I’ve been reading John Steinbeck’s Log from the Sea of Cortez. The book, a nonfictional account of a marine biology expedition to the Sea of Cortez, is amazingly funny. It is also insightful. Steinbeck has the scientist and admirer-of-scientists pegged:

There is a curious idea among unscientific men that in scientific writing there is a common plateau of perfectionism. Nothing could be more untrue. The reports of biologists are the measure, not of the science, but of the men themselves. There are as few scientific giants as any other kind. … It has seemed sometimes that the little men in scientific work assume the awe-fullness of a priesthood to hide their deficiencies, as the witch-doctor does with his stilts and high masks, as the priesthoods of all cults have, with secret or unfamiliar languages and symbols.

(Bold emphasis mine)

I particularly love the play on words: awe + fullness.

-JD Cross

Advertisements