Mensa is a society for people with high IQs, specifically for people with an IQ in the top 2 percent of the general population. In short, it’s supposed to be a society for smart people. A few months ago I had too much spare time on my hands and had to get my mind off a romantic tragedy so I decided that it might not be a bad idea to join them to distract myself. I passed their preliminary test but by the time they invited me to the real test I had a 60 hour work week and not too much time to kill, so I didn’t go. Mensa Austria is still sending me their publication “Diskussion”, though, of which I received another issue yesterday.
The puzzle column was a letdown, but I was used to that from the last issue I got. They seem to favor puzzles which are either entirely trivial or at best require a halfway competent programmer maybe an hour to solve with a computer.
What did surprise me was an article on “Morphic fields and human perception” (my translation). The German text actually talks about “morphogenetische Felder”, but they are clearly talking about Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields. The article is completely credulous on the existence of morphic fields and even discusses a purported practical application of them, remote viewing. It even tells the story of school teacher who, since asking students to remote-view exam questions in advance, reports much improved grades. The authors of the article are Karina Leitner and Viktor Farkas, the latter seeming to be a prominent conspiracy theorist and believer in (or at least proponent of) woo-woo ideas.
As anybody equipped with a web browser and a small dose of critical thinking can ascertain, there is absolutely no substance to either morphic fields, which are a ridiculous contruct invented to explain non-existant phenomena, nor to remote viewing, which has never been demonstrated in a well controlled setting. Specifically, the James Randi Educational Foundation will award anybody able to demonstrate remote viewing in a controlled study with a million dollars. The prize has been available for years and has not been claimed yet.
I wonder: Do they have no editorial process at all? And to add insult to injury the publication looks like it’s been typeset by a 3 year old on a PC with MS Word in 1992.
There is perhaps something to this quote, attributed to G. H. Hardy: “For any serious purpose, intelligence is a very minor gift.”