Saturday, December 08, 2018

Faith and The Rational Engineer

Once you get accustomed to logic, proof, measuring, testing and prototyping, it's tough to accept breezy bullying, superstition and wishful thinking. The worst moments in my career were all when office politics overwhelmed sound engineering principles. For some systems, that could be lived with but when a system had a manned rating, well, I could lose my cool.  Bullies have no place among rational engineers.

There was a conversation I was having with a young man about the tension of being a scientist while practicing faith. If the guys in charge start going too far in the direction of claiming their special relationship to a deity gives them absolute authority, the pews in a city of engineers start to empty.  If the head of marketing or the fraud manager who earned a position by dint of a special relationship or class bullied their way through a meeting they could not run by demonstrating that theirs was a sound engineering approach, then it was time to move on.

In the time of Newton, the enlightenment, the newly enlightened scientists considered what they learned by scientific method as proper revelation. They put their moral or religious convictions squarely in the realm of provable repeatable testing and observation. They did not argue the existence of God because they understood that first cause is beyond logic, therefore, science. They were willing to accept that which they could not know need not be proven and to take comfort in faith while advancing the size and scale of what they could know and by doing, improve the lot of humankind without depriving humans of the comfort of faith. 

IMO, that works.

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