Caution: Political Content (Part One)
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 07:23:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Langan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "MegaList@topica. com" <MegaList@topica.com>
cc: Kevin Langdon <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [MegaList] Caution: Political Content
Cole: This is completely ahistorical, and I will make available to any
interested party copies of Noesis covering this period. The actual
sequence of events was:
57 - Jan 91 - Rick Rosner Rosner edits next 70 issues
At no time during this period was the Society called the Titan Society.
That name had been retired in March 1988.
CML: This is irrelevant. The name of the group changed several times;
when people refer to it by the name "Titan Society", it's merely to spare
themselves and their readers needless repetition and qualification.
Cole: At no time during this period did Langan rescue a defunct Society.
There had been a meeting of the Society in August 1989 and Hoeflin had
proposed a name change in the issue just before Langan's first issue.
When Hoeflin raised the issue of making Noesis quarterly in issue 35,
Richard May and Eric Erlandson volunteered to edit it monthly. This
does not sound like a defunct Society.
CML: From the viewpoints of Mega Society members other than Chris
Cole and his confidants - and I neither know nor care what it takes to
qualify for the position of Cole's "confidant" - this is an out-and-out
falsehood. When people claiming to be in charge don't put out the journal
for months on end, members begin use words like "defunct" to describe it.
This has happened not just once, but several times. It may be true that
because Chris Cole saw himself as continuously "in charge", he never
personally regarded the Society as defunct. But from everyone else's
viewpoint, Cole and company have been unconscionably lax.
Cole: Ron Hoeflin never announced his intention to let the Society die.
He did state that he would stop editing after issue 56. At that point Rick
Rosner, not Chris Langan, stepped up and edited the next 70 issues.
CML: Perhaps Chris Cole needs to have his memory refreshed. Ron
Hoeflin: "If there are no volunteers, this journal and society will
probably be terminated...there is not sufficient intellectual or monetary
feedback from the members to give me personally sufficient incentive to
Although Ron didn't make this announcement until after he'd gotten me to
hand the journal back to him, he'd made similar noises previously. After
all, when I took over Noesis, the rotating editor system we were using had
ground to a halt because no one wanted to volunteer for the next rotation.
That left it up to me. Otherwise, I'd never have been in the position of
having to produce six issues in a row! (After getting his hands back the
journal and making his announcement, Ron publicly ruled me out as editor
due to my "lack of a telephone", meanwhile confiding to me in private
correspondence that Chris Cole had secretly been complaining about me
for other reasons.) I'm not going to go into the reasons for Ron's
decision to hand the operation over to Cole on a public list; it might
be embarrassing to Ron. Suffice it to say that there was a certain
amount of self-interest involved (as Ron once admitted to me in writing).
Anyway, the exact chronology was as follows. After I'd edited Noesis for
six months straight, Ron Hoeflin contacted me privately to ask if he could
take over for an issue. The next issue, mysteriously, was edited by Ray
Wise, with whom Ron had apparently been in private correspondence (by
the way, the reason that Wise hadn't received my issues was that he'd moved
without notifying anyone of his change of address). Then it was all Ron
for six months. Then, mirabile dictu! Ron waved his magic wand, and the
Cole/Rosner partnership was born (Rick Rosner was teamed with Cole from
the beginning). The next issue I edited didn't come around until several
years later, when Rick and Chris Cole had dropped out of sight for the
better part of a year. At that point, it did indeed look like the Mega
Society was defunct and in need of revival.
Who knows what Cole's and Rosner's problem was? Suffice it to say that
there was ultimately a long, long lapse in publication, that neither I
nor any other "rank and file" member had any reason to think that anyone
was minding the store, and that I was again compelled to start publishing
an edition of the journal in order to save it. So you see, I have plenty
of reason to claim the moral right to publish an alternative edition. And
as you'll see if you keep reading, I almost certainly have the legal right
Cole: The Mega Society was never "dead" as alleged by Langan. There
were scattered periods of inactivity, but Mega existed continuously since
its founding, as can be substantiated by its newsletters. At the time
of the merger, it was active, had about as many members as the Hoeflin
group, and Jeff Ward was the publisher of the newsletter.
