I was watching Bones last night. And some of the comments that they made is rather interesting. Well, the episode was about the murder of a top researcher at a particular college. The motto of the college goes something like this. To Eternity, To *something*, to the future. They argue that science is about researching and studying for the future. Deeming anything that has to do with studying the pass such as carbon dating artifacts, Paleontology and so on, not a field science at all.
Since high school, they have thought us that the definition of Science is "The study of natural phenomena". In short, anything under the sun or anything above the sun for that matter is but a science in its own right. So is science suppose to be up and forward, or should science be in all directions?
Personally, I somewhat agree with what the show has to say. Up and forward. To the future and beyond. Feels so much like Buzz Lightyear's saying from Toy Story "To infinity and beyond!!!". If science wasnt about the future, I doubt that we as human beings would become what we are now. Computers, mobile phones and so on. Its all because scientist are obsessed with the future. Bigger harddisk space, smaller mobile phones, faster ram, farther out into space. Its all about the future. Space exploration is part of what Science should be. You may ask why would it be? Simply because space exploration can show us so many new things. Maybe we can mine meteorites in space? Maybe we can live on another planet? It possibility are endless. Science is all about these. The future and space.
Paleontology and carbon dating as such is just about the past. What has happened before. The origins of life, how old a certain artifact is. Its about the past. It doesnt improve humanities lifestyle at all. It just gives answers to questions that has been asked for generations. Like carbon dating. Its about identifying what timeline a certain artifact belongs to, so that it can be more well placed in human history. Because of this, I would believe that carbon dating is a subset of History. Paleontology is to figure out what happened to the great dinosaurs and so on. Is it necessary for our daily life? Not exactly, It answer questions. Not give us a more comfortable life.
In short, I agree with what the show has voiced out for us. Science should be about the future and beyond. Not the past. So what do you think folks?