Okay, at the risk of setting off Armageddon on NLT, I'm going to wade into this awful story out of Alabama yesterday about the biology professor who went postal over being denied tenure
. No doubt everyone who sits on tenure committees is a little more nervous today; negative tenure votes are one of the most un-fun parts of academia, and we might be better off without tenure entirely (though not for this reason).
I want to raise an issue that will likely not be mentioned in the MSM or by most academic commentators on this matter. The new stories say the woman professor was "Harvard-trained." On the surface you'd think that would mean she was highly qualified, and an unlikely candidate to fail the tenure process at the University of Alabama. Maybe--perhaps obviously some will say--she has "anger management issues." Perhaps, but I also wonder if she wasn't passed through Harvard according to the gender version of affirmative action. Maybe she wasn't that good, and the tenure decision was quite correct. We all recall the Larry Summers fiasco over his comments on the short supply of females for advanced science. And I know confidentially from some physicists at one of America's top science research universities that they are under a mandate from the administration to try to fill all science faculty openings first with women, because of the whole "discrimination against women in science" nonsense.
Ask yourself this question: why are there more stupid men than stupid women? It can't be because of sexism. Because, for probably evolutionary reasons that no one wants to think much about, the bell curve for IQ distribution is flatter for men than women, with larger tails at both ends for men than women. More dumb men also means more smart men. But since only the top one or two percent of the IQ distribution can truly master advanced math and science, the push to have equal numbers of men and women in the advanced sciences mean the system will be pushing less qualified and less able women into the fields, with predictably bad results.
That may not be the case here. The crazy woman may be a top 1-percenter, but with some of the usual quirky personality traits (Aspergers) that come with that rarified IQ that turned her violent in a bad moment. But it is certain the the refusal to talk candidly about the underlying cognitive issues Larry Summers raised means this problem is going to fester for a long time, with more controversies (but hopefully less violence) about tenure for women in the sciences.
UPDATE: This story gets weirder and weirder. Now it turns out the woman shot and killed her brother back in 1986, but the episode was ruled an "accident" and charges were never filed. According to some news reports a local DA, now Congressman William Delahunt, intervened to have the charges dropped. And there are additional reports that the woman is perhaps a radical lefty. All of this needs to be taken with a large grain of salt, as early media reports get things badly wrong, but certainly there should be vigorous follow up by the media.
Back in December out in Seattle there was a rash of murders of police officers. The culprit, when finally apprehended, turned out to be a fellow who had been passed out of the University of Washington under the usual academic "victims studies" programs that inflame grievances but impart little knowledge. Wonder if we will find out something similar in this case, or whether, as was the case in the Seattle shooter, the media even bother to ask.