Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This just in: FIITJEE to offer coaching classes for Al Qaeda Entrance Exams

A piece in the Primary Sources section of this month's Atlantic points to a study that finds (I quote from the abstract) that engineers "are strongly overrepresented among graduates in violent groups" within the Islamist movement. As the Atlantic summary puts it:

The authors couldn’t find evidence to support the idea that radical groups seek out engineers for their skills. Instead, they speculate that something in the engineer’s mind-set—the emphasis on structure and rules, and on finding singular solutions to complicated problems—may fit neatly with Islamist notions of the ideal society....They also note that engineers tend to be high-achievers who rise by merit, which may make them more likely to be frustrated by their interactions with corrupt bureaucracies in the Middle East and North Africa and thus receptive to radical messages.

And you thought the most sinister thing about engineers was their lack of social skills.

Personally, I think it's all about sexual frustration. That's what all this fundamentalist violence is really about, isn't it? Bombings as orgasm substitute. And it's a well established fact that engineers are the most sexually frustrated people on the planet. Well then.

Still, any study that finds that engineers are all zombified servants of the dark side can't be all wrong can it?


Confused & Baffled said...

And it's a well established fact that engineers are the most sexually frustrated people on the planet.

oye! fact, you call it?? what the hell? unfair generalisation i call it!

??! said...

Actually, I thought that was post-grad students. Heh.

Anonymous said...

hehehe...i endorse the statement by ???. post-grad students are way-2 ahead of us poor engineers when it comes to being deprived of carnal pleasures. I humbly accept their dominance.Falsie..hope you wouldnt take offense..hehehe..

Falstaff said...

c&b: Generalisation, yes. Unfair not so much.

??!: Nah, post-grad students aren't frustrated. They're just procrastinating.

Besides, can you imagine how pathetic a terrorist a PhD student would make? It would take four years to plan an attack, three and a half of them in finding ways to 'cite' previous attacks, and then they'd end up submitting the plan to the DHS for review.

anon: See above.

Alok said...

how about left-wing extremists? they are filled with arts and humanities types..

Tabula Rasa said...

those are the social engineers.

km said...

How many Al Qaeda-trained engineers does it take to change a light bulb?


1 to screw in the light bulb and 3878 to fantasize about the virgins. (They are engineers, remember?)

*cymbal crash*

//But I am with Alok on this. Engineers are god's gift to mankind and EE guys are god's gift to the universe.

lekhni said...

Who else can it be ? The lawyers would stand around arguing all day and do nothing. The journalists would write long reports and take lots of pictures but nothing more. Only engineers are used to doing things :P

blackmamba said...

bombing as a communication skills substitute, actually.

besides the study just says terrorists like being engineers, not vice versa. falsie, back to set theory and logic lessons you.

Falstaff said...

alok: See TR's comment.

km: From Roger Sedarat's Dear Regime:

"How many mullahs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"

One Hundred: One to do the wiring, and the other ninety-nine to abuse the power"

lekhni: I guess. Also, I suppose terrorism has the critical requirement of all jobs that engineers do - it has nothing to do with engineering.

BM: Nice try. I haven't actually read the study, but I assume they control for the proportion of engineers in the total population, so that the % of engineers becoming terrorists will be significantly greater than that from other backgrounds (even though, of course, this proportion will be miniscule).

The more interesting hypothesis, from my perspective, is that it isn't that engineers are more likely to become terrorists, but that they're more likely to become the kind of terrorists who get caught / found out. Liberal arts majors become terrorists too, but they're smart enough to get away with it.

Nishant Neeraj said...

"And it's a well established fact that engineers are the most sexually frustrated people on the planet. Well then." -- Ahh, Now I realize why I am so frustrated!

Obviously they are slave of the dark side Did Indians Land on The Mars?