Mystery Clubs Aren’t About Fraud

Christopher Langan’s Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe, or CTMU, is not a fraud. Fraudulence implies willful deception. Langan is proud of and dedicated to CTMU. No crime in that. I have no reason to question his intelligence either.

I do conclude that Langan commits a likely unconscious deception in perpetuating cultural biases towards cognitive intelligence over other types (social and emotional). From my experience, Langan lacks none of these, and yet he continually beats the IQ intelligence drum with deafening force. Why? Attachment to mental cognition rarifies a theory like CTMU. In the pure air of complex mental cogitation, the “reality” CTMU's modeling alone gives rise to is limited in that it remains untarnished by the messiness of an emotionally and socially rich human existence and other challenging phenomena. Some consider that a strength of CTMU; I consider it a weakness.

Academia perpetuates the same cultural bias, fueled by plurality of truth.

As to other TOEers out there — also not frauds. It’s a kind of mystery club, membership being secret even to its members in many cases. It begets possibilities through conceptual isolation and keenness. An existential underground, if you will, a phrase I used to characterize my 2016 academic paper in Cosmos & History.

That’s not to say I think all TOEs all right. Far from it. I just think each contains something of value as we increasingly, often despairingly address modern existential dissonance. Getting a TOE right is not impossible, though it is a truly monumental task — mentally, socially, and emotionally — because it necessarily catalyzes shifts in cultural habits, beliefs, and interpretive frameworks. Persistence and mutual concern are what will pay off.

So, on the broader subject of dissing crackpot TOEs, I say, where do people get off! Such theories do no harm and likely give us important windows into novel ways to relate to other’s complex conceptions of ever-broadening horizons of reality … the way Sci Fi is a window into real ethical conundrums.

Image from the film Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon (1980), Dale listens as Doctor Zarkov tells her how he broke free of his programming

Before Trump tyranny, I would have noted that scientists (to be way too general) see themselves as serving the public good with their methodical approaches to discovery. Questioning the good of a do-gooder’s work naturally leads to defensiveness. Also, their paychecks depend largely on stacking the deck in the favor of positive perception. The same can be said of religions and religious do-gooders of course. (I’m in favor of doing good, so don’t get me wrong. It’s just that doing good is complicated.) Post TT, it's bittersweet to question do-gooders.

My final analysis — in modern times people create the fallacy of danger in TOEs for two reasons: to protect institutional knowledge and to disguise their own frustration at how hard it is be impartial. Someone else attaining the impartiality required to conceive of or show support for a TOE is maddening to some, as those obsessed with flushing out “crackpots” attests.

And as far as CTMU, Langan deserves a seat of highest honor at the TOEs-are-okay table.

Is the so-called "Smartest Man Alive" Chris Langan a fraud? Is the CTMU just another crackpot theory of everything? (original question on Quora)

Original publish date Jan 8, 2018