent genetic dysfunction would constitute redesigning them cellulary, and is perhaps more akin to creating an artificially designed species. While even that might still be an ethical trade-off or risks worth considering, I think it's a lot more of a gray-area than how you seemed to think of it, like the Doctor was withholding a vaccine. Don't get me wrong, the show writers mislead, and misdirected with all of that business about the menk, and competing species (Although, no species that closely related, or even closely paralleling, would remain unable to interbreed for the millions of years of overlap; these two would have had to intermingle. There are darker, or weirder possibilities- they may have made the menk, either domesticating an anthopithigus, and slowly, even unintentionally favoring traits in them that made them into there own brand of homo-, or perhaps they enslaved the mink long ago, and bread them down (something that they are just recovering from as their domitor's influence wanes). In any case, I think the mink are a red-herring. The doctor isn't really motivated by concern for the development of the menk, he just saw the humans being preoccupied with it, and miscalculated how to win the captains trust —assuming that the doctor believed that Archer just wasn't "getting" the science of what he was saying about "playing god" by redesigning the fundamentals of this species metabolic structure.

    As far as "evolution" , or any question as to how easily alien species "should" be able to "breed together". Star Trek TNG has already given them the supreme OUT on that, being that all the humanoids with-, or without forehead or face ridges, flaps or scales, were actually designed, and engineered by an race that was then more technologically developed that even the Federation in TNG. That said, it's not like it appeared that way, even to the advanced sciences of TNG up until that was discovered, though there must have been some evolutionary theories that scientists in the Federation and else-were must have had to enplane the weird tight, improbable paralleling of hominid evolution being soooo parallel, that it doesn't take all that much medical-tampering to enable many, or most to **interbreed** successfully.

    In any case, that get-out-of-jail-free card of "we were all seeded with the same amino-acide metabolic-operating system, and genetic programming language" likewise shields ST's questionable episodes' take on "evolution" from possibly mistaken scrutiny.

    Remember back in the 2000s, when we were all excited about "quantum teleportation" of data-bits? Remember how we all wondered (including Enterprise), if this meant that the "transporter" was digitizing you? Then as the Higgs-Bozon, and other models that could suggest we might be eventually able to diminish a fermion's material-like traits, while quantum-entanglement still gave us hope that we could maintain the structural relationships (touched on more like "phasing"), and suddenly there's no reason to believe any of them are "weird copies", and making two Rikers by boosting power into the signal that's been split, like an image in light, before re-materializing him, makes perfect sense. Even the idea of a Heisenberg Compensater in the buffer eventually made sense when I realized that a refraction matrix doesn't have to count the pattern, just maintain it bouncing around in it's focusing chamber. I'm sure I'm not the only one who got carried away with a limited early application tech forerunner of some star trek tech, and got confused as to what technology was being fore-run…. our quantum-bit teleportation experiments were forerunners of subspace-radio, not the matter-to-energy beaming transporter.

  53. Look up the novel "The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh". Arguably the best and most explicit example of Trek media making an attempt to reconciling the 1992/'93-1996 Eugenics Wars with our own real world history.

  54. The Eugenics Wars didn't actually happen. The Federation fabricated boogeymen and records to justify the banning of genetic alteration. They did this so that they could control the genetic destiny of their populations, shaping them as they saw fit. Their government is afraid of change, and by ensuring that everyone more or less stays bound to accepted paradigms, they can stagnate cultural and social development along desired lines. Earth is actually a carefully curated society; all perceived 'imperfections' are ruthlessly excised via Section 31.

  55. The Voyager episode was an alternate timeline where the 29th century tech of the timeship that crashed in the 60s or 70s drastically shifted technological advancement. Effectively stopping or at least delaying the Eugenics Wars

  56. You know, that leaves open the idea for an episode in one of the new shows being made where the crew or characters (depending on which one) run across a character who is very confused. S/he talks about this wild history that includes Eugenics wars and ghettos and massive WWIII and the characters of the current show look very confused. The original universe character can even make comments about how different everything is (acknowledging the change in tone between the series). Then they can find out that something happened that wiped out the traditional "history" of the Trek Universe and adopted the new, or actually our, real history. They could then scatter an episode every now and then that addressed all the canon that would be screwed up by this, like eugenics in the Klingons, etc.

    You would just have to have writers that are a heck of a lot better than me make it all make sense. Yeah, I won't quit my day job 🙂

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