Societal wellbeing is more important than scientific knowledge. We should focus more time and energy on improving the conditions in our society. Too many education systems are failing and we are more concerned with scientific knowledge. Not that science is important, but the wellbeing of our citizens in terms of education, jobs and happiness takes precedence over scientific knowledge.
While being able to have vast knowlegde of science and the field is very beneficial, I do think that societal wellbeing is more important. It is more important to be well-knowledgeable in matters that deal with society and how we interact with each other. Everything else is just novelty and secondary.
Knowledge is power. This is the reason that most science and certainly most big science is funded with public monies. Think of CERN. The public funds science because the progress of science has correlated strongly with societal well-being as long as people have been keeping track. If scientific knowledge was ever shown to contradict the public good then public support for science would wither.
If we put "societal wellbeing" before scientific knowledge then what we're really doing is letting whoever is the most persuasive, pretty, and charismatic dictate public policy, because "Societal wellbeing" is not something specific, it's a term of art and is subjective. If some people's opinions "societal wellbeing" means everyone is following their religion. In other people's opinions it means everyone is experiencing more physical pleasure. In other people's opinions societal wellbeing is equivalent to scientific knowledge.
I'm not saying "scientific knowledge" should trump all other concerns, I'm just saying that we should base policies on real concerns, not on fuzzy terminology.
The main purpose of science is to advance societal wellbeing. Without scientific knowledge, we would not have the capability to produce the food necessary to support the ever-growing population. We would not have vaccines or quality healthcare. We would certainly not have automobiles, airplanes, or this forum! What science does is allow people to specialize. It allows a few people to provide food, while others build homes, bridges, automobiles, plumbing, electricity, forks and spoons, tools, furniture, toys, and provide protection such as police and fire, and still others provide medicine, transportation, and everything else we enjoy in our current society. Without science, we would all be hunter-gatherers relying on ourselves (or a few others) for ALL of life's essentials (which would be VERY limited).
Without science, you cannot have societal well-being. In fact, without some level of scientific knowledge, having society AT ALL becomes exeedingly difficult. Even the earliest societies learned some rudiments of farming, construction, and tool-making necessary for their own existences.
I believe that humans must continue to put as many resources into scientific research and development as we can, I believe that as our science improves our quality of life in nearly every area increases so while we may temporary sacrifice our well being in the end we will be better off.