14 Comments

  1. oneonewasaracecar

    I concur. I got as far as the phrase “super tautological” on the first page before I was certain he was not going to even make a coherent argument. He draws comparisons between reality, language, mathematics and science and then asserts properties from one also belong to the another with no justification. He makes no summation of his primary argument and makes no claims up front. It is full of subterfuge.

    The language is deliberately obscure and reminds me of the first Scientology book: Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health. This article is like a talisman that believers don’t understand but wave it at non-believers. My guess is the intended choice you have is to wade through it or be told you aren’t intelligent enough to understand the genius of this man.

    It seems strange that the smartest guy in the USA is a bouncer who pushes weights. Both of those activities seem pretty dull activities for a genius. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Langan spent a lot of his time of practicing IQ tests until he got very good at them. The value of many Psychological tests can be lost if the person being tested is not naive about the test (the Milgram Experiment is a great example of this). IQ tests surely fall into such a category. If he did practice them, it would surely skew the results.

    • Jersey Brand

      Ego…yours; the very thing that sadly discourages free thinking, awareness and the exploration of possibilities.

  2. A free man

    You folks, remind me of the ancient Greek sophists & Christians theologians; the unimaginative & uncreative closed mind class of their era.
    Little science people; the new closed mind elite of our era.
    Replacing old paradigms (philosophy/theology) with a new one, the scientific one, with the small-case letters.
    Supposed to be sophisticated, but in fact, full of circular close thinking with very little imagination in it.
    The kind of thinking that has nothing to do with PHILOSOPHY/MATHEMATICS/SCIENCE, with the upper-case letters:
    LOGIC,GENERAL RELATIVITY, QUANTUM PHYSICS, ASTROPHYSICS, COMPLEX THEORY, INFORMATION THEORY.
    You, false defenders of SCIENCE, closely entangled & limited by language and not even aware of it.
    Attacking with closed-loop arrows dart, oh, i/he/she gonna be hurt and discredited by closed-minded supposed logicians and scientists.
    Their is a big difference between SCIENCE & science.
    SCIENCE is synonymous with daring creative thinking outside the box.
    science is synonymous with closely trying to defend old paragigm with closed-looping thinking.

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light,
    but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
    Max Planck

    It is natural, to see you with that kind of opposite attribute.
    This way, i know by contrast, who i am.

  3. Anonymous

    I really did not want to have to open this can of worms.

    “A free man” does not write in anything resembling Langan’s style. If you think so, you are misled, pure and simple. Alternatively, if you truly believe that the only person willing to support Langan’s work is Langan himself, you are misled to an even greater extent. Perhaps you should simply pick up your reins, actually look into Langan’s work, and try your best to understand it before making blatantly false claims about Langan himself.

    Now I ought to reply to oneonewasaracecar.

    “I concur. I got as far as the phrase “super tautological” on the first page before I was certain he was not going to even make a coherent argument.”

    So you fled at the first sight of a neologism, making the assumption that Langan’s use of a neologism renders his whole argument false? *That’s* certainly not logical, especially given that the term “supertautology” is defined on page 32 as follows.

    “Since logic is the theory of truth, the way to construct a fully verifiable theory is to start with logic and develop the theory by means of rules or principles under which truth is heritable. Because truth is synonymous with logical tautology, this means developing the theory by adjoining rules which themselves have a tautological structure – i.e., which are universal, closed and consistent – and logically extracting the implications. A theory of reality constructed in this way is called a supertautology.”

    You next said, “He draws comparisons between reality, language, mathematics and science and then asserts properties from one also belong to the another with no justification. He makes no summation of his primary argument and makes no claims up front. It is full of subterfuge.”

    Isn’t it ironic that you criticize Langan for a variety of alleged failures possessed by the CTMU, and do not cite exactly where these alleged failures occur?

    “The language is deliberately obscure and reminds me of the first Scientology book: Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health. This article is like a talisman that believers don’t understand but wave it at non-believers. My guess is the intended choice you have is to wade through it or be told you aren’t intelligent enough to understand the genius of this man.”

    I disagree. In fact, I understand the entirety of the language in that paper. Quiz me if you will.

    “It seems strange that the smartest guy in the USA is a bouncer who pushes weights. Both of those activities seem pretty dull activities for a genius.”

    Langan is actually no longer a bouncer. He currently owns a ranch and works on it. As a bouncer, he did the work precisely because it was dull. It gave him time to think deep thoughts. Imagine what life would be like if you were the smartest man in the world. Entering academia would be infuriating, because everyone, even your boss, would have a shallower understanding of reality than you do. Entering a business would be equally infuriating. But at a blue collar job, your intellectual work wouldn’t be constrained except with respect to time.

