By Way of Demystification

Kevin Langdon

a reply to "By Way of Explanation," by Chris Langan
(http://www.megasociety.net/ByWay.html)


I requested permission from Chris Langan to include the text of his copyrighted article, but more than a week later I have received no response. Therefore, I am providing only the headings used on Chris' page and the first letter of each paragraph or continuation after my remarks interrupting a paragraph, so that the reader may juxtapose my remarks with those on Chris' page to which they respond (letters not beginning paragraphs are italicized). I have also amplified my remarks with a few bracketed comments.

T

About Me 

M

Not everyone agrees with Chris' assessment of the value of his work. In fact, no member of Mega but Chris has endorsed it.

T

The founder of the Mega Society, Ron Hoeflin, and those who contributed to making it work, such as Chris Harding, Dave Garvey, Ed Van Vleck, and me, viewed the society as a venue through which highly intelligent people could exchange ideas and develop personal relationships. The rest of this [that it's about him] is Chris' imagination.

U

I guess the rest of us can't foretell the future.

S

In fact, no one has maintained that [Chris' material "displaced more valuable content"]. Chris' stuff meets my standard for publishable material. It just doesn't meet my standard of proof. In my opinion, it is highly speculative.

W

One shouldn't guess about things like that. If one offers up accusations one should be prepared to offer proof along with them. Noesis has generally been hard-up for material, so it's certainly not a question of one type of material pushing out another. The Editors have published what they've been able to get in the way of submissions, rejecting very little, and most of that from nonmembers.

The Mega Society has only one class of members. If Chris Langan doesn't like that, tough.

I

Sure, if you place no value on the selection of members of the Mega Society and the other very-high-IQ societies.

A

I am not impressed with Chris' "solutions."

A

. . . which, if it were true, would mean that Chris was only outnumbered two or three to one.

i

["models of clarity"] LOL!

T

Poor little theory (sob).

W

[Democracy?] Like taking a vote of the membership.

B

About the CTMU  

T

[Chris makes extravagant claims.] Yep.

W

The difference is that the proponents of these other theories put forward their ideas and expect them to be criticized by their scientific colleagues. Chris maintains that his theory is absolute truth and is not subject to empirical testing. However, the obvious application of these theories to the whole of physics ensures that there will be meaningful applications once a theory has emerged victorious after being subjected to empirical verification.

T

This is incredibly stupid. Serious doubts are raised all the time. There is a maxim in science: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The magnitude of Chris' claims demands extraordinary proof indeed, but Chris has offered nothing in the way of evidence for his grandiose pronouncements.

N

It would be nice if there were a theory that did all that, but where's the beef?

U

[Requirement that the universe include a theory of its own creation.] That would be difficult in a universe that was the work of an external Creator, and there's no way to rule that out.

H

The [nonempirical] criterion of which Chris writes has nothing to do with the scientific method.

T

Funny, then, that what Chris has received from Mega members ranges from polite skepticism to catcalls.

A

The officers of Mega have not wished to subject members and subscribers to spam from Chris Langan. We have provided Chris' address for those who may wish to see his stuff.

O

If Chris has that many names, he's not missing very many.

h

This isn't true. A number of other Mega members have expressed the opinion that Chris and his theory are full of it. And it doesn't take dyslexia to notice that certain of Chris' points don't make sense.

O

What Chris has failed to notice is that his "answers" don't hold water.

I

What do you mean, "no one to ask"? Many Mega members have been asked and have answered that Chris' arguments have not convinced them.

C

This is total nonsense. There are lots of theories that have turned out to be wrong. "Wrong" is the default. The burden of proof is on anyone who wishes to establish the truth of a theory.

W

Chris dishonestly pretends that his claims are not incredibly sweeping when he replies to his critics, but then he turns around and makes more grandiose claims. The boy just can't help himself.

I

Chris' idea of an "explanation" differs in important ways from the way scientists understand this term.

