DS9 "In the Cards":

GIGER: Doctor Bathkin of Andros Three was the first to come up with the answer to solving the puzzle of death. Keep the cells energised. Keep them in the game by teaching them new mitochondrial tricks. Unfortunately, before he could finish his work, Doctor Bathkin died in a shuttle accident. Or so they say. And while the soulless minions of orthodoxy refuse to follow up on his important research, I could hear the clarion call of destiny ringing in my ears. And now, after fifteen years of tireless effort, after being laughed at and hounded out of the halls of the scientific establishment, after begging and scrounging for materials across half the galaxy, I have nearly completed work on this. The Cellular Regeneration and Entertainment Chamber.

I was searching around trying to figure out what this reference was to. I found an alternative DVD commentary site, some references to Keynesian stuff, etc. but nothing definitive or that pre-dates the airing of this episode.

Usually when they throw phrases like this into a ST episode it's a reference to something specific, a joke, etc.

Does anybody know what "the soulless minions of orthodoxy" is a reference to?

2 Answers 2


the soulless minions of orthodoxy == the halls of the scientific establishment

It's a common trope that the scientific community despises new technology or research into "playing gods" fields, that they hate new ideas in favor of existing ones. And with the history of certain subjects, like flat vs round earth, geo centric vs helio centric, origin of species, dinosaurs having feathers, etc, it would be right.

In this case, Giger was Frankenstein, and others thought eternal life research of that manner ludicrous.

He's mocking orthodox science.

  • I understand what Giger meant when he was saying in a suspicious manner about the powers that be. I was wondering if this term was specific to something in STU, Roddenberry's past, first letter of each word is an acronym, etc. Just like the number 47 is in every episode and has to do with that professor at Berke;u that came up with the theory of 47. I was wondering if this was a reference to something specific and why these sort of peculiar words were chosen. Giger could have simply said non-believers, critics, scientific cowards, etc. He made it seem more like it was a cult or something.
    – JMFB
    Jun 27, 2015 at 10:27
  • Frankenstein characters always have a flair for being melodramatic. Nothing more...
    – user16696
    Jun 27, 2015 at 16:13
  • At no point in human history was there ever a dissent among academics that the Earth was round. Sep 19, 2018 at 22:39

As far as I can tell, the reference relates to the Eighth Ecumenical Council, otherwise known as the "Triumph of Orthodoxy", generally regarded as a major victory of the Orthodox church (those favouring a literal interpretation of the bible) over those favouring more liberal views.

The name "Orthodoxy" has gradually affected the character of the feast. Originally commemorating only the defeat of Iconoclasm, the commemoration has gradually come to be understood in a more general sense as opposition to all heterodoxy. In this way, though its first occasion is not forgotten, the feast has become one in honour of the true Faith in general. This is shown by its special service.

In context, the "minions of orthodoxy" are those within the Federation's scientific establishment who're unwilling to accept any challenge to their perceptions of what represents good science and bad science.

The implication is that Giger has been drummed out of the major institutions of science for being a crackpot. Rather than accept his own shortcomings, he's decided to blame his failings on a shadowy conspiracy.

  • 2
    Why hast thou forsaken me, oh Downvoter?
    – Valorum
    Jun 28, 2015 at 0:25
  • 8
    Well written, but I'm not sure we should make any connections between Star Trek and the Eighth Ecumenical Council solely on the basis of the word "orthodoxy". And Orthodoxy doesn't really mean "a literal interpretation of the bible", it means "the correct belief", and while what is called Orthodox changes over time, it never involved a literal interpretation of the bible. It is more about what the most powerful bishops and priests say is "correct" at any given time, and never about what Jesus or god said.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:12
  • 2
    The orthodox came out on top because they had the clout and the numbers to marginalize other forms of Christianity, like Gnosticism and Ebionism. They used a supposed chain of succession from the apostles to themselves to discredit the other sects. Actually, the Ebionites probably followed a system much closer to Jesus' personal beliefs than the group that ended up becoming the Orthodox Church (which later split into the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches).
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:19

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