    “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Langan spent a lot of his time of practicing IQ tests until he got very good at them.”

    He achieved a perfect score on the old SAT, which was incredibly rare; in an average year, only 7 out of 1 000 000 testees would get a score above 1580, and the maximum score was 1600. That is, even while Langan was living an impoverished life with meagre access to books, he was testing at incredibly high levels on standardized tests. His success was not a matter of cheating. It is also noteworthy that results for the Mega Test were not published when he wrote it and qualified for the Mega Society, a 1 in 1 000 000 high IQ society.

    “The value of many Psychological tests can be lost if the person being tested is not naive about the test (the Milgram Experiment is a great example of this). IQ tests surely fall into such a category. If he did practice them, it would surely skew the results.”

    The Milgram experiment did not involve IQ testing.

    Now on to the original post.

    “The problem with IQ, is that it only measures your cognitive potential not your actual cognitive ability or intelligence. The higher it is, the more probable it is that you can justify and rationalize almost any insane crackpot idea. To illustrate that point, he does not appear to understand what a theory actually is. (Unless you are really curious, I’d skip that last link). Bizarrely, in there he appears to be using the word “theory” where most folks would use “hypothesis”, so I’m not convinced he understands what a theory actually is.”

    A typical IQ test, and that categorization includes the tests Langan took, measures a combination of so-called crystallized g and fluid g. Fluid g most closely equates to “cognitive potential”, whereas crystallized g is a metric of actualized cognitive potential. That is, both the potential and its application are tested.

    Moreover, Langan’s use of the word “theory” is completely acceptable. In general, the word “theory” is used exactly as Langan defines it. It is only in scientific contexts that it takes on a more specific meaning that entails deeper empirical examination.

    “OK, back on topic … the evidence that Chris Langan is as smart as he claims to be is … well, when he was tested it was discovered that he is rather good at doing IQ tests, but there does also appear to be a lot of evidence indicating that he touts completely kooky ideas and concepts.”

    And being really good at doing IQ tests correlates extremely well with being really good at solving all problems that come up in life. Langan’s concepts, incidentally, aren’t nearly as kooky as you claim.

    “So why am I babbling away about him? Well, when faced with the observation that “the smartest” man in the US believes in God, and has proved that he exists, I can only respond with the observation that he also appears to believe and rationalize a lot of other crazy stuff as well.”

    Like what?

    “Still not convinced he is a kook? well here is a nice dissection of Mr Langan’s CTMU nonsense.”

    No rational human would be convinced that Langan is a kook from your sophistical exposition up to this point. All you have done yourself is accuse Langan of misusing the word “theory” where he clearly does not. You have provided literally no other evidence that Langan is wrong.

    You go on to link to Tom Beasley’s equally opinionated blog. I have already addressed that blog’s work in its comments, so I figure I won’t do it twice unless someone raises an explicit point that I wish or need to debate.

  4. Dave Gamble

    // .. I really did not want to have to open this can of worms. .. //
    Obviously wrong, since you just made to decision to do so.

    // “A free man” does not write in anything resembling Langan’s style. //
    He spouts meaningless bullshit, Langan spouts meaningless bullshit … that by any standard is the same style, but you may in fact be correct, I’m just guessing. Should I apply the same guess to you? Nope, on the basis that your IP address is in Ontario, Canada. However, it is still rather odd that those who wish to defend CTMU also wish to remain anonymous.

    You then proceed to dismiss a valid observation by oneonewasaracecar … you do indeed admit that Langan makes up words and terms (your term, “neologism”). Anybody who wishes to communicate a valid logical argument needs clarity, not made-up words. Semantic gymnastics impresses nobody except the gullible.

    You also point out this comment … // “He draws comparisons between reality, language, mathematics and science and then asserts properties from one also belong to the another with no justification. He makes no summation of his primary argument and makes no claims up front. It is full of subterfuge.” // .. and observe .. // I disagree. In fact, I understand the entirety of the language in that paper //
    Good for you … there are also folks out there you are excessively familiar with Klingon.

    // Langan is actually no longer a bouncer. //
    Good for him.

    You then proceed to tout evidence for Langan’s high IQ, I can accept that, but this is not evidence that he is right. Very smart people are still prone to touting bullshit, and as I’ve already explained, they dream up very complex rationalizations for it.

