The Journal of the Mega Society

Number 72

August 1992



Rick Rosner

5139 Balboa Blvd #303

Encino CA  91316-3430

(818) 986-9177





Dear Rick:


Regarding Geraldine Brady's query (in Noesis #70) about possible dissertation topics in philosophy for someone with a mathematical orientation, Susan Haack has written a book titled Philosophy of Logics that covers many topics and has an extensive bibliography.  There is another book by Haack I haven't seen but which might be even more promising titled Deviant Logics.


One of the most interesting and readable articles on logic I've seen is the article, "Logic, Deontic," in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  It uses no logical or mathematical symbols at all, but no doubt such symbols could be devised or have already been devised.


On the other hand, one of the least readable essays on logic I've seen is the article, "Logic, Combinatory," in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is loaded with symbols, many of them inadequately explained, if explained at all.  The writer appears to assume that his readers will have a copy of Russell & Whitehead's Principia Mathematica at their finger tips because he refers them to a passage there without explaining what the passage says!


Ron Hoeflin



Dear Rick:


Regarding Chris Cole's question in Noesis #70 on how to norm the proposed "Short Form" Mega Society test at the mega level, I am going to devote the entire first issue of my new journal, Oaths, for the One-in-a-Thousand Society to the problem of using the SAT as a tool for norming other tests.  I have a pamphlet about the SAT that shows that the adjustment factor for converting SAT percentiles to general-population percentiles is surprisingly stable above an SAT Verbal Aptitude score of 500.  In terms of IQs (where there are 16 IQ points per standard deviation), the adjustment factors needed to convert SAT scores to general-population scores are as follows:


SAT Verbal Score

Adjustment factor


11 IQ points


10 IQ points


8 points


7 points


7 points


7 points


7 points


In other words, one's percentile vis-a-vis other SAT participants (college-bound high school students) yields an IQ that is consistently 7 points too low for verbal scores of 500 or above, due to the fact that college-bound high school students are brighter than non-college-bound high school students in the 17-18 age range.  If this 7-point adjustment is true of mathematical aptitude scores, too (I haven't computed this yet), then in general one can transform any combined verbal + qualitative SAT score of 1000 or above to a percentile, then to a pseudo-IQ, and finally to a true IQ by adding 7 IQ points.  Using this 7-IQ-point adjustment factor, one gets the following results:


SAT score

SAT percentile

Pseudo IQ

True IQ

General pop. percentile






















These are just preliminary results.  How to use these results to norm another test by using reported SAT scores will be explained in Oaths.  My chief problem in norming the Mega Test using this data is that there are only about 4 people who scored above 40 on the Mega Test who reported SAT scores.  It would be helpful if many more people in this range would report their SAT scores.


If you want to norm the new "Short Form" Mega Society test using the SAT as a guide, you should insist that all participants report their SAT scores.




P.S.  Of course, another big "if" is "if the 7-IQ-point adjustment factor remains stable above 1300 on the SAT (or 650 verbal)."  My SAT pamphlet does not give any data on this question.


P.P.S.  You are welcome to reprint all or part of the Oaths article in Noesis if you wish.


[Editor's comments--Another big "if" is whether self-reported SAT scores are accurate.  I've run into several people who claimed perfect 1600 scores, usually at parties where they were trying to impress people.  One guy claimed that he and four other guys in the same testing room used pencil-tapping code to each get a 1600.


Chris Langan thinks that Hoeflin is pronounced Heff-lin, while Chris Cole and I have always said Hoe-flin.  Ron, which is correct?


Bob Hannon says he'd prefer less material from Ron and more material from other people, but the system, such as it is, doesn't work that way.  Ron's material isn't run at the expense of other contributors' stuff.  Almost everything submitted is printed.  The most drastic effect of lots of material from Hoeflin or any other contributor is that material gets bumped into a subsequent issue as Chris Cole tries to hold down mailing costs--the price jumps if the issue goes over 20 pages.  Plus, I like Ron's stuff; let me digress:


I like nearly all the material I receive, even when it's a pain in the butt to type in and otherwise arrange for publication.  Kevin Langdon says that the material printed in Mega-level publications is no more sophisticated than material appearing at the one-in-a-thousand level.  That may be so.  However, I am increasingly convinced that the content of Noesis, while not always hyper-sophisticated, reflects members and other readers who are more emotionally intricate than any other high-IQ group.  Our contributors are consistently concerned with redefining themselves and their worlds.  In The World According to Garp, a sports caster eulogizes a former All-Pro football player who had a sex-change operation, saying something like, "She was an inspiring representative of those people who lead . . . complicated lives."  The articles in Noesis may not be much more complicated than that which appears in three- and four-sigma publications, but our readers' lives are.  And based on biographies I've read, I'd guess that there is a positive correlation between complicated lives and great lives.


