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

From: <>
Date: Fri Dec 18 2009 - 16:54:33 EST

Quoting gordon brown <Gordon.Brown@Colorado.EDU>:

> 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)

Another reason engineers (as opposed to scientists) may be more likely to
populate YEC groups is that engineering is a last refuge of black & white
thinking in a modernistic world in love with greys. For the engineer, either
the bridge stands under the load or it fails. But in science and in other areas
things get shaken up enough that scientists are rightly gun-shy about
proclaiming things to be absolutely true. We engineering types like the "this
problem has a solution and let's find it" kind of a world. In the world of,
say, biology, where the definition of a species gets blurrier instead of sharper
the more we learn, well --that doesn't tend to attract the categorical thinkers.
 That's my two-cents on why we find so many engineering literalists.

p.s. when I was a EE, I don't remember seeing very many women in classes
either. Is that changing yet? Another tangential tidbit that has to go under
the "they say" category since I can't remember where I read it: Two professions
were more statistically prone to be sexual abusers than any other profession:
pastors and engineers. Even if this was true years ago when I read it, I'm not
sure it would still be true now. I can understand the temptations of an
authority figure male pastor counseling a vulnerable young woman alone in his
office. But the engineering one caught me by surprise at the time. I guess I
should look for statistics on this again.

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Received on Fri Dec 18 16:54:57 2009

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