[Comment #3 by Robert Watson to the post "Bush ethics adviser gets her principles from Star Trek" and "Update on trekkie ethics adviser " on Enterprise Ethics, Apr 1, 2005 1:09 am ]
Let me offer a counter argument to "I do not see Star Trek as an authoritative ethical source..."
For good or ill, some interpretation of The Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls has become the basis for most of the world's ethics.
The Bible is an anthology of stories designed to illustrate moral (ethical) lessons. Star Trek is an anthology of stories designed to illustrate moral (ethical) lessons. The purpose of both is to educate. The most effective way to educate is to convey knowledge in an entertaining way. It maximizes memory retention.
Since Christianity dominates American values, and Star Trek is written by Americans, most of its lessons are compatible with Christianity -- or at least some interpretation of those biblical teachings. Others have grown out of the application of secular logic to solve societal problems.
Thus, the Star Trek stories could be seen as an offshoot of Christianity much like Christianity was an offshoot of Judaism. It took Christianity several hundred years to rise above the status of "cult" but it has, and now more than a third of the planet's population are Christian. Star Trek lore is just getting started.
Personally, I find the values promoted in Star Trek to be more fair, honest and beneficial to long-term survival of human beings than the divisive, hateful, revenging, oppressive interpretation that dominates Christianity today. It is on that basis that I can say that my principals derive in large part from the Star Trek stories I've watched and read.
If most of the world can base its life and death decisions on 2000 year old stories written by men trying to keep an illiterate and superstitious population from destroying themselves, I can base my values and decisions on the lessons in a far larger set of stories that are much more applicable to the ethical dilemmas we face today.