use vs. utilize for scientific writing

Earlier this year, NWC pointed out that lots of people employ the word utilize when use would do just fine.  It stuck in my brain and now bothers me on par with folks using less instead of fewer (thanks for that one, Bryce).

I took a look at what Grammar Girl had to say on the subject and I didn't find the results compelling:
So if you're a science writer, you might find yourself using the word “utilize.” If you’re just a regular person writing a regular sentence, you should probably just stick with the word “use.”
That's all fine and dandy, but I happen to do a bit of science reading and writing, and we need some guidance.  Science doesn't get free reign with unnecessarily pretentious words; in fact, scientists should probably take greater care than regular folks to make sure their writing is clear and accessible.  So, no.  No, free pass for you.

Not able to find free access to the only source that granted this ambiguous exception, I turned to the trusty OED on the matter.  Honestly, though, looking up use is overwhelming. Taking a gander at utilize, however, the distinction starts to become clear: to convert to use.  I might be reading too much into it, but I'm interpreting this as: things that are changed somehow by their use are utilized.

(An aside: I find it thoroughly ironic that the first written usage of the term utilize in English, at least per the OED, was by Joel Barlow, who is probably some distant relation.)

While this hypothesis explains the chemistry example given by Grammar Girl, it also allows for other instances that I find objectionable, such as: Do we need to utilize flour in this recipe? or The printer utilizes ink very efficiently.  No, thank you.

Thus, unless your editor, advisor, or colleague can provide a substantive reason for employing utilize instead of use for your discipline, I appeal to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, 4th edition, page 63 (Words and Expressions Commonly Misused):

"Utilize. Prefer use."

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