Talk:Christopher Langan

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Notice: Asmodeus and DrL are banned from editing this article.
The users specified have been indefinitely banned by the Arbitration committee from editing this article. The users are not prevented from discussing or proposing changes on this talk page.

Posted by Srikeit 17:22, 8 December 2006 (UTC) for the Arbitration committee. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/ScienceApologist.

Dubious IQ Claims[edit]

The references on this site for his IQ being so high are not authoritative as best I can see. Every link I have been able to follow goes to a transcript of him being interviewed and making that claim; none of them offer more support for his IQ being so astronomically high beyond his own claim. This should be marked as such.

CTMU website[edit]

There is more than one website with information relating to CTMU however this section previously referred to the "CTMU website" being hacked. Obviously, this is no longer a current discussion. is readily accessible by Google as at 3.8.2015

Some of Chris Langan's essays may be found here: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Isotelesis (talkcontribs) 20:38, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

This kind of sounds like a joke[edit]

The smartest man in the world. He taught himself things. You really have to be smart to do that. He even thought he was smarter than his professors.

A proponent of intelligent design and some mind theory of the universe. It's really dubious whether this article meets Wikipedia standards for a biography. I have known many people who belong to Mensa, some smart some dense, but they all think they have a high IQ. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:DA8:D800:279:2CC7:3B73:58F5:FBBA (talk) 23:35, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

I found university professors to be highly uneducated and unintelligent. My IQ was last tested 20 years ago, but was about 190. I also learned on my own. (talk) 02:26, 6 September 2016 (UTC)


I just today heard Malcom Gladwell reference Christopher Langan so I want to look what his story was and first landed on this wikipedia page. I wanted to learn more so followed the link. After extensive googling I am under the strong impression that much here is questionable. First on the wikipedia article itself. The sourcing is poor and at times out of context. There is no source for the 210 IQ number but himself. He claims that number in an interview. That is the Morris interview shows him, and no external source at being at that IQ. This is not independent verification and is in conflict with the current phrasing of "whose IQ was reported by 20/20 and other media sources to have been measured at between 195 and 210". Even the 195 number is suspect. While 20/20 per transcript did solicit a test, no IQ number is reported, but instead the transcript states In the past, his IQ has been measured at 195 indicating that this too may have been self-reported and is actually not compounded by the 20/20 report. All other sources simply refer back to this report. There are sources calling this his certified IQ without much of a tangible proof or show of sound methodology. It seems likely that the IQ number springs from an Omni magazine test (original research warning) which is discussed here: where Langan is reported to score high on a second attempt. Given that this was an off-line un-peer-reviewed test it is questionable if the IQ numbers "estimated" here actually hold up.

The current wikipedia article is also questionable on other grounds. It gives the impression of false respectability. Let me make plain what I mean by that. This source [1] claims that the inventor of the Omni test mention above was the original founder of the Mega Society in 1982 and that Langan tried to make it his own later. The source mentions that Langan lost litigation over the name of the society (more original research). Finally, the article gives the impression of the society that he publishes at is respectable, quoting the AAAS. But if one follows the link it actually is about AAAS adopting a resolution that states about intelligent design that "makes it improper to include as a part of science education" and the linked article notes the conflict on interest in the supposed peer review of the society. I quote "He is also a Fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID), which promotes intelligent design, and serves on the Editorial Board of the Baraminology Study Group, a creation science group. Given these associations, Dr. Sternberg would appear to be, at very least, an advocate for "intelligent design" and critical of standard peer review processes as they bear on the scientific assessment of the "intelligent design" hypothesis.". Hence rather than the link to the AAAS affirming the status of professional society on ISCID it draws the quality of the organisation into question. I don't see how links like that can be assumed proper sourcing. Overall I feel that this is one of the poorer wikipedia articles I have read on a person with clearly poorly sources even misleading citations. If there was a vote to delete, I would advocate for that. In lieu of that there clearly is serious need for clarifying the citations and putting the text in proper light (remove self-claims or mark them as such, make clear what citations actually say rather than use them to give impressions, etc) (talk) 06:26, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Agree with the above. This is complete quackery. And if you listen to this fellow here he's downright scary, advocates eugenics, and much other bizarreness. (talk) 17:02, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure who these commenters are, but I have some personal knowledge about these controversies. Langan was the highest scorer on the Hoeflin Mega test, the hardest IQ test ever devised, which was the qualifying exam for the Mega Society. The accuracy of this test is much lower than most IQ tests because of the fundamental statistical difficulties of high-range testing. I believe this is where the lower number (195) comes from. The higher number (210) comes from combining several partially correlated tests, which is a valid procedure, however the details of his particular calculation have not been made public so far as I know. IQ is a rarity measure rather than a direct measure of intelligence and it is somewhere between difficult-to-interpret and meaningless at such high levels. At any rate Langan is very intelligent.

The dispute over the Mega Society was with Kevin Langdon, a member of several other high IQ societies (his qualification for those societies is unclear), an extremely difficult and argumentative person. (I could use harsher words here - he is perhaps the most infuriating person I have ever dealt with.) Langdon won control of the Mega Society with a baseless lawsuit which Langan did not have the money to travel from New York to California to defend - the case was not litigated, a default judgment was entered for the plaintiff and Kevin Langdon assumed control of the Mega Society. Chris Langan founded the Mega Foundation in response. A great deal of work was done on the Mega Foundation's website and its associated mid-tier (160 IQ) Ultranet society flourished for a couple of years (, but it seems to have died out over the last few years. Facts not in dispute are that Chris Langan qualified for and joined the preexisting Mega Society, became its president, was forced out by Kevin Langdon, then founded a competing organization, the Mega Foundation.

Langan did publish in some Intelligent Design journals, but his theory was never in any way connected to biblical religion. His theory is that the universe is a self-creating math/linguistic phenomenon, a self-processing language, which is itself intelligent and the totality of reality generated by this may be identified with God. (This is as I understand it - his language is very dense and uses many coined words.) His choice of venue to publish his ideas was politically poor, but it shouldn't affect evaluating the merits of his thoughts. I have never had any direct communication with Langan, nor am I a partisan of his, but I think he has an interesting story and thoughts which I believe meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines. Enon (talk) 23:32, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

That Langan's claim to fame is membership in a high IQ society in itself indicates quackery. People who actually are geniuses generally make in known through their work, publications, inventions, etc. It is usually a crank who brags about their IQ.

Spinoza's god[edit]

I think you can only get there if you misunderstand the CTMU, which I have read. Langan is not talking about Spinoza's god. He is talking about divine intervention (telic influence). Spinoza's god has no power over the world. Physics is set. Langan is far more flexible in his approach.

Hello, Langan's model of the universe allows for the universe to intersect and modify itself - directly while allowing for the typical usual impersonal modification. This is a deviance from Spinoza's view that God does not interfere directly at all but is impersonal. This mechanism is the origin of the notion of divine intervention, miracles, the messiah or messiah-like heroes (ala Jesus, Moses, various philosophers) and so on. Spinoza is very much close to Langan's work but Langan does apparently have great respect for Spinoza despite disagreeing with him on a few issues, phrasing and technicalities. They have led quite similar lives, as well. (talk) 23:56, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

Intelligence Citations Bibliography for Articles Related to IQ Testing[edit]

You may find it helpful while reading or editing articles to look at a bibliography of Intelligence Citations, posted for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human intelligence and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in these issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research. You can help other Wikipedians by suggesting new sources through comments on that page. It will be extremely helpful for articles on human intelligence to edit them according to the Wikipedia standards for reliable sources for medicine-related articles, as it is important to get these issues as well verified as possible. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 19:54, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


The article says "Board-certified". What board?

