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Conversation with Dr. Heinrich Siemens on 195 IQ (S.D. 15), CIT5, Cooijmans, Conscientiousness, Mennonites, Plautdietsch, God, the Three Sonnets Test, and Tweeback Verlag: Linguist (2)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/09/15


Heinrich Siemens was born as a member of a Low German community in Latvia, or the former Soviet Union. His family spoke Plautdietsch and read the Luther Bible in High German. He has performed very well on HRIQ tests of Ronald K. Hoeflin, Paul Cooijmans, Jonathan Wai, Theodosis Prousalis, and others. Some results have been above 5 sigma or 5 standard deviations. He developed the Three Sonnets Test ( A lot of his life resolves around Plautdietsch language. He is the president of the international association of speakers of the language. He founded a publishing house devoted to this language: Siemens enjoys the philosophy of Wittgenstein in particular and the philosophy of language in general. He has a film interest in directors including Bergman, Kubrick, Melville, Tarkovsky, Tarr, von Trier. If in Plautdietsch, he enjoys films by Alexandra Kulak & Ruslan Fedotov, Carlos Reygadas, Nora Fingscheidt, and others. He discusses: 195 S.D. 15 on the Cooijmans Intelligence Test 5 or the CIT5; the feeling when the score came back from Cooijmans; thoughts on the directories, rankings, and listings available; the length of time one should take on an alternative test; pre-Soviet and post-Soviet experience of the “Low German community”; life until age 11; life as an adolescent; knowing one’s “limits” a sign of both intelligence and conscientiousness; Mennonites baptize only adults; the main contribution to Germanic life and work via the Plautdietsch speaking people and the Mennonites; the Soviet Union; pacifism as crucial for the Mennonites; religion; individual autonomy in the selection of religion; being against baptism; belonging to the “cultural community of Mennonites, but not to a congregation”; life “without God”; the trajectory of the “careful consideration” about God; the ‘final nails’; the Bible “misused”; freedom of religion; the things lost in non-intergenerational homes; the reason for this becoming a hobby at age 45; the Three Sonnets test; the demographics of the test-takers; finding out about giftedness later in life in the international high-range community; the leap from the previous “highest score” on “the verbal section of the Marathon Test with IQ 180 S.D. 15” to the “195 S.D. 15 on the Cooijmans Intelligence Test 5 or the CIT5”; marathon test-takers; individuals taking 5, 10, 20, 50, or more high-range tests; and Tweeback Verlag.

Keywords: 195, CIT5, Cooijmans, conscientiousness, God, Heinrich Siemens, Mennonites, Plautdietsch, Tweeback Verlag.

Conversation with Dr. Heinrich Siemens on 195 IQ (S.D. 15), CIT5, Cooijmans, Conscientiousness, Mennonites, Plautdietsch, God, the Three Sonnets Test, and Tweeback Verlag: Linguist (2)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Some news since the previous coverage. As noted in the prior interview, on the legendary Titan Test, you scored 45/48. Furthermore, you have “performed very well on HRIQ tests of Ronald K. Hoeflin, Paul Cooijmans, Jonathan Wai, Theodosis Prousalis, and others” with “some results… above 5 sigma or 5 standard deviations.” With the recent news, as stated on the World Genius Directory [Ed. Ranking], you scored 195 S.D. 15 on the Cooijmans Intelligence Test 5 or the CIT5, which corresponds to a score of 28 out of 40. A cognitive rarity of 1 in 8,299,126,114 based on the preliminary (September 2020) norms statistics on the CIT5. Any early feelings on the achievement?

Dr. Heinrich Siemens[1],[2]*: It feels great. To be honest, I do not believe in statistics in these high ranges. What does it mean that I have outscored 8,299,126,113 of the adult population, when there are only 7,800,000,000 people living on earth, including many non-adults? The problem is not the lack of data, but the fact that a priori there is not enough data to make significant statements. But even if Paul should change the norm, the raw score of 28/40 on an extremely hard test and the membership in the Giga society will remain and I am proud of that.

Jacobsen: What was the feeling when the score came back from Cooijmans, the “psychometitor,” to you?

Siemens: It was just like when Ron Hoeflin told me that I was accepted into the Mega society. Sometimes, you have a wish and you do not really believe that it could come true. And then it does happen, and you are happy.

