The appeal of abstraction may arise from several sources. One of these might be that we have shown modeling to have a lot of benefits where the type of modeling could be of many types, such as CAD/CAE, organizational structure, or process improvements.
With the advance of computing ability, the techniques and accomplishments that can be attributable to modeling have increased rapidly. In many cases, the model might become the focus; actually, in some cases, the model is how we know due to our quasi-empirical limits.
In relation to the title, we might need to look further at modeling. Perhaps, a question similar to that of Wigner and others about the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences" might be in order.
Why are these modeling techniques so effective in engineering? A related question might ask why do we allow the model of a thing to stand for the thing, in many cases, to a greater extent than might be warranted. Yet, as we know, sometimes all we have is the model.
Prior to computer assistance, there was a wider disparity between abstraction and what could be reduced through calculation. That gap has been partly filled with advances as we see from a recent example where we see that some modeling can be used in place of physical experiences.
As the definitional issues related to truth engineering are considered, we will need to look at a wide-range of examples and describe a fairly broad range of issues.
06/11/2015 -- There will be a rework here and a rework there.
01/23/2015 -- Software? Well, we are talking more than apps (latest craze). We are dealing with fundamental questions which, then, gives rise to normative issues in mathematics (and, by extension, to the computational).
08/04/2012 -- Over five years, we had a lot of side trips. We'll try to focus more. BTW, Rumsfeld has recently had his say.
09/03/2009 -- Computational foci raise miraculous need. Yes, we need to talk NP and more.
08/20/2009 -- We've railed about modelers using PDEs taking their results to be some equivalent to natural observations. Financial mathematics has even worse of a problem.
03/25/2009 -- Rhetoric can be fun, but we have to get into these issues with depth and technicalities.
01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.
09/14/2008 -- Failures and bailouts seem to be the name of the game lately. Oh, yes, that a use of game which is quite acceptable. The railings are against games that allow others to place risk upon those who are not playing or who are not even aware. So, thanks, Ben, and all those (you, too, Alan, who set the stage for the current mess), who are responsible for my tax dollars going to bail out those who are prone to playing to a morally hazardous script. Sheesh!
There are two major factors, not to ignore all the others. These are the computer (systems and users gone amok) and mathematics (ah, it's been spoon-fed to several generations such that now we're seeing serious mis-applications).
07/31/2008 -- It is apparent that finance (and related economics) is far more delusional in this regard than is engineering. Why? The latter has Nature as its lab. The former only has gaming the world.