View Full Version : If Social Engineers designed airplanes...

07-26-2010, 11:57 AM
In Aeronautical engineering, there comes a point where an untried airplane is taken aloft by a test pilot, who fully understands that he is risking his neck, to see if reality matches theory. If the plane crashes, no effort is spared to determine, and then rectify, the cause of the crash. Only when everyone is satisfied that the aircraft is sound will passengers be allowed to fly in it. If, in the end, the basic concept is unworkable, it is abandoned for designs that DO work.

If Social engineers designed airplanes, the first flight would have a full load of unknowing, but trusting, passengers and if there was a crash, then it would be assumed that the cause of the crash was something other than the design of the aircraft. Another aircraft would be built to the same specification, loaded again with passengers, and flown. If THAT airplane crashed, it would still be assumed that there was nothing wrong with the design, perhaps it was the pilot's fault, and another airplane would be built to the same design. It would again be loaded with passengers and flown. Repeat ad nauseum. That there might be some basic design flaw is never considered, for it was designed by experts- the design MUST be right! There has to be another reason for the crash. That passengers die is recognized as a tragedy, but an unavoidable part of building airplanes.

07-26-2010, 12:00 PM
Sublime political analogy, erco. Swift would approve.

07-26-2010, 12:17 PM
Haha it is true to a degree. Although I would argue that fewer people tend to die when social engineering goes wrong (I hope no-one dies). Also humans are typically even more complex than airplanes are in some ways.

07-26-2010, 12:35 PM
Hi all,

Is Social Engineering the same as Socialist Engineering?

I'm confused. Please help.

Best Regards,

07-26-2010, 12:40 PM
It certainly depends a great deal on the social engineering- the Cultural Revolution had a terrible mortality rate, while most social programs tend not to kill you. There are tragedies large and small. My point, of course, is that social engineering is different from hard sciences in it's response to failure, generally operates without accountability for results, and uses society as a whole as it's guinea pig.

07-26-2010, 12:49 PM
The Cultural Revolution was a greater disaster for the people of China than the extermination campaign carried out by the Japanese in WWII. The Ukraine in the '30's is a sterling example of social engineering (and the denial it was an appalling slaughter was a classic example of the inability of the friends of social engineering, particularly the New York Times, whose reporter deliberately suppressed the story of the mass deaths, to admit to failure).

07-26-2010, 01:15 PM
Swift was ridiculing social engineers in Gulliver's Travels---his demolition of the "projectors" is a prospectus for any modern satire of this unsavory breed.

07-26-2010, 01:51 PM
Oh goody ... might we be including Mr Edward L Bernays in this unsavoury lineup?

07-26-2010, 01:56 PM
I wonder what Freud would have to say about this..
I'd be ROFL on the floor for a whole week

07-26-2010, 02:20 PM
But you know, the planeload that does manage to make it will be touted as an unmitigated success. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

"See!? It works!"

07-26-2010, 04:53 PM
elephant ... mouse designed by a government committee

07-26-2010, 05:16 PM
Good one, Galway, ha!

07-26-2010, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by WTE_Galway:
elephant ... mouse designed by a government committee

I've heard it this way:

An elephant is a mouse that was passed by Congress.

07-26-2010, 06:13 PM
Every passing day just proves to me what a genius Sir Francis Galton was. However, like the deforestation of Easter Island, we will only realize it on a societal level when the tipping point has long since passed.

07-26-2010, 07:10 PM

07-26-2010, 08:18 PM