Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Engineer's Fallacy

If you've ever talked to an engineer - be they mechanical, civil, electrical, nuclear, computer or whatever - you may have noticed they all seem to suffer from a peculiar ailment. I can only describe it as an excessive love of their own judgment to a point of blindness. Apparently, it's an occupational hazard that comes with the territory. The symptoms are something like this ... "There is one optimized answer to every problem, and I happen to know what it is."

I call it The Engineer's Fallacy, and it is prevalent.

When I've presented this diagnosis to friends, this is what they've said to me ... "I know exactly what you mean. My father was an engineer, and he suffered from it too."

Put another way, talking to an engineer too often follows this pattern: "Here's the answer. Now, what was the question?"