« In May, neuroscientist and popular author Sam Harris and I debated the issue of profiling Muslims at airport security. We each wrote essays, then went back and forth on the issue. I don’t recommend reading the entire discussion; we spent 14,000 words talking past each other. But what’s interesting is how our debate illustrates the differences between a security engineer and an intelligent layman. Harris was uninterested in the detailed analysis required to understand a security system and unwilling to accept that security engineering is a specialized discipline with a body of knowledge and relevant expertise. He trusted his intuition.
It’s common to assume that our own intuition trumps domain experts’ analysis and specialized expertise when it comes to complex topics we don’t understand, but it’s pretty sad to see Harris fall into that trap. Schneier on Security: The Importance of Security Engineering