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View Diary: Texas State Board of Education Primary Delivers Upset (244 comments)

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  •  Engineers are authoritarians in their thinking (6+ / 0-)

    They don't necessarily embrace scientific thinking.
    The scientific method embraces change as new facts are added to update what is known.

    Authoritarians fight change in their thinking.They like certainty.They are absolutists.Don't rock the boat.

    We are the "boat rockers".We embrace change.We threaten them with our very way of thinking.

    My nephew who has a PHD in physics from Carnagie Mellon,teaches computer science in college,explained this to me.I was shocked. Who knew?

    Cynicism leads to Inactivity. Hope leads to Action.

    by Citizenpower on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 08:11:28 AM PST

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    •  Might be a bit broad (15+ / 0-)

      Both of our kids are engineers and haven't exhibited those traits (so far.)  One is a fine musician who also completed a music degree and the other is about to start a PhD in biomedical engineering where discovery and change is what it's all about.  

      Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

      by texasmom on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 08:20:31 AM PST

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      •  My father is an engineer, (6+ / 0-)

        and in my work I deal with engineers on a regular basis.  I tend to agree that many of them are very authoritarian in their thinking, and yes, certainty is what it's all about with engineers.  You have to be sure that something can handle a load or people die, etc.  

        That said, there are always exceptions to the rule, as your child and nephew seem to be.  Of course, your nephew is in biomedical engineering, which as you point out, is about discovery and change.  Structural engineers, electrical engineers, etc, tend to be very different.

        "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums

        by balancedscales on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 09:08:49 AM PST

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    •  This is broadly overgeneralizing and insulting. (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zeke L, vets74, davewill, not a cent, atxcats, dmw97

      I've been an engineer for decades now. I've run many engineering groups up to the VP level. I have a number of expectations from my folks when it comes to developing and creating products. Data collected through experimentation that has been analyzed correctly. It is always hypothesis-experiment-analysis then new hypothesis. That is the very backbone of the scientific method, and it is the only secure way to develop and create.

      In a capitalist situation, it is arguably more important for engineering staffs to follow the scientific method than it is for R&D scientists. I have to justify capital expenditures of millions of dollars and usually a couple of years in business time. What do you think happens to engineers who spend millions of dollars on equipment and a 2-year installation schedule if the process at the end is flawed, doesn't create acceptable results with low yield? It is better to do the experiments, generate the data that justifies all ones processes and continue to do FMEAs to insure that all unknowns are tested.

      I'm not one for motivational posters or phrases, but I have one phrase on my desk: Question All Assumptions.

      "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

      by Uwaine on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 09:25:35 AM PST

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      •  Surveys of professors in academia consistently (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74, PeakRaider

        show that the single digit percentage that self-identifies as "conservative" or "Republican" is heavily represented in engineering, and to a lesser extent in the hard sciences (physics, chemistry).  I don't have it in front of me, but it's easily found in past articles on surveys from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

        by Vtdblue on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 10:32:04 AM PST

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      •  You're a credit to your field (0+ / 0-)

        Didn't mean to generalize so much but I was reading about a Tea Party member who was an engineer and I asked my nephew how could someone so intelligent and of a scientific mindset be a part of that.His response was that not ALL engineers think scientifically.They apply the laws of physics and science but aren't always interested in challenging what they know.
        Another odd thing about the engineer was that his wife worked at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.
        He wasn't a hardened ideologue but he was socially conservative and his tolerance for the more radical elements of his movement concerned me.

        I am religious educator who has studied ethics and morality.I believe there are things you shouldn't tolerate--like violence and racism.Maybe I sound dogmatic but its a matter of principle.Too many people sell out their principles for the sake of their goals.

        Cynicism leads to Inactivity. Hope leads to Action.

        by Citizenpower on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 06:17:34 AM PST

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    •  Hogwash, says I. (8+ / 0-)

      Yes, I am an engineer (in fact, if I pass my P&P exam come April, I will be a Professional Engineer).

      I intensely dislike the implication that conservatism in design leads to Conservatism in politics.  I have never found this particular semantic argument convincing.  Furthermore, it ignores the other side of the engineering conservatism coin: efficiency.  Do the most you can with what you have available.

      IMHO, an engineering mindset leads more to liberal policies than conservative.  Most good for the most people with the least effort.  Education, health care, environment, labor, all of it.

      I embrace science because I recognize that is the the basis of my bread and butter.  I may as well ignore the nose on my face.

      It's the economy, stupid!

      by hillgiant on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 09:59:47 AM PST

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      •  I appreciate your skepticism, but the surveys (0+ / 0-)

        have been consistent in showing the strong correlation between Myers-Briggs personality type and cognitive orientation and whether someone is conservative or not.

        People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

        by Vtdblue on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 10:34:36 AM PST

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      •  My apologies to all engineers who are liberal. (0+ / 0-)

        I respect what you know and your principles as well.My opinion "evolved" out of a conversation I had with my nephew about a Tea Party member who was an engineer.It seemed very much in contradiction to what I would think about a engineer.He knows lots of engineers and how they think.

        We are not all alike.Some of us think outside the box,some do not.

        Cynicism leads to Inactivity. Hope leads to Action.

        by Citizenpower on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 06:22:41 AM PST

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