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Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2)

2022-05-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 30.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (25)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com

Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2022

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,279

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Professor Benoit Desjardins, MD, PhD, FAHA, FACR is an Ivy League academic physician and scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Mega Society, the OlympIQ Society and past member of the Prometheus Society. He is the designer of the cryptic Mega Society logo. He is member of several scientific societies and a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and of the American Heart Association. He is the co-Founder of the Arrhythmia Imaging Research (AIR) lab at Penn. His research is funded by the National Institute of Health. He is an international leader in three different fields: cardiovascular imaging, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. He discusses: father; financial stability over artistic fulfillment; French-Canadian Catholic culture; not a very religious family; the priest who cursed the family; the wife, kids, and happy marriage of 34 years; “Pure Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, Formal Philosophy (Logic), and Theoretical Physics”; a big Fellowship from the Canadian Medical Research Council; an M.D. degree, a PhD degree, half a dozen Masters; the scores on the Mega Test and the Titan Test; the pluses and minuses of the Mega Society; the feud between ‘Mega Society East’/ Mega Foundation of Christopher Langan and Dr. Gina Langan and the Mega Society decades ago; the most entertaining test; a recluse prior to and in some of high school; the smartest person; the most creative person; a hacker and cybersecurity specialist; VPNs and encrypted email systems; the highest paid position or specialization in medicine; God as an invention; a social democracy like Canada; Tim Roberts stuff; 5-sigma intelligence; more forceful with the recommendations to patients; advancements in medicine; greater value of the state; metaphysics; post-positivism; scientific theories; “Grand Challenges”; funeral; remembered; hopes for your children; and the community of the high-I.Q.

Keywords: academic, Atheism, Benoit Desjardins, Canadian Medical Research Council, Christopher Michael Langan, cybersecurity, hacker, intelligence, I.Q., Leonardo Da Vinci, Mega Foundation, Mega Society, metaphysics, physician, post-positivism, Terence Tao.

 Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2)

*Please see the references, footnotes, and citations, after the interview, respectively.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Was there any lead-up to finding out about the adoption of your father? Or was it mentioned nonchalantly, almost casually, at the wedding?

Dr. Benoit Desjardins: My father’s sister was a troublemaker, so I did not invite her to the wedding. My father’s mother was angry about it and did not come to the wedding. My father was furious about these two absences, got drunk, and made the big reveal at the wedding.

Jacobsen: What career paths were considered for you, as you selected for financial stability over artistic fulfillment (or something else like this)?

Desjardins: I initially had planned a double career: one to generate income and one to provide intellectual fulfillment. I studied many combinations and assessed which were realistic. I was a hacker, so I strongly considered math & computer science for intellectual satisfaction and medicine to generate income. I was fast-tracked to medicine in Canada. Then I completed four simultaneous graduate degrees in the U.S. after I was awarded one of Canada’s most prestigious fellowships. It was challenging to do graduate-level training (especially in pure mathematics) without ever having done undergraduate training.

Jacobsen: How was French-Canadian Catholic culture in Montreal at the time – for family background?

Desjardins: It was fine when I grew up. Not a very big part of our lives. I already knew that I was an atheist at a very young age. The Quebec religious and cultural revolution had already happened, and religion was fading away in the province. I did attend a catholic high school but was never abused by any priest or teacher, probably because of my lack of sex appeal.

Jacobsen: When you say, “Not a very religious family,” what is “religious” in this sense?

Desjardins: We attended church at Christmas. I was baptized and did first communion and confirmation. I got married in a church. That was the limit of my family’s involvement with religion.

Jacobsen: For the priest who cursed the family to have a physically disabled child for missing Mass, this tells a bit about some of the church culture of the time. I will ad. In fact, you were born with prodigious intellectual capacities. The priest was very wrong. The Catholic God may vetoed or inverted the priest’s curse – so to speak. Any other stories, good or bad, with the church before leaving?

Desjardins: This happened before I was born. I have not heard of any other stories from my family.

Jacobsen: Congratulations on the wife, kids, and happy marriage of 34 years, what helps make for longevity in a marriage?

Desjardins: Always treat your wife like a queen, with unconditional love, and understand that nobody is perfect.

Jacobsen: Why select “Pure Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, Formal Philosophy (Logic), and Theoretical Physics” as the simultaneous graduate degree path? Certainly, other disciplines may have been on the table for offer within the four-fold path. Just curious, you had financial stability, probably, by that time, so intellectual fulfillment seems like part of the purpose there.

Desjardins: I was poor during my graduate training. I lived off my Canadian Fellowship money. The tricky part was finding a clever way to not pay for any of the graduate degrees using my Fellowship money: this involved research assistantships and other duties. I only paid half the tuition for one term for my Pure Mathematics degree at CMU. For everything else, I found ways not to have to pay. These four fields had always interested me intellectually, and they meshed very well together.

