Thank goodness for Andre Sougarret

Andre Sougarret is the engineer called upon by Chilean president Sebastián Piñera to save those 33 miners. It is his heroic efforts and the efforts of those he directed that deserve praise.

The mission was unprecedented. No one had ever drilled so far to reach trapped miners. No one knew where to find them.

From the first confusing days to this week’s glorious finale, the 46-year-old Sougarret was the man with the answers.

Sougarret’s management of the crisis was so successful that nearly all the rescued miners walked out of the hospital yesterday perfectly healthy.

People have been blindly and stupidly thanking their particular god for the saving of these miners. Even the miners themselves held on to their faith, disregarding the grandeur of human action that took place. One miner, Jimmy Sanchez, said this:

There weren’t thirty-three miners down there, there were actually thirty-four of us, because God has never left us down here.

This ought to force us to ask, what about all the other miners who have died this year? And why did more miners in the past die than they do today? What is it that people like Sanchez believe God has a grand plan that is infallible, yet if they pray and have faith, they can alter that plan? Or, why the hell don’t mooks like Sanchez and everyone else with blind faith recognize that they’re gaming the system? No matter what happens, good or bad, it’s all going to be chalked up to somehow being part of God’s plan. I’d say there’s a massive quantity of intellectual dishonesty going on here but 1) faith blinds people to rationality and 2) most of these people probably aren’t curious enough to consider these basic problems with what they believe; bringing intellect into the equations seems a rather moot point.

Drilling through would risk provoking another collapse, crushing anything below.

So, an entirely new shaft would have to be drilled to try to reach the men. And they needed to call in more expertise: the miners who had narrowly escaped being crushed in the Aug. 5 collapse.

It was this recruitment of expertise and knowledge combined with modern technology that saved these 33 lives. If these miners were trapped 150 years ago, they would be dead. There’s no good way to fit a god into this radical difference in outcome: people are more knowledgeable and have better technology than in the past; that raises the odds of being saved.

Thank goodness for Andre Sougarret.