Fantastic question, anonymous. I’m sure it’ll stir up quite the debate. Let me share my two cents!
The world NEEDS humanities majors. Quite frankly, the very pillars of humanity as we know it today, were derived off philosophical thought. Even early figures who rightfully would fit within the realm of “STEM” today, had humanities engrained in their foundations. Take Galileo for example, in addition to being a physicist, engineer, astronomer and mathematician - he was a PHILOSOPHER!
Other philosophers whom have backgrounds in science are Descartes, Francis Bacon, Aristotle, Karl Popper, Isaac Newton et cetera, et cetera.
The Current Climate: Increase Funding and Exposure in STEM
Currently, those in the Humanities are feeling displaced within the academic community; having difficulty around getting broader social recognition. With the tech industry increasing rapidly - STEM’s becoming the norm - naively so, people are turning their heads to subjects within the Humanities: our historians and philosophers, literary critics, classicists, performers, politicians, don’t they deserve credit?
In the US, you have had many government officials denouncing humanities based subjects and expressing their support for STEM: Kentucky governor Matt Bevin wants engineering students to receive subsidies, but doesn’t want to support those studying the likes of french literature (ironic viewpoint, because he himself graduated with a BA in East Asian studies); Marco Rubio declared for more welders and fewer philosophers; Politicians in Texas have proposed that liberal arts students should expect to pay full fees and more, with no suspicion of subsidy, compared to their STEM counterparts.
The argument? That such learning is self-indulgent and provides little to no value to society. That pursuing a liberal arts education is more of a luxury for those that can afford it, implying that you can’t make money from it / it’s wasteful.
The Need For Humanities Within Our Society
Personally, I don’t think one can just denounce an entire specialisation and state that there is no use.
Steve Jobs once said:
“It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough - that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”
Steve Jobs, who reigned for decades as a tech hero, was neither a coder nor a hardware engineer. He stood out among the tech elite because he brought an artistic sensibility to the redesign of clunky mobile phones and desktop computers.
There is a clear link between innovation and the liberal arts - of which, the latter propels the former forward, to new heights. Being able to entwine critical thinking, persuasive communication skills, and solve tough problems - objectives and outcomes of any liberal arts/humanities major - that will be transferable to any profession, even STEM.
I think those who are able to marry the two together: STEM and Humanities. They will reap the benefits. It should not be an argument of one or the other, it should be about both.