Attention Ron H. and Kevin Langdon:  In the June, '92 issue of In-Genius, there is a piece by Langdon headed "Reply to Jerry Bails on Understanding Ourselves," with comments by Hoeflin.  Langdon discusses how human consciousness is deceptively fragmented, and I like the piece as well as Ron's reply.  I'm gonna run the piece in an upcoming Noesis unless Kevin or Ron tell me not to.  I tried calling Kevin in Berkeley and got some other Kevin altogether.]




Chris Cole


Chris has asked if I am "absolutely determined to resist the CTMU to the bitter end."  Aside from seeming somewhat apocalyptic, this question surprises me.  I don't think I've ever said anything other than that I disagree with Chris' solution to the marble problem and to Newcomb's paradox, that I don't see how he applied the CTMU in these solutions, and that therefore I don't know whether I agree with the CTMU or not.  I echo Rick's editorial in the last issue: show us something that the CTMU computes that we cannot compute some other way.  There are an awful lot of unsolved problems; solve one.


Chris also asks if I am "quite certain that you know what you're arguing with?"  Indeed, I believe that I do know whom I'm arguing with, although I suspect the other members do not.  Chris, since I suspect you understand what I am getting at, perhaps you would like to explain?





Dear Rick R.,


Concerning that list of people who qualified but never joined Mega, David Garvey was editor of Megarian just before Jeff Ward.  Since then, rumor has it he disappeared.  Marilyn vos Savant is "The World's Smartest Person" w/ IQ of 228, according to many years' listing in Guinness Book of Records.  She has newspaper column & makes celebrity appearances on TV & elsewhere.


Why bother w/ Cal State system?  Presumably you did well on SAT, why not UC system or even Cal Tech?




Wm. J. Sharp


[I don't think my grades or temperament are good enough for UCLA or Cal Tech.  I am, however, going to get a BS. through the University of the State of New York.  Yay.  Thanks, Richard May.


Mr. Sharp--sorry your puzzle didn't get into last issue--I thought I did everything necessary to get it onto the disc, but the disc thought otherwise.  I'm hoping I do it right for this issue.]







Dear Rick,


Regarding your view that all races have the same intelligence level, I'm sure you are aware that many hominid species of the past few million years are extinct.  And many of them were sufficiently widely distributed that their extinction could not have been due to some freak accident.  So how did it happen that they became extinct while other hominids--our own ancestors--survived?


The theory of evolution assumes that there are many small variations and that variations that could not compete successfully against environmental pressures simply became extinct.  If all hominids were identical, then the very foundations of this evolutionary theory would be undermined.  Do you claim that evolution is a false theory?  Are you a creationist?


If your view is that evolution worked in the past but now it can't work any longer because human beings are as identical as peas in a pod, I think this would be an extraordinary and unbelievable view given the vast differences one can see simply by opening one's eyes.


If you are saying that there are differences but that they are too small to observe, again I say, open your eyes.


It seems to me that homelessness and slums are, at least in part, the continuation of evolutionary stresses on the human species despite our best technological advances, and despite egalitarian efforts to ameliorate the lot of the "disadvantaged."


I'm not saying that all homeless people or slum dwellers are stupid or incompetent at some fundamental and ineradicable biological or hereditary level.  All that my view requires is that they be slightly less intelligent or competent than the rest of the population, on average.  So pointing to exceptions is, of course, irrelevant to defeat my argument.


In the U.S. about one black male out of 33 will die by homicide, which is about four times the average homicide rate for the U.S. population as a whole.  This death rate through homicide, AIDS, etc., can be compensated for by a higher birth rate, of course.  But I have recently read a prediction that the total population of several central African nations will probably decline over the next 25 to 30 years due to AIDS.  AIDS is one disease that can be avoided to a large extent by prudent behavior.  Homicide likewise can be avoided to some extent if one avoids high-risk occupations such as drug dealing.  The point is that homicide, AIDS, etc., are evolutionary pressures that have a different effect on people of high vs. low levels of prudence or intelligence.


If I were a black person and were as intelligent as I now am, I'd probably regret that my black brethren tend to be less competent than members of other races, on average.  I would see two possible future outcomes for my race: (1) after the less competent blacks are culled from the population through homicide, AIDS, homelessness, etc., there might be a flowering of black civilization as the more competent blacks began to compete more successfully, or (2) the blacks might cease to exist as a race due to interbreeding with other races.


