Re: [asa] A question on morals (OT and NT)

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Nov 04 2009 - 13:33:56 EST

On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 8:18 AM, Cameron Wybrow <> wrote:

> Some people would prefer a shorter path to insight into deep and difficult
> questions, one that does not involve reading even a single scholarly book
> from cover to cover, and one that allows one to rest satisfied with
> the yes-or-no, right-or-wrong sort of answers that are typical of subjects
> such as engineering. (Either the crane is strong enough to lift the load or
> it is not; either the wiring diagram is correct or it is not; either the
> process will achieve 87% efficiency or it will not.

This betrays a common misconception concerning engineering. When you really
look at, it it's not a black or white measure but a statistical one. Given a
wiring connection on a semiconductor adding an extra via increases yield (a
statistical measure) not a right versus wrong decision. One of the issues we
currently are facing are the timing corners (mode, temperature, process
variation, etc.) cannot all be met simultaneously. Randy and I recently
discussed this where the low subthreshold current at low temperatures is now
giving us fits because everybody wants us to lower our VDD (supply
voltage). A device thus runs much faster at higher temperatures (failing
holds) than lower ones (failing setups). IBM a number of years ago
released tools on what is known as statistical static timing analysis (SSTA)
which doesn't give a pass/fail but a statistical grade. Chance and
statistics are thus an important part of the design process. If we limited
ourselves to the black and white we would have no products to sell.

Cameron is spot on with his critique of black and white thinking and how it
is antithetical to any academic discipline whether it's science or history
or theology or even engineering. The Intelligent Design movement
unfortunately has not gotten the memo. They see "chance" as antithetical to
design when it is very much embedded into the engineering process. By using
a early Nineteenth Century manufacturing model of the design process they
miss how engineering is actually done in the 21st Century.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Wed Nov 4 13:34:31 2009

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