It is the prerogative, in fact the duty, of a president of a scientific society to break precedents, at the certain risk of provocation of society members. Utilization of the exploration geologist as a decision maker and representative of industry in the development of natural resources has led some geologists who search the earth’s crust for enormously valuable fossil fuels and minerals to downgrade themselves as scientists. Because profit is involved, some academic colleagues and administrators assume that our application of geology is an impure utilization of pure scientific principles.
Industrial administrators, clients, and geologists themselves have noted that obsolescence comes quickly to anyone whose scientific work becomes routine rather than an exciting adventure in continuous learning. To break this insidious syndrome of security, the exploration scientist must fight apathy, lethargy, and inertia. At every turn, it is the geologist with pride in his work who must reestablish the fact that he is a true scientist first, a professional second, and a dedicated member of his scientific associations third.
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, classed as a learned professional society, is also a business league made up of scientists. As such, all petroleum geologists and geophysicists can be willfully provocative, must break hampering precedents, and should assume their rightful prerogatives as pure scientists. We are neither professional sinners nor philosophical saints, but if we allow the development of professional unionism within our Association, our value as scientific, economic, and political decision makers in the search for, discovery, and production of our natural resources will be greatly impaired. Personal pride in profession is the outstanding characteristic of excellence among scientists. Are geologists scientists? I say emphatically, Yes!