    You are of course being defensive because you have quite clearly embraced CTMU as “truth” in a manner that is almost religious. Personally I have no interest in (if you will forgive the metaphor) discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin until somebody clearly demonstrates that angels actually exist. You find truth and meaning in CTMU, I get that and can only wish you the best of luck with that. Least you wonder, I’m being genuine when I say that, I believe in the concept of freedom of thought. As for myself and many others, it is not for us, we find nothing credible in it.

  5. Anonymous

    “Obviously wrong, since you just made to decision to do so.”

    It was my moral obligation to do so, given your unjustified attack on Langan’s work.

    “He spouts meaningless bullshit, Langan spouts meaningless bullshit … that by any standard is the same style, but you may in fact be correct, I’m just guessing. Should I apply the same guess to you? Nope, on the basis that your IP address is in Ontario, Canada. However, it is still rather odd that those who wish to defend CTMU also wish to remain anonymous.”

    No, that is *not* the same style. Regardless of what you think of Langan’s work, you have to acknowledge that when he appeared here (http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/2011/02/11/another-crank-comes-to-visit-the-cognitive-theoretic-model-of-the-universe/), or here (http://onemansblog.com/2007/11/06/smartest-man-in-the-world-has-diarrhea-of-the-mouth/comment-page-2/#comments), or here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Christopher_Langan#Just_wondering), his use of English syntax was definitively different than A free man’s. Moreover, Langan did not use a pseudonym in those altercations. Does A free man’s IP address actually justify such suspicion?

    It’s also noteworthy that oneonewasaracecar, an opponent of Langan and his work, remained anonymous as well.

    “You then proceed to dismiss a valid observation by oneonewasaracecar … you do indeed admit that Langan makes up words and terms (your term, “neologism”). Anybody who wishes to communicate a valid logical argument needs clarity, not made-up words. Semantic gymnastics impresses nobody except the gullible.”

    Think of all the specialized terms used in mathematics or physics. It would be extremely tedious to communicate ideas from those disciplines without the specialized terms. Langan’s 2002 paper on the CTMU uses far fewer specialized terms than the average mathematical paper, and the definition of each of his neologisms is made clear therein. Not only are they useful, but they hardly increase the reading comprehension level needed to understand the paper.

    “Good for you … there are also folks out there you are excessively familiar with Klingon.”

    …or with the Oxford English Dictionary for that matter. If you are having trouble understanding parts of that paper, I can assist you. Simply ask.

    “You then proceed to tout evidence for Langan’s high IQ, I can accept that, but this is not evidence that he is right. Very smart people are still prone to touting bullshit, and as I’ve already explained, they dream up very complex rationalizations for it.”

    I know it’s not evidence that he’s right. I was merely responding to oneonewasaracecar’s statement, “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Langan spent a lot of his time of practicing IQ tests until he got very good at them.”

    “You are of course being defensive because you have quite clearly embraced CTMU as “truth” in a manner that is almost religious. Personally I have no interest in (if you will forgive the metaphor) discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin until somebody clearly demonstrates that angels actually exist. You find truth and meaning in CTMU, I get that and can only wish you the best of luck with that. Least you wonder, I’m being genuine when I say that, I believe in the concept of freedom of thought. As for myself and many others, it is not for us, we find nothing credible in it.”

    It’s not a matter of faith, and I’m sure that Langan would agree on this point. As oneonewasaracer so pugnaciously addressed, the CTMU is a supertautological theory, and if you read the part that I cited of Langan’s 2002 paper, you’ll know that this means that the CTMU is built up of logical tautologies. That is, it is as wrong as the statement that 2 + 2 = 4. But I don’t expect you to take this for granted; a deeper look at Langan’s work, or failing that, a peaceable discussion concerning those of its tenets you object to will address this as is due.

  6. Harry

    “The problem with IQ, is that it only measures your cognitive potential not your actual cognitive ability or intelligence. The higher it is, the more probable it is that you can justify and rationalize almost any insane crackpot idea.”

    Both of your points in this quote are wrong. IQ measures your Intelligence quotient which is indicative of g or generalized intelligence ability. Basically how quick people pick up on things.

    The second point, given a higher g one can rationalize illogical things easier. The opposite is true.

  7. Harry

    I believe in Langan and I am some random quack named Harry. My name isn’t even Harry, it’s Jeff. Besides the point, you didn’t really make any points.

    Maybe analyze a sub-set of his work, that would be much, more productive. You didn’t even quote anything from his vaulted (or infamous) CTMU. C’mon man!

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