CML: As anyone with a collection of Mega Society newsletters can attest,
the word "continuous" simply doesn't apply to the journalistic track
record of the Cole/Rosner partnership. Their performance was marginal
until the end, when there was a huge lapse that led me and others to
suppose that the Society was as good as dead. Denying this is futile,
because it's a matter of record.
Cole: I've never said the things that are apparently being attributed to
me, to wit, I've never used the phrase "took charge," "strong leadership," or
"Publisher-for-Life." I was elected Publisher, as reported in issue 134.
CML: If Chris Cole was ever legitimately "elected" as Publisher, it was
several years after he assumed the role by fiat, and involved only a
relatively small minority of Society members. To my recollection, Cole
did indeed use the words "strong leadership" - they appeared either in
Noesis or in a quote included in a letter to me from Ron Hoeflin - and
while he did not use the terms "take charge" or "Publisher for Life"
explicitly, their usage was implicit in his behavior. As everyone
knows, he played the role of Mega Society despot for years before
undertaking self-legitimization through minority democracy.
Cole: Langan continues to accuse the Mega Society of not acting in a
democratic fashion. In fact, all major Mega Society decisions have been
decided by open and fair elections. For example, election for Society
officers and/or constitutional issues were held in October, 1995;
September, 1997; and December, 2000.
CML: Insofar as Cole "took charge" in 1990, the fact that he claims to
have held his first "official election" in late 1995 (if that date is
correct) casts a certain amount of doubt on the thesis that he surfed in
on wave of popularism with a democratic mandate. If Chris can't see this,
too bad...it's not my job to hold his hand (except when he forgets to do
what he claims is *his* job, namely publish the journal). The fact is,
he has never accumulated the kind of following he claims to have. But
that shouldn't be too surprising, since he's managed to align himself
with highly unpopular and underqualified people (e.g., Kevin Langdon)
and has never distinguished himself in any special way within the group.
Cole: In fact, all of Langan's claims of power are conspicuous by their
lack of any foundation in the democratic process. He claims to be the
legitimate editor of Noesis because Ron Hoeflin let him do it for a little
while more than ten years ago -- not because he was elected or because
any member wants him to be editor.
CML: What "claims of power" does Cole mean? I've left claims of power
entirely up to him and his friends. What *do* I claim? Only that Cole
and his friends have no power but that associated with ordinary membership
in the group (with the exception of Langdon, who doesn't even qualify for
the Prometheus Society and is one of the most despised figures in the
ultraHIQ community). And I claim that I have plenty of precedent for
publishing the journal, something which Cole has not done according to
any well-defined schedule consistent with any democratic mandate for his
jealously guarded role as "Publisher". His claim to have some kind of
legal hold on the Society is asinine. Even if we imagine that he had
some sort of democratically-awarded "contract" with the group, he's
broken it himself many times over (see items 1-7 below).
Cole: There is no silent majority backing Langan. The fact that many
people do not vote is common in democracies. In the last election, 16
people voted out of 27 eligible. This is not "minority democracy."
CML: Perhaps Mr. Cole is confusing me with Spiro T. Agnew. I don't
claim to have a "silent majority". All I claim is that Chris Cole has nothing
resembling the mandate for exclusivity that he claims to have, and that
this leaves me free to continue to contribute to the group in any way I
see fit...e.g., by publishing an alternative edition of Noesis.
[Incidentally, Cole's faction evidently keeps its own roster of members,
and that roster is not the same as mine. For example, the Cole faction
may have discontinued some members for nonpayment of "dues"; I haven't.
And because Cole guards this list - and in particular, the associated
contact information - like an octopus guards his garden, I've probably
never even heard of some of the people who voted for him. In any case, I
haven't had an opportunity to contact them for verification of Cole's
stirring tales of Democracy Triumphant, and that's 100% Cole's fault.]
Cole: All the officers of the Mega Society, namely, Ron Hoeflin, Jeff
Ward, Kevin Langdon, and me, made the proposal to issue a cease and
desist letter, possibly followed by a lawsuit. We did so according to the
procedures of the Society's Constitution.
CML: I know who signed the Cole/Langdon proposal. I also see who's
digging into his personal bank account for the lawyer's fees (Cole).
