Saturday, February 20, 2010

Too Smart To Care?

A lot of us in “the ivory tower” have paid attention to the case of Amy Bishop, a junior faculty member at University of Alabama-Huntsville who “allegedly” shot several members of the department that would not grant her tenure. Huntsville-ColorAs the week progressed, more behavioral anomalies and interactions with the law have come out, suggesting that Amy Bishop may not be the most stable person on the planet.

Her lawyer summed things up nicely, I thought, in an interview last week:

In an interview Thursday with CNN affiliate WHNT after visiting Bishop, Miller said, "I just think the case speaks for itself." He added, "I think she's wacko."

In yesterday’s article, the lawyer began back-tracking a bit:

The defense attorney appointed to represent an Alabama professor accused of shooting her colleagues said Friday he regrets describing her as "wacko."

But at a news conference, Roy Miller said "something's wrong with this lady."

All of this seemed predictable. Lawyer says something truthful but, perhaps, not the best statement for his client, then soft-pedals it a bit. Obviously, I would not be writing right  now if the article had not gone on:

Discussing his client's mind, he said that doctors of biology "have got, in my estimation, high IQs -- and the high IQ in my opinion is sometimes not good for people." He said Bishop sometimes is "so focused on the mental basis" that she "does not know what's going on around her."

So if one’s IQ is above average, high even, one is more prone to mental instability or emotional distress? I can find no scholarly work proving an association or correlation of IQ and mental illness. The question has been raised on in several wordings with participants chiming in. The public responding on these websites seem to believe that intelligence associates with insanity. This lawyer may have found a brilliant defense for his client.

Amy Bishop was too smart to be mentally stable, too focused on her own intellectual thoughts to consider her interactions with others and their impact. The evil scientist stereotype lives on!

Will Baby Einstein videos produce a generation of mass murderers?

As someone who works in a building filled with doctors and scientists, I guess I should be afraid to go to work every day. Never know when one of these smart people will snap. I’m surprised I never assaulted a customer at IHOP, because my own IQ is pretty high.

I would love to hear from anyone with real data regarding these issues.


  1. Interesting... I've been trying to correlate Baby Einstein with Autism, but your hypothesis is far more intriguing...

  2. I, too, have been re-evaluating my intelligence as I have not smacked anyone at an IHOP for an imagined slight either! Believe me, I've tried. I've come close...almost delivered the upside-the-head smack.....but just couldn't go through it.
    I plan to take large quantities of gingko and go to IHOP every weekend to check if I've gotten smarter.
    Lastly, I work in a building with a lot of smart people as well and, man, have I been jittery these pst coupla weeks...

  3. Perhaps the new IQ test will be to put children in a room and see who starts smacking the others to get the toy they want...