Well, of course. One way that professors in engineering and science deal with students who have absolutely no business becoming engineers or scientists is to gently suggest they change their majors. "Oh, so you have an interest in music? Maybe you should think about a career in sound engineering or music management."It's a different field, but I have observed that people with degrees in sound engineering and music management have absolutely no clue how to do sound or manage business.
Back to the topic at hand: In a sense, the person referenced in the original post was correct. He/she was correct in the narrow sense of what knowledge is useful in the field of mechanical engineering. Most of the upper level undergrad and almost all of the graduate level courses that a physics major takes are more or less useless knowledge in the realm of mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering is, for the most part, applied Newtonian mechanics, and I mean Newtonian mechanics strictly.
Even the sophomore/junior level classical mechanics course taken by physics majors isn't particularly useful to mechanical engineers because that course typically spends a good deal of time on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation. Useless information! Then it wastes even more time (MechE perspective, of course) in deriving special relativity. Mechanical engineers live in a low-speed world of forces and torques.
So. Physics is not particularly useful to the everyday work done by working mechanical engineers. So, big deal. The person is over-generalizing from what is immediately useful to hima to what is useful to society as a whole.
aYes, I'm being sexist, by saying "him", but years of work as a physicist-by-training, engineer-by-practice combined with a mental image of a hard-nosed, pointy-haired engineer combined with Bayes Law says that I'm probably right. That said, I have had two bosses in the past who emulated Dilbert's boss to a T. One was male, the other female. Women can be just as dumb, hard-headed, narrow-minded and as can men.