Meanwhile, a vocal clique of science and engineering students portrayed my humanities peers as foggy-minded, lazy layabouts - their ideas worthless, methods clumsy.
I tried to defend the best in both traditions. If I remember rightly, my usual reply was to show the value of each in its rightful domain. Sometimes this took a Socratic approach: patiently asking questions. Other times I was more polemical (which was less helpful). My usual response was eventually frustration: that undergraduates would leave university, with little regard for great thinkers or artists, and their institutions.
Reading Sherborne's excellent life of H.G. Wells, H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life, I came across this:
At South Kensington [in the Normal School of Science] he liked to think of himself as an artist among scientists; later, as a famous novelist, he would claim to be a scientist among artists. Writing creatively proved the most effective way to reconcile the two roles. (p.61)
I obviously lack Wells' talent as a writer and man of science. But I sympathise with his twofold character. And more importantly, I'm impressed by his solution: creative writing, particularly fiction. (But sometimes essays.)
This doesn't achieve a grand theory of the two; doesn't unify, in thought, the two traditions, and their epistemological, metaphysical, social characteristics.
But it does diminish dogmatism; it reveals the achievements of each, within the world of the narrative. When I think back to my own education, science-fiction (what Sherborne calls 'scientific romance') prepared me to welcome scientific training: to see it as something worthwhile, and compatible with my humanities background. It had moments of awe alongside its rigour and precision; there was often wonder, even with the dystopian warnings.
Time to rekindle the romance, I think. Starting with Wells.