(This was discussed by me in a previous issue of Noesis, but that was before the amalgamation with the old Mega Society, I believe.  I'd like to hear an intelligent response, not a grotesquely dismissive one this time, if possible.)  Incidentally, according to Cattell, the author of various IQ and personality tests, one theory as to why blacks might have somewhat smaller intelligence than other races is due to the necessity to be thin in order to radiate heat more effectively in hot climates.  This would result in women with pelvises too narrow for exceptionally large-headed children to be successfully born.  There is a small but statistically significant correlation between head size and intelligence.  All you need to do to stunt a civilization is to deplete the tiny number of geniuses at the upper end of the intelligence spectrum.  An isolated genius here or there will have insufficient intellectual companionship to share ideas and engender a great civilization.  Cattell's view is that with the advent of Cesarean births this negative pressure on the head size and hence the top-end intelligence of blacks will disappear and you will eventually find more and more geniuses appearing in the black population.


If all this sounds "racist," bear in mind that even blacks support explicitly racist groups such as the NAACP, whose last two initials stand for "Colored People."  Likewise, affirmative action programs sponsored by the U.S. government are explicitly racist in that they set aside certain advantages for so-called "minority groups."  The only way to get rid of racism entirely would be to get rid of the NAACP and affirmative action in addition to racism at the other end of the spectrum such as the KKK.  By "racism" I simply mean the recognition that there are races, i.e., human groups with average biological, hereditary differences from one another.  Any time there is any difference at all, it will, of course, be possible to put some personal value judgment on these differences.  If one person likes opera better than country & western music, are you going to tell him to cut out making such absurd value judgments?  You could try, but communist societies tried to foster certain aesthetic preferences without ultimately succeeding, just as fascist societies tried unsuccessfully.  like wise with beauty pageants: you can terminate such pageants as being "sexist," but men will continue to feel that some women look better than others.


We can defeat racism by blending the human races over the next few thousand years into a single more homogenous race, or we can try to live with races, even "foster" them (either intentionally or unintentionally) just as dog or cat breeders try to create new breeds.  A single homogenous human stock would have the disadvantages of being susceptible to being wiped out by a single catastrophe such as a disease to which that particular strain is not immune.  So perhaps we should learn to learn with our differences, which means, in effect, to be tolerant racists.


I personally find it perfectly easy not just to tolerate but to prefer certain individuals whose racial type is not identical to my own.  Almost any cat is more graceful and attractive than almost any human, for example, and a woman with long straight blonde hair and a nice figure has a physical beauty that my own brown-haired male type lacks.  And I certainly think it would be better to have Rick Rosner's level of intelligence than my own.  But I prefer my more persistent focus on certain important intellectual problems than his more aimless and unfocused approach to life up to this point.  But H. Herbert Taylor, who scored 45 on my Mega Test, did not get his Ph.D. until the age of 53, so perhaps eventually Rick will focus his titanic intellectual energies on some really crucial problems.




Editor's comments:



by Rick Rosner


Both Ron and Bob Hannon have made comments about the possible intellectual inferiority of blacks.  My objections to this are for the most part shallow, but strongly held.


A.  It's silly, but I hope someday to be famous, and I'd hate for interested parties to look over back issues of this journal and see racist stuff.  How vain and superficial can I be?  Very.


B.  I've had contact with many times more white people than members of any other race.  I feel comfortable saying that as a group, white people don't seem that smart to me.  Neither do they seem that stupid.  To me, white people are just people.  As a bar greeter, I've talked with about half a million different people, fewer than twenty thousand of whom are black.  I love to formulate stereotypes and make generalities but feel more comfortable stereotyping whites than any other group.


C.  Most of the blacks I've known have been very impressive people.  I'm sure they're not a statistically accurate representation of the entire American black population, but nevertheless, when I think of black people, I think of them.


I think of Liv Wright, a woman who hired me to tutor her for the GMAT (the SAT for aspiring MBA's).  She needed a 500 to get into B-school.  I noticed she wore thick glasses for reading and even so had a hard time deciphering the small print.  I told her that the testing service had large-type editions with relaxed time limits for people with visual handicaps.  She went from a 480 (50th percentile) to a 630 (90th percentile).


I think of Steve Griffin, a regular at Anthony's Gardens, a Boulder bar I bounced.  At least twice, when bar fights got out of hand, Steve waded in, broke it up, and saved me from an ass-kicking.  Anthony's had the highest proportion of black customers of any Boulder bar.  Many were scholarship athletes at the University of Colorado.  They were taller, handsomer, better dressed, better spoken, and had better manners than the average customer.  Many times, a white guy, new to the bar, would waddle up to me and say something like, "I guess you got to be a nigger to get laid in here."  I wanted to say, "Well, it helps if you're not short, fat, bald, and sweating through polyester," but it wasn't my job to offend customers.