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the directories, rankings, and listings available when they require some form of rigorousness in validation of the scores on good tests from reliable and trustworthy alternative test constructors? All “directories, rankings, and listings,” as a side note, in presentation and tacit intent appear far more as rankings and, thus, the titles of directory, listing, or ranking, should collapse into “ranking,” in personal opinion. Unless, some other explicit differentiation of intent tied to alternative presentation structure.

Siemens: Do we need such rankings? Why do we have world championships in chess or in sports? Why Olympic Games? It is in the nature of mankind to compete with others. But animals can also jump and run. If cognitive abilities are the outstanding feature of human beings, then this competition is much more important than it is in sports. But then it should also be fair. One of the biggest problems of the HRIQ community is that the norms of the tests are so different. Every test maker works with his own currency for the determination of the IQ value and in the end (in all of these rankings and listings) we behave as if 150 euros = 150 dollars = 150 rubles. There should be a procedure to determine the norms of tests in a uniform way. There are now huge amounts of data from Paul Cooijmans, Theodosis Prousalis, Jason Betts, Domagoj Kuttle, and, perhaps, a few others. One could compare all tests of different test makers with more than (let us say) 20 or 30 submissions. I am sure many test takers have taken tests by different test makers. Based on this, it should be possible to adjust the norms, so that in the end it is equally difficult or easy to get a certain IQ certified for each test. If someone creates a new test, a norm should only be published as soon as a minimum number of test takers, whose IQ is already confirmed by other tests, have submitted their answers. Then rankings and listings would be much more significant than they are at present.

Jacobsen: How long should one take on an alternative test to score as well as innate intelligence provides them rather than underestimating intelligence for them?

Siemens: I am sometimes asked how much time I needed for a specific test. This is a difficult question. I started dealing with CIT5 years ago when it was published. Then other things came up and I forgot about it. Now I have dusted off my old pages because I remembered that this year the contest ends. I changed some answers, added some others. I usually try to think of a difficult question in the evening before I go to sleep. Then I can use the night because the brain continues to think about it while I sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and see the solution light up like a revelation. Probably everyone has their own way of solving IQ tests, but if someone is still looking for a personal approach, you can try my method.

Jacobsen: What encapsulates this pre-Soviet and post-Soviet experience of the “Low German community” experience?

Siemens: In the Soviet Union, the Plautdietsch people lived in more or less isolated settlements, so that life in the family, but also on the street and sometimes even at work, largely took place in Plautdietsch. The Luther Bible was read in High German. Russian, the lingua franca of the Soviet Union, was spoken with other nationalities. In some republics, the national language was also spoken, in my case Latvian. People lived multilingually. Every language had its domain. We still have this situation in the isolated Latin American Plautdietsch settlements, where the number of speakers is increasing rapidly. But in Germany, where most of the Plautdietsch people emigrated after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the language is highly endangered, similar to Canada and the US after World War II.

Jacobsen: What was life like until age 11 as a child?

Siemens: We lived in a small town in Latvia, almost rural. (Of course, there was no free Latvia at that time, but my birthplace Sigulda is in Latvia nowadays). We had a big garden, chickens and every year a pig. As children we played outside a lot. We had books, but no mass media. We lived in a multigenerational household with my grandmothers. The grandfathers had starved to death in Stalin’s Gulag. My parents both grew up without a father.

Jacobsen: At and after age 11, what was life as an adolescent for you?

Siemens: I lived a rather lonely life. I never had close friends. I lived in a world of books and imagination. In Germany we have a special school system, which is not often found in the world. At the age of 10, the children are divided into different types of schools. The main problem is that this division depends much more on the social background of the parents than on the cognitive abilities of the child. For example, there is the so-called Gymnasium for the children of academics (the word has a completely different meaning in German than the word “gym” in English, and both no longer have anything to do with the original meaning in Greek because you don’t walk around naked in either one); at the other end of the spectrum, there is the so-called Hauptschule for the children of socially disadvantaged parents and children with a migration background. This is the official term in a country where there is officially no discrimination, but children born in Germany are not simply German if they have a grandmother born in Anatolia or Siberia. Well, in my case, it was even migration foreground; and so, I attended the Hauptschule. But fortunately, the system is not completely impermeable, so I went to the Gymnasium later. I then became a Diploma Mathematician (a degree which is no longer in use, comparable to a Master of Arts) and to complete the Septem Artes and complement the quadrivium in the trivial direction, I changed the faculty and wrote my Ph.D. thesis in linguistics.

Jacobsen: Is knowing one’s “limits” a sign of both intelligence and conscientiousness?

