Salem Hypothesis

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For a more general outline of engineering and crankery, see engineers and woo.

The Salem Hypothesis is the observation of an apparent correlation between the engineering trade and creationist beliefs (possibly due to crank magnetism, this can also include climate-change denial and other crackpot beliefs).

The hypothesis suggests that people who claim science expertise, whilst advocating creationism, tend to be formally trained as engineers[1] (with the possible exception of chemical engineers).

This hypothesis does not address whether engineers tend to be creationists (the converse); however, it has been speculated that engineering predisposes people to a creation-science view.[citation needed]

There is some evidence that this characterization of respected members of the esteemed engineering profession can actually be extrapolated out to fundamentalism and quackery of all kinds.[2]


The Salem Hypothesis was formulated by Bruce Salem on It is listed in Evolution Echo Jargon File:[3]

Salem Hypothesis:

np. Conjecture that an education in the engineering disciplines forms a predisposition to {SciCre}[4] viewpoints. Due to longtime t.o. regular {Bruce Salem}. New SciCre or {TAE}[5] posters whose credentials include EE, CSE, ME, or other brands of engineering are noted as "data points for the Salem Hypothesis". (My own personal experience indicates that of engineering disciplines, EE's are most often encountered in SciCre-ist postings. I don't believe that I have ever seen a chemical engineering SciCre-ist, on the other hand.)

Initially it was an observation that when engaged in a debate with a creationist who tried to strengthen their position by stating that they had a degree in science, it would inevitably turn out to be a mathematical or physics based engineering degree, rather than a degree in biology or something closely related.

It has evolved into two separate statements.[6] The first is a weak Salem Hypothesis:

In any Evolution vs. Creation debate, A person who claims scientific credentials and sides with Creation will most likely have an Engineering degree.

The second, a strong Salem Hypothesis:

An education in the Engineering disciplines forms a predisposition to Creation/ID viewpoints

A similar phenomenon has been observed with medical doctors.


  • Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research.
  • Dr. Tas Walker of Creation Ministries International (CMI).
  • Dr. Mark Harwood of CMI.
  • Skip Gilliland of the Discovery Institute.
  • Walt Brown of the Center for Scientific Creation.
  • The Discovery Institute claims a whopping great 7 articles[7] for intelligent design; one of which, Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits, was published in the proceedings of an engineering conference.
  • Chuck Missler, the person giving the "scientific expertise" in the peanut butter argument, is an engineer.
  • Andrew Schlafly, electrical engineer and founder of Conservapedia, a pro-creation "encyclopedia".
  • Harold Camping, harbinger of doom and former civil engineer.
  • Walter Bradley, Professor (retired) of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M and at Baylor Universities, author of The Mystery of Life's Origin, Fellow of the Discovery Institute.
  • Dominic Statham, Chartered Engineer, lecturer for Creation Ministries International.
  • YouTube's Godrules(channel) claims to be a mechanical engineer.

Notable Exceptions[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]