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Prince Philip: ‘engineers come only second to God’

The Duke of Edinburgh has said in an interview how he holds engineers in high regard, saying they come second only to God.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, The Duke of Edinburgh spoke highly of the important work of engineers as they perform an essential function, saying is hard to imagine life without them.

Prince Philip said: “everything not invented by God is invented by an engineer”. He went on to add that engineers hold the key to the future of humanity and its ability to continue to thrive on the planet.

The 94 year old prince continued: “The whole of our infrastructure, from sewers to power supplies and communication, everything that wasn’t invented by God is invented by an engineer.”

He also said that engineers help by playing a vital role by helping to solve the issues that arise as a result of the world’s increasing population.

He said: “The human population of the world is growing and is occupying more space. It’s got to be accommodated somehow or another and I think most people would like to see that it accommodates a certain amount of the natural world as well as the human world and everything we require to keep it going.

“But somehow or other that balance, to try and fit as many people onto this globe as comfortably as possible without doing too much damage, I think ultimately its going to be engineers that decide that.”

Prince Philip said he gained an interest in engineering during the war when as a young naval cadet he had to carry out basic engineering tasks. Although it wasn’t until after the war that Prince Philip realised that engineers could play a central role in society as he surveyed the damage that Britain underwent from years of conflict.

He said: “It seemed to me that the thing that really needed encouragement was manufacturing, which was always dependent on engineering, to try and recover from the war. We were completely skint, seriously badly damaged.

“It seemed to me the only way we were going to recover a sort of viability was through engineering.”

As Senior Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Prince Philip also criticised the “curious” lack of a Nobel Prize for engineering.

  • Raymond B

    Why dont we see a government in this country look into putting capital into the work of creating an engineering structure, starting to put engineering into the school curicculum and starting colleges and establishments designed on training people on mass as basic engineers.Also start a workforce into designers, to come up with schemes and new ideas to invent ways of using the trained talent in ways that creates,and leads to investment and to use the designed engineering ideas to take this country into being world leaders once more.This could be a way of useing the thousands of refugees and our own workforce to solve some of the problems we have such as the latest flooding answers,and the excess money created by the increased workforce to be used to solve the NHS problems by the taxes paid by the workforce.This would need some of the Billionairs to invest heavily at first but they would surely see a good return on their investment,if the government in power are too blinkered to see this as 1 a vote catcher and 2 an answer to getting this country back on its feet,by retraining the thousnds of unemployed in this country.

  • WingMan

    A most inspiring message from the Duke of Edinburgh. Perhaps, Prince Philip’s praise of the Royal Engineers also illustrates a singular aspect of the legacy of the British Monarchy. I am reminded of King George III’s support for the industrious engineers of Britain as expressed in the intervention on behalf of John Harrison to the Board of Longitude. -WingMan

  • Andy

    Second only to God ? Does The Duke not realise that mankind engineered God ?

    • misterjames

      Then perhaps expand your thinking to include whatever is responsible for the world around us and the perfect design of life in his definition of God?

      His point probably isn’t to debate religion.

      • Andy

        There is no perfect design of life – if life was perfect then why have disease, sickness and genes that portray our mammalian ancestry and physical traits that tie us to apes – nature is by no way designed.

        • misterjames

          Well a little off topic in terms of the point – which is “God” can be assigned to all the ‘other’ that we didn’t do and don’t understand but same response anyway. Expand your thinking and its almost impossible to deny the perfection in the imperfection. What would perfect look like in your mind?

          A) Consider that he possibility of disease and sickness along with all other potential is a requirement for absolute perfection and B) why is a tie to mammals and apes an indication of imperfection again?

          Our ‘design’ isn’t debatable Mate. You just need to look around yourself. Evidence is everywhere. Happy discovering.

          • Andy

            There is no such thing as perfection, there is no such thing as design in nature. This is my understanding with a very open mind on the subject. To suggest that nature has been designed would suggest a greater power that is the designer. I find this impossible to believe and I have no intention of considering the fact that Mankind was designed. Yes I do look around myself, probably more than most people, I took my kids down to the beach and we found a small fossil in a pebble, it was a creature that existed billions of years ago.. Why was it designed to die ?