Siemens: The concept of limit involves the idea that there are two sides to it. An intelligent person is characterized by the fact that s*he finds the other side of the limits more interesting and challenging than her*his own side. Limits are there to be crossed. And consciousness is created by not only crossing borders, but by making this process itself the object of reflection. Noblesse oblige, especially cognitive noblesse. Therefore, intelligence is worthless if it is not accompanied by conscientiousness.

Jacobsen: Why do Mennonites baptize only adults – not to individuals considering from the outside, but the rationale from individual believers who practice & believe in a proper way? As the Dutch were German, and thus amount to a branch of more ancient German peoples, as a German ethnic group, where I live, Dutch Christian farmers came to Canada and settled the land there. I live in British Columbia, Canada. In addition, a large contingent of this “Bible Belt” of Canada or Langley consider themselves Mennonites, interesting coincidence for the conversation today, as they exist in every aspect of life for me. Through various town and Township of Langley positions, I remain in contact with the culture and the peoples, aware, as I harbour significant Dutch, Germanic in other words, heritage too.

Siemens: Yeah, that’s what can happen, you look for someone for an interview on the other side of the world and end up with a Mennonite just like at home in your local supermarket or pub.

I consider it one of the greatest achievements of the Baptizers movement of the 16th century that it was left to each person to decide whether to participate in a rite of initiation into a religion, so I reject the baptism (as well as circumcision, sorry to my Muslim and Jewish friends) of children. There is an age of consent in every country in the world. It should also protect the victims from religious attacks by adults. By the way, I also reject the term Anabaptist used in English. It was invented by the Catholic Church and was used as an excuse to burn or drown the Baptizers. They only baptize once, and that is when they are adults, so there is definitely no re-baptism or ana-baptism. Even with the Westphalian Peace, 120 years after the Baptizers movement, the principle of Cuius regio eius religio still applied. It was not until the Age of Enlightenment that the right to an individual confession of faith (or non-faith) was generally recognized. The Baptizers had already advocated for this principle centuries earlier.

Jacobsen: What seems like the main contribution to Germanic life and work via the Plautdietsch speaking people and the Mennonites too?

Siemens: The most important contributions of Mennonites to world cultural heritage are 1. the individual confession of faith in the 16th century, 2. the invention of the cable car by the Gdansk Mennonite Adam Wiebe in the 17th century, 3. the first civilian alternative service for conscientious objectors in 19th century Russia, and 4. the most famous Plautdietsch family was invented in the 20th century by the Mennonite Matt Groening: the Simpsons.

Jacobsen: How did the Soviet Union change the nature of the culture of the peoples for you?

Siemens: The early Christians lived in communist communities. Part of the Baptizers movement, the Hutterites, have lived in communist communities for 500 years. In the principle “Everybody gives what he can, everybody gets what he needs” and with a classless society in which Mammon does not rule, the ideal of the Soviet Union is in essence hardly different from Christian utopias. It is a pity that such ideas have been corrupted as a form of government for a long time by the Soviet rulers, especially by Stalin’s terror.

Jacobsen: What makes “pacifism… crucial for Mennonites” too?

Siemens: The early Baptizers and thus also the Mennonites saw the Sermon on the Mount, and pacifism as its central component, as the basic law of human coexistence. To uphold this principle, they emigrated again and again to new countries and continents, often to areas that had been considered uninhabitable until then, such as the Paraguayan Chaco.

Jacobsen: Also, theological-definitional question, what is religion? Then, what is religion, to you?

Siemens: Individual religion probably arose from the need to explain the cause of effects when no natural causes could be found and therefore supernatural ones were considered. Organized religion arose as some people claimed to have preferential access to the Deity. They demanded submission from the believers and in return offered answers to difficult questions and, above all, a meaning to life. I personally refuse submission to authority and to difficult questions I prefer to seek the answers myself. In most cases, the questions about the meaning of life are much more exciting than the proposed answers, and philosophical books can be much more helpful than religious dogmas. Since atheism is also a belief, I would probably consider myself an agnostic, but such a label is not important for me.

Jacobsen: Why is individual autonomy in the selection of religion important to you?

Siemens: When it comes to the most important questions in life, everyone should have the right to seek their own answers. That is my view of humanity.

Jacobsen: Why choose “against being baptized”?

