McCoy is dying; a planet will die if an asteroid hits it; and, the asteroid is a generation ship full of people who will die if the crew of the Enterprise can’t figure out how to change it’s course other than blowing it up (for the sake of the planet it’s headed toward destroying).
I’m not a fan of advanced species dumbing down their descendants by not actually allowing them to be informed and or to progress as time moves along. I really don’t get why science fiction writers think this is a good plot device given that rebellion is a part of human nature. Obviously, if the advanced species was as really advanced as you say it is before they began the dumbing down process, then it only stands to reason they would know to put things in place that would prevent the dumbing down process if only to keep their descendants from accidentally killing themselves with ignorance.
It’s like that tiny group of scientists who let themselves get paid to say global warming isn’t happening and thus aren’t getting published in any major scientific journals because the major scientific journals — the ones that matter — are all peer reviewed. Most scientists aren’t getting paid to say stupid things, so most scientists aren’t those scientists’ peers and — without peers — you’re not getting published in a major scientific journal.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon will be red with blood
as man continues to transgress,
giving just cause for one last flood.
The oracles are red with dread
to see thee pulling at the thread
for the world is hollow and thy
unbidden words will burn the sky.
Cool thy burning cheeks with a year
of changing things for the better
and bringing life back together,
so every cheek will flush with cheer
to know that none laid down to die
while answering the battle cry.