Engineering Conservatism – Who Knew?

Fascinating Washington Post article (hat tip to @SohailPakBrit) about how almost half of degree-qualified Islamist extremists are engineers of one sort or another.

Fascinating, as an engineer knowing that the ingenuity to create “engines of war” is where engineering itself came from, but that’s not the most fascinating aspect.

One aspect of my agenda here, as a social / liberal / democratic type, is that conservatism (with a small “c”) is underrated and overlooked. We all want change for the better, but successful evolution builds on (relatively) stable species. All change and no stability is chaos, strategically desirable only if you’re also an anarchist. What is particularly fascinating about the Islamist extremist engineers piece is that the common factor seems to be the general conservatism of engineers rather than their technological creativity and problem solving.

Who knew? I would never have considered myself as being conservative until the last decade or so (out of 40 years an engineer) studying the quality of governance decision-making in this Psybertron project.


[Post Note – And scientists generally. The “binary worldview” makes scientific types “easy prey” for extremism. Figures. Source is the same 2007 engineering research story of course. Objectivity is inhuman. That is, the duality of seeing objects distinct from subjects, as science must to be independently repeatable, necessarily mis-represents the place of humanity in nature. Not surprisingly arts and humanities graduates remain more connected as humans. And interestingly (from Sabine) this is related too. Difficult science really is hard to relate to humans, unless one chooses to simplify it to the point of simplistication. Science is not “broken” per se, but its relationship with humanity is.]


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