—DIV ( (talk) 08:30, 6 August 2010 (UTC))

I'm curious about that, myself. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:13, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Following the "neuropsychology" wikilink and scrolling down to the external links section I find: "The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology - Board certifying body for practicing Clinical Neuropsychologists. ABCN is a member of the American Board of Professional Psychology". I don't think this point really merits inclusion in the article. (talk) 23:42, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Just wondering[edit]

Hi. I'm the subject of this article, and I find myself wondering about certain recent modifications.

First, I see the epithet "crank" in the References section (source #29), and wonder whether this is really appropriate in a Wikipedia bio article (I'm not an expert on WP:BLP, but as I understand it, such insults have been specifically prohibited). Granted, it's in the references, but those are on the page in plain English along with the body of the article. It seems to me that not only was this title chosen for its insulting character, but that any page bearing such a title is ad hominem in nature, which suggests that its scholarly value may leave something to be desired.

These misgivings were confirmed when I visited the site and ascertained that its author, a blogger of no particular notoriety, is seriously confused regarding certain distinctions basic to the essay he is criticizing. For example, he erroneously denies the distinction between the mathematical object "set" and the formal language "set theory", taking exception to certain widely accepted definitions of these concepts which appear in Wikipedia. This is not the only critical error he makes. (While he claims to have a degree in computer science, the target of his criticism is not computer code.) In short, he exhibits no understanding of that which he claims to be criticizing.

Much the same applies to another blogger whose attacks are linked in the references (sources #30 and #31). As nearly as I can tell, the blogger in question is merely an opinionated college student with no appreciable knowledge of metaphysics or of my work in that field. Unsurprisingly given his apparent lack of technical knowledge, he too relies primarily on ad hominem rhetorical techniques.

Lastly, my work and I have been extensively discussed (pro and con) over the last decade, often by people claiming to be qualified professionals but strangely reluctant to attach their full identities and bona fides to their criticisms. This casts doubt on the sentence "Few have sought to either publicly support or refute Langan's ideas." Such sweeping statements are generally hard if not impossible to verify, and may therefore be inappropriate in an encyclopedia article.

That should do it for now. As I say, I don’t claim to be an expert in these matters. But just in case, perhaps someone more knowledgeable might want to have a look. Christopher Langan (talk) 17:31, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

IQ, credentials, knowledge and personality[edit]

First, regarding IQ: If numbers in the area of 200 are reasonable or not, I can`t say. However, according to Gladwell, Langan got a perfect score on the SAT (and also a test conducted by the army, if I remember correctly). Also he "hit the ceiling" when the TV-show 20/20 had him tested by a neuropsycologist. His raw-score on his second attempt on the MEGA-test was 47, out of a possible 48, and the result on his first attempt, under the pseudonym of Eric Hart, was a raw-score of 42. The creator of the test, Ronald Hoeflin, said the score of 47 was valid. If all this places him in the region of IQ 200, I don`t know, but it should be sufficient to state that he has a "brainpower" very seldomly seen.

Credentials and knowledge: Langan has not completed any college education, a fact he never denies. The value in formal credentials are that they are indicators, not proof, of a certain level of general knowledge and intelligence. This, of course, does not exlude the possibility that one can be highly knowledgable and intelligent without having such credentials. Given the section above, on Langans`IQ, it seems likely that Langan is such a person. In fact his writings indicate a level of general knowledge very seldomly seen, not just in those without a college degree, but also among them with such credentials, as they are usually more specialized than Langan seems to be.

Personality: The only sources I have available are those that are publicly available. I draw a different conclusion than those who think of Hitler the minute they hear the word "eugenics". They have usually seen the documentary made by Errol Morris, which in editing, music/sound-effects and camera-angles, seem allmost tailor-made in order to create such assosiations.

However, wether Langan is a nice guy or not, should be completely irrellevant if one is to evaluate his ideas, writings and theories. Shouldn`t they? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:24, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Doing the math on IQ, saying it is in the region of 190-210 does not make sense. According to, there has been 107 billion people that have ever lived, including probably more that 80 billion who lived before 1AD. That aside, an IQ of more that 201 means that your IQ is higher than 120billion people, more people that have ever even existed on Earth. Even more absurd is an IQ of 210, which means that your IQ is higher that 8.9 trillion other humans (that have supposedly taken the test). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:05, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Why such a failure?[edit]

growing up in poverty, with a stifling educational system, and lack of people pushing him to succeed is one thing, but the guy didn't grow up a feral child locked in a shed somewhere! he FINISHED high school, TOOK the SATs, and started college SOMEWHERE. why not harvard? why not caltech? how can anyone with an IQ over about 65 think that "Reed College" (never heard of it) was in ANY way logical?

the feral child could be excused. this guy, tho -- i just don't get it. at the moment he took the SATs, what did he THINK he'd be using them for?!

and what's this about "once got"? if you get a perfect score on the SATs, i dare say you aren't going to tske them again! (talk) 06:48, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Well...if you consider him a failure you probably make some assumptions first. One might regard financial success and another academic success. Maybe Langan doesn`t share your views on the importance of these factors? In fact he explicitly says, in an interview, that he doesn`t care much about money. When it comes to higher education he gives several reasons why this was a failure, among them are personality conflicts. (Langan has never said this, but I wouldn`t be surprised if part of the problem actually was that the professors might have felt threatened by his abilities. This is pure speculations on my part, but when it comes to acknowledging talent among the younger generation, I beleve you will often find more integrity among the coaches in sports than among the teachers in academia).

Regarding Reed College; in the documentary by Errol Morris, Langan says that Reed College was "one of the top liberal arts institutions at the time"..."highly exlusive". I don`t know if this is correct, I`m not American, but I`m sure you could find out if you want to. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:21, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

i still don't get it. if the guy had gone to harvard and failed spectacularly, that would be one thing. if the guy was so disoriented as to have never considered college, that would be another. but he ACTIVELY SOUGHT to attend college; he took his tests, he collected his grades, he asked teachers for the various recommendations needed -- at NO point along the way did he or any of those teachers think "hmmm. maybe I should aim higher"?
i'd have more respect for him if he had been a janitor/bouncer or w/e from the gitgo. i just can't fathom this "i'll go to Podunk U" thinking if he were in any way cognizant of his brilliance. even after he GOT to reed, didn't he ever consider an UPGRADE (transfer)?
was there some OTHER factor - like PROXIMITY? i'm sure reed is nice and all, but take morris' quote with a grain of salt. reed doesn't make the top 50 on most lists.
BTW, the school's motto is "Communism, Atheism, and Free Love"(!) even in portland, OR, i'm surprised they'd put that on paper. (talk) 04:07, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Reed College was "one of the top liberal arts institutions at the time"? That statement probably explains why he is a failure by conventional standards. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 05:00, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Steve Jobs attended Reed. He did pretty well. And it's the only school in the US with a nuclear reactor run primarily by undergraduates. (Reed does have science majors.) (talk) 16:35, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

Just because the guy has a high IQ doesn't mean he is going to make wise decisions. A person with his background isn't going to have the family support to help him along. If he has personality issues teachers aren't necessarily going to help him along, especially if they view him as confrontational or a threat to their personal ego. He may also have self esteem issues. Unless one can see themselves as a success they rarely are regardless of their potential. It takes a lot more than a high IQ and high test scores to become an academic or financial success. (talk) 14:27, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Reed is a unique experience which many people actively seek and value, and not as a compromise. I don't know why this makes you angry. (talk) 18:18, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

To clarify: He might've wanted to go to a particular college for its unique characteristics, rather than wanted to reach as high as he could on a given university ranking system, which is valid and reasonable and actually even sounds like a good way to orient your life. (talk) 18:22, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

It sounds like instead of trying to understand the man, somebody is bending over backwards to try to not understand him. Either way you slice it, Chris is a very unusual human being with a very unusual mind and a very challenging early life. What made sense to him as he recovered from that early life does not need to make sense to you. People make decisions based on what could be found somewhere in a million different possible unknown reasons that begin to make more sense when you happen to be privy to knowing what those reasons are, which you almost certainly do not.

