Excerpt from a Letter by Chris Langan

(reprinted from Noesis #131)


How much ceiling a test has depends in some respects on the age of the person taking it. A test matching the ability of an average 20-year-old has enough ``ceiling'' for a 10-yer-old child with an IQ of 200. Since the Pintner Intermediate, a very reliable IQ test once very popular among educators in this part of the country, was designed for and normed on groups of students up to the 12th grade level, that's just about where it topped out. Now, does anybody want to guess how old Paul [Maxim] was when he took the Pintner Intermediate? That's right--Paul was 10 years old! So there seems to have been plenty of ceiling, now doesn't there?

As Mega Society members, we know that Ron's and Kevin's super-high-ceiling tests have some very real advantages over tests like the Pintner Intermediate. Their problems are far more difficult, and they place a higher premium on power than on speed. But they have drawbacks as well . . . drawbacks which put us on very shaky ground if we become too picky about which tests we'll accept. The fact is, we lack a coherent theory of intelligence testing, and without such a theory, we can't pass final judgment for or against any particular well-normed IQ test.

Let's face it. We have many members who did not take a Hoeflin or Langdon test to qualify. Are we going to threaten to expel them if they refuse to take one of the newer tests? Of course not. That would be cruel and inhumane. So why on earth should we inconsistently reject a potentially valuable member on the same cruel and inhumane grounds? Clearly, we should not. We should welcome Paul with open arms.

IQ is not a matter of opinion, and it is certainly not a popularity contest. So why should we let the opinions of certain very opinionated members determine which mega-level scorers will or will not be admitted, and will or will not be allowed to contribute to the well-being of the group? If these members were offering us more than we have been getting in return for bowing to their opinions, then perhaps we'd have a hard decision to make. But they aren't, and their opinions are thus of immeasurably less value than the gift of a single intelligent and potentially productive new member.

We all know that the way the Mega Society is now set up, there is no provision for denying membership to anyone tendering a qualifying score on any well-normed IQ test. Maybe there was once, but the official structure on which the old constitution was based is a thing of the past. For this very reason, members with axes to grind are now scrambling to convince everybody to adopt an organizational structure which will let them achieve their ends at group expense. Are we stupid enough to let this happen?

Let's hope not. What we have now is a group that provides meaningful benefits for only a very small fraction of its members . . . the small fraction that designs and markets IQ tests, and secondarily, their personal friends (who, not accidentally, run Noesis). Yet, as grateful as we may be to these members for what little time and attention they do manage to spare us, the privilege of claiming a mega-level IQ is not their property to give. So we owe them nothing but a handshake in return for their charity.