Re: [asa] creationists with advanced degrees are often engineers

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Fri Dec 18 2009 - 15:21:00 EST

On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 11:42 AM, gordon brown <>wrote:

> On Thu, 17 Dec 2009, Dave Wallace wrote:
> I ran across the following today:
>> Salem hypothesis
>> First proposed by Bruce Salem on the discussion site Usenet, the
>> Salem hypothesis claims that "an education in the engineering
>> disciplines forms a predisposition to [creationist] viewpoints".
>> This was rephrased somewhat by P. Z. Myers as "creationists with
>> advanced degrees are often engineers".
>> just google it and you will find lots of references on the net.
>> Various justifications were offered but not the one that immediately
>> occurred to me which is that engineers know how hard it is to build
>> something that works reliably and is economical to build. Also maybe some
>> engineers did not get enough math and physics or chemistry courses.
> In my experience evangelical Christian student groups are heavily populated
> with engineering majors, and evangelical Christian faculty groups are
> heavily populated with engineers. However in academia it is hard to find an
> engineer who admits to being YEC.
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)

Gordon just hit on it. It's not the educational background. Given the heavy
amount of science in their education most engineers have the "chops" to
figure out pure science problems. Rather, it's who we rub elbows with
professionally. The small church I used to belong to was heavily educated
and heavily weighted to engineers and very much so creationist (including
myself). Then Terry Gray showed up. Up to this points what academic
scientists did was based purely on hearsay. We were told that evolutionists
were crypto-atheists or even the non-crypto version. Then Terry proved that
you can believe in evolution and be extraordinarily Biblical. Terry can say
whether there were any other "converts" than me but I believe part of the
reason why I changed my mind was a personality thing. I think I would do
fine as a academic scientist. When I was a teenager I chose between
astronomy and computer engineering. I did the math and determined that you
could buy lots of telescopes as a computer engineer but not lots of
computers as an astronomer. So, I did not have the natural suspicion of
academics and academic scientists and I believe that was why it was easier
for me to change my mind once Terry cogently put forth the scientific
argument for the truth of evolutionary biology.

Flash forward to today. On our regional board I am the token private sector
guy. It would be good for the ASA to continue to reach out to us (engineers
and private sector scientists) because then we can evaluate based on
personal exposure rather than hearsay by those who are falsely accusing the
academic and government scientists. Anyhow, that's my 2 cents on why the ASA
is heavier TE than other Christian organizations. It's not the degree on the
wall but the color of our coat, white vs. navy pin stripe.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Fri Dec 18 15:21:26 2009

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