A Reply to Chris Langan

Chris Cole



From: "Chris Cole" <chris@questrel.com>
To: "MegaList@topica. com" <MegaList@topica.com>
Cc: "Kevin Langdon" <kevin.langdon@polymath-systems.com>
Subject: reply to Chris Langan
Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2001 20:09:42 -0700

> Actually, I took over the Titan Society just after Ron announced his
> intention to let the Society die if no one would take responsibility,
> and nobody but me was willing to do so. In other words, I took control
> at a very special time...just after Ron Hoeflin announced that he'd let
> the Society fold unless a permanent editor could be found. I was the only
> volunteer. It was months later when Chris Cole began complaining to Ron
> that *he* should have been put in charge. But had I not been there,
> there'd have been no Titan Society around for Chris Cole to suddenly
> get acquisitive over. Bear in mind that the original Mega Society was
> already dead; because it never would have been resurrected without the
> Titan-Mega merger, this whole thing is really about the Titan Society
> (which is really what the present Mega Society is). And in that Society,
> my stewardship of the journal predates Chris Cole's. (Of course - and I'm
> not implying that Chris doesn't have his good points - it took a guy
> like Chris Cole to declare himself "Publisher-for-Life".)

This is completely ahistorical, and I will make available to any interested
party copies of Noesis covering this period. The actual sequence of events

Issues  Dates   Editor   Highlights
1 - 36  March 86 - March 89  Ronald K. Hoeflin   Hoeflin makes Eric Erlandson general editor and assigns specific editors for issues April 89 - June 90
37 - 39  April 89 - June 89   Eric Erlandson   Erlandson is general editor
40   July 89   Chris Cole  Meeting of Society in Chicago in August
41   August/September 89  Eric Hart   Hart is a pseudonym for Langan
42   October 89   James Hajicek   A highly personal issue
43   November 89   Dean Inada  Hoeflin proposes name change to "One-In-A-Million Society"
44 - 49  December 89 - May 90  Chris Langan  Predominantly CTMU material
50   June 90   Ray Wise   Issue misnumbered and misdated since Wise did not get Langan issues
51 - 56  July 90 - December 90  Ronald K. Hoeflin   George Dicks, Richard Sterman (Rick Rosner), Langan appointed assistant editors; in issue 56 Hoeflin reports it is his last and calls for volunteers to be editor
57   January 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.

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

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.

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.

> Anyway, Chris Cole and Kevin Langdon are currently asking Mega Society
> members to vote on whether I should be sent a letter, which they've
> already had drafted by a lawyer, threatening to sue me. That's
> right...Cole and Langdon are threatening me with nuisance litigation
> because I've dared to publish an alternative edition of Noesis (which, by
> the way, I named over a decade ago). Not very cooperative on their part,
> is it? After all, my version of Noesis is the one containing worthwhile
> material. Theirs, on the other hand, contains ex post facto attempts to
> legitimize Cole's decade of despotism by what might be termed "minority
> democracy", in which no more than a third of the Society has ever
> participated; threats of nuisance litigation; and all manner of
> parliamentary hypocrisy that Chris Cole explicitly disallowed when he
> originally "took charge". That's right - in the interests of "strong
> leadership", he announced when he became Publisher-for-Life that no,
> sorry, democracy just wasn't for us!

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

> Even if Chris Cole and Kevin Langdon had the authority to call for an
> official vote (which they most certainly do not), that vote would be
> invalid. Why? Because when it comes to me (the competition), they've long
> pursued a policy of secrecy and exclusion. E.g., they won't share their
> version of the membership list and contact info with actual members so
> that members can contact each other regarding electoral issues; they
> refuse to answer correspondence from me, e.g. correspondence in which I'm
> responding to requests for editorial assistance (they cite my tone as a
> justification); they won't even acknowledge my application to the other
> (so-called) "mega society email list". In other words, they are exercising
> decidedly undemocratic control over the lines of organizational
> communication necessary for democratic functions.

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

> In order not to legitimize the unfair and divisive tactics of Cole and
> Langdon, I personally ignore their "elections". But if any Mega Society
> member plans to vote on the Cole/Langdon resolution to undertake nuisance
> litigation against me for providing Mega Society members with a superior
> product, plus ten times the publicity they managed to achieve in over a
> decade, please vote NO. It's the least you can do to promote an atmosphere
> of peace and cooperation in the upper echelons of the superHIQ community.

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.

> If I might interject, it would seem that there is no "current
> constitution" (even in the West Coast-governed part of the Society). As we
> know from the fact that no election was held for several years after the
> Titan-Mega merger, the original Mega Society constitution died with the
> original Mega Society. Regarding the "constitution" to which Chris
> seems to be referring, those who claimed to have the power to oversee the
> process of drafting and voting on it actually didn't (it's one of those
> messy catch-22 situations we've all encountered; to hold an election, you
> need to have either been elected or offically appointed to the position of
> doing so, and none of the current "officers" ever were). And as if that
> weren't bad enough, some Mega Society members, me included, were left out
> of the process entirely. That's just not how a democracy is supposed to be
> run. Moreover, it's a rather glaring violation of what we might call "fair
> practice".

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 catch-22.

> With all due respect: as almost everyone in the Mega Society (East and
> West) knows, Jeff Ward, although he may be a crackerjack tax accountant,
> is actually very lax when it comes to Mega Society business. In fact, I
> have the personal distinction of having been ignored by Jeff on more than
> one occasion myself, and have fielded similar complaints from many others.
> As far as "bad luck" is concerned, Steve is aware that some Mega Society
> members seem to have a lot more of it than others...and that those in for
> the most "bad luck" of all are precisely those who happen to be unbeloved
> of one Kevin Langdon (or one Chris Cole). Again, I know from personal
> experience that this bad luck does indeed include de facto (if not
> official) disenfranchisement. That's why we were forced to establish a
> more progressive, more responsive entity that can actually reply to
> applicants and their inquiries, evaluate their qualifications under
> the oversight of a qualified psychologist specializing in cognitive
> ability testing, and treat them fairly once they win admission.

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.

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.

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

> The existence of Mega East, by the way, is no threat to Messrs. Cole and
> Langdon. It's politically independent of the old Mega Society, to which we
> are not pretending to admit new members. So for all we care, those calling
> themselves "officers" can continue to ignore applicants, ostracize members
> critical of them, and refuse to admit new members as long as they like,
> forgetting to publish the journal for not just months and years, but
> centuries if that's what pleases them. All that we of the Mega Society
> East know is that in the wake of many years of negligence and inefficiency
> in Mega Society governance and administration, remedial measures were
> absolutely necessary. I hope this hurts nobody's feelings, but we can't
> let Mega Society history be rewritten for mere political convenience.

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

> 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!

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.