If it weren’t for the Royal Society, there wouldn’t be science. And if it wasn’t for Thomas Sprat, there wouldn’t be science writing styles. As discussed in the lecture notes about Sprat’s distrust of figurative language: reason or logic must be backed up by scientific evidence. Does that sound familiar? Yes. It sounds like any other scientific research paper that has ever been published. Sprat may be the reason why there are many writing styles for many different disciplines in the sciences. For example: we have APA for Psychology and Biology, AAA for Anthropology, ACS for Chemistry, the list goes on. But the end goal is the same: create a thesis/theory that can be falsifiable, prove or disprove your theory with scientific research results, and further discuss how your theory can be researched in the future. Now get this, all of the Royal Society members that have made scientific breakthroughs like Stephen Hawking, Francis Crick & James Watson, Albert Einstein, etc., have all published works that use these specific writing style formats. This shows how Sprat’s idea of just keeping it simple and direct has made progress in the world of science. Instead of wasting time with stories and meaningless jargon, scientific research should just be direct.
“They [figurative language] were at first, no doubt, an admirable instrument in the hands of wise men…but now they are generally changed to worse uses…” (Sprat, p. 2176). Sprat is stating that figurative language has no place in science. This type of speech was once great when spoken by philosophers (Plato) of the past and whatnot, but it adds little to nothing when it comes to the world of science. He goes on to say “…nothing may be sooner obtained than this vicious abundance of Phrase, this trick of Metaphors, this volubility of Tongue…” (Sprat, p. 2176). This suggests that nothing comes from all of this storytelling, uses of metaphors, and filler when it comes to science. Instead, it should have concrete evidence that directly leads to a solution to the problem that is being discussed. The world that we live in is currently changing, and so is language. Language has now integrated with science and has become a way for people to discuss concerning questions of the world. Publishers of scientific journals write for a specific audience, an audience that doesn’t require the use of metaphors or storytelling to understand the language being used. But this wouldn’t be the case if it was a lay audience. Sprat and the Royal Society have become the reason why the stereotype of science is too difficult of a topic to understand. It has become so direct that people from different disciplines cannot relate to it.