W. Edwards Deming: Aligning Science and Religion

einstein science religion

Updated Jan 27, 2023 

This post at LinkedIn.

Optimal performance in any aspect of life is not possible without a basic awareness and understanding of variation and the inter-relationship between science and religion. The contributions of W. Edwards Deming regarding quality improvement are more commonly known within the management, engineering, and statistical communities.  Deming’s work is not commonly known within philosophical and religious circles.

Albert Einstein on Religion and Science 

  • Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source.
  •  Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelation of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of man. 

Definitions (Briticanna)

  • science, any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.
  • religion, human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of special reverence.
  • philosophy, (from Greek, by way of Latin, philosophia, “love of wisdom”) the rational, abstract, and methodical consideration of reality as a whole or of fundamental dimensions of human existence and experience. 

Clare-Crawford Mason introduced the relevance of Deming’s contributions within the context of philosophy. She was the producer of the NBC documentary “If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?” (1980) which introduced Deming’s work to America. This led to Deming’s book Out of the Crisis (1982). The first edition of Deming’s book, The New Economics was published in 1993.

Collection – Clare Crawford Mason articles- Curious Cat Management Improvement

  • Better Questions, Wiser Answers, Washington Times, July 1, 2007
    • The Deming-Toyota-Baldrige method and systems thinking can improve schools, government agencies or any organization, even military invasions and occupations because it offers new ways to look at the bigger picture. It allows an organization to be greater than the sum of its parts as the people in the system learn to work together more effectively.
    • Why is there no national debate on more effectively managing these critical systems of our society? Why don’t leaders/candidates investigate and discuss new ways of approaching problems? The role of leadership is to identify problems and propose solutions. If new ways of thinking and defining problems are needed, that should be the subject of the presidential campaign.

Not commonly mentioned including by Clare-Crawfored Mason, is that Deming was a devout Christian and would have been heavily influenced by a Biblical worldview.   I provide additional information on the likely effect of this influence in my posts and website.

Additional information:

Deming also acknowledged the influence of C.I. Lewis who was introduced to him by Walter A. Shewhart. In 1986, Deming stated that “Another half-century may pass before the full spectrum of Dr. Shewhart’s contributions has been revealed in liberal education, science, and industry.” (Walter Shewhart, Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control (New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1986), p. ii.).

In the first edition of his book: The New Economic, Deming used referenced the term “metanoia” (spiritual conversion).  This term was eliminated in future editions that were published after Deming’s death.  Metanoia and Transformation II – Norman Todd , The Way, 52/2 (April 2013),

  • …  when I read the first edition of Deming’s book The New Economics, I found a short section that described a fundamental change of mind-set on which all subsequent organizational transformation depended. The section was headed ‘Metanoia’. In later editions it is retitled ‘The First Step’.
  • People who knew Dr. Deming well have assured me that he was a sincere, practicing Christian who played the organ in church and composed sacred music. But when I asked at his seminar if he had applied his teaching to the organization of the Church, he looked puzzled and said he had not.
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A Perfect Individual Performance Assessment

This Post at LinkedIn.

What is the “perfect” individual performance appraisal or assessment?  The lack of understanding of variation led quality expert W. Edwards Deming to conclude that individual performance appraisals (and grades in school) are among the “deadly diseases” of management.  Variation is a natural part of creation. Mark Hitchcock reinforces that God has identified a two-part individual “performance“ assessment – Heavenly Rewards Episode 70:

  1.  A belief and faith in Jesus Christ result in salvation through grace and eternal life.
  2. Upon our death in this life, recognition and rewards and how we spend eternity are then determined by our stewardship of time, opportunities, and resources earning the accolade “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Good works alone without a belief in Christ “will not” lead to salvation.

Suggested Reading:

Context: Improvement – “,,, it all has to do with reducing variation”

Grades in School:

This Post at LinkedIn.

