Monday, August 15, 2005

funky mind jump


Nothing particularly profound, I was just blog hoppin' and found a quote on an engineering student's site:

"Engineers are not superhuman. They make mistakes in their assumptions, in their calculations, in their conclusions. That they make mistakes is forgivable; that they catch them is imperative. Thus it is the essence of modern engineering not only to be able to check one's own work but also to have one's own work checked and to be able to check the work of others." -Henry Petroski

It reminded me of when I was an accountant, you really want someone to re-check your work. Catching an error now can save huge headaches latter.

And then I thought about all these modern economists that make huge assumptions and create models they know will be wrong, but hope will be somewhat useful anyway. These folks, the engineers and the economists, are worlds apart. In the real world you want so much to be accurate you open yourself to inspection. In modern social "science," you get a bit of an insight and create a world of projections around it.

Perhaps that is a first valid clue on the value of a thought. Do you want to push the thought, or do you want to have it challenged?

If all you deal in is words and assumptions, accuracy is no longer imperative, convincing obfuscation is.

Are you convinced?


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