Originally Posted by Akula2ssn
I agree with the ends, but even that which saves lives stems from that which was once mere curiosity. There's a reason why a basic knowledge of the core sciences is still greatly re-enforced before going on to studying things like medicine. As Sherlock Holmes said in the case of the Copper Beeches, "Data data data! I can't make bricks without clay."
A find like this opens up an entirely different area in biochemistry, something which is increasingly important in fields like medicine among others. You don't have to dump a whole lot into it. At this early stage, such research could probably benefit from a fraction of what goes into things like cancer research and what not.
Both can benefit us and save lives. The difference is that in an applied science I can say right off the bat that if the research is successful then it can be of practical benefit. In the more theoretical all you can say is we may or may not find something that will be of benefit. Both can benefit people it's just one is more clear cut in its potential. Both, however, will not benefit people at all if not pursued.
Now to be honest, I would be much much less impressed if they had found a new bug that had nothing more remarkable than being hot pink. But this, being an entirely new biochemistry carries greater potential weight with it.
We've been working on potential for the last 100 years.
Don't get me wrong we've done some good things medically but nothing like we were expecting to when we discovered DNA in the first place. Our expectations must have been too high from the Darwining era before we know about DNA. So many lofty claims were made once they found out about DNA and mutations...and none ...little of it has panned out.
The difference is now we know what's killing us...but we still can't do much to stop it. My grandmother is fighting cancer...There is just so many more important things to focus the money of the people that are dying and waiting for those cures and remedies that never really come...we're busy funding research is not going to help societies most pressing issues. I don't condone science being used in this way. If feels like we're putting alot into it and getting nothing in return.