As for your definition of the word "failure," what seems like a mystery to you about this should be mitigated by the fact that he and many other people whose minds soar above the social structures and constructs and fascinations of common humans do not care about having LOTS of money and prestige. It should be obvious that the desires and values of one who transcends you will also not share your desires and values. When I was a small child, I never did understand why my parents had a hard time playing with my He-Man toys until I grew up and transcended those desires and values myself. If you want a good example of the kind of people who chase after money and prestige, just look at congress. Or even Hollywood. You think someone among the highest of superior intellects wants to be like that?! You think the definition of success == POWER and MONEY or FAME or ability to CONTROL THE WORLD?! That's funny! :D Compassionately though, I genuinely hope that everyone would consider this deeply as they reflect upon what is truly truly truly important in their own lives. DavidPesta (talk) 11:48, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Why not give him a fair chance?[edit]

If it is true that he has a reasoning ability at an extremely rare level, several things point in this direction, then there is also a good chanse that he has aquired a very high level of general knowledge. After all, isn`t the value of a Ph.d. that it signals intelligence and knowledge? (On a side note, in Norway for example, nobody cares wich university one has an education from, only the LEVEL of education and the GRADES one has aquired).

I just wish some highly capable people would look into Langans work, and judge it ONLY by content. This means, among other things:

- No Straw man arguments

- No Ad hominem arguments

In short, follow the guidelines given by Critical Thinking, in the evaluation of Langans work.

I truly beleve this is all Langan wants. Just for the record: Robert North Seitz, a former physicist at NASA, takes Langan seriously. (talk) 16:36, 14 January 2013 (UTC)Heyerdahl

For the record, the last statement is false. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:51, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Even if that statement were false, was anything else false with his statements? Or are you going to disregard everything he just said with your curt retort? DavidPesta (talk) 12:04, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

If you look in the references for the article on Langan, you should read the one from Popular Science. In it, Seitz is quoted as saying about Langan that he is "perhaps the smartest individual" he's ever met, and is looking forward to seeing Langan's "theory given serious and open-minded review." Robert Seitz is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Megafoundation. What are your reasons for saying it is false that Seitz takes Langan seriously?


Also for the record, no sensible person regards grades as relevant without considering the nature of the institution. I decline to give specifics, because of dispute as to whether a given institution is a "diploma mill", but no sensible person aware that an institution is a "diploma mill" considers degrees from there relevant, regardless of grades. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:54, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
How has this become relevant to Christopher Langan? Are you saying that Reed College is a diploma mill? I'm sure they would have something to say about that. DavidPesta (talk) 12:04, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Ok. We don`t have any real "diploma mills" here in Norway, so I didn`t think of that. If this might be a problem, then the question would be if indeed Reed College was "one of the top liberal arts institutions at the time" or a "diploma mill", some 40 years ago. We know what Langan says about this, but anybody else could offer proof to the contrary, if they can.


once again, i'll just say that i'm an american and i'd never even HEARD of the place. we have the Big 3 (harvard, yale, princeton) plus stanford, usually considered the top 4. then we have the 5 "lesser ivies" (brown, columbia, cornell, dartmouth, U penn) plus UC berkeley considered the next level. sometimes U Chicago and U Michigan as well.
in the other direction, MIT and caltech are prolly ABOVE harvard/yale/princeton, but often overlooked in such lists. and then there's the "service academies" (military), certainly as good as the lesser ivies.
reed is about 100 colleges below all those.
i'm sure it's fine and all, but we're still talking about an average place for average students. (talk) 06:03, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
"I know that I know nothing about this so I'm going to make stuff up and then be confused about it" fix'd. (talk) 18:24, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia article on the CTMU[edit]

As I understand it, there has previously been an article on the CTMU here in wikipedia. This was removed. I find this strange for several reasons.

If the arguments for removing the article conserned the validity and credibility of the theory itself, then what about all other ideas out there which are not only unlikely, but evidently wrong? For instance, nobody today argues that everything in the universe is build of "the four elemental substances", water, air, fire and dirt. Yet I`m sure you can find articles on wikipedia that mentions that this was a common belief in ancient Greece.

If the arguments for removing the article concerned the notoriety of the theory, then we have a paradox:

An encyclopedia (as wikipedia) would generally be evaluated by two criteria.

1. The quality of the content.

2. It`s comprehensiveness.

Regarding the first criterion, the whole idea behind wikipedia is that we all work together to ensure the quality of it`s content. Regarding the second criterion, removing the article on the CTMU directly decreases wikipedias ability to meet this criteron.

Therefore, if the article is "out there somewhere", I think it should be returned to wikipedia.

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:14, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I thought CTMU was supposed to be merged here, the reasoning being that all its notability was related to Langan. If it's not here now, perhaps a paragraph should be restored. Checking it over, I see two paragraphs and two quotes. That's probably enough. If you have specific suggestions as to improvement of that section, please present them. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:57, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

My suggestion is simply to bring it all back, whatever it was, if it still is "out there somewhere". It would be our collective project to ensure the quality and it would emprove wikipedias comprehensiveness.

Heyerdal — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:46, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

It was not notable enough for a stand-alone article. If that has changed and you can find further mention of it in reliable sources, then present then and we can discuss it. Guettarda (talk) 13:08, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Although I don't agree, it seems to me that the anon wants more on CTMU in this article. That doesn't require reconsidering the consensus that it is not sufficiently notable for a stand-alone article. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:54, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Oh, I see. Guettarda (talk) 15:14, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Well, what I`m saying is that it would be good for the comprehensiveness of Wikipedia. If there is a criterion of notability, this contradicts the criterion of comprehensiveness. If I, for example, had crazy ideas about everything under the sun, then I would agree that they should not be included in Wikipedia, because of lack of notability. Langan though, is something else. Therefore I find that his theory satisfies the criterion of notability, and enters the realm of Wikipedias ambition of comprehensiveness.

If he is known in your country as "the smartest man in America", then some people, including myself, would be interested in knowing what his extremely ambitious theory actually is. I call it extremely ambitious because the claims he makes for his theory are extreme. So, why not get it out there? Then we could all make up our own minds about his ideas.

On a side note, and this is not directed to you personally, but to everybody. Perhaps everybody could, in the interest of fairness, ask themselves: "Do I react with strong negative emotions toward this person, i.e. Langan? If so, what is this all about? Is it his fault, or could it possibly have something to do with me? If so, is there the slightest little chance that this could cloud my objectivity when it comes to evaluating his ideas?". I ask myself such questions and it has changed my attitude towards a lot of things.

I have actually read his 56 page paper on the CTMU and other relevant sources, but I don`t understand it. A good question in a situation like this is: "Does my inability to understand the theory automatically mean that it must be wrong?".

The reason that I defend Langan here then, is obviously not that I subscribe to his theory. It is that I find many peoples` reaction to this guy, on youtube and in blogs, to be highly transparent. There is a total absence of ability to look objectively at what this man actually is saying.

