The Salem Hypothesis

2/08/2008 | 12:40 PM | Evolved Rationalist

The "Why are so many engineers also cretins?" Salem Hypothesis is named after Bruce Salem, a longtime contributor to the newsgroup. It is usually worded as:

#1: "In any Evolution vs. Creation debate, A person who claims scientific credentials and sides with Creation will most likely have an Engineering degree."

The first statement posits a correlation (not a causation) between engineers and creationism. For those who think this is merely nitpicking, note that the the leadership (including the founder and his son) of the Institute for Certified Retards, commonly known as the Institute for Creation Research[sic] is chock-full of engineers claiming to be 'distinguished scientists'. A quick Google search reveals that this is true in other cretin ministries such as AiG and CRS.

#2: "An education in the Engineering disciplines forms a predisposition to Creation/ID viewpoints

Now, this does posit a positive causal connection between engineers and creationism. In my opinion, there are two main reasons that could explain this causal connection (if it were certified true). The first is that engineers are more likely to be convinced by arguments from 'design' as seen in the case of the IDiots, where the engineers masquerading as scientists often spout the claim 'this cannot have evolved because it looks designed' or 'this is too complicated to have evolved'. The second, more practical reason for this is that creationists who are unable to reconcile their faith with the facts of say, biology, physics, geology, or cosmology gravitate towards fields like engineering which they see as less of a threat to their faith.

If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to our feed


  1. The Thinking Man |

    Being a scientist, does not give you any more insight in a field outside your own than a non-scientist. An engineer may be a scientist, or not, but they don't have any authority in the field of evolutionary biology, not any more than an evolutionary biologist has on astrophysics.

  2. Anonymous |

    Why do you hate engineers? This is not fair!

  3. Evolved |

    Where did I say that I hate engineers?

    Go back to remedial comprehension class.

  4. Anonymous |

    Oh yes right for you evols biologists are the only smartasses get a life bastartd you suck!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. windarr |

    Please list for this darwinian skeptic 3 facts of macroevolution. Levinton's 2nd edition (Cambridge Press) doesn't list a single fact for macroevolution in his book of the same name!

  6. Mike from Ottawa |

    Engineers see design because they do design. It's been said (and this was a while ago) that an engineer is someone who can do for a shilling what any fool can do for a pound. Engineers generally don't have the time and money to use an evolutionary approach (not explicitly! - the liability issues alone would prevent it) so they see fitness for any purpose in nature as reflecting the process they use in designing bridges, computers, chemical processes, etc.

    And, let's face it, they're really just glorified blacksmisths! :-)

  7. Mike from Ottawa |

    To 'windarr' (and any other readers), first, Happy Darwin-Lincoln Day!

    Second, and this isn't really for windarr, since any person who questions in good faith will already have run across these, but for lurkers, if you want examples of 'macroevolution' (which is really just 'microevolution' writ large) you only need to look up the water-land transition from lobe-finned fishes to our early tetrapod ancestors or the land to water transition from land-dwelling artiodactyls to whales. A good overview can be had in Carl Zimmer's excellent and highly readable and entertaining 'At Water's Edge'. There's also Neil Shubin's 'Your Innner Fish' which shows how much plain common sense is involved in figuring out major evolutionary events (like the early tetrapods) in the evolutionary processes that produced us, from both the fossil record and the record of our ancestors that persists in our own DNA.

    The bushy tree of the horses is quite well mapped out now and folk can find plenty on this at the Laelaps blog (google laelaps, horse and evolution and it is the first hit - I'm not going to post a link because those can cause trouble with spam filters on blogs).

    We also have an extensive set of transition fossils for our own ancestors that shows our emergence from among our ape brethren and the development of the characteristics that make us human and not merely a monkey shaved.

  8. Evolved |


    Do some research:

  9. sciencefreak |

    That is why everyone knows that scientists are better than engineers.

    Engineers are just scientist wannabes who are too stupid to be actual scientists.


Post a Comment