On the Highest Levels of General Intelligence with Christian Sorenson

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Christian is a Philosopher that comes from Belgium. What identifies him the most and above all is simplicity, for everything is better with “vanilla flavour.” Perhaps, for this reason, his intellectual passion is criticism and irony, in the sense of trying to reveal what “hides behind the mask,” and give birth to the true. For him, ignorance and knowledge never “cross paths.” What he likes the most in his leisure time, is to go for a walk with his wife.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In the last session, we covered some of the basic definitions and metrics of intelligence. Let’s touch some more on some of these things, also, for those who do not know, as of only a 2 or 3 years ago, you score 185+ S.D. 15 on one of the two most reliable and valid mainstream general intelligence tests in the world. First, what was the test? Only one other person on a mainstream test with a listed score at 185 S.D. 15 on the World Genius Directory is Kirk Kirkpatrick. So, alternative tests are the norm rather than the exception, which should raise caution for the general public too. Never believe a claim as to the highest IQ score in the world; however, certainly, one can keep in mind the highest measured on this or that test, or among the highest at some cut-off. The Titan Test of Dr. Ronald Hoeflin has been considered the or among the most rigorous high-range tests in existence. Kevin Langdon is respected by Dr. Hoeflin based on statements to me, in a public interview. Rick Rosner earned a perfect score on it. However, there are far more other real-world proxies for high-intelligence with more practical or pragmatic use, of course.

Christian Sorenson: I have never been interested in intelligence measurements since I feel that I have more important things to spend my time on, nor do I need to prove something to myself, neither anything to anyone else. Besides, I have heard enough from my childhood regarding that “I am great genius.” In fact this last, “is a phrase” that my mother was very scared of, because she was already told about it, from the pediatrician and my nursery school teachers, onwards. Indeed, I was tested a couple of years ago, for circumstantial reasons, with David Wechsler’s Intelligence Scale of General Intelligence for Adults Form R (WAIS-R). For example, Evangelos Katsioulis was also tested with exactly the same test (WAIS-R), and earned on it 180+ sd15 [Ed. This is true, thus two names with Katsioulis and Kirkpatrick. I have interviewed both.]. Regarding me, I earned “a perfect score,” of 185+ sd15, which means that my IQ in function to this standard deviation is above 185, that’s to say without knowing exactly “how much above” of it, it is.

Jacobsen: What was the context of prior test scores and this test score?

Sorenson: Prior, it was in school during 3rd grade, and also with Wechsler’s Scale, but for children (WISC). I earned also “a perfect score” with 180 sd15. The context at that time, was because the school headmaster talked with my parents, since they wanted that I finish high school before being ten years old. Regarding my last evaluation a couple of years ago, it was because my wife asked me to.

Jacobsen: What is the statistical rarity of this score?

Sorenson: For over 185 sd15, is at least about one each two hundred three million persons.

Jacobsen: What are some comparable statistical rarities for such a score?

Sorenson: For example, profound mental retardation with an IQ score less than 20 sd15.

Jacobsen: If we take into account this rarity, we can add a plus (“+”) sign after it, as you hit the ceiling of the test, i.e., any reliable measurement beyond that point is mere extrapolative uncertainty about the general intelligence score for you. However, with this sense of outlier in the extreme nature on a mainstream test, what has this meant in academic and personal life for you? Also, the coming to terms with the world, which will think slower and less comprehensively and, more often, come to incorrect conclusions about the nature of the world within relevant expertise. While, at the same time, high-IQ can lead to particular forms of irrationality based on some more recent research, which can come with more robust or elaborate justifications for bizarre theoretical frameworks. Based on personal observation, one can see this in some Jesuit intellectuals with abstract theological hypothesizing based on ancient storybooks called The Bible.

Sorenson: Being straight with my “personal appreciation,” what I would first of all dare to say, is that “academic and intellectualoid” environments or settings, are not pleasant to me, since “I get bored with them,” and “they give me a big headache,” with “their simpleton mental approaches” to the world of knowledge, and with “their bragging and childish competitiveness,” for trying to show off “academic degrees and  clumsy levels of basic brilliant intelligence.” In life in general, my extreme intelligence, has brought me more problems than anything else, among other reasons, because usually others perceive me as someone strange, and my supposed “scathing and ironic attitudes” makes them pissed off. Jesuit intellectuals actually don’t surprise me at all, since I believe that “instead of writing something reasonable,” they are more concerned to write things “for not being understood by anyone.”

