Smartest Man in the World Espouses Virtues of Eugenics

Chris LanganChris Langan is the World’s Smartest Man. That’s not an opinion, it’s a statement of fact. Mr. Langan’s IQ is nearly 200. Oh, and he’s spent 20 years being a bouncer at a bar.

This guy has had a rough life. As a kid he was abused by other kids and even his step father because he was smarter than all of them were. And if you listen to this entire interview with him you’ll see why he’s kind of pessimistic.

In reality, it’s pretty easy to see why he’s this way. In addition to the fact that he’s been brutalized all his life, during the interview he points out:

“Smart people are vastly outnumbered by average people. Its the nature of the bell curve.”

Chris Langan IQ ComparisonHere’s another way to think about this. Think about how much smarter you are than a really, really mentally retarded person.

An average person’s IQ is about 100, and that really retarded person is maybe 65 for a measly 35 point difference. Well, the deficit between Chris and the average person is nearly 300% greater! Heck, the difference between him and a genius is as great as the difference between a genius and a retarded person!

Now, imagine if you were that much smarter than every single living person around! Actually, don’t bother. Your puny brain probably doesn’t have the capacity to imagine that… Damn. I guess I’d be bitter too. It reminds me of the movie Idiocracy.

Anyway, having said all that, one problem I’ve noticed with extremely smart people is that they begin thinking that their one brain is actually more powerful than all the other brains around them combined. And Chris falls into this trap during the final video when he begins espousing the virtues of placing genetic controls on “human breeding”.

Chris Langan:

People who wanted to have children would apply to make sure they have no diseases. Why do we have to do it through genetic engineering? Well, we have to let only the fit breed…. Freedom is not necessarily a right. It is a privilege that you have to earn. A lot of people abuse their freedom and that is something that people have to be trained not to do.

Interviewer:

But who? Who does this training?

Chris Langan:

Well, I’d be perfectly willing to do it myself. Just put me in charge.”

Yikes! Pretty scary stuff. Sounds like the precursor to Nazi Germany, or something from a Borg episode of Star Trek.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

If you actually watched all the parts of this, did you come out wondering how someone who scores so high on tests that measure problem solving ability could score so low on ability to relate to humanity in general? Could it be that individuals with brains that are highly specialized in one area simply become deficient in another?

Because really, I may be a mental midget when it comes to quickly calculating squares and dots on an IQ test compared to Mr Langan, but I could teach him volumes about how to relate to society. It seems to me that his attitude is that since he is “smarter”, his opinions should simply be accepted. But frankly, I don’t believe he is actually capable of comprehending anything that I cannot. He may arrive at a conclusion quicker, but this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need to bring the rest of us along with him.

Oh, one last thing. Chris penned what he calls the Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe in 2001, subtitled “The Theory of Theories.” Man, I really wish he’d read my article about conservation of words. I skimmed through the whole thing and frankly I’ve never seen so many words used to end in no point whatsoever!

Official retraction (the first one ever! Yeah!)Due to some poor search results, coupled with poor research, and compounded by poor Web design, I originally incorrectly linked to Mr. Langan’s Theory of Theories. Seeing how this was in no way related to a model of the universe I figured it was crap! However, the real CTMU can be found here. So have fun.

Anyway, feel free to check it out you feeble minded little humans!

Article Written by
John P.

John P. is CEO of Livid Lobster and co-host of Geek Beat TV. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Comments

  1. Chris Langan says:

    Hello, John P. I just noticed your blog, and surmise from your tasteless and disgusting thread title that I’ve unwittingly put your nose out of joint. Let me try to clarify what seem to be a few points of confusion here.

    First, about freedom being a privilege rather than a right: human activities interfere in proportion to social density and connectivity. The more people with whom you interact, the more chances you have to damage them in the course of exercising what you suppose are your “rights”, thusly infringing their “rights” to not be damaged by you. Rights are therefore socially constrained, and free men need to be educated regarding these constraints, preferably starting at about the age of two. That’s why parents need to take care raising their kids, and why American schools (used to) teach civics and social studies. Moreover, where freedom is constrained by ignorance regarding possible action, to realize freedom is to dispel that ignorance. One thus “earns” one’s freedom through self-education, and it is in this sense that freedom is a “privilege”.

    On to genetic screening. Natural selection once insured that human genetic lines contained a (nonzero) minimum of debilitating hereditary disease. The mechanism was harsh: those with such diseases tended to be weeded out of the gene pool before they could do much breeding. More often than not, the process was ugly and painful for all concerned.

