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Qualified nonsense that frightens and mars

In an editorial in Dagens Nyheter on 31 May, Gina Gustavsson writes about the connection between terrorists and engineers. She refers to a study that found that of 500 Islamic extremists, almost half had an engineering degree. From this observation, she then goes on to discuss the risks of engineering education because of the obvious risk of engineers becoming radicalised and becoming violent terrorists.

The link is not only between engineering education and Islamist extremism, but also with neo-Nazis, white power groups and neo-Stalinists. Engineers lack mental openness, are drawn to order and clarity, and are disgusted by the deviant.

Truly astonishing data. Like recently when a study at the University of Gothenburg showed that out of 300 young men sentenced to prison, mainly for violent offences, a majority had some form of psychiatric or neuropsychiatric diagnosis, 40 per cent had ADHD. A few years ago, Uppdrag granskning showed that of all those convicted of rape in the last five years, 58 per cent were foreign-born. That review included 843 perpetrators.

It’s stumblingly close that just as Gina Gustavsson believes that a majority of all engineers are potential terrorists, most people with ADHD or autism must reasonably be particularly prone to violence and foreign-born men can be assumed to be particularly predisposed to rape. If you reduce immigration, lock up people with ADHD at an early age and stop training engineers, you will have fewer violent crimes and fewer terrorists!

It’s a bit of a head scratcher. On the editorial and debate pages, you can of course think what you like, but surely it would be wise to have some logic in the arguments put forward. We can all agree that more of a social perspective and traditional education may be required in engineering programmes, as in all other education, but to conclude that engineering education as such breeds terrorism is nothing but qualified nonsense.

One wishes that those who defend the humanities and social sciences had better friends than DN’s editorial page!