Siemens: In the Soviet Union, the practice of religion was persecuted. If the Soviet Union still existed in its former form, and if I still lived there, I would probably have been baptized and, maybe, even become a Mennonite preacher, as my parents always wanted me to be and, perhaps, still do. Anything else would have been a sign of cowardice and betrayal. But I am glad that it has come to this. I am free to choose. By refusing baptism, I can show that I have become alienated from the faith in a supernatural being.

Jacobsen: Why “belong to the cultural community of Mennonites, but not to a congregation”?

Siemens: Many Mennonites have lost their faith, often out of disappointment with the way the congregation dealt with them when they were unwilling to submit to religious authorities with regard to life-style, sexuality, etc. They still think of themselves as Mennonites, even if some believers see it differently. In order to save them for the cultural community, we have founded an international association (Plautdietsch-Freunde e. V.), in which all who feel that they belong to the cultural community of Mennonites (defined by the common language) can meet. Perhaps half of our members are in Mennonite (or other) congregations, the other half are not. But since we do not ask anybody about it, I do not know the exact percentage.

Jacobsen: Why live life “without God”? What defines God in this sense of “without” or “a-,” in reference to “-theism” as in “a-theism” for you – in a pragmatic sense of life without God rather than a formal implied ontological stance of the concept “God”?

Siemens: Some people need someone to take their hand and show them how to align their lives with respect to a higher being. I don’t.

Jacobsen: What constituted the trajectory of the “careful consideration”?

Siemens: When I still attended church, I often felt obliged to give witness to my faith, for example at school. However, I noticed more and more how insincere this was, when scientific explanations contradicted those of the believers. I believed one, gave witness to the other, and did not feel good about it. So, I stopped witnessing the other. Let us suppose that our universe, space and time, arose from an initial singularity. Did God exist before because he is eternal? The idea that anything, even God, existed before the origin of time seems contradictory to me. If God came into existence later, when the laws of nature already applied, he must have had a cause, as nothing comes from nothing (Parmenides). But this contradicts the concept of God as taught by Christianity. So, God himself must be the prima causa, an unmoved mover (Aristotle). Okay, if someone is happy with this, he should call the initial singularity God. But this is a wheel that does not move anything.

Jacobsen: What were the ‘final nails’ – proverbial, so-called – to this careful consideration? Why “maybe because of Ockham’s razor”? How big was the beard to begin with for you?

Siemens: The final nail was even literally a beard. The Baptizers have different ideas about what the lower half of a man’s face should look like. The Amish, for example, let the beard grow (because God lets it grow), but they shave the moustache. Well, actually God lets it grow too, but for some obscure reason that is something completely different. I grew up in a congregation where men had to shave. The theological argument was derived from the fact that it is written: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Little children do not wear beards, quod erat demonstrandum. When I stopped shaving, I got in big trouble with the church leadership. So, I grabbed Ockham’s Razor. However, instead of shaving my beard, I shaved my faith.

Jacobsen: How is the Bible “misused”?

Siemens: I just gave you an example.

Jacobsen: Why is freedom of religion important to you, as either a concept or as a human right?

Siemens: There were always times when religion gave important impulses for the coexistence of people, for example in the Sermon on the Mount. But for some centuries now, secular initiatives have taken this place. For us, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the standard that determines our actions. In comparison, many church’s standards seem outdated and contradict not only human rights, but often also constitutions, for example with regard to the role of women or sexual self-determination.

Jacobsen: What is lost in non-intergenerational homes – more than parent-child, e.g., grandparents or great grandparents?

Siemens: In situations of language transition, for example in connection with migration, the three-generation rule often applies. The elderly speak one language, their children are bilingual, and their grandchildren are monolingual again. This is how languages die. Multi-generational households help to prevent or at least delay this process. By talking to their grandparents, the grandchildren learn their language. This is how Plautdietsch was able to survive in the diaspora over the centuries.

Jacobsen: As identified in the first session, you have taken tests from some of the most respected alternative test constructors for the higher scores in the tests taken by you: “My most successful test results include the Titan test by Ronald K. Hoeflin (raw score 45/48), the Test of the Beheaded Man (33/40), the Marathon Test (108/111), both by Paul Cooijmans, many different tests and some won contests by Theodosis Prousalis, SLSE 48 (30/48) by Jonathan Wai, etc. Usually, the results were beyond 5 standard deviations.” Why did this take until 45 to become a hobby?