Jacobsen: What was the title of the “very prestigious Award”?

Desjardins: It was a big Fellowship from the Canadian Medical Research Council. I forgot its exact name. It was about 40K per year, which was good money if I remember well.

Jacobsen: With “an M.D. degree, a PhD degree, half a dozen Masters, and medical post-graduate training certificates. I also completed several additional certifications on the side, like recent certifications in hacking and cybersecurity,” what are some synoptic statements to be made about each expertise or the inter-relatedness of the disciplines too?

Desjardins: Some people collect stamps. I collect degrees. The MD degree was for financial stability. The simultaneous graduate degrees were part of an “intellectual interlude,” where I did everything I wanted to do that medical school did not cover. The additional degrees and certificates were just extensions into areas in which I developed an interest later in life.

Jacobsen: What were the scores on the Mega Test and the Titan Test to enter the Mega Society?

Desjardins: 45, enough to get in.

Jacobsen: What are the pluses and minuses of the Mega Society?

Desjardins: All high I.Q. societies are controversial societies with controversial entry requirements. But it’s the best available requirements, with no suitable alternatives. I enjoy getting regular updates via their mailing list about significant developments in areas of interest, like when someone proves a critical theorem or obtains a huge scientific result. I don’t have time to keep track of all the fields. I also enjoy the quizzes/competitions for high I.Q. people. I usually finish first and get some prize money. It keeps my neurons active as I get older.

Jacobsen: What seemed to have happened with the feud between ‘Mega Society East’/ Mega Foundation of Christopher Langan and Dr. Gina Langan and the Mega Society decades ago? Duly noting, the Langans lost the legal battle over the name, as stipulated on the Mega Society website. One of several in a career of losses, in fact.

Langan’s current research program comprises hypothesizing about logic, the Coudenhove-Kalergi white genocide plan, theology, the I.Q. of Koko the gorilla and Somalians, metaphysics, 9/11 as a cover to prevent the world finding out about his Theory of Everything (ToE), Intelligent Design and evolution combined, the role of Jews and bankers and multibillionaire technologists in global affairs, philosophy, the reality of Jesus & Satan, math, Demonology, world religions, the role of literal magic in the operations of the CIA, set theory, more about some Jews, linguistics, issues with inter-ethnic couplings, ontology, the harms of vaccines and the sociopolitical conspiracies around getting a vaccine, epistemology, how spelling his name wrong “can be interpreted as a passive-aggressive form of sacrilege,” and more.

Desjardins: I briefly interacted with Mr. Langan and decided to stay as far away from him as possible.

Jacobsen: What has been the most entertaining test taken by you? What has been the most difficult test taken by you, and why that test?

Desjardins: Titan and Mega were by far the most entertaining tests. The most challenging test was the OSCP test in hacking. It’s a 24h test, and it’s challenging to stay awake for 24h doing intense hacking.

Jacobsen: What did you do as a recluse prior to and in some of high school?

Desjardins: I read a lot about everything at the library.

Jacobsen: Who is the smartest person known to you?

Desjardins: Probably Prof Terence Tao from UCLA.

Jacobsen: Who is the most creative person known to you?

Desjardins: If we consider everyone in history, then Leonardo Da Vinci.

Jacobsen: As a hacker and cybersecurity specialist, what are the things people should keep in mind to keep privacy and personal information safe?

Desjardins: Keep in mind that anybody can get hacked. Use a layered approach to privacy. You should encrypt your most private digital information with military-grade symmetric encryption and a complex password that you cannot remember but that you can reconstruct. Be very wary of phishing emails. You must keep many backups of your data stored in different media and air-gapped from the internet. Use a VPN whenever you connect to public WIFI. I have two VPN software on my laptop, as some do not work with some networks.

Jacobsen: Are VPNs and encrypted email systems useful in the last questions regard, too?

Desjardins: Definitely. For business-related confidential emails, use the secure communication tools your company provides.

Jacobsen: What is the highest paid position or specialization in medicine now? Because I have no idea at this point.

Desjardins: Hospital CEOs and Health Insurance CEOs are the highest-paid people in medicine and earn millions. Physicians make orders of magnitude less money. The American society exploits physicians and treats them like slaves.

Jacobsen: If “God was an invention of prehistoric man to explain what he could not understand,” what does this state about the significant majority of the world’s population adhering to this “invention”?

Desjardins: 50% of the world population is on the left side of the Bell curve, and most of them are religious. There is also a strong cultural aspect to religion.

Jacobsen: Where could a social democracy like Canada improve itself?