    That situation is changing. Having partially exempted ourselves from natural selection through the systematic application of advanced medical technology – many people with formerly lethal genetic diseases now survive well beyond the age of procreation – we can now use that technology to painlessly regain the benefits of natural selection at the most efficient and humane juncture, before saddling an infant with a debilitating disease that may destroy his/her quality of life, or life itself, the first time a hole opens up in his/her medical safety net (or before).

    Medical and genetic technology are now sufficiently advanced to detect, and may soon be adequate to correct, many hereditary diseases before they can be propagated. Applying this technology for the universal benefit of unborn children is a no-brainer, morally and otherwise. One could only marvel at the ethical reasoning of someone who believes that available screening technology should be ignored so that unborn children can be sentenced to lifelong hereditary diseases in the very process of conception.

    As for my willingness to oversee such a program: given my druthers, I’d simply help to educate people on the desirability of such measures and trust their moral sensibilities to get the job done. (Fortunately, such awareness is steadily growing on its own.) My point, of course, was that if everyone else were in denial regarding the growth of genetic disease that results from unconditionally suspending the law of natural selection, as mankind is well along the road to doing for itself, then in principle, I’d accept the responsibility of trying to wake them up. In my view, anyone else who understands the problem should be willing to do the same. That all recommended procedures should be exclusively based on well-established science, as opposed to speculative theorization or politics or ideology, goes without saying.

    Incidentally, in the interview to which you link, Errol Morris was asking, and provocatively phrasing, all of the questions, and had complete control over the editing of my responses. Much of what I said, and much of the verbal context in which I said it, was omitted – the interview was shot over two full days and covers perhaps 15-20 hours of tape. Errol apparently wanted to create a hypothetical scenario in which I was making certain decisions for humanity. Perhaps this was because he had already prodded me to admit that many of those who run the world are morons and ignoramuses (relatively speaking). If so, then mea culpa. However, I’d still have to say that many of those who currently run the world are relative morons and ignoramuses…and self-serving and ruthless ones to boot, despite all of their money, degrees, affiliations, and titles. That many people strongly agree with this observation is easy to confirm. It is equally obvious that those now running the world, and not me, are using their money and power to play “Nazi” and frog-march the public toward social, political, and economic goals that the people would never have chosen for themselves.

    Regarding the CTMU paper I wrote, may I suggest that you consider taking some of the responsibility for your own incomprehension? The paper contains my ideas and not yours, and I wasted no words in conveying my ideas. As nearly as I can tell, you don’t understand why some of the words were included because you don’t fully understand the ideas to which they refer. If you disagree, then it’s up to you to provide cogent counterexamples and thereby demonstrate your understanding of the message. I predict that if you attempt to do this, popular respect for your level of (technical) reading comprehension will suffer greatly … not necessarily overnight, but in the long run. The CTMU is quite a bit more than you seem to think it is, and you do the public a disservice by pretending to understand it when you plainly do not.

    Now let’s have a brief look at one of your own peculiar turns of expression.

    “One problem I’ve noticed with extremely smart people,” you write, “is that they begin thinking that their one brain is actually more powerful than all the other brains around them combined.”

    With respect to the greatest intellectual advances, this belief is quite true, and it happens to be based on certain undeniable facts that you, as a programmer and member of society, should understand.

    First, collaborations often generate copious opinionative and interpersonal noise that interferes with communication and sound reasoning.

    Secondly, the hardest problems do not admit of efficient solution by distributed algorithms, where “distributed” in this case means “over many tasks, processors, or minds”. They do not break down into easier independent sub-problems that can be solved in mutual isolation; instead, they require some kind of grand synthesis or intellectual leap, and such leaps usually occur within single minds. Human brains contain myriad connections which are not mirrored by group structures, and these connections are the critical factors in certain key operations. Unless these neural connections are properly configured and activated, the operations can’t happen.

    Sometimes advantages are afforded by bringing many minds together in collaborative groups, but these are usually insufficient to solve extremely difficult problems. Otherwise, groups like the RAND Corporation would actually have produced stable solutions for the major social and strategic problems that they were paid by the government to solve, instead of merely transforming them into new problems at which yet more tax revenue must be thrown.

    To simplify, there exist problems which are more than the sum of their parts, and therefore, it is not always true that:

    “Correct solution = nonsolution + nonsolution + nonsolution + …”

    or even that

    “Correct solution = partial solution + partial solution + partial solution + …”

    As one likely example, what Isaac Newton accomplished – constructing a unified mathematical framework for classical mechanics – probably could not have been efficiently accomplished, and as a matter of historical fact was not accomplished, by the entire set of his peers. Perhaps his feat could have been duplicated by another genius like Leibniz, but probably not by any group of more pedestrian intellects. It’s true that in order to complete the set-up for any given stroke of genius, the efforts of many sharp intellects may be required. After all, Newton “stood on the shoulders of giants”. But more often than not, the culminating leaps occur within single, exceptional human minds.