Jacobsen: There is a longstanding tradition of wanting to catalogue and mark out genius and high intelligence in history and in the present. There are many, dead and alive, individuals acknowledged as highly bright if not unassailably brilliant, including the late technology giant Paul Allen, the late hybrid and perseverant cripple Stephen Hawking, the late forced prodigy John Stuart Mill, the late Francis Galton, the eccentric Rick Rosner/Richard Rosner, Judit Polgar or the Polgar sisters altogether, model-chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen or his teacher the great Garry Kasparov, the practical and reasonable advice-giving greatest living philosopher of the everyday Marilyn vos Savant, the Greek former wunderkind with the formerly super long hair Evangelos Katsioulis, the isolationist mathematician Andrew Wiles, the former prodigy Edith Stern, the heir to Einstein Edward Witten, the scientific skeptic Tim Roberts, the prodigy Jacob Barnett, the titan – so to speak – of the high-range test creator world Ron Hoeflin/Ronald Hoeflin or another person who earned respect with tests Kevin Langdon, the tragically anti-Semitic Bobby Fischer, the high-range high-scorer Mislav Predavec, the dual-Nobel Prize-winning Marie Curie, the only other mainstream 185 S.D. score on the World Genius Directory American Kirk Kirkpatrick, the Republican Mega Society member John H. Sununu, Kevin Langdon, the polymath Steven Pinker, the brilliant author Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, the late ancient heavy-hitter critic of religion Hypatia, the awkward and ultra-bright mainstream physicist Christopher Hirata, the late polymath Leonardo da Vinci, the great potentially arrogant composer Mozart, the greatest architect of sound (Glenn Gould assessment) Bach, the degree-based prodigy Michael Kearney, the tragic William James Sidis, the late Solomon Golomb, the multi-certified former prodigy Sho Yano and his sister Sayuri Yano, the unpleasant math-mind plugged into the mechanics of the universe Isaac Newton, or the more pleasant Einstein, the stratospheric Goethe, etc., and a wide range of others of some prominence or not. There is a common sentiment of wanting to catalogue. When I worked with Manahel Thabet on a variety of projects, it was a similar sentiment. Her colleague in Dubai who, in fact, originally came from British Columbia, where I live, was working on and developed his own listing of the brightest in the world. Why is this such a robust trend?

Sorenson: This “strong tendency” to “catalog and study geniuses,” brings in mind the image of “hominumlogics,” similar to the zoo, that existed in times of Leopold III, during early nineteenth century in Brussels. At that time, they brought “specimens” of Congo “for placing them in cages,” in order to be visited by “Victorian public, who was avid to browse” the behavior of “these exotic animals in captivity.” Leaving aside “bars and cages,” it seems to me that it is quite familiar to “morbid feelings” that exists toward geniuses.

Jacobsen: What is the point of counting a point here or a point there at the upper limits of human intelligence to differentiate in a micro fashion at the hardest to differentiate levels?

Sorenson: In my opinion, this “measuronditic syndrome” or tendency, does not make any sense, except that of many evaluated individuals “to exhibiting their superior micro-intelligence differences “in relation to others.” In “qualitative and methodological terms,” the fundamental theme in order “to differentiate intelligence degrees,” is regarding “its range,” and not in relation to their “discrete values.” Actually I believe, that this “exhibitionist-voyeurist phenomenon” that is expressed by many, is attributable in its etiology to “a penis neid.”

Jacobsen: Obviously, with more cognitive horsepower, there is more mental room to carve out unique mental landscapes. So, we will have more eccentric and strange outcomes or outputs, behaviourally and mentally, from the minds at the highest levels. What are typical ways of these minds going awry?”

Sorenson: I feel they are “mental rides” that go in “a simple opposite direction of logic” and in addition through an “unexpected way,” but that nevertheless “makes sense,” and for that reason “surprises.”

Jacobsen: How can societies foster excellence at the highest levels?

Sorenson: Improving “genetic crosses.”

Jacobsen: What would a future society incorporating all manner of genius require to flourish?

Sorenson: That kind of “Sanhedrin,” would be “a unique society,” since it should be the closest thing to “an empty set.”

Jacobsen: As noted before, for those who want a community, Mensa International, Intertel, Triple Nine Society, Prometheus Society, and Mega Society are listed as the most reliable high-IQ societies via Wikipedia filtration. Yet, most of societies’ talented never go well-used or even flourish in some minimal level – let alone self-actualize, whether individually or in some larger sense noted before within a larger communal context. Many have noted the mostly failure of the high-IQ societies and most acting as a form of social club (nothing wrong with that!). What can the public keep in mind in being cautious with fake, disingenuous, inflated, and cult-like or outright cult genius?

Sorenson: I think that first of all is necessary “to put an eye” in those communities that have “extremely high” cut-offs, and numerous members with “stratospheric scores.” Secondly with ones that do “shameless business” with fees and others, and thirdly in some that are sustained by presidents who are “amateur psychometrists” or psychometrist due “to infused science” and therefore publish high-range tests as if they were “spores.”

Jacobsen: What is the future of genius in a high-technology, advanced app/software, and artificial intelligence-infused world in which genius and high-intelligence becomes externalized and enhanced, i.e., becomes cheap and commonplace in some sense?

Sorenson: With regard to individuals with “high intelligence” I think that with the development of technology, in fact they will be transformed into “cheaper and more expendable or replaceable resources.” Maybe this “moderately gifted” could “be up-graded” thanks to artificial intelligence, and therefore become in what “they crave the most,” that is to say into “geniuses.” Anyhow, in relation to “geniuses,” and leaving aside what could be a “romantic pink novel,” I do not believe that the situation will change much in function “to what history has been up to now.” In this way, they will continue to be “socially marginalized,” and probably will keep on going through this world “without leaving any trace.” Society since human being decided “to be gregarious” and live “in community,” has transformed itself into “a closed system,” and for this reason, like any other system with “hermetic characteristics,”  will always perceive “change in depth” as “a threat,” and therefore “will resist to accept it,” by developing  “compensatory mechanisms” and through “removing” what puts “its stability at risk.”  “Geniuses” for their part, regarding society, do not know how to do anything other, but to “constructively criticize” it mediating “unique innovative contributive solutions.” In consequence in my opinion, it is “logically” and “metaphysically” impossible, that they could reach now or in the future, other else than “a virtual space,” and to be “reasonably valued” in society, since both of them “operate with diametrically opposed dynamics,” and for that reason are “incompatibles” between each other.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Christian.

Sorenson: Thanks to you for your “acoustic tolerance.”

Image Credit: Christian Sorenson.

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