Desjardins: There is always room for improvement in every system. Some of the rules in Canada should be less rigid. I was a victim of this rigidity on several occasions. For example, after my intellectual interlude in the U.S., I was not allowed back to Canada to complete my post-graduate medical training. They had changed the Canadian training access rules during my stay in the U.S. I had to emigrate to the U.S. to complete my medical training. In 1987, they hired me to be chief of radiology at the Montreal Heart Institute, which I accepted. I decided to un-accept the position when the Quebec government did not allow my kids to continue their education in English after two failed appeals against their decision.

Jacobsen: What makes Tim Roberts stuff challenging, intellectually fun?

Desjardins: They are well-designed fun problems. I usually solve almost all of them. I then show them to my physician friends, who usually cannot solve any.

Jacobsen: What do you think would really need to be done to measure 5-sigma intelligence with a much, much smaller margin of error in the final assessment – speaking less in terms of obvious things like larger sample size, more in terms of the character of the problems proposed?

Desjardins: I think this is a complicated problem that we will likely never solve. All the tools we have are imperfect.

Jacobsen: When is it appropriate to be more forceful with the recommendations to patients in medicine?

Desjardins: For example, when thousands of Americans poisoned themselves by ingesting disinfectants to kill the coronavirus after Trump suggested it, it would have been a good idea for physicians to tell their patients not to swallow disinfectants. But very few physicians realized that Americans were so scientifically illiterate.

Jacobsen: With advancements in medicine, what are the top 5 things everyone can practice for a higher probability of a longer healthspan and lifespan?

Desjardins: Don’t smoke, maintain your weight to avoid type II diabetes, keep your blood pressure within the normal range, eat healthily and exercise. It is not rocket science. I follow only two of those, sadly.

Jacobsen: What is the greater value of the state? What is the lesser value, though still value, of unions?

Desjardins: The greater value of the state is to ensure a decent quality of life for everybody and not let people fall through the cracks. The U.S. does a miserable job at this. The value of unions is not to let big companies exploit workers. Full-time workers should not need food stamps in addition to their pay, as some poorly paid exploited U.S. workers require to stay afloat.

Jacobsen: Without a need for metaphysics, what, if it arises in any conversation, has been a response to you, where you “have a purely atheistic scientific view of the world”?

Desjardins: I live in an Ivy League environment surrounded by people who share the same worldview, so they simply agree.

Jacobsen: How do you define post-positivism?

Desjardins: It’s like Natural Selection for knowledge. All researchers are biased, which affects their observations, and therefore cannot see the world objectively. But researchers are part of a research community that criticizes each other’s ideas, and the ideas that survive intense scrutiny remain and get progressively closer to objective truth and reality. It is how science makes progress these days.

Jacobsen: Do scientific theories progress slowly or in stages, more often, in the modern period, e.g., late 20th century to early 21st century? Although, you mentioned “steady progress.” I want to delve a bit more into this, as you’re a properly trained practitioner and an intelligent person.

Desjardins: Steady progress with an occasional breakthrough. Most scientific contributions are incremental these days. But there is such a massive number of scientists and money for science that science evolves quite rapidly in several areas. Just take, for example, the rapid development of RNA vaccines (at my institution) to address the COVID pandemic.

Jacobsen: With these “Grand Challenges,” what one feels the most fulfilling?

Desjardins: Probably my Black Belt at Tae Kwon Do. I pursued it with my twins, and it was a wonderful, shared family experience. We all earned our Black Belts at the same time.

Jacobsen: Have you planned your funeral?

Desjardins: I’m working as a physician in the U.S., which is well known as the country with the most inhuman treatment of its physicians. We all saw this during the pandemic. I suspect I will die on the job, given that many of my close U.S. physician colleagues have been killed or become physically disabled due to their work conditions. Once I die on the job, I wish to be cremated.

Jacobsen: How would you like to be remembered?

Desjardins: He was a great husband and a great father.

Jacobsen: What are your hopes for your children?

Desjardins: I want them to leave the U.S. and return to Canada before the U.S. collapses. They will have a great life in Canada.

Jacobsen: What has the community of the high-I.Q. given you?

Desjardins: It keeps my neurons active.

Footnotes

[1] Academic Physician; Member, OlympIQ Society; Member, Mega Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 1, 2022: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022: https://in-sightpublishing.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Citations

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2)[Online]. May 2022; 30(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, May 1). Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.A, May. 2022. <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2022. “Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.A. http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 30.A (May 2022). http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 30.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 30.A., http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 30.A (2022): May. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Dr. Benoit Desjardins, M.D., Ph.D., on Financial Stability, Intellectual Stimulation, and the Mega Society: Academic Physician; Member, Mega Society (2)[Internet]. (2022, May 30(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightpublishing.com/desjardins-2.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links May be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and can disseminate for their independent purposes.

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