    Thirdly, the following equation clearly does not hold:

    “IQ 200 = IQ 100 + IQ 100 (+ IQ 100 + …)”

    Lest anyone mistakenly suppose that this linear relationship fails only with respect to IQ, equations like the following are also incorrect:

    “Supercomputer = pocket calculator + pocket calculator + pocket calculator + …”

    “Michelangelo = moderately talented guy with a paintbrush + moderately talented guy with a chisel + …”

    and so on.

    I could go on, but this has already taken more time than I wanted to spend. I hope that you get the picture, as some of your readers already appear to have done. I also hope that you can learn to exhibit a bit more taste and civility in your choice of headings, instead of labeling your thoughts in a way that has “lowbrow” written all over it. (If this seems like too much to ask, try reading your own rule 6 for comments posted to this blog, ostensibly including your own: “No harsh, foul, demeaning or overly critical language is allowed. Disagreement and debate are perfectly fine, but let’s keep things civil.” It’s a shame when you don’t practice what you preach.)

    Chris Langan

  2. max says:

    I agree with the comment made by litho, but i think that IQ is a measurement of a type of intelligence . I think people’s intelligence manifests mostly in two areas, social and mathematical. I’m really good at analyzing social situations. For example, I love politics and have a much better understanding of what’s happening in the world then most kids my age (I’m 15). I could explain to you everything that’s happening in the Middle East and Africa, and explain neocolonialism etc. But I never made it into the gifted program in my school, which wasn’t that hard to get into, because (I think anyways) the questions were all mathematical. So i think the relevance of IQ as an indicator of intelligence should be reevaluated. I hope i didn’t come off as really pretentious and boastful in explaining that.

    Also, brain and head size really isn’t an indicator of intelligence. The largest recorded brain belonged to a retarded man, and there are plenty of animals with big brains who aren’t as smart as people whales and dolphins for example.

  3. litho says:

    What I’ve learned is that IQ is a measure of a type of intelligence. I had a very similar early childhood as Mr Langan. Talking and reading early, father died at an early age, school was boring, picked on for my intelligence. I have a measured IQ of 160. Nowhere near that of Mr Langan, but above average. I’ve found that this type (notice I say type, not level or vastness) of intelligence makes me very interested in certain areas that are quite different than people of more average IQ.

    There are some things I am very good at and many things that I am very poor at. I am very good at solving problems. I am very good at programming and math. I am very poor at understanding social situations. I am very poor at staying focused on anything that I don’t find interesting. These differences between someone of my IQ and someone of average IQ create a distinct social tension that has made it difficult to build and maintain strong friendships. When IQ type intelligence displayed itself in school, there was resentment. Not because I was trying to make myself look better or lord it over anyone, I was simply trying to do my best, and I aced tests without trying. But I couldn’t carry a football or bounce a basketball. I didn’t know how to talk to a pretty girl. These things created tension.

    I don’t see myself as superior or better than other people. I am much better at some things, and much worse than others, and what I’ve found is that my high IQ is simply an indicator that I have been given a great set of mental tools that need to be used well. Other people have been given a tremendous set of physical tools that should be used well. Still others have a tremendous set of emotional tools. If we could stop resenting others for having gifts we don’t have and learn to seek out others who have skills that complement ours and then make the most of what we have, we’ll have a much happier world.

  4. zeroes says:

    I’m a psychologist and I’ve never understood the use of an IQ test to show a person’s intellect or how smart they are. A person with a very high IQ is generally a person that is very similar to a computer in that they are very good at problem solving, math and statistical analysis. Other than those things, the simple fact is that those people aren’t smart in a general sense, i.e. having common sense and humility, those people (regardless of bullying) are hypocrites and also show signs of intense jealousy and laziness after the age of 23. Sad really.

  5. ionutz says:

    i think to right word is LOGORREHEA
    LOGO = WORD in greek language (if i remember well)

  6. Green_Treefrog says:

    “Smartest Man in the World Has Diarrhea of the Mouth”. First of all, what a lovely title. You dislike what someone says and you say “it is shit”.

