Did Captain Jainway make the right decision? What do you think were the consequences she had to consider when deciding whether to allow the cloning to happen? Why do you think she made the decision that she made? What would you have done in her situation?

Final Exam:  Timed Writing Essay

In an old episode (“Demon”) of the TV show “Star Trek Voyager,” Captain Jainway and the crew on her space ship are trying to find their way back to earth after being shuttled into a distant quadrant of outer space.  Low on fuel, they find an inhospitable planet where they can mine some of the stuff that they use as fuel and be on their way.  However, after landing there, they find that the fuel is contained in a mysterious substance that has the capability of cloning everything it touches.  This causes two of their crew members to be replicated (cloned) accidentally.  The cloned beings discover that it’s wonderful to be like people and not a silver sludge, and they tell Captain Jainway they want her crew to stay on the planet and populate it.  However, of course Captain Jainway just wants to get off the planet and get back to earth.  The silver sludge beings, however, get hostile and refuse to let her lift her ship off the surface.  But, she understands the beings’ need for human companionship and makes the decision to let the beings clone all the members of the crew onboard the ship so they can then be off since all it would take is for them to use hair samples to provide DNA, and no one would be injured in the process.  Note, that the cloned beings will be exactly like the crew members they are cloned from with the same knowledge and memories, etc. The episode ends with Voyager lifting off the surface, leaving about a hundred cloned crew members on the planet.

Realizing that this is a science fiction scenario, there is still some realism in it.  The issue of cloning is something that people are discussing today.  Here is your prompt for your final exam essay:

Did Captain Jainway make the right decision?  What do you think were the consequences she had to consider when deciding whether to allow the cloning to happen?  Why do you think she made the decision that she made?  What would you have done in her situation?  What moral considerations would you use to justify your decision?  Use specific ideas from Justice in your discussion.  Also, what is your opinion of cloning, in general (not necessarily as related to this TV show)? What arguments would you present to convince someone of your opinion about it? (If you use any factual information, be sure to cite your sources correctly.) Be sure to use logic and avoid logical fallacies.  Be sure that you do all of the above, but the order in which you do them is up to you.  It seems most logical, however, to save the argument part of the essay for the last part of the body of your essay.

Make sure that your essay has a title and is well organized into an introduction, body, and conclusion, with smooth transitions using proper topic sentences.

It also needs to have an interesting title.

Do NOT simply re-tell the story from the TV show.  Stick to an analysis of the issue and the ideas around it.

Citations from the Justice book (or any other sources) need to be done correctly. (See the handout on Quoting and Citing if you’re not sure.)

Proofread your final draft for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


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