I

Of course, if anyone doubts Chris' claims he is obviouslly not a "rational, open-minded individual."

O

I can hardly wait to see what real cosmologists will have to say about this bizarre argument.

W

This is total bullshit. Nobody who could, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as a "founder" of the high-IQ community had the slightest interest in this.

T

It was certainly intended as a place where new and unorthodox ideas could be presented. It was not intended that those with the temerity to criticize these ideas would be vilified.

N

Some Historical Background 

T

The second group was also called, at various times, the Mega Society, the One-in-a-Million Society, the Titan Society, and the Hoeflin Research Group.

T

Here Chris has admitted that the source of the mandate he claims is not the democratic process.

W

That isn't true. There was a huge uproar when plans for the merger were originally announced. Members demanded that the combined organization be democratically organized and the officers soon yielded to the majority view. (See Noesis ##64-66). The merger was assumed to be a done deal after these three issues and there was little further discussion of it.)

T

I

What Langan is leaving out here is that the original Mega Society was still actively functioning at the time of the merger.

I

All this crap about the politics of the Mega/1-in-106/Noetic/Titan/Hoeflin Research Group (whatever you want to call it) society is completely irrelevant to the question of the legitimacy of the leadership of the Mega Society today.

B

Langan's contributions on these subjects [resolution of logical paradoxes] did not impress me, or any other Mega member.

A

The projection of his own tactics onto Chris Cole by Mr. Langan is glaringly obvious.

W

Chris already said above that all of this was handled by Ron Hoeflin. Why should Chris Cole have contacted Langan?
[Langan is trying to blame the same action on Chris Cole and on Ron Hoeflin.]

A

There was an initial movement in this direction that was met with massive resistance from Mega members who did not wish to sacrifice democracy for the sake of the merger. It was agreed that the new society would be organized democratically, though the specifics were not addressed at that time.

T

Actually, there was an ambiguity regarding exactly what rules we were operating under until the passage, announced in Noesis #151, of the new Constitution drafted by Chris Cole and me.

M

That letter ["volunteering" to edit Noesis] was published for all to see, all right, in Langan's "East Coast [i.e., B.S.] Noesis" #134, July 1997. It has been reproduced in Noesis #152.

A

Does this letter sound like volunteering? It's an ultimatum.

T

I was one of the most prolific contributors of intellectual material to Noesis.

F

Chris didn't volunteer. He demanded that everything be done his way or else.

O

No reputable psychometrician has claimed that the Pintner Intermediate [one of the tests taken by Paul Maxim] is capable of discriminating at the one-per-million level. I scored over 27,000 LAIT answer sheets and I don't recall seeing anyone submit a score on this obscure test.

M

The assumption is highly questionable with regard to scores very far from the general population mean. The best available estimate of the distribution of childhood scores is contained in "Statistical Distribution of Childhood IQ Scores," by John Scoville <http://sac.uky.edu/~jcscov0/ratioiq.htm>. Mr. Maxim's Pintner IQ of 178 is equivalent to a deviation IQ of only 162, according to the table in Scoville's article, too low even for Prometheus.

N

The principal consideration was the fact that the members of Mega voted to accept only the LAIT and the Mega Test for admission (the Titan Test was added later).

W

That's [pretending not to hear] sure as hell not my style. I heard Langan's B.S. and I rejected it out loud.

S

Mr. Maxim needs the help of different medical authorities. He went totally berserk when the Prometheus and Mega Societies refused to admit him on the basis of a test that was not included in either society's list of qualifying scores and he set out to get revenge against the societies and individuals he considered responsible for this "injustice." The California Medical Board has exceeded its authority by cautioning me and its attempt to impose its will on Dr. Hoeflin, who does not do business in the state of California, was outrageous. (Ron told them to go to hell.)

B

Competence has nothing to do with it, but there is a movement afoot in this direction. American Mensa has a new testing policy under which applicants are told that they have passed or failed but not given their IQ scores, because of legal considerations of this sort.