Siemens: I simply did not know these people or HRIQ tests before. It was a coincidence that I stumbled upon an interview with a member of the Giga society and so Paul came to my attention. With further research, I found Ron, Theodosis, and the others.

Jacobsen: As prospective test-takers look into tests to spend some time for themselves, what are some of the benefits of taking the Three Sonnets test? Why the title, “Three Sonnets”?

Siemens: The Shakespeare Sonnet has the ideal form to express a thought. One develops an idea from three perspectives and summarizes the result in a couplet. (The Russian poet Pushkin proved that you can write an entire novel in Shakespeare’s sonnets. You should read Eugene Onegin, if you haven’t done it yet). My test tries to be not just a sequence of questions, but a real composition, like a poem or a piece of music. It consists of three sonnets: an overture in which the central idea is developed and the later motives are already intoned, a numerical section and a verbal one. In each sonnet, the central idea is illuminated from three angles and summarized in the couplet, just like Shakespeare did. By the way, I would like to draw your attention to verses 29-32 of my test, which represent the quintessence of the test. When you have answered these questions, you have solved one of the central problems that literary studies have been arguing about for decades without being able to solve it. (And I am not referring to the question of who wrote Shakespeare’s works, for the answer is trivial: it was not Shakespeare himself, but a completely unknown author whose real name was Shakespeare.) Like any scientific thesis, my test ends with two footnotes.

Jacobsen: How many people have taken the Three Sonnets test? What are the demographics of the test-takers?

Siemens: Unfortunately, far too few have taken the test so far, so I cannot say anything about demographics or preliminary norms. But I would like to use my 15 minutes of fame to draw attention to this test once again. Perhaps the first step is the hardest. You have to discover the entry. Once you have crossed the threshold, it is no longer time-consuming. Do not let the first impression discourage you. I would be happy if as many of you as possible submit solutions. (The only hint: it was published on Towel Day.)

Jacobsen: Side note, how common is finding out about giftedness later in life in the international high-range community, as you found out at age 45? I like the alignment of the 45 on the legendary Titan Test with it.

Siemens: I have not even noticed this coincidence before. Maybe I should have waited another three years, then I would have had 48/48 correct answers 😉 I do not have the slightest idea at what age other people start to deal with HRIQ tests. You should ask those who have been making many tests for years and therefore have a lot of data.

Jacobsen: What seems like the context in which to interpret the leap from the previous “highest score” on “the verbal section of the Marathon Test with IQ 180 S.D. 15” to the aforementioned “195 S.D. 15 on the Cooijmans Intelligence Test 5 or the CIT5”?

Siemens: The difference is exactly one standard deviation, such leaps are very rare because the intelligence of adults is assumed to be relatively constant, at least until it decreases with age. One explanation is probably that Paul usually publishes preliminary norms at a very early stage, which in my opinion is very problematic, especially in areas where one can hardly expect to get much empirical data. On the other hand, this is not Paul’s first test that I have taken, and from one test to the next, one increasingly understands the test maker’s way of thinking.

Jacobsen: When marathon test-takers of the high-range world exhibit ranges of 30 points (S.D. 15) – plus or minus a few – on the alternative tests, what seems like a reasonable manner in which to interpret the scores?

Siemens: As I already said, such leaps are very rare and could be an indication that something went wrong with the norming process.

Jacobsen: What seems to explain individuals taking 5, 10, 20, 50, or more high-range tests? It helps with the furtherance of the data collection efforts. All the power to them. It seems like a huge time sink, though, at the same time.

Siemens: Of course, every test maker is happy to receive as many submissions as possible, because they are the basis for a profound norming process. Everyone spends as much time with his hobby as he can spare. A hard test is often time consuming. But “time sink” sounds too derogatory. There are certainly worse things to spend time on than passing cognitive challenges.

Jacobsen: Have other publishers arisen alongside Tweeback Verlag working in this niche? If not, why not? If so, why so? What were the books needing publishing (plug, plug)?

Siemens: Most Mennonites still use a different written language and Plautdietsch is only spoken. Therefore, the market for Plautdietsch books is very small. I don’t know of any other publisher that specializes in this niche. Plautdietsch developed late as a literary language. The first major works were written about 100 years ago and the most important Plautdietsch author, Arnold Dyck, died exactly 50 years ago. That is why we are presenting an Arnold Dyck Award for the first time this year to encourage more people to write in Plautdietsch.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Linguist; Founder, Tweeback Verlag; Member, Mega Society; Member, Giga Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 15, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021:


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