Early in the Audio Book, Spock and Q are arguing about science and what it means to humanity, and Spock spouts off with this:
Spock: And you think that telling jokes is a good way for humans to deal with their problems? Even ... imminent catastrophe?
Q: And why not? What do you want them to do, put on lab coats and plastic pocket protectors?
Spock: If you mean, do I expect them to be curious, and to seek answers, yes, I do. How different the world world would be if an ancient Egyptian had not imagined that papyrus would make the first paper, or if Columbus had not sought a route to India, or if Madam Curie had not invented radium ...