Tony DuCross was an Anthony's bouncer.  He was a single father, a high school English teacher, a model, and a nice guy.  He stands 6'4" and could bench press 350.  Sometimes he'd model with his son, but he said they lost a lot of work because their skin tones were too different.  He'd turned down offers in pro sports because he'd grown too frightened of flying.  Standing next to him at the bar door, I felt rather bug-like.


I think of Johnny McCowan, my ex-boss at The Oar House.  He got shot in Vietnam and still came back to play pro football and pro baseball.  He's the only Oar House manager who isn't a dick.


I think of Lorenzo Clemons, an autistic savant who used to live at a home for the retarded up the street from my frat.  This guy has a hard time talking but can do dead-on absolutely correct and complete animal sculptures from memory.


I'm not friends with any black physicists or mathematicians or actuaries.  Then again, I know only one physicist, one mathematician, and two actuaries.  If genius is measured in terms of achievement, I don't know any geniuses, black or white.  I've had only a couple black teachers.  Mr. Sheffield was terrible--racist and snotty and fey.  He moonlighted at Fashion Bar and you could see what color his underwear was through his pants.  The three Hispanic teachers I've had, Mr. Aguirre, Mr. Raigosa, and Mr. Talamante, were fiery and funny and fearless and excellent.


Feminists used to say, "The personal is political."  I can read about blacks as a group, but I can't think of them as a group.  I can only think of the black individuals I've known, with affection and some sense of personal inferiority. 


I can think of the blacks who scare me--hoods on New York subways or in Venice.  I can think of the kid on the 42nd St. IRT platform with Adidas shaved into his hairdo, except it was misspelled "Addias."  But I can't think of these blacks as representative.  It's my own problem.


[More Editor's comments:  I don't want to delve deeply into the genetic and evolutionary nature of blackness, but I've read that you get black people in a relatively short time when a population is exposed to strong sunlight.  I think that cognition is a more persistent trait than skin color, though I don't have any guess about the persistence of genius.  I suspect that racism exists in any species that exhibits assortive mating, where sexes select each other on the basis of perceived traits.  It's a way to provide Darwinistic selection pressure even when a species is very successful at surviving challenges from the natural environment.  That is, any species that has overcome natural selection creates artificial selection criteria.]






[I've edited these together into one letter--Ed.]


Dear Rick,


Many thanks for all the back issues of the newsletter.  [Thank Chris--Ed.]


Unfortunately, I had no response to the 25 verbal analogy questions which were published in no. 65 of the journal--so, overleaf, you will find the answers that I was expecting.  If you feel that any of them might be suitable for the "Best 20 Test" please reprint.


I haven't spent much time yet on the questions published in no. 67 so I don't know whether the following 1st attempts are correct.  (I will try again.)


Here are my revised answers to the "short test."  [See previous issue]


Has Dr. Hoeflin compiled any more trial tests yet?  I have numbers 1 to 5 (inclusive).  If he has, I would appreciate copies of them.


Best Wishes,




[Hoeflin's Trial Test 6 ran in last month's issue.  Of your 25 analogies, I think items 13, 14, and 19 might merit consideration for the short form test (though 14. is very culture-biased).  They are included in the short form test below; here are the answers to the remainder.]



















21.  EXCELSIOR  (motto's)


23.  HOWARD  (wives of Henry VIII)


25.  GLAUBER  (salts)




Chris Cole


In response to Ron's proposal to norm the "short form" test using the reported SAT scores of test takers, I have a question:  Isn't it the case that the SAT has a hard time discriminating above an IQ of 150 or so?  Or, put another way, I thought there was no meaningful difference between an SAT score of 1550 and 1600.


By the way, I have been thinking about Ron's objection that no one will take a test on which they cannot do a single problem.  I think this objection is very valid.  I therefore want to revise my proposal for the test.  First, I think we should put a few easy problems on it that give the "flavor" of the harder problems.  For example, problems like Ron's PAIN : RUE :: BREAD : ?.  This will help test takers to understand what we are getting at, and should not be too laborious for most people.  It also will draw some people into taking the test.  So please submit some easy "aha!" type problems.


Second, I think we are not going to be able to stick to the "problems that only one Mega member can solve" criterion.  Despite my various pleas, relatively few people (and in particular no old Mega members) have attempted any of the "short form" problems so far.  This is probably due to busy schedules.  So instead, let me propose that when we have enough problems, we let Rick (in consultation with Ron) pick the problems that he likes the best to compose the test.  This removes the monetary incentive to contribute, but that seems not to be an effective motivator anyway.





11.  95 : 98 :: VENITE : ?  (Pomfrit)

12.  MINCES : EYES :: PORKIES : ?  (Pomfrit)

13.  2823 : 5331 :: ELEPHANT : ?  (Pomfrit)

14.  (Sharp)