Engineers of Jihad?, the online news magazine for electrical engineers, recently published a bizarre little musing in the form of a study linking electrical engineering aptitude with Islamic terrorism:

The authors [sociologists Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog of Oxford University] have found that graduates in subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are strongly overrepresented among Islamist movements in the Muslim world. The authors also note that engineers, alone, are strongly over-represented among graduates who gravitate to violent groups.

However, contrary to popular speculation, it’s not technical skills that make engineers attractive recruits to radical groups. Rather, the authors pose the hypothesis that “engineers have a ‘mindset’ that makes them a particularly good match for Islamism,” which becomes explosive when fused by the repression and vigorous radicalization triggered by the social conditions they endured in Islamic countries.

Odd idea. There are, however, some insightful comments beneath, including one that proposes “the desire to fix things” as the key component of the “engineer’s mindset.”