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The ethics of "Children of Time"

Jordan aka FltAdmlWolf

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Here's the sitch: You and your crew investigate an anomaly around a planet. Once your ship crosses the threshold of the anomaly, you find out that there's a settlement on the planet. And when you beam down and talk to the people there, you find out they're all your many-generations-removed descendants! Turns out that your ship, when trying to escape the anomaly, will be thrown 200 years into the past, and you and the other crew will end up building the settlement that you now stand in. There's a catch: You know how you can avoid the same fate when you leave the anomaly now. But in doing so, you erase the people -- all 8,000 of them who are your descendants -- from history.

Your own family is waiting back for you on the starbase. Do you go back in time and fulfill this destiny of the planet and your descendants? Or do you use your knowledge to leave without creating this settlement, and erasing these people from history?

That's the idea behind DS9 episode "Children of Time." Just re-watched it, and while the actors and producers say they didn't like it much, I thought it was one of the better time-travel episodes.

Have you seen the episode? What did you think?

And what would you do in their situation? Erase your descendants from history, or stay behind and live a happy, pastoral life?

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This time travel is a loop - if they didn't crash they would never meet their descendants and would never crash and would never meet their....

I wouldn't worry what will happen if I escape, because he causality loop as a predestination paradox theory proves whatever we do the loop will exist. I would maybe stay a bit longer and try to investigate how both can happen, our escape and crash at the same time, but still would leave to return to my family and life in the present if by any means possible.

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I too recently re-watched this episode.

It's surprising to hear that this episode was not liked by the actors/producers as I agree It was one of the best Time Travel episodes of the series. Also was just good scfi to me anyway.

I think I would have done as the crew of the defiant did. Like O'Brien I think the idea of myself pairing off with someone and leaving my family behind would make me very uneasy and resistant to the idea of repeating the situation.

But and it's a big one. Is one family loosing it's loved ones or even 49 families loosing a loved one, worth undoing a peoples 200 year history and costing 8,000 lives, no it's not. After seeing everything they built knowing you were one of their ancestors and had laid the ground work for what they achieved. Being faced with the undeniable family resemblances too would make just leaving too much live with.

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I think I'd have a seriously hard time staying behind. I would imagine that, even though they would be very real and it would feel cruel to leave, I would also end up rationalizing that these people never "really" existed and decide to go back to my real life.

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