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:27, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Not "my country", fwiw, but it boils down to coverage in reliable secondary sources. Since the idea has largely been ignored, it's hard for us to say too much about it. Guettarda (talk) 15:14, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

— Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain (1979), p. 64 ISBN 0394501691
(Wikilinks added by Wikiquote.) The fact that nobody claims to understand it would lead one to believe it's wrong. (I'm afraid the same applies to Heim theory....) It may not necessarily be correct, but it's generally the way to bet. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:48, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

This comment was not really good at first (sorry about that), but now it`s edited.

Arthur Rubin, you first said that it was a false statement on my part that Bob Seitz takes Langan seriously. I then provided evidence to the contrary. After that, you ignored the issue. This is important as it directly conserns Langans credibility. Do you accept now that Seitz takes Langan seriously?

If Anon (Enon?) also wants more material on the CTMU, then I think we should. If anybody have access to the material on CTMU, please bring it back.


The article just says that Seitz thinks Langan should be given a fair hearing. That's not quite the same as that Seitz takes Langan seriously. There are any number of people who I don't take seriously, but whom I still think should be given a fair hearing by appropriate experts (unless they decide, as experts, that there is nothing there to be taken seriously.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:29, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

The fact that there is at least one article stating that Seitz is impressed with Langan's work (with a direct quotation from Seitz himself), would seem to be indicative of Seitz meeting the criteria of "taking Langan seriously". In any case, the fact that Seitz actually administers the website for Chris's Foundation would also seem to indicate that Seitz does indeed take him seriously.

On another note, whether Seitz takes him seriously or not really has no bearing on the cogency and validity of Langan's ideas. That would simply be a blatant appeal to authority.

John Aiello (talk) 03:30, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

John Aiello, I agree on both counts. It seems clear that Seitz does endeed take Langan seriously, but it also, as you say "has no bearing on the cogency and validity of Langan's ideas. That would simply be a blatant appeal to authority."

Arthur Rubin, I`m not going to let go of this quite yet. As you probably notized, I apologized for the last comment and edited it. Are you willing to admit that you were wrong when you said it was false of me to state that Seitz takes Langan seriously? On what grounds did you make that statement anyway? It doesn`t seem like you were aware of the two pieces of evidence just given you.

Arthur Rubin, the main issue is still the CTMU. Are you willing to accept that it should be brought back?

Heyerdal — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:09, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I don't think you were lying when you stated that Seitz takes Langan seriously, and it's a reasonable conclusion from the Popular Science article, but it's not specifically stated. It's not relevant to anything we can say about CTMU in the article, anyway.
And I'm not sure the details about CTMU should be brought back; any interpretation would need to be from a reliable 3rd-party source; as, to the best of my knowledge, no 3rd-party source claims to understand it, this is problematic. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:15, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Arthur Rubin, you still haven`t told us on which grounds you made the statement in the first place, but very well, let`s move on.

You write "The fact that nobody claims to understand it would lead one to believe it's wrong." and " the best of my knowledge, no 3rd-party source claims to understand it,...". I take it this means that you don`t undrestand it either? That`s completely fine, as I say, I don`t either. But if that is the case, then it would also mean that neither you or me are in a good position to be sure of it`s falsity.

Who wrote the material on the CTMU that was here earlier? Was it a biased source?

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I think you're missing the point - what we think or conclude about the CTMU is irrelevant. What matters is what reliable sources have to say about the topic. Guettarda (talk) 20:08, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree that "what we think or conclude about the CTMU is irrelevant." That is sort of the point I`m making when I argue that none of us understand it suffieciently.

When I ask who wrote about the CTMU and if that person was biased in any way, then I`m actually asking you guys:

-Was it a reliable source?

-If not, why not?

-If it was a good source, can we have the material back?

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I`m waiting for a response.

Can we have the previous material on the CTMU back?

If not, why not?

Arthur Rubin, do you claim to understand the CTMU?

These are legitimate questions.

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

In regard whether I understand CTMU, I'm not sure. It looks like intelligent design cloaked with "conciousness of matter", but I might be missing something. It seems to me that we have enough on CTMU in the article, as, per WP:FRINGE, to say more, we would need a third-party reliable source, and there aren't any. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:39, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

IQ claim[edit]

Hi everyone, not a regular wikipedia editor but I thought I'd make a brief comment on this page. In the lede it mention that media sources claim Langan has scored 190-210 on IQ tests. Certainly I don't doubt this is true; however, as any researcher will tell you no reliable, valid IQ test claims to be able to reach this level of granularity. The tests which are advanced to support the claim (eg. Mega Test) are not IQ tests unless you would also consider any random online IQ test also legitimate (thus anyone could claim any ridiculous IQ score they feel appropriate). Furthermore, in the case of the mega tests, the correct answers for the test were readily available from numerous books/online sources not long after the test was devised.

I'm painfully aware that there are a whole host of WP policies that I am not familiar with so I won't belabor the point, however, the claims in the lede are patently false. To anyone who understands IQ testing it would be analogous to someone claiming that they ran a 5 second 100 metre; or for the burlier amongst us, threw a discus out of the arena. It's possible Christopher Langan mistakenly believes he legitimately has this IQ, it's also possible that media have mis-reported or failed to conduct due diligence on his claim. Whatever the reason, in my opinion, it's worth noting that the claimed IQ score is highly unlikely to be true. (talk) 03:03, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Your misgivings about the claim are valid. I have been finding sources that should be able to back up those misgivings in a manner appropriate for a Wikipedia biographical article about a living person. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 03:19, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
As I read through the archive of this talk page I see the issue has a long and tortuous history. If I can extend the analogy I used above RE: 5 seconds to sprint 100 metres; it's actually even more egregious than that. It's like claiming 4.99... seconds extending past the point where reliable time measurements can be made. Not only is the claim highly dubious due to it's magnitude it also exceeds the ability of the available measurement tools. However, I've read through some of the arguments of other editors and I can see it's a vexed issue and I now understand why the wording in the lede is the way it is.

I think the article demonstrates a necessary failing with WP - while Langan is definitely notable - he is only notable because of a misunderstanding or deliberate misrepresentation of his IQ score. Gullible media outlets have accepted his claims because it's probably beyond the scope of a busy journalist or author to ensure that they are correct. Based on my understanding of WP policies (inadequate and probably incorrect to be sure) the fact that his claims are almost certainly false carries no weight because no published sources have stated as much. Unfortunately there are very few publications that would care to refute the claim. I agree the focus of an encyclopedia must be what is verifiable rather than what is true and I don't see any way out of the quandary - just an observation. (talk) 08:39, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

There are sources. I have found some and added them to the article. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:38, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
My attempt to fix the problem has been reverted twice. See the article history for the full details. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 14:38, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Names of tests Langan has taken? Where are those reported?[edit]