Whom does Cole think he's kidding here? If left to his own devices, Ron
Hoeflin - who explicitly disqualified himself from Mega Society membership
many years ago - wouldn't have dreamed of suing me. On the other hand,
Kevin Langdon is notorious for threatening to sue people, but since
gainful employment evidently isn't his strong suit, he can't afford to
hire his own attorney.
What evidently occurred was this: Langdon, who has been threatening to sue
me and others for "assassinating his character" on the Prometheus Society
email list Fire, conned Cole, who has made his own share of such threats,
into suing me and footing the bill. The idea that the action in question
is being undertaken on behalf of the Mega Society is asinine; Cole hired
the attorney, plain and simple. So in the event of a countersuit, it's
Mr. Cole who will be the primary target. That's fine by me...if he has
the money to subject Mega Society members to harrassment, then he
evidently has enough to make it worth their while.
Cole: Finally, Langan did not name "Noesis." Langan proposed the name
"Noetic," among others, for the name of the Society during a canvas for
possible names. This name together with several others were voted upon
in a weighted vote run by Ron Hoeflin. Ironically, Langan (then using the
name "Hart") preferred "Delphi," "Eidolon," "Kalon," "Alembic", "Avatar,"
"Titan," "Epsilon," and "Societas Minervae" over "Noetic." It was the votes
of the other members that put "Noetic" over the top, as reported in issue
11. It was Ron Hoeflin who converted "Noetic" into the journal name
"Noesis" first used in issue 16.
CML: Once again, I proposed the name "Noesis". That's N-O-E-S-I-S,
and that's how I spelled it (don't forget, there was at that point a good deal
of private correspondence between Ron and me). But who cares anyway,
when "noesis" and "noetic" have the same root? This is just nitpicking.
Cole: According to the constitution, the membership list is confidential, and
will be revealed only to elected officers. There is at least one member who
wants it that way. I regret that Chris Langan feels mistreated, but it may
have something to do with how he treats others. Even so, we welcome his
CML: First, let's get something out of the way. I have ample precedent
for publishing the journal, and this long predates the "constitution"
that Cole, Ward and two nonmembers just whipped up in a spirit of ex post
facto self-legitimization (complete with bizarre provisions that let them
conceal the names and addresses of members from each other). So instead
of submitting material to their version of "Noesis", I'll just continue to
publish an alternative edition...one that's edited by a qualified member
of the Mega Society (me) who is not affiliated with any particular
political faction like Cole's.
Obviously, if Cole were really acting on behalf of the Mega Society, he'd
be willing to gratefully accept the contributions of all of its members in
good faith, on fair and politically neutral ground. After all, since I'm
not doing this for profit, and since I'm very careful to publish only
material that reflects well on the intellectual caliber of the group,
and since my edition of the journal contains no mention of politics, I
must be doing it for the sake of the Mega Society and the ultraHIQ
If Chris Cole thinks I'm doing it for some other reason, why doesn't he
share his suspicions? I'm sure we'd all love to read about them.
Cole: Having two Mega Societies and two Noesis journals is obviously
untenable. If the Society does not protect its name, anyone can and will
claim to be a member, publish its journal, etc. We have something worth
protecting here, and we should protect it.
CML: How ridiculous! Publishing the journal is considered an onus by
virtually everyone in the group...so much so, in fact, that even the
self-empowered Chris Cole has repeatedly been caught lying down on
the job! This is all about Cole's and Langdon's jealousy of their "power"
over the Mega Society and Noesis. Even though their intellectually
impoverished version of Noesis is a profound embarrassment to all of us,
they still squirm at the thought that somebody else might steal a bit of
their precious thunder. If I were them, I'd be thanking my lucky stars
for a chance to spread the blame! ;-)
In any case, I'll put my edition of Noesis up against the Cole/Langdon
version any day of the week. Even if it weren't better than theirs by
far - and that it certainly is - I'd still have the right, dating back
many years, to publish it as an alternative to their sporadically
published, politically biased and ideologically skewed edition.
