[LMB] transporter wrongness OT:

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Thu Sep 10 00:43:54 BST 2020

On Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 1:01 PM Joel Polowin <jpolowin at hotmail.com> wrote:

> To be fair, the transporter functions (or fails to function) according to
> the
> needs of the current plot.  As you point out, there are several canonical
> sources which make it clear that the transporter destroys the original.
> There
> are others which make it clear that it's merely a transportation system.

Not quite.  But much depends on what you mean by 'destruction'.
Transporters cause matter to enter an exotic state involving partial
conversion to energy, move that exotic matter-energy configuration to
another location, and restore its original state.  The transporter
'pattern' can be scanned and filtered to a limited degree, but not
otherwise altered without killing the subject, and cannot be duplicated.
Patterns can be stored, or attempted to be stored, but doing so is quite
dangerous and risks corruption of the preserved structure, resulting in
death in the best case and survival in some of the worst.  They cannot be
copied, duplicated, or doubled by ST technology, although there have been
rare cases of this occurring due to unusual environmental conditions.  (See
the case of William and Thomas Riker.)

They do NOT kill you in the process of moving your matter around.  If your
pattern in corrupted to the point that the configuration it describes would
be considered 'dead', it cannot be restored or repaired.  You've living -
if perhaps in a very strange state - and to a degree conscious during the

The Federation has the technology to take apart matter and put it together
in a human (for example) form - but the result is a corpse, and one that is
obviously 'replicated' upon analysis, because the replicators do not have
the ability to duplicate subtle quantum states.

So the canonical explanations of two different technologies in Star Trek
make it clear that transporters don't 'take you apart and put you back
together', nor do they kill the subject.

Does cryostasis (Vorkosiverse) involve killing the subject?  According to
our current standards, arguably yes - but a 'transported' person never
becomes dead, and is never 'taken apart' in the sense that various parts of
their pattern cease association.

There is, I believe, a DS9 episode in which multiple crew members' patterns
are somehow saved to the computer, but that's a violation of the show's own
rules.  So was the use of the transporter to return Dr. Pulaski to a
normally-aged state.  (I could buy trying to use it to conduct genetic
alterations on all cells simultaneously as a desperate emergency measure,
but doing that shouldn't cause the body to change.  "The Fly" did a better
job of showing what altering biology through teleportation would be like -
and that movie's TP actually DID take you apart and put you back together.)

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