Crit­i­cisms of The Ra­tion­al­ist Movement

TagLast edit: 1 Oct 2020 2:37 UTC by Ruby

Criticisms of the rationalist movement and LessWrong have existed for most of its duration on various grounds.

Cult of Rationality

Less Wrong has been referred to as a cult phyg on numerous occasions,123 with Eliezer Yudkowsky as its leader. Eliezer’s confidence in his AI safety work outside of mainstream academia and self-professed intelligence renders him highly unpopular with his critics.4


The Neoreaction movement,5 is a notoriously adjacent idea to the community. Whist it has being explicitly refuted by figures such as Eliezer67 and Scott,8 it is often actively-associated by critics.910


The movement has been criticized as overemphasizing inductive reasoning over empiricism,11 a criticism that has been refuted by Scott Alexander.12

Roko’s basilisk

The Roko’s basilisk thought experiment was notorious in that it required specific preconditions available nearly exclusively within the Less Wrong community that rendered the the reader vulnerable to this ‘memetic hazard’. As such it has drawn derision from critics who feel perception risk from unfriendly AI is overstated within the community.1314


Less Wrong’s community was partially founded by soliciting users from the transhumanist SL4 mailing list and Eliezer Yudkowsky is himself a prominent transhumanist.

As such, the fringe nature of transhumanist ideas such as cryonics, AGI takeover15 has met with continued scorn from the skeptics based at RationalWiki.16

See also


  1. http://​​​​lw/​​4d/​​youre_calling_who_a_cult_leader/​​

  2. http://​​​​lw/​​bql/​​our_phyg_is_not_exclusive_enough/​​

  3. https://​​​​r/​​OutOfTheLoop/​​comments/​​3ttw2e/​​what_is_lesswrong_and_why_do_people_say_it_is_a/​​

  4. http://​​​​wiki/​​Eliezer_Yudkowsky

  5. https://​​​​web/​​20130424060436/​​http://​​​​2013/​​04/​​21/​​visualizing-neoreaction/​​

  6. http://​​​​post/​​142497361345/​​this-isnt-going-to-work-but-for-the-record-and

  7. http://​​​​lw/​​fh4/​​why_is_mencius_moldbug_so_popular_on_less_wrong/​​

  8. http://​​​​2013/​​10/​​20/​​the-anti-reactionary-faq/​​

  9. http://​​​​wiki/​​Neoreactionary_movement

  10. https://​​​​wiki/​​The_Silicon_Ideology

  11. https://​​​​almostdiamonds/​​2014/​​11/​​24/​​why-i-am-not-a-rationalist/​​

  12. http://​​​​2014/​​11/​​27