The article text currently says, "Billing Langan as 'the smartest man in America,' Mike Sager's account of the weight-lifting bouncer and his CTMU 'Theory of Everything' sparked a flurry of media interest. Board-certified neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Novelly tested Langan's IQ for 20/20, which reported that Langan broke the ceiling of the test." Later in the article, the text says "In 2004, Langan moved with his wife Gina (née LoSasso), a clinical neuropsychologist, to northern Missouri, where he owns and operates a horse ranch." That's two neuropsychologists. Was Langan already married at the time his IQ was tested by the unrelated neuropsychologist? What tests or manuals about testing did either of them have access to that Langan might have heard about before he took his test? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 21:20, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not the place for original research. NightSky (talk) 13:04, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is all about reliable sources, and most of the most embarrassing things that have been posted on Wikipedia have been an outcome of not looking for reliable sources. That is my question here: what reliable sources are there about exactly what standardized IQ tests, when, under what circumstances, and with what scores have been taken by the person described in this biography of a living person? It is exactly reliable sources that keep Wikipedia from being "original research" in the Wikipedia sense of that term. Anyone on the planet can check the published sources, for example sources on IQ and human intelligence (and other reliable sources not yet collected into that source list) to provide perspective on extraordinary claims related to human IQ, for example. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 14:15, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

I suggest we get an administrator in here for an opinion. In the meantime, it would be best to keep the article as is and save speculation for elsewhere. NightSky (talk) 14:18, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

I encourage any other editor, administrator or not, to check the sources and look at the article in its overall context. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 14:39, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, it was never claimed that he took a standardized IQ test. I'm not sure how we can make that clear if no source noted it. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:04, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
What would an unstandardised IQ test even look like? IQ is a standardisation of a raw score on a test - do you mean that Langan might be conflating a raw score with an IQ score? (talk) 00:39, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
To be clear, an unstandardised IQ test is an oxymoron. If it's unstandardised it's a puzzle, or a pop quiz, or whatever term you like to use; but by definition it's not an IQ test. (talk) 00:47, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
By "standardized", I would mean "standardized by someone who knows what IQ is and has some idea how to relate scores on the test to 'IQ'". There is no evidence that Langan ever took such a test under controlled conditions. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:07, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
I haven't looked into it but I'll take your word for it. Certainly the score he claims could not have come from an IQ test. Sorry if I sounded accusatory above; it was unintentional. (talk) 01:21, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

My 2 cents[edit]

I reinstated Weiji's edit because there were aspects of it that were/are in my opinion valid such as the insertion of the {dubious} inline template. However, I re-instated the URL he/she removed and I deleted the 3-4 sentences about IQ tests as I found it to be inappropriate content for this article. To me that content has elements of both WP:OR and WP:COATRACK and should not be in the article unless some of the sources cited in that content specifically mention Langan.--KeithbobTalk 16:29, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

I see where you're coming from on those several decisions. I take it that it would be germane to mention reviews by psychologists of the Mega test, one of the tests Langan is known to have taken, right? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 19:56, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
As I noted above I don't see any way out of this quandary. The claim is obviously false but I doubt any serious researcher in the field has bothered to address the specific claims made by any one of the hundreds of spurious IQ tests that have proliferated over the years. Before you start a conversation over the statistical and psychometric merits of the Mega Test it's worth noting that it was compromised not long after it's release into the High IQ testing world. Even if the test was empirically validated (which it wasn't) it wouldn't matter, you could literally find the answers online. (talk) 00:55, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
If we try to use sources to comment on, or explain the Mega test (or any test) then we are doing original research. Our job is to summarize sources that report on things Langan did. If Mega is a lame test, OK, then put a wiki link there and let the reader go to the Mega test article if they so desire and make there own assessment. But we can't color the article with off topic info. So just to be clear, if a source does not mention Langan it should not be in the article.--KeithbobTalk 15:01, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
The principle "if a source does not mention Langan it should not be in the article" sounds commendable, but if applied to every WP:BLP article it would eliminate hundreds of relevant statements from articles. If, for example, someone claims to have this or that IQ score, that opens the door to mainstream reliable secondary sources about the interpretation of IQ scores. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 18:14, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
We shouldn't imply that the "Mega Test" is considered to be an IQ test (by other than Langan) unless we have a source for that. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:03, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

The IQ-tests[edit]

Since this subject comes up again, I will try to contribute. As I wrote above:

According to Malcolm Gladwell, Langan got a perfect score on the SAT and a test conducted by the army. Naturally, these are standardized tests. (In Gladwells book "Outliers").

The TV-show 20/20 had him tested by a neuropsychologist and Langan "hit the ceiling". Obviously, this was also a standardized test. (This you can find on youtube).

His raw-score on his second attempt on the MEGA-test was 47, out of a possible 48. The result of his first attempt, under the pseudonym of Eric Hart, was a raw-score of 42. The creator of the test, Ronald Hoeflin, said the score of 47 was valid. The Mega Test is NOT a standardized test and is NOT considered a valid IQ-test in the psychometric community. It is an experimental high ceiling test, the purpose of which, was to be a qualifying test for ultra high IQ-societies.

Someone above wrote that the answers to the Mega Test was available online a short time after the test was delivered. Well, since the test came out and was taken by Langan in the mid 1980`s, this is clearly not true. If you want to ridicule Langan, might I suggest that you get your facts straight first.

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Even if we simply took the claims at face value, as the individual above does, they still wouldn't support an IQ of 195-210. The claim can't possible be proven with the current psychometric tools (so who knows if it is true or not). (talk) 01:32, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

I`m sure you are right that these scores doesn`t prove an IQ in the 200-range. I have certainly never said I`m sure that Langan actually has such a score. However, when it comes to taking "claims at face value", it seems reasonable to believe the score provided by 20/20. Wouldn`t you say? When it comes to Gladwell, well, he probably looked more into it than we have.

You ignored my comment about your claim that the answers to the Mega Test was provided online shortly after it was devised, that is, in the 1980`s. Why not just admit that you were wrong about this? Such a level of honesty would make this discussion that much more interesting and fruitful.

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Sorry that wasn't my intention; you are correct you couldn't find the answers online in the 80s, you had to buy the books that had the answers in them. As Hoeflin himself has acknowledged the test was compromised; by the mid 90s he had stopped even bothering to pretend. But so what? The Mega test is a collection of puzzles. It's not an IQ test. No IQ test can measure the level of granularity required to prove the claim. As has been noted elsewhere the claim is prima facie absurd - similar to a person claiming to have sprinted a 5 second 100m. The only difference is that most people understand the absurdity of the sprinting claim but not the IQ claim. (talk) 05:52, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
I know this is only tangentially related to the page, so anyone that knows the social mores better than I do here at WP feel free to tell me to pull my head in. However, the comment above, if true, shows a deep misunderstanding about the nature of human intelligence and one of it's measures (IQ). Consider the theoretical implications of retesting and taking highest scores as indicative of IQ versus the empirical observations that people's IQ is largely consistent over time. Retesting is a vexed issue within the cognitive ability literature, one study shows that someone who scores 50th percentile (IQ 100) in their first test will move to 80th by their third (IQ 113-114 depending on SD). However, there is unanimous agreement that these changes don't reflect real changes in IQ, rather they reflect changes in unrelated areas (eg. test taking strategies). How many times did Langan sit the test before he scored his 47? Can we just continually administer tests to a person until, by chance perhaps, they score well and then believe this is a good representation of their IQ? The claim is wrong on so many levels that the more I look into it the more laughable it seems; only propped up by a generally pervasive misunderstanding of what IQ is and how it is measured. (talk) 06:07, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

All is well.

OK. Let`s ignore the Mega Test because of all of it`s problems.

If it is true that Langan maxed out on these three other tests, SAT, "Army...something" and the test provided by 20/20, would you say that this shows that he indeed has a very high level of "mental horsepower"? For instance a Z-score of 3, 4 or even more (SD above the mean)? Given the sources that claim that he performed this well on these tests, isn`t it more likely than not that it is true?

In short (please speculate), what IQ-score do you think it is likely that he at least qualifies for?