A comment to the post and my response:

Great Omission and Great Commission

romans 12 2 renewing your mind

The Great Omission, D. Eric Schansberg on Christ’s Commandments & True Discipleship

Response to the article: True Disciple Making by Ken Adams

Facebook Post of the article and context —  My Response:

Appreciate your examples. Another perspective: Variation is a natural part of creation- God’s design. No two people or things are or will be exactly alike. Variation is a gap between the ideal (perfect) and an actual situation. In the context of the bible, perfection (acceptable degree of variation) is described as all needs being met – Garden of Eden for example. When Adam and Eve sinned, an unacceptable degree of variation was introduced into the world. God’s intent is for us to help reduce it and the bible provides the guidance. The actions that you described are examples of reducing variation.

The So What? The quality profession has identified through the Taguchi Loss Function that the closer any service (an act) or product gets to the ideal, the higher the quality and the lower the cost to the individual and society, e.g., more needs are met; less harm to people as a result of unmet needs. Relevance? Surveys by Gallup, Barna, Rasmussen, et. al., identify downward trends in areas that include the belief in God, church attendance, and biblical worldview. People can abandon their belief in God, but variation is a constant and can shift the discussion and awareness of God’s intent and contrast to other beliefs. In a biblical worldview, God defines the ideal, in quality management, the ideal is defined by the customer and producer, and in America, We the people define the ideal, e.g., what a more perfect union” should look like.

Everyone on the planet has reduced variation and few realize the correlation between their actions and a biblical worldview. Knowledge and understanding of variation can provide a common ground in support of the Great Commission.  A summary of the concepts at the following: SuccessThroughQuality.com.

The challenge? In support of the Great Commission, I advocate for a Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management apologetic.  Within the Christian community, feedback has included that quality management is a business thing. Within the quality profession, God is not mentioned, and in America, We the People think our obligations end with the vote and are not aware of our responsibility to learn about and apply better methods for reducing variation from the ideal of “a more perfect Union.”

Less than half the population in England and Wales now describe themselves as Christians

linkedin white and blue

‘I couldn’t pretend any more’: readers on why they left the Christian faith, The Guardian, Dec 2, 2022. Readers respond to the census finding that England and Wales are now minority Christian countries

Post at Linkedin

Are we learning anything yet? Another survey that reinforces the decline in the belief in Christianity. As with similar surveys, the results are unlikely to lead to a realization by most that the messengers are not communicating the right message. How about considering a new perspective, e.g.,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12: 2, NIV).

Variability is an integral element of God’s design for man and nature, e.g., everyone and everything will always be unique – one of a kind. Variation represents the gap between “perfection” – where all needs are met, and the current situation. The Christian message can be reduced to just a few words: “ It all has to do with reducing variation.”

The quality profession, which supports a secular approach to improvement, has identified through the Taguchi Loss Function that reducing variation from the ideal (more perfect) results in better quality and lower costs to the individual and society. The hypothesis can be validated through a simple question:

Do you want better quality at a lower cost or the same level of quality at a higher cost?

The dilemma for the non-believers is that if you no longer believe in Christianity, will you still expect better quality?   

Deming’s Philosophy

linkedin 2022_10 Deming institute sopk

Linkedin Post – Reply from a post from the Deming Insitute

Deming’s philosophy represents a secular approach to improvement. Deming was a devout Christian and reinforced that improvement “all has to do with reducing variation.” This is a biblical-based principle.

Variation is a natural part of creation and represents the difference between “perfection” – the ideal or target, and imperfection. God’s description of perfection is that all needs are met – the Garden of Eden is an example. Jesus is the standard of perfection. A sincere belief and acceptance of Christ lead to salvation – eternal life – a perfect degree of variation.

Deming recognized the value of Shewhart’s work in managing and reducing variation which is validated by the Taguchi Loss Function. Deming also reinforced: “Anything less than optimization (more perfect) of the whole system will bring eventual loss to every component in the system.”

The So What? An awareness of the foundation for Deming’s philosophy can support more successful applications. For instance, a wider understanding of the variation principle may help develop an understanding within society as to why the use of grades in schools can be destructive, counter productive and suboptimal.

Additional context provided at the following: Success ThroughQuality https://lnkd.in/edH5C4d

God’s War (Operational) Plan


Bible Flag Dog Tag 4904414_l

Updated Oct 6, 2022

Post t LinkedIn

For the military members and veterans that may be Christians or others that may be interested, have you ever thought of the Bible from a military perspective as God’s war plan for saving humanity with a clear intent for guiding our behavior in support of his plan?

