I guess most readers see where this is going. Langan apparently dropped out of university because he was too smart. Gladwell reports that while his work on the CTMU is profound (i.e. “can-be-understood-by-perh
Langan is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) – yes, that’s Dembski’s group, and it promotes intelligent design creationism (the society’s journal (newletter) is also the only place where Langan’s musings have been published). Langan even contributed a chapter to Uncommon Dissent (edited by Dembski); he has elsewhere said that he “believe[s] in the theory of evolution” as “one of the tools used by God to create mankind”. Fair enough. The quote continues thusly: “Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible” and “just as the mind is real, reality is in some respects like a mind. But when we attempt to answer the obvious question "whose mind?", the answer turns out to be a mathematical and scientific definition of God”. Spot the argument from word-salad here. And by nonsense-introduction, Langan points out that “[t]his implies that we all exist in what can be called "the Mind of God", and that our individual minds are parts of God's Mind.”
So there you have him, “the smartest man in America”. Profound like a mid-level Buddhist monk with +2 confabulation skills causing “awe” when you fail your intelligence or wisdom saving throw.
Diagnosis: Super-crackpot. This is really a sad story about media exploitation. Fortunately, Langan probably doesn’t have much impact (as with most celebrities of his ilk, the interest soon dies out).