    I think he makes some very valid points but I don’t think he is pessimistic considering what has happened during so many wars and through many bad regimes. He actually appears quite down to earth and balanced. But what he fails to see is that not all decisions are rational. Some are intuitive. In fact many big deals that make people rich are based on intuition. And therefore leaving things to the most intelligent people (where I assume that the IQ test actually is a good measure for rational intelligence) will not work.

    It would, assuming our society had a pyramid structure and all people were completely rational; however this is only partially true. Another point would be that smart people like Edison provided us with the technology that allows earth’s resources to be accessed and consumed faster. Had people have been even smarter they could have advanced faster than us and only the timescale would have changed.

    It is more our aggressive way of thinking, our lack of wisdom that is causing this problem. I see intelligence as a resource. Like any resource, if it falls in the “wrong” hands, there is a serious problem. But the idea of incorporating intelligent people (actually I should say of high fluid intelligence) into the decision making process does make sense. The question is just what about other intelligences? How do we measure them?

  7. Billco says:

    Actually one of the goals of eugenics is to eliminate the “Morlocks” entirely. Keeping them around is just asking for trouble, in addition to being inhumane.

  8. Billco says:

    Many things can affect an IQ score: mood, alertness/fatigue, overall physical health, nutrition (testing after a meal is a bad idea for most). You need to control as many of these variables as you can in order to get a trustworthy result. I wouldn’t worry too much about it :)

  9. Billco says:

    True, but spouting off wedgeless profanity and personal attacks certainly go a long way in determining what goes on inside yours.

    IQ tests are just that, tests. They’re not a tangible measurement, just a relative scale with no solid baseline. Just like any statistic, some people use it properly (in moderation), and others misinterpret its value and make rash judgements.

  10. Ammon says:

    Cornell Student—You’ve got it all wrong buddy. It’s not thanks to the smart people that our society is so advanced. It’s thanks to the advancement of liberty. People with high IQs have existed for thousands of years, but to what advantage? Only by and through freedom are these things accomplished. Why else has our society advanced so much in just 200 years? Ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things when not tread on.

  11. LazyS says:

    Suppose you lived a hundred years ago. How would you judge people? By their achievements? Or family origins? How well they wrote, or if they wrote?

    Why does a concept made up to measure intelligence as a single factor matter to any of us? That is more a matter of history and sociology than a pursuit of our true nature. I recommend reading The Mismeasure of Man and some Howard Gardener as an antidote to this obsession.

  12. kevin says:

    Smart is a relative concept anyway….I like plain old ordinary….

  13. everlast says:

    What, so a little Eloi and Morlock type society then is the goal? Or maybe a 1984ish style US?

  14. sb says:

    come on! no common sense? the guy is a bouncer for christ sake. I think he has plenty of ‘common sense’ and he obviously has plenty of book smarts too. this guy is the real deal. but the truths he speaks are just to painful for the the everyone is equal ‘baby world’. i say let the smart guys take over and lets tighten up the mothership before we sink..

  15. John P. says:

    Paulo,

    Thanks for the notification on the videos. Occasionally YouTube videos are unavailable during maintenance windows and things like that, but they are back up and running in case you still wanted to watch them. :-)

    John

  16. Frans says:

    when i’m at highschool my IQ test is 120, after 4 years being cigarrete lover in college, now I test it’s 90?? OMG..

  17. Paulo says:

    John P., Youtube says the videos are no longer available.

    Ugly American,
    about “that’s what scientists and engineers have done by giving advanced technology to politicians”, the example you gave before proves that the danger is not in the tools themselves, but in who uses it. Therefore scientists, as those that develop tools (technologies = tools), are not responsible for the danger their tools might represent, specially because they don’t “give” these tools to anyone, they publish them as their duty and as it might be useful for good purposes. The use of these technologies is society’s and politicians’ responsibility.

  18. Wiseman says:

    that guy is a f-ing douche bag-what i fascist narcissist. IQ tests aren’t everything. It can not determine what completely goes on inside your head.

  19. Jon says:

    I think everyone should be allowed the reproduce, but in Australia at least it is often the ‘less successful’ who reproduce the most. Thats what needs to change in my opinion. Everyone gets a shot and making someone new – but we should be taking more changes with the successful DNA than the unsuccessful stuff.

  20. Jon says:

    I was with you all the way up until your last paragraph – “There is no logic that can support these statements”. You must be uber smart if you have already assessed that it would be impossible to make a resonable argument for this blokes point of view. In regards to freedom, I agree with what he is trying to say (in my opinion) but not with how he says it. Creating a ‘free’ world is not easy. I doubt you or I would feel ‘free’ in a world of anarchy?