So, full disclosure: I'm a huge Star Trek fan. I've seen all of the movies, many of the episodes, and I'm currently working my way through all of Deep Space Nine.
Last night, an episode of The Next Generation was on that I'd seen before ("All Good Things..."), but it was very interesting in light of the discussion we'd had on Monday.
To make a long story short...The episode deals with one of the series' characters, Captain Picard, experiencing odd frequent jumps in time among three periods: the current time, 25 years into the future, and a few years in the past. Each of these time periods features the same people and same ship, and oddly enough, they are all investigating a space anomaly, but they don't necessarily understand/believe that he has been traveling through time. Throughout the course of the show, Picard learns that it is a anti-time anomaly that started in the future and will eventually grow to a size that wipes out life on earth in the past. At the end of the episode, Picard learns that each of the ships from each of the three time period must all go into the anomaly and create a static warp shells, possibly killing themselves, in order to stop it.
It left me thinking about our discussion on Monday about belief vs. facts and what I would have done in that situation. Patrick Stewart's wonderful acting aside, my first thoughts were "where is the empirical evidence?" What gives the captain the right to put his crew in danger when he can't back up his orders with reasons? What if his plan had not worked out in the end, and humanity had been destroyed?
Lucky for the crew and humanity, everything works out in the end, but I still think that it opens the door for a lot of other issues that could come up (a la Captain Ahab). Lucky for me, the franchise explores that in other installments.