engineers of jihad - Stephen King said it first

A few issues ago, I wrote an editorial challenging the conclusions of a report called Engineers of Jihad, which claimed engineers had a linear-thinking mindset that predisposed them to recruitment by Islamic terrorist groups. You can read the editorial here:

The authors of the report in question weren't the first to claim something like this. The novelist Stephen King alluded to something similar in his book called The Stand, which came out in the 1980s and was made into a TV miniseries. In the book, a plague has cut the total population of the US to less than 2 million people who are separating themselves into two different camps, one following God, the other following the devil. King creates this conversation between two members of the 'God' camp:

"I think he's (referring here to the devil) going to get most of the techies......Don't ask me why; it's just a hunch. Except that tech people like to work in an atmosphere of tight discipline and linear goals, for the most part. They like it when the trains run on time.......But that other fellow (again, referring to the devil)... I'll bet he's got the trains running on time and all his ducks in a row. And techies are just as human as the rest of us; they'll go where they're wanted the most. I've a suspicion that our Adversary wants as many as he can get."

It's all utter BS in my opinion. Note to Stephen King: I've known a lot of high-caliber engineers whose desks looked like disaster areas and who couldn't show up on time for an appointment if their life depended on it. Does that sound like linear goals and tight discipline to you?

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Lee Teschler

Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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