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wnoise comments on No One Knows What Science Doesn't Know - Less Wrong

38 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 October 2007 11:47PM

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Comment author: wnoise 12 February 2010 05:02:39AM 0 points [-]

Ah, yes. Another one for the "engineers are more likely to become cranks" files.

Comment author: Jack 12 February 2010 05:31:37AM 0 points [-]

"engineers are more likely to become cranks"

Why is this anyway? Are engineering degrees just easy to get? Maybe they don't have to internalize the scientific method? Not enough experimentalism?

Comment author: wnoise 12 February 2010 05:42:01AM 6 points [-]

My personal belief is that they learn simplified models that aren't quite correct, without enough explicit warnings that they aren't fully correct. Then, later on, they're smart enough to figure out that the models aren't good enough, so start building their own, without the requisite background of what the physicists' actual model are, and why certain approaches have and haven't been taken, and how counter-intuitive experiments have forced certain choices.

Comment author: bigjeff5 24 February 2011 11:55:43PM 1 point [-]

It's like the artillery officer who thinks you can't use GR to calculate the trajectory of an artillery shell - you have to use Newtonian mechanics to do it. Not that it wouldn't be practical go use GR, but that it could not be done. He doesn't realize that not only can you calculate it with GR, but that it would be far more accurate, too (it would, of course, be horribly impractical, however).

Comment author: JGWeissman 12 February 2010 05:45:57AM 0 points [-]

Scott Adams is not an engineer. He is a cartoonist who writes about engineers.

Comment author: Nick_Tarleton 12 February 2010 06:07:30AM *  2 points [-]
Comment author: JGWeissman 12 February 2010 06:27:43AM 3 points [-]

Yes, he worked with engineers, but he would be the first to tell you he is not an engineer himself. From his book The Dilbert Principle (page 171):

For the record, I am not an engineer by training. But I spent ten years working with engineers and programmers in a variety of jobs. I learned their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming.

Comment author: wnoise 12 February 2010 08:50:42PM 2 points [-]

I stand corrected. (But I do think he has absorbed enough of the engineer's viewpoint to make it noticeable.)

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 12 February 2010 06:39:37AM 5 points [-]

I'm pretty sure that Scott Adams is not a crank, but a troll.