Werner Von Braun used slave labor and got the US to the moon. So no, empathy is not a core value of engineering.
I believe that is a poorly designed and executed argument. So just maybe empathy actually is a core value of engineering. Godwin is a thing because it was long ago proven that bringing up Nazi's can pretty much only polarize and weaken conversation. It's bad engineering relative to the open exchange of ideas.
Engineering is not just about getting a thing done, it's about serving people. If you treat people like interchangeable sacks of meat, then it's pretty likely you're not giving much thought to their other actual needs, and your design will be flawed relative to what people actually need. Things like respect, dignity, and kindness. We have all been in badly designed spaces, used poorly conceived machines, and been amazed at the lack of foresight evident in some projects.
The only thing i ever liked about Ayn Rand was that I read most of her work as various examples of engineering gone awry, gone away from what people actually need. The fountainhead, Anthem, etc...
I don't agree with her solutions, but I like the way she posed the problem in such stark and believable terms.