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:49, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

I appreciate the invitation to speculate, but I will decline. The large amount of error associated with the measurement tools at our disposal is enough without introducing human error into the picture; furthermore I have no real information or experience with Langan. I see no reason to doubt his claims of scoring a perfect score on the SAT or various other IQ tests. The highest most will purport to measure is 160-165, and although even these claims are absurdly over-blown, that's not a problem to be hashed out on this page. Were the claims around this region then we would have no reason to protest.
As is, I only comment because I think this is illustrative of a particular problem that Wikipedia has. The claim is presented as if it could be true because no credible source has taken the time to dispute it. Wikipedia must be more concerned with verifiability than truth, I accept that, and I see no way out of the bind; it's just an observation. I've seen other people comment on the issue before - such as obvious logical errors that have been made by sources faithfully replicated in articles. (talk) 11:39, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

We probably basically agree.

I think that measures of IQ is at least better than other things that one tries to quantify in psychometrics, e. g. empathy, personality etc. The test-taker will likely cooperate with the test-maker, in the sense that he/she will try to answer as many problems as possible correct. If ones personality is tested on the other hand, and one suspects that the questions are meant to test for narcissistic personality disorder or something else less flattering, then one might not be equally cooperative and honest :-)

That being said, attempts to measure intelligence is pretty far from an exact science. Putting a number on this, e. g. IQ 120, might give a false impression of certainty and accuracy to people who isn`t familiar with the subject.

If Langan did indeed max out on all these three tests, then that might qualify him for an IQ in the area of IQ 160 (SD 15), whatever that means. Beyond this number, who knows.

Heyerdahl — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:27, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Well depending on the model of personality I would say IQ is probably more concrete. Certainly, some tests measuring valid personality models have alot of empirical evidence (Big 5, HEXACO) and I see no problems with them. You're tempting me to make some provocative comments on the commercial use and abuse of these tests, but I'll restrain myself. As far as Langan goes; who knows what his ACTUAL IQ is. By this stage it would appear that he has taken so many IQ tests that they probably measure crystallised intelligence rather than fluid. You could probably get an estimate from an Inspection Time or Reaction Time task if you were desperate. Regardless; what we know is that the claim in the lede of this article is patently false. In any case, I think I better stop clogging up the talk page with irrelevant blabber. (talk) 00:21, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
The main point here is that there are factual claims about IQ tests and about an individual's IQ score that are commented about in reliable sources. Once those claims are in the article, reliable sources about those issues are on-topic for the article. I will add some reliable sources on IQ testing and IQ score ranges in the next few days. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 16:02, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't agree and would ask that you not add info about IQ tests. This is a BLP in which we report notable events in the life of a person. If reliable sources state he has a high IQ then we report that. We don't editorialize about it or debate it, nor do we support it or discredit it in this BLP article. We simply summarize what the most high quality reliable sources say about this person per WP:V. Any sources that do not specifically mention Langan do not belong in this article. For more info see WP:OR and WP:COATRACK. Thanks.--KeithbobTalk 20:12, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
If anything, the key idea of WP:OR, namely "Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source" serves to exclude claims about a person's IQ unless they are in the form of "[Name of person] told [name of journalist] that his IQ was [number]." Similarly, the WP:COATRACK summary "Articles about one thing shouldn't mostly focus on another thing" suggests that what we are mostly talking about here is the life of one person, but that person is the person who is talking about IQ tests and scores (and also engaging in a variety of occupations over the years). Neither policy suggests a ground for wholly excluding verifiable published statements about IQ score ranges from validated tests, not verifiable published statements about organizations that the biography subject helped found or advise. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 01:58, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Maybe WP:SYNTH is a better way to explain it. It says: "Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. If one reliable source says A, and another reliable source says B, do not join A and B together to imply a conclusion C that is not mentioned by either of the sources" In this case source A says Langans' IQ is 195. What you want to do is add Source B which says IQ tests vary in order to imply the conclusion C that Langan may not have a super high IQ. Furthermore, WP:BLP says: "Remove immediately any contentious material about a living person that is unsourced or poorly sourced; that is a conjectural interpretation of a source". --KeithbobTalk 16:34, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

WP:NPOV and WP:Peacock[edit]

I have noticed that this article is not written in an objective and disinterested tone. It seems to have an agenda of promoting Langan through undue weight and overstatement. I have done some copy editing today to neutralize this and will continue. If anyone would like to discuss any specific edits or issues I am happy to collaborate here on the talk page and reach a consensus. Thanks,--KeithbobTalk 16:34, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Extraordinary claim?[edit]

Do we perhaps already have a Wikipedia policy on exceptional factual claims that applies to the IQ score claims currently in this article? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 03:33, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps the last point is relevant as the claim certainly contradicts scientific consensus. Overall though I think that you are battling uphill here as the claim has been echoed by reliable (albeit mistaken) sources. (talk) 02:45, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Editing basic info[edit]

What do you think of this edit (see image)?

ViloX sources:

Disney Research source: see Muscle & Fitness May 2001.

Education: He did attend these, although he didn't graduate, he still attended. I'm not sure if this should be put under alma mater, since technically you can put any university under your alma mater, even if you didn't graduate from it, but at least attended it.

Ethnicity: This can be debated, forensic biology could classify Langan as white American.

Known for: the CTMU has gained media attention, however little the fact is that Langan is known for the CTMU.

Residence: See “Can I become Smarter” via YouTube.

Think this stuff should be added? JT2958 (talk) 14:23, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Lede change[edit]

He achieved a score of 47 out of 48 on Ronald K. Hoeflin's Mega Test which correlates to an IQ of around 190

Interested in a source for this statement - I doubt one will be found since the Mega Test is not an IQ test. Unless someone can dig something up I recommend it be removed. (talk) 02:10, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Recommendation noted, but rejected. Rice University publication cites Langan's IQ JT2958 (talk) 10:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Er... is that a citation that the Mega Test can measure up to an IQ of 190? It seems like a sociology textbook. (talk) 08:44, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

It is indeed a sociology e-booklet, which states Langan has a verified IQ of 190. I recommend you read the Harvard Source guide. I don't know what you mean by "is that a citation that the Mega Test can measure up to an IQ of 190?". If you're wondering if it was the Mega Test that Langan took, no... He has taken a long line of tests. Preview JT2958 (talk) 02:52, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Your posts are confusing. Firstly why should I read the Harvard Source Guide? Secondly the statement in the Lede specifically mentions that he took the Mega Test, yet you say he hasn't taken this test; which is it? Thirdly the 'references' in the sociology ebooklet that you linked are an opinion column and the Malcolm Gladwell book, which are hardly authoritative.
The claim is that the Mega test can measure up to 190 IQ (Gladwell says 195, but whatever). I am asking if anyone can come up with a scientific reference to substantiate the claim. I have made the changes to the Lede since no references have been presented. (talk) 05:55, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Whatever that source is, it certainly is not a reliable source for the psychometric properties of the Mega test and relationshis between scores on that test and scores on currently normed, properly validated IQ tests. See Intelligence Citations for a bibliography of good sources on those topics. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 14:43, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

What I'm saying is that Langan took more than one IQ test that placed him in bell curve. Langan even took the WAIS but broke the ceiling on it. So yeah, he did take the Power Test and the Mega Test, but he also took verified IQ tests... That's what I'm saying. I don't care much for encyclopedic junk, anyway. JT2958 (talk) 09:13, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

The immediately preceding round of edits (mostly 27-28 October 2014) appears to be poorly sourced, possibly COI edits[edit]

It is a bright-line rule on Wikipedia that we don't source biographical statements about living persons to sources that are not reliable (for example user-contributed websites with no editorial review). The edits to this article in the last day badly violate that rule, as well as disregarding the Wikipedia Manual of Style as to capitalization and other conventions. Please let's discuss the recent edits here on the article talk page. I will be fixing problems as I go. One question: where and when was the photograph of the article subject taken, by whom? I'm double-checking to make sure that there is not a copyright violation connected to the photograph. Let's discuss. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 13:29, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

What photograph are you referring to? The childhood one, the ranch one, or the one where he is sitting near a computer? --JT2958 (talk) 04:29, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I was specifically referring to the photograph that looks like it was taken near a computer. But what about the other photos, now that we are on that topic? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 18:41, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

You can click the links provided on each image, they are all in the CC.

