In the Star Trek TOS episode "The Menagerie", why didn't they have Spock perform a Mind Meld on Captain Pike instead accepting the Talosian transmissions from Talos IV as proof of what had happened?


Spock was on trial and couldn't be expected to cooperate. His testimony about the state of Pike's mind wouldn't be trustworthy, anyway. Mendez was a projection from Talos IV and so wouldn't suggest anything the Talosians didn't want nor would he allow the mind meld even if Kirk suggested it. The information stream from Talos IV was at least something all the members of the court martial could watch objectively and make up their minds about.

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    Besides this, In "Court Martial" and "Turnabout Intruder" mind meld testimony is revealed to be not allowed procedurally. – Joshua Sep 8 '16 at 2:29

Spock was generally opposed to mind melding without the subject's permission. And it's one thing to do it without permission to an enemy or a threat, another to do it to a Starfleet officer.

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    He could have asked Pike's permission. "May I perform a mind meld on you?" "Beep." – Keith Thompson Mar 9 '12 at 7:33
  • But then would have that been following the order? – SingularityCo Mar 16 '12 at 13:00
  • Yes. The hypothetical order didn't require doing it without permission. – Keith Thompson Mar 16 '12 at 16:12
  • Interesting distinction. That's a whole other episode. – SingularityCo Mar 20 '12 at 19:48

This is not an in-universe explanation.

The first appearance of the Vulcan mind meld was only a couple of weeks before that episode aired.

The first mind meld, as far as I can tell, appeared in Dagger of the Mind, which aired Nov. 3, 1966. The Menagerie parts I and II aired November 17 and 24, 1966. Gene Roddenberry has a writing credit for both (well, all three) episodes, but it's likely that the whole idea of Vulcan telepathy just wasn't invented in time to be used in The Menagerie.

Note that Where No Man Has Gone Before, which aired two months earlier, dealt heavily with telepathy, with Spock discussing it at some length -- but there was no mention that Spock himself was telepathic.

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As I recall, Spock was the one on trial. Were he to provide evidence gotten by way of mind meld, there would be no guarantee that his report of what had happened would be accurate. Logic aside, he could very well lie to protect his own best interests.

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    I'm not sure, didn't Vulcans also never lie. The bend the truth on occasion or omit information, but would (and could) they boldly lie? If I recall correctly, they couldn't. – bitmask Mar 8 '12 at 22:44
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    Oh, they can. They are just reluctant to. See the TOS episode 'The Enterprise Incident' (memorable for Spock 'killing' Kirk via the 'Vulcan Death Grip'), or the Tholian Web episode, where he and McCoy claim to have never read Kirk's 'last orders'. – K-H-W Mar 9 '12 at 1:12
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    In "The Enterprise Incident", the Romulan commander said something like, "I have heard it said -- or is it only a myth -- that Vulcans are incapable of lying." Spock replied, "It is no myth." Marvelously ambiguous. – Keith Thompson Mar 9 '12 at 7:59
  • Spock is also only half Vulcan. – Adele C Mar 9 '12 at 19:35

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