Engineering Terrorism, Engineering Fundamentalism

Engineering Terrorism, Engineering Fundamentalism March 28, 2016

There was an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently about the disproportionate number of engineers among the ranks of terrorists. This is not a new observation – articles on this subject, I learned, have appeared over the years, in Slate, the Washington Post, and Foreign Policy. But as Greg Laden also pointed out, there is a new book out Engineers of Jihad which explores this topic.

One one level, none of this surprised me. The ranks of young-earth creationists have always included a strikingly large number of engineers. There are recent examples like this one, as well as “founding fathers” of the movement such as Henry Morris. This is so widely known, that there is a thing called the Salem Hypothesis which relates to this correlation.

But on another level, I am still baffled – what is it about engineering that leads it to coincide with fundamentalism and extremism of a variety of different sorts?

Of related interest, see Paul Wallace’s blog post on how to talk to creationists; Paul Braterman on creationists and carbon datingBrandon Ambrosino’s Boston Globe article on the ark park and the broader phenomenon of young-earth creationism; Jason Rosenhouse on problems with creationist talk of probability; an example of a recent YEC failure to fact check; and Yehrin Tong on the evolution of evolutionary theory.

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