            If you look up on a night time and see stars, the starlight is in many cases millions and billions of years old – is this another design ? Did a greater power manufacture and design an infinite universe ? I see no design, just nature and gravity.

          • misterjames

            We’re circling the same point and I’d argue that this is because you are not in fact being open minded. Your statement that you “have no intention of considering…” is the very opposite of being open minded. But again that seems a separate topic. If you see nature and gravity as you have said, then the obvious follow on question is how did they both come into existence?

            No matter how you try to describe the answer to that question it will always come down to the idea that some ‘thing’, force, chain reaction, big bang, chance happening…call it what you want, but something is responsible for them existing in the first place. And that thing is what I am referring to when I say ‘this is the God intended by Prince Philip’.

            Whatever it is that we have not done as humans can be attributed to an alternate energy or power. An energy that somehow managed to affect an unbelievable balance and interdependence of things that has persisted for millions of years and more. The fact that you and we have children to take to the beach. That they often carry characteristics from us and our past generations…that their encasement has the ability to heal itself and regenerate tissue…all kinda cool realities. You don’t have to attach the other ideas of religion to this energy to acknowledge that it exists and to acknowledge that it has resulted in things we as humans cannot even concieve much less duplicate.

            As far as why things would be created to die…similar answer as to why disease exists. A part of life’s value is that it ends. Just as light gets its power and wonder from the existence of darkness, warmth from cold etc. Death is viewed by many as not some horrible end but a transition to another form. Not verifiable of course but an alternate view of a reality that makes death not such a tragic thing. Anyhow…I’m babbling now. Thanks for engaging and sharing without getting silly. Appreciated that.

          • Andy

            I could sit and discuss with you all day – I have so far enjoyed, and understand that everyone has an opinion and a right to question.. Having a closed mind to a ‘god or religion’ only fuels my desire to understand the big question, this is if a question actually exists. If you look back at the rate of scientific progress over the last 200 years then you have to ask yourself where will it end, what will the next 200 years bring, what will the next 1000 years bring – the only constraint is mankind himself. Only a few hundred thousands years ago mankind was a hunter gatherer spreading out of African into the rest of the world, I mean – what a beautiful and amazing truth to behold.

            I do however feel quite strongly that nature does not need a being to push the ‘start’ button – gravity and entropy can just about explain the expansion and eventual collapse and then subsequent expansion of the universe. Gravity’s weak force is trying to pull everything together, it is trying to create order in the universe, entropy on the other hand creates disorder, disorder drives an imbalance and ‘bang’. That is my best assumption – but hey, only in time will science progress and maybe one day prove my idea wrong – that is what I love about science ! Nothing is right until ‘proven’ – and then it only stays ‘proven’ until a better idea comes forward.. Just like evolution. 🙂

          • Kelly

            Maybe gravity is God? You know that the Vatican has its own observatory and group of astronomers – who are dedicated to the pursuit of science in understanding the universe – they are also priests. Religion and Science does not need to be at odds with each other.

          • Bumble Tuna

            You must have a very simple mind. That is like looking at a car, computer or anything that has been made for thousands of years. To look at something either in nature or things in this world made by man with all its complexity and to say there is NO design is quite profound.

          • Andy

            If I have a simple mind then your mind has to be even simpler. You quote the bible, so you believe in a story that has no evidence to support it. You believe what you have been told to believe. Yes I will say it again, you believe what you have been told to believe. Do you understand this ? You believe a story that has been fed to you. Now that is profound ! Go and stick your head in the sand and ignore the world around you.

          • Bumble Tuna

            Haha no evidence. The evidence is everywhere you are to blind to see. Yet you believe in evolution and for certain there is no evidence that NOTHING MADE EVERYTHING. So walk your merry way over the cliff with fingers in your ears.

        • Bumble Tuna

          Because of man’s rebellion and sin against the order that was set up by our creator. We have the greatest gift, FREE WILL

    • Mr TaxPayer

      He’s using God as shortcut for everything in the natural world. While I, an Incorporated Engineer, don’t believe in God (or any of the man-made dieties) I accept that there are many who do.

    • Bumble Tuna

      Hahaha moron

  • Needs2Cash

    Sure, we all rely on engineers in everything we do. But engineers usually would rather not remind everyone of this. Recognizing great engineers and engineering projects may help attract even more talent to our rewarding profession.

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