Cole: Immediately after the merger, there was an election and a vote on
proposed constitutions. The current officers were elected, but no
one constitution draft won a majority of the votes. There followed a
prolonged debate on the constitution, which eventually led to the draft
that Kevin and I hammered out as a compromise. This is the constitution
that was eventually adopted by the members. No one was left out of this
process, and everyone was allowed to comment and finally vote. 14 out
of 16 voting members voted for the new constitution. There is no
CML: Nonsense. First, there was no election "immediately after the
merger" (the closest thing I can find to an "election" is an informal
request for member feedback regarding the provisions announced for the
merger). Second, Chris Cole is evidently claiming that there was an
eleven-year "debate" on the constitution he and his friends drafted.
Unless it took place behind the members' backs, that's absurd. Third,
Cole claims that "no one was left out of the process". Well, *I* was
certainly left out of the process. That's because, unbeknownst to Chris
Cole, I was busy on another front (the Prometheus Society) defending
myself from the libelous and incessant personal attacks of Kevin Langdon,
whom Cole had unwisely placed in charge of the edition of Noesis in which
the "democratic process" in question was located. (In case Chris doesn't
know how Kevin fared against me in Prometheus, he's lost virtually every
friend he had there. And in the course of losing all that ground, he
destroyed any illusion that he's capable of treating me or my work with
any degree of fairness. We may reasonably imagine that this would be
true of anyone to whom Langdon happens to take strong exception.)
Cole: During the last ten years, about one Mega or Titan score high
enough to qualify for the Mega Society has been received every two years.
During the seven month period from November, 1998 through May, 1999,
five such scores were received. This highly unusual pattern led the Society
officers to suspect that the tests might be seriously compromised. Since then,
the submission of qualifying scores has returned to the old level of
frequency, and we now believe that other factors caused the unusual surge.
All five Mega-level scorers were eventually admitted.
CML: Round and round we go. Chris Cole himself first reported, years
ago, that somebody named Chris Long had compromised the Mega test
by circulating answers on the Internet. His case of the willies, however,
didn't come about until Kevin Langdon got into dutch with the Medical
Board of California, which threatened him with indictment for medical
fraud. In an effort to show solidarity with Kevin, who was even then no
stranger to the status of "defendant", Chris and co. decided that it was
time for the Mega Society to have a 2-year attack of anorexia (no new
members ingested). By Ron Hoeflin's own admission, this rendered the
Society defunct. Ron's exact word: "moribund".
Worse yet, the Cole faction has at its disposal no alternative means for
legally admitting new members; they're up against a brick wall. That
alone justifies the existence of the Mega Society East, whose membership
officer is a PhD neuropsychologist specializing in cognitive testing. In
fact, we're doing Cole's faction a huge favor by appending the qualifier
"East", thus giving them the luxury of calling themselves a legitimate
(but organizationally impotent) faction. In all likelihood, Cole and
company vastly underestimate the difficulty of persuading a sane judge
that we're jeopardizing their "right" to provide goods and services under
the "commonlaw trademark" "Mega Society" when they've conspicuously
failed to provide even rudimentary services on a regular basis in compliance
with state laws on IQ testing. Unfortunately, these crucial details were
omitted from the "Legal Analysis" provided by Cole's lawyer.
Cole: Kevin Langdon did not participate in this process. The admission
process is handled by Jeff Ward and Ron Hoeflin (for Mega or Titan test
reports). So even if Kevin did not like someone, and even if he was
therefore motivated to try to block their admission, he would not even
know about it until it was too late.
CML: Hmm...that's strange. Langdon certainly seemed to play a big part
in the rejection of Paul Maxim. Does Chris Cole dispute this?
Cole: I do not know any of the new members, have no reason to try to
block their admission, would not do so even if I had, and like Kevin I don't
know them until I get their names from Jeff, so I could not interfere with the
process even if I wanted to.
Finally, complaints about the "laxness" of a fellow member of a volunteer
organization are easy to make and painful to hear. I find Jeff prompt and
CML: Of course Cole approves of Jeff Ward...Jeff is his comrade-in-arms,
his co-litigator against their "enemies" in the group. But for that very
reason, Cole's opinion of him means nothing. (Personally, once I realize
that people aren't even responding to politely-worded letters or telephone
calls from me, I stop crediting them with being "prompt and concerned".
