While everyone else is arguing about whether (presumed) creationist Gary Goodyear should keep his job as federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, Selick wonders why we need a Minister of State for Science and Technology to begin with:
While there may be a necessary role for government in human affairs, shepherding science isn’t part of it. Even applying conventional notions of what functions the state should perform, there is no compelling evidence of “market failure” in science and technology — that is, no proof that the amount of scientific research being produced by privately funded institutions (including businesses and charities) is insufficient, requiring government to step in and generate more.
Nor is there any proof that government is better than private organizations at selecting which scientific projects are most beneficial to pursue.
Furthermore, no one can ever prove that subsidizing science produces greater returns to society than subsidizing any of the myriad competing open maws all begging for government funds.