The “So What?” is that the military perspective does offer a frame of reference for supporting the Great Commission in raising awareness that a sincere belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ leads to salvation — eternal life.

The military decision-making process begins with a mission and commander’s intent, followed by an analysis of the mission. Mission analysis includes identifying the facts, assumptions, constraints, resources, and risks, along with the stated, implied, and essential tasks. This leads to identifying the best courses of action and a plan. Assessing the effects of the plan and making needed adjustments is also part of the process. What is working, what is not, and what changes might be needed?

Surveys by the Barna Group, Gallup, and others identify declining trends and variations in what is considered a biblical worldview. A belief in God and church attendance have also been declining. And, similar to the U.S. Constitution, some Christians believe that the Bible can be considered a “living document” that can be interpreted to fit with the times.

Variation is a natural part of God’s creation and represents the difference between the ideal (a more perfect outcome) and the actual situation. An implied and essential task includes reducing the variation from the ideal. This is done by taking action motivated by love that results in more needs being met.

When considering the need for improvement, a good question is, “By what method? The military decision-making processes can be applied to almost any situation.

Notes: Sept 28, 2022 Bible Study

Cottonwood Church Brown County Indiana

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

A few takeaways from the lesson and discussions:

The Deity of Jesus Christ I AM He Sep 28 2022

Why do good things happen?  Through God’s grace.  The Garden of Eden represented a perfect degree of variation where all needs were met including eternal life.

Why does God allow bad things to happen?  Man was given free will which includes consequences for our actions.  Adam and Eve chose to defy God which introduced sin (imperfection) and death into the world.

God promised that he would give man another chance through the sacrifice of his son – Jesus Christ. All we have to do is have a sincere belief and acceptance of Christ and we will be returned back to the Garden of Eden. (Revelation 22.)

  •  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6, ESV

A sincere belief in Christ leads to an alighment with the 0 Commandments – which are easier to follow  when you love God and others. Inspirational Bible verses About Love

Free Will.  Given that bad things will happen, we do have control over our reaction to the situation. God has given us the strength to work through it.  For every action, God has provided his saints (believers in Christ) with a purpose, plan, and gifts (capabilities) to provide support.

For instance, given crime, we have saints (police, justice system) working to prevent and respond to events. Given world conflicts and war, we have saints in government and the military to help defend our nation. In the health care area, for illnesses and diseases, we have saints working to prevent, treat and provide support. For the darkest of times in our life, God has given us pastors, friends, family, community and churches to provide support.

  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jerimiah 29:11, NIV
  • For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10, NIV
  • Bible Verses about Talent

Variation is an integral part of God’s design and represents the difference between the perfect and the imperfect. God’s guidance includes the fact that actions motivated by love can continually lead to outcomes where more needs are met.  This also results in less harm to people when their needs are not met.    

The quality profession supports a secular approach to improvement and has validated that the closer any product, service, contribution, et.al., get to the ideal (perfection) or target, the higher the quality and the lower the cost (tangible and intangible) to the individual and society. (Ref: Taguchi Loss Function)

Additional information and context on the topic from a quality perspective:  SuccessThroughQuality  Excellent quality is the result of doing the right things.

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resulted in their

Christianity, Citizenship, and Quality Management

Gods Insidwes Genesis

2022_05_27 II God’s Insiders Genesis   An alignment of a Biblical Worldview with Quality and Citizenship

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1) And, there was variation.

The Christian community is unaware of the variation principle. The quality profession is unaware of the connection of variation with God. And American citizens are unaware of the fact that working towards a “more perfect Union” requires “We the People” to understand the basic principles of variation to include a more explicit knowledge and understanding of common and special causes of variation.

Christianity, Citizenship, Quality Management Apologetic – Overall Concept and Context

Supporting Information at Success Through Quality – Overview of the quality improvement concepts, history, examples, and applications.

A Way Ahead for America: A secular and non-secular approach to improvement in working to achieve “a more perfect Union supported by the application of the quality imrprovement principles, methods, and tools. Secular – Man defines the ideal; Christianity – God defines the ideal