Jeff Ward has never mustered up the courage to so much as say "hi" to me,
and I gather that this applies to many other members as well. The word
that most people use for this kind of behavior is "rude".)
Cole: A society named "Mega Society East," publishing a journal called
"Noesis-E," is a threat to the Mega Society, publishing a journal named
"Noesis." This is called identity theft. If someone else claimed to be you,
you'd take legal action to stop them. Why can't you name your society
and journal something else? There are several names listed above that
you once preferred.
CML: Oh, come on! There have to be 50 thousand "Chris Coles" out there.
Is Chris Cole suing any of them for "stealing his identity"? ANSWER: No,
because they're not "poaching" on what he regards as his "territory".
But let's talk about threats for a minute, shall we? Here are a few
*real* threats to the Mega Society:
1. Unexplained, unpredictable lapses of many months in the publication of
2. Denying members the right to contribute to the journal on level ground,
without spin, in a medium not subject to executive control.
3. Operating illegally in states like California and New York by refusing
to amend entrance requirements to comply with applicable laws on IQ
4. Failing to admit a single new member in almost two years due to an
idiotic reluctance to define entrance requirements in compliance with the
5. Ignoring "unpopular" (but fully qualified) members, e.g. me, responding
to general invitations to serve the group, e.g. in the capacity of editor
(of Cole's edition of Noesis).
6. Appointing a journal editor who (a) fails to meet Mega Society entrance
criteria by over a standard deviation; (b) has written very unkindly of
the work of certain qualified members in what purports to be the Society
journal; and (c) has been found, in fair discussions on neutral lists, to
lack any comprehension of the basic mathematical concepts he'd need to
make such (technical) judgments.
7. Threats of nuisance litigation against one of the Society's most
prominent members, who has been on national and international network TV
a dozen times and written up in as many print features in major periodicals.
Need I go on? If Chris Cole and company ever had exclusive dominion over
the Mega Society and its affairs, that privilege has been forsaken ten
times over through chronic irresponsibility.
CML: Remember, it's never too late to seek a cooperative solution to old
disagreements; all it takes is willingness on both sides. Meanwhile, all Mega
Society members, East and/or West, are invited to enjoy complimentary
editions of Noesis-E and participate freely in this open forum!
Cole: If you don't like the way the Mega Society is run, make a
proposition to change it, or run for office. If the members agree with you,
they will vote with you.
CML: This is a smokescreen. In reality, there is no way to submit a
proposition to Cole's version of Noesis without subjecting it to the
customary spin-doctoring of Cole and Langdon. In a true democracy,
there exist organizational media separate from the administration. But
Kevin Langdon - whose highest legitimate IQ score falls over a standard
deviation below nominal Mega Society qualification standards - was
personally appointed by Cole, and was appointed despite the fact that a
qualified member (me) volunteered for the position within the appropriate
time frame. (How do we know that I wasn't duly considered and passed
over in favor of the far less qualified Kevin Langdon? Because in appointing
Langdon, Cole claimed to have had only "one" volunteer!) This renders
absurd any claim by Chris Cole that he is providing members with a fair,
unbiased medium in which to conduct the delicate business of democracy.
What he's been providing is more like a HIQ equivalent of Pravda, but not
I try to be a fair person, and generally respond well to people who treat
me fairly and politely. For a long time now, Chris Cole and Kevin Langdon
have preferred to threaten me from what they evidently believe is a
position of power (and in Cole's case, perhaps even moral superiority).
But as Cole at least should be intelligent enough to know, that's not the
way to resolve disputes, and it's not the way to run a group. In fact,
it's not even what we can really call "adult behavior".
Once again, I invite Chris Cole to stop the sanctimony, the arm-waving and
the threats of nuisance litigation, and behave in the best interests of the
Mega Society. There is a wealth of opportunity opening before us, but
we can enjoy it only in a spirit of wisdom, generosity and cooperation.
We of Mega East have brought nothing but honor to the Mega name, and
we do not deserve the mixture of neglect, ingratitude and hostility we've been
getting from our West Coast brethren.
So how about it, Chris Cole? Can we be friends after all?