I

"Divide-and-conquer"--give me a break! Chris never had any allies to be divided from, except nonmember Paul Maxim, though Chris is not as fond of Mr. Maxim as he once was.

a

Chris Langan as peacemaker? I'd rather have Saddam Hussein. Instead of making peace, Chris has threatened, libeled, and subjected to degrading epithets everyone who's had the guts to stand up to him.

L

Yes. Chris has been supportive of the work in psychological measurement that's made Mega and the other very-high-IQ societies possible. He's taken some potshots at it too--and this, also, is a form of support. Anyone who wants his work to be taken seriously needs good critical feedback.

B

I have written extensively about the differences [between traditional timed IQ tests and high-range tests like the LAIT and the Mega]. However, Dr. Hoeflin's tests and mine are not alone in being administered without time limits. The Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices, an extremely well-regarded standard test, is often administered untimed. And strictly-timed tests have very low g loadings, according to Dr. Arthur Jensen. See my "Reply to Chris Langan," in Noesis #141.

E

Of course not. No scientific field is the work of one man.

I

[In response to the idea that I'm "expendable":] Mr. Langan is invited to ingest my underwear. 

Mega Society Factionalism

N

[The "East Coast Faction"] I.e., Chris Langan.

t

There is nothing in any way illegal about the Mega Society's use of a criterion of its choice to select members. The right to do so is guaranteed by the First Amendment. And even if Chris' accusation were true, it still wouldn't give him the authority to act in the name of the Mega Society without consulting the membership.

H

My tests and Ron Hoeflin's are classified as IQ tests. That's what the California Medical Board got upset about.

W

This is a crock. The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of association gives us complete liberty to make use of any means we like in selecting members, as long as we don't discriminate on the basis of race or membership in other protected classes.

A

The financial contributions of Chris Cole are far more substantial than those of Chris Langan. He kept Noesis going during the dry years by subsidizing it when members' dues were insufficient to cover the full cost of publication.

I

Langan is really dumb to try to justify his undemocratic usurpation of the Mega Society's name and auspices.

T

["WCF."] Langan's "Mega Society" is more like the WWF.

h

Unconstitutional laws are frequently overturned. But, in any case, our world-wide organization doesn't have to meekly submit to the dictates of one particular jurisdiction. If they don't like what we're doing in California we can operate somewhere else.

U

What Langan has proposed on his so-called "Official Mega Society Home Page" is unworkable. No one would be fooled by such a cosmetic relabeling.

D

Langan tries to justify his undemocratic methods again. I guess he didn't convince himself the first time.

E

Strange that no one but Chris has objected to our policy of keeping the addresses (we publish a roster with the names of members periodically) of members confidential, given Langan's well-established propensity for making a nuisance of himself.

T

I have done some cleaning under the carpet myself. The results are in your hands or on your screen.

W

[Will Mega be reunited?] Perhaps sooner than Chris Langan thinks--by order of a court.

A

This is hypocrisy. Langan went ballistic over my description of his "Mega Foundation" as "partly a cult."

D

. . . when one despotic leader will do!

O

This sounds reasonable, but one key fact is left out: there aren't any traditional IQ tests with sufficient ceiling.

A

Whether non-member Paul Maxim is included is irrelevant.

F

"Nobody's business" is nobody's evidence.

T

Mr. Maxim has no legitimate grudge whatsoever. The Mega Society has a right to determine its own admission policies. We don't accept the tests that Maxim took. Tough shit, Paul.

My Vision of the Mega Society

W

That's all very nice in theory. But in practice everything that Chris does works against the realization of this vision.

I

This is a milestone. Chris has never before admitted that he might be wrong.

B

That's because it's [the CTMU] made of silly putty.

I

What Chris has taken a good, solid shot at is dominating the higher-IQ-societies community. We mustn't let him succeed with regard to the Mega Society.

I

Chris Langan
Mega Society

1999-2001 by C.M. Langan

The only way that's going to happen is through the rejection of Langan's power tripping.