--JT2958 (talk) 05:53, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Close connection with subject[edit]

"A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view. Please discuss further on the talk page. (October 2014)"

I don't even know him, I just follow his works... How do I supposedly have a "close connection" with him?

JT2958 (talk) 04:25, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

That template was not necessarily added to the article because of you. It could have been added because a user named Christopher Langan made this edit to this talk page. I didn't add the template, so I'm not sure of the reasoning behind it. --Dodi 8238 (talk) 09:31, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Christopher Langan is a controversial figure and that makes this a controversial article. As we know what happens with all controversial Wikipedia articles, wars break out between biased editors on both sides of that article. If Chris himself made edits to the Talk page and not the article itself, first of all, that would not qualify as "A major contributor to this article" but rather a contributor to the Talk page. Second of all, indicates a possible agenda by an editor to bring the content into question to further their political leverage to see their desired changes happen. DavidPesta (talk) 12:18, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
I went ahead and looked up the exact edit in which the COI template was added. Apparently, it was added to the article because of JT2958. JT2958 now denies having a close connection. Is the COI template still necessary? --Dodi 8238 (talk) 17:09, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion (as one might expect) yes, I think the tag is still necessary. Just about all the references in the article point out to the article subject's own writings, and this article has been beset by WP:COI (and WP:PROMO) edits for years, as this talk page shows. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 23:49, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
Do you know of any sources about his life besides those he or his immediate relatives produced? -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 18:43, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
Such as Chris' abuse by his step-father and other claims? Not really. I could alter it to say 'Langan asserts...', etc... --JT2958 (talk) 05:54, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Overall quality[edit]

The article consists mostly of his own words, some attributed to interviews with him, making them reliable for the fact that he said them, not for their truth.

I haven't looked at this article for a long time, but it clearly gives too much weight to his own words, and not enough weight to what is said about him, even if there is little said about him in reliable sources. We are not permitted to note in the article that source A's statement (say, about the Mega test) is contradicted by a reliable source about the Mega test, but we can take note of it and not include false statements, even if "reliable". — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:09, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

Much improved over the past few days. However, I see one small problem. Langan does not claim CTMU to be "religiously-based". I think we can find sources that it is "religiously-based", but he doesn't claim that, and that's the way I would interpret the sentence in the lead. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 04:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Also, there are at least 6 "multiple" references where the original was trimmed. This may be beyond the bot's ability to handle it, but, we'll see. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 04:11, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

IQ Claims (again)[edit]

Hi all - this article has improved slightly from previous parlous versions so congratulations to all editors for that. However, it still seems to echo Langan's claims, often without serious examination of their truth (eg. the claim to being skipped ahead several years which seems to have no reference). From a personal perspective, I think the IQ claims made in the article need prefacing so that it is clear no IQ test can measure as high as it is claimed he scored. I know this issue has been thrashed out on this page, I'm just adding my opinion to those who say that we need some way of indicating that the IQ claims are not true. A reader may be confused that wikipedia is not internally consistent when seeing that on the IQ page it is indicated tests do not go above 165 and coming here and seeing a claim of 210. (talk) 00:15, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Your concerns are probably not useful here. People who can understand that g is a fuzzy parameter about the crisp points of the moments of its distribution are gonna blow off the whole article. The facts pretty much speak for themselves to those with the powers of discernment, similar to but a more egregious case I think than Marilyn vos Savant. So given that the current content is prolly perfect as is. Lycurgus (talk) 17:31, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Not sure if I understand you, are you saying that people who understand g are likely to disbelieve the whole article? These aren't the people I'm concerned about, of course anyone who knows IQ testing, or general intelligence will disregard the claim. It's people who don't understand these topics that are likely to be misled. (talk) 07:43, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Although you make a great point that Langan is quite similar to Marilyn - and on her page there is a small section debunking her IQ claims. Why does she have this section, but not this page? (talk) 07:46, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Well "disbelieve the whole article" is distinct from "blowing it off", there's a real world thing reported here with some level of reportage. On Marilyn's stuff dunno haven't looked at it in years. Lycurgus (talk) 11:51, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, there is indeed still a problem of that nature here, and, yes, many members of the general public are not familiar with the limitations of IQ tests for distinguish test-takers with standard scores above about 145 (where the standard errors of the tests increase substantially, as noted by Terman and Merrill in their handbook about the second revision of the Stanford-Binet test). That's an inherent property of all IQ tests, but it is not very well known. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 16:09, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
FTR and clarity, yes concurring, the sigmas much over 4 are more or less pure bogosity, that wasn't explicit above. Lycurgus (talk) 01:33, 19 May 2015 (UTC)


I don't really care about the IQ claims. Fact is my IQ is high enough to qualify for MENSA, and at one time I was a MENSA member (I just am no longer a dues paying member). The practical reality is that this man is in fact quite intelligent -- the actual IQ score is quite irrelevant. There are people who score high on IQ tests and are MENSA members who I would not trust to take $20 and go to the store to buy beer and safely return with it.

Simple fact is that if you go here: The Art of Knowing and read it, you will understand that this gentleman is quite intelligent. Please give the IQ arguments a rest -- who cares? No one. What matters is the work he has produced, which is thought provoking and useful. SunSw0rd (talk) 23:29, 1 October 2015 (UTC)


Yes he is. I have no doubt that he did indeed obtain a perfect SAT score. People on here simply contest the 200 claim, because it is the 200 claim from which he derives his fame. It is true that no standardized intelligence test (in current use) can measure up to 200. Nonetheless, there is no doubt in my mind that Chris does indeed possess high intelligence. However, the 200 claim is a bit extreme because it would mean he is of an intelligence possessed by only one out of several billion people. I should note, however, that simply because he is intelligent does not mean that I endorse his ideas. No mainstream mathematician (that I'm aware of) has ever endorsed his ideas.

FrankAiello (talk) 07:36, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Article improvement[edit]

This article is a bit strange. I'm not American and have never heard of this guy, so the article seems to be a collection of anecdotes about a random guy with a high IQ. Here's what I believe needs to be done to bring this article up to Wikipedia standards.

1. The lead needs to clearly explain why he is notable enough for a wikipedia article.

2. All the "alleged"s need to define who alleges it or be removed.

3. The writing in general needs to be improved. At the moment is sounds like it is written by either the subject, a friend or a fan.

4. The "Early life" section says "During elementary school, Langan was repeatedly skipped ahead, which resulted in torment by his peers. Although teachers praised Langan for his college-level work, his peers still bullied him, not for his intelligence, but because of his family's socio-economic status." So, which is it? The first section says he was tormented because of his IQ. The last says it wasn't.

5. Most of the sources for the article are interviews with the subject. Interviews are not a very good source. It would be good to get some proper written sources unaffliated with the subject.

Ashmoo (talk) 11:38, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

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Langan’s Facebook Comments on Immigration and White Christian Western Civilization[edit]

This article seems to suggest that Chris Langan is nondenominational, however it may be more accurate to consider the fact that he believes White Christian Western Civilization is under siege from immigrants with backwards cultures and religions. Some of his supporters did not realize he held such views and were under the false impression that he was not prejudiced towards people of different cultures, races or religions. Just read in the sub-comments below. He also “liked” a post which calls Middle Eastern and North African people “human trash.” I would like to propose an edit which covers his views on this topic, since it is a little misleading to make it look as if everything he supports is “politically correct.”

“Western civilization, culture and heritage are under unprecedented attack, as we see by the fact that all and only the historically White Christian nations of the World are being subjected to weaponized mass immigration.” - Chris Langan Mereon (talk) 08:46, 11 Februa 2018 (UTC) Mereon

In the following Facebook post, Chris Langan says that Somalians are less intelligent than Gorillas, and his fans support his assertion, although without data.

“Somalia, an IQ of 68? What nonsense!

There it is — according to the authors of that book, Somalia has an IQ of 68. It’s an odd assertion to begin with, because after all nations don’t have IQs. Individual people do. This is a classic ecological fallacy. But it’s worse than that. You may find yourself asking what that little asterisk next to the 68 is for. Is it a multiplication symbol? No. The asterisk leads to a notice on another page that in the case of an asterisk, they didn’t actually collect any results of any IQ tests at all. Not a single person from Somalia had their IQ score measured for the book, or for any study used by the authors of the book. There are literally zero points of data to support an “IQ Score” of 68 for Somalia.”

“What I.Q. doesn’t tell you about race. ... If we work in the opposite direction, the typical teen-ager of today, with an I.Q. of 100, would have had grandparents with average I.Q.s of 82—seemingly below the threshold necessary to graduate from high school. And, if we go back even farther, the Flynn effect puts the average I.Q.s of the schoolchildren of 1900 at around 70, which is to suggest, bizarrely, that a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded.”

“A number of studies have compared average IQ scores between the world's nations, finding patterns of difference between continental populations similar to those associated with race. Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen have argued that populations in the third world, particularly populations in Africa, tend to have limited intelligence because of their genetic composition and that, consequently, education cannot be effective in creating social and economic development in third world countries.[52] Lynn and Vanhanen's studies have been severely criticized for relying on low quality data and for choosing sources in ways that seem to be biased severely towards underestimating the average IQ potential of developing nations, particularly in Africa.[53][54][55] Nonetheless there is a general consensus that the average IQ in developing countries is lower than in developed countries, but subsequent research has favored environmental explanations for this fact, such as lack of basic infrastructure related to health and education.”

“In pre-colonial traditional Somalia, education was dispensed through informal systems of communal interaction. With the arrival of colonialism in the mid-late 19th century, formal programmes of learning were slowly but steadily established. These were limited in scope and were essentially designed for the purposes of colonization. With independence in 1960, the education sector developed very quickly with pre-1991 civilian and military governments building hundreds of schools, training tens of thousands of teachers, adopting the Latin script for the writing of the Somali language, and successfully implementing nation-wide literacy programmes. But with the collapse of the Somali state in 1991, all modern systems of learning in the country were destroyed by the fighting factions, and Somalia has since been a country without any formal programmes of education. This paper first looks at the history of education in Somalia, then it describes and analyses the nature as well as the magnitude of destruction, and ends with an urgent appeal to the international community to come to the rescue of Somalia’s children, and help resuscitate and reconstitute the country’s structures and forms of learning.”

“What caused this agony and the collapse of civil society? What were the forces which shaped it? Was it part of an inevitable evolutionary process? To what extent did the colonial partition contribute to the calamity? By examining the Somali politico-historical perspective, this book explores the impact of the colonial legacy on the political, social and economic life of the Somali nation, and posits that it is one of the main factors which led to the collapse of the modern Somali state in the early 1990s. It will also briefly consider some immediate post-collapse outcomes.” — Preceding unsigned comment added by PossumKingdom (talkcontribs) 09:52, 27 June 2018 (UTC) (talk) 13:38, 25 June 2018 (UTC) PossumKingdom

Context for CTMU[edit]

This article seems like it has been written by Langan as a self-advertisement. The present structure of the page begins with a statement of Langan's astronomical intelligence, and then proceeds to provide an in depth description of his theory with no context apart from Langan's own glowing assessment of its impact. This gives the impression that there is some degree of consensus that Langan is brilliant, and that CTMU is an accepted and important scientific result. However, CTMU has never been published or reviewed by the broader academic community, and a quick Google search reveals that blogs and discussion pages frequented by mathematicians, physicists and philosophers that have mentioned Langan or CTMU generally describe this work as meaningless word salad.

The article ought to be restructured to describe the content more accurately. Important points to cover might be, primarily:

· Langan is occasionally the subject of sensational tabloid coverage because of his claims to a super-high IQ. This entertainment-news coverage is his primary claim to fame and should be the central piece of information, presuming he is notable enough for an article.

And secondarily:

· Langan was president of the Mega Society for high IQ individuals, and after ending his term there he founded the Mega Foundation.

· He has written a theory called CTMU, and makes the dramatic claim that the universe is a mathematical object that can be described entirely by this theory, and that the theory proves the existence of God and intelligent design. This theory has not been published or accepted by the academic community, and has in fact drawn little to no academic attention apart from those with a special interest in discussing and criticizing crackpot theories.

· Langan is a supporter of white Christian nationalism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 16 May 2018 (UTC)

"Smartest Man in America"[edit]

A high IQ score has no bearing on how smart someone is. The last line of this page's intro says that some journalists call him the smartest man in America/the World because he has such a high IQ. This is a silly opinion of whoever wrote it and nothing more. This line should be removed. It spreads the untruth that IQ=smartness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:34, 26 June 2018 (UTC)


I suggest this article be deleted. I can find nothing about this person that is notable. BEST case scenario he did really well on SAT. He has published no books, has no patents, no degrees (simply claims he was smarter than his professors). He has published three articles that have extremely few citations. This man has done nothing notable other than brag about himself. If we are going to put everyone who brags about themselves on Wikipedia, you will need a LOT more servers. How is this person notable? Is being a blowhard now notable??

I second that. I mean, who is this person? If you took a poll, say a Gallup poll, what percentage of people would see him as notable? It's obviously written by him and I can't see anything noteworthy in terms of professional life (say as an academic) or in medicine (cure for cancer?), business (is he Bill Gates?), industry (does he run a Fortune 500 company?), politics (is he in the Senate?), diplomacy (does he represent a country at the UN?), the media (is he a newspaper magnate?), philanthropy (how many millions has he given to noble causes?), humanitarianism (is he Bob Geldof?), the military (did he lead any famous campaigns?) or any other sphere of life. What about the IQ test itself - has it been properly verified, done several times so that the statistical spread could be seen and done with the many different IQ tests? Not very scientific; the world’s tallest man would be measured several times and on different days. You might as well have a Wikipedia page for the teenage with the most spots or one who can squeeze the contents the furthest. How about a whole page about the person with the most flatulence? How about one for the neighbour's cat?



Pretty weird to demand "reliable sources" for my comments, when the completely unsubstantiated claims about Langan's self-declared IQ and never-reviewed or accepted by anyone "theory" apparently require none at all.-- (talk) 19:44, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

In Popular Culture link[edit]

Roy Batty link no longer resolves to a valid address. SquashEngineer (talk) 21:52, 6 December 2018 (UTC)