Sunday, June 24, 2007

The dictatorship of the High IQers

Browsing about YouTube on one of the days when I had much, too much time on my hands, I came across a three-part video series regarding the billed 'Most Intelligent Man in America', Chris Langan. Mr. Langan's story is that he was working as a bar-bouncer when he took an IQ test offered in Omni magazine and his resulting score was off the scale. Said personal IQ was accessed at 190-210. Hence, he had his fifteen minutes of fame and was featured in magazines and on the newsprogram, 20/20.

I was very keen to learn more about what this IQ Titan had to say about this thing called life and his theories, so I watched the entire video series. The third-part segment is where Mr. Langan goes into his 'Unified Theory of Knowledge' spiel, also his pitch for eugenics - something that he believes that if conducted on a national scale will solve all the nation's problems. Simply have high IQ people(to be a member of Langan's internet group one has to have a verifiable IQ of 150+) breed with one another which is straight out of Brave New World; every female born would have birth-control devices implanted and later as an adult, said female would have to have permission to be impregnated with a human fetus. Only a high-IQ mate will be approved by this Baby Control Board. Mr. Langan goes on to narrate that he is distressed at the low IQ people that are running things and thinks that we lesser mortals should put him directly in charge of his eugenics operation....

Where do I begin deconstructing all of this noise?

One, though I am reticent to use the label of 'fascist!' to any political and socioeconomic view that I dislike, this is what immediately popped into my own organically average IQ brain when watching Mr.Langan's big head spew this tripe. Well, we have heard this all before, the axiom of high IQ humans running the the Show. It is not necessarily a dreamy utopianism either, but actually it has been tried before in a primitive and varying degree: the feudalist rule of titled-nobility, the 'Divine Right of Kings'. This aristocracy, the alleged best and brightest, produced a whole slew of petty tyrants, ignoramuses, incompetents, hedonistic self-serving autocrats as a whole for generations. There were few enlightened and wise ones out of the lot. Proof that having the alleged intelligent elite breeding with one another will not produce spawn that are likewise, a chip off the old block of Mom &Dad Big Head.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's IQ has been accessed by some as high as Chris Langan's, and Chris is obviously no Goethe. Goethe's own son was said to be a worthless wastrel. And have we ever heard about the musical genius of Mozart's children? What classical music aficionado ever claimed that JS Bach's composing kids were better than dad? Einstein's son turned out to be a schizophrenic. One Nobel Laureate(I forget his name) when asked to be a Sperm Bank donor replied that they needed to instead solicite his functional illiterate street-peddler grandfather:his own son was a dope-smoking amature guitar player.

It's obvious that incredibly intelligent people can believe in cranky,stupid, and lethal things, and average and low IQ human brains have their 'eureka!' moments. For instance, I don't know of anyone who ever stated that Vladimir Illich Lenin was an idiot savant(his big brain was never in question) but his world-view was something else in statecraft; the kulak with perhaps a low IQ had a more cerebral approach to agriculture in Soviet Russia than the philosopher-kings sitting in the Moscow politburo conducting their genocidal collectivization program. Few have ever dismissed Hitler as "stupid" either;he was just a sharp-knife who believed in stupid and insane things. Einstein could dazzle us with his Relativity but the man couldn't understand the rules and dynamics of a simple game of Baseball....and so on, yadda-yadda...

Chris Langan could be the Poster Child refuting Bell Curve conservatism,Nature determinism. High IQ is no guarantee for socioeconomic success and Chris is a living walking example for most of his existence. He's a Blue Collar guy from a typical dysfunctional American family and if he would had never taken the Omni IQ test, we would had never heard of him. If Chris would had had a bourgeois Ward & June Cleaver parentage, perhaps his star would had flickered before it did unto the world? Nurture does matter. For prime example, does anyone think for a moment that George W. Bush's posterior would be sitting in the White House if he wasn't spawned from a Brahmin elite New England family?? Would Ted Kennedy be Massachusetts' 'Senator for Life' if born in South Boston to Irish millworker drunks instead of in ritzy Hyannisport? Even one of my personal icons, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I doubt that he would had got to Home Plate if he wasn't born on Third Base. How many of those on the Fortune 500 list would be there if they all began with an idea, a pick-up truck and no money to commence their road to riches? Very few.

It is also obvious that possessing copious brain-folds is not an indicator of originality. Chris Langan's world-view is nothing new. We heard from Plato, Nietzsche with a dose of Ayn Rand and slipped in 19th Century Social Darwinism(though he is hooked into Dembski's *Intelligent Design* racket); perhaps he has read Frank Herbert's Dune SciFi novels religiously. Langan takes a semi-pantheistic view that we are all plugged into the Mind of God( Chris appointed himself as chief interpreter of the Mind of God,btw) and he can logically prove his thesis via mathematical formulas(shades of Bertrand Russell & others). The Lesser IQ folks such as myself can easily figure out his eclectic pathways. To sum up Chris Langan,I'll utilize Nietzsche , contra Langan's elitist high IQ hubris -

"Menschen - alles auch Menschen"

But Nietzsche didn't have as high IQ than Chris Langan, so why should he pay attention.....;-)

People need to ascertain that IQ testing were initially the passion of progressives in the 19th Century. British Fabians endorsed IQ testing in tangent with their class consciousness: they wanted proof - and got it - that the Ladies &Gentlemen, the Dukes and Barons, the Sirs and Dames that ran the British Empire were as a whole dumber than dirt despite their 'Public School' and Cambridge/Oxford educations. Look at the Windsors today. Why the British citizenry loves these worthless cretins of Buckingham and do not demand a Republic is quite beyond me...

Besides, what these arrogant IQ Ones have never questioned is themselves: maybe they are freaks, accidents, or the spawn of Lucifer. Eh? Why hasn't this *Mind of God* made every human with a high IQ? Let's face it: Jesus, Buddha,Krishna, Mohamed and other 'avatars' didn't hang-out with the elitist organic geniuses. They took their message to the 'People' - the losers, the 'scum' of their society. When geniuses talk about knowing 'God', it makes me laugh and vomit at the same time. My druthers are to listen to some illiterate Hillbilly snake-handler rather than some neoPlatonist , self-proclaimed Uebermensch, arrogant twit ,when the subject of 'God' comes into play.

Now, it is not that I am a blank-slater and think that society/ environment determines everything. Environmental determinists annoy me as much as the genetic ones do. My own Weltanschauung is heavily influenced by sociobiology and I'm fascinated by the Human Genome. 'Tis common sense that nature and nurture together makes us what we are - human beings - and it is not an exact measured science and is variable from people to people. In politics, I fear having folks with IQs above 150 running the country as much as the prospect of having a society ran by social engineers does. It wouldn't bode well for the rest of us, us lesser neocortex bipeds. That one has a high IQ is hardly indicitive that he or she is of benign substance and wishes the rest of humanity good will.


JD said...

Hell yeah!

I stumbled onto this after watching the 3 part Langan videos, and I very much agree with you.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Langan does not support eugenics. Instead he supports what he calls "anti-dysgenics", and indeed there is a difference: eugenics ensures that only the "superior" breed and anti-dysgenics simply ensures that those who are dangerously unfit either in (a) the capacity to care for children and not to breed unwisely, or in (b) their own health are not allowed to breed. It is the case that we need to breed wisely lest we trigger a heap of major time bombs ranging from overpopulation to many children destined to live painful, unhealthy lives because of preventable genetic defects. As you can surely see now, this is a far cry from only allowing those of exceptionally high intelligence to breed.

But further research reveals that this documentary shows not the full breadth of Mr. Langan's political views. In fact, he has expressed his belief in some of his writings that the best political system would either be democracy tempered with a bit of socialism to avoid the harm present at either end of the capitalism - socialism spectrum. The alternative is to have some sort of extremely intelligent being take care of humanity for its greater good. However, whether that being is the extreme intelligentsia or some sort of artificial intelligence is ultimately irrelevant.

You might object that cognitive ability has nothing to do with success or the ability to take care of humanity. While this may be true of I.Q., it is not true of Spearman's g, also known as general intelligence. In fact, g has been shown to correlate positively with social ability and with success in life. Though Mr. Langan may appear unsuccessful to the untrained eye, he has come up with a model of reality that unifies human philosophical thought, and this is quite an accomplishment. Moreover, I am sure that he is quite enjoying the peaceful life he currently lives with his wife Gina on their ranch, and he is indeed working to create a branch of his Mega Foundation (becoming a member in fact requires an deviation I.Q. of more than 164) to educate the public about various branches of social theory, formalized through mathematics. (A good example of this is the theory of games and decisions.)

I should point out that the goal of the Mega Foundation is not for, "high IQ people...[to] breed with one another," as you claimed, but merely for these people to have intellectual peers with whom to interact in a stimulating way. You have to understand that it is painful for these people to live their everyday lives without any real intellectual companions, to have to dumb themselves down times over just to be understood. It is understandable, then, that Mr. Langan is distressed at how people with I.Q.'s about one hundred points lower than his own are running the world. Would you honestly want to live in a world where everyone is barely intelligent enough to speak English, let alone to mind complex societo-political consequences?

You have also accused Mr. Langan of unoriginality because of the resemblances his model bears to others. Of course it bears similarities to other theories. It is the culmination of other theories! It is not in originality that genius lies, otherwise every mentally ill individual with a theory about how the daughter of Jesus H. Christ propels the Earth through a cube made of luminiferous planets would be among the greatest geniuses of all time. It is in the ability to arrange disparate ideas into a coherent whole that Mr. Langan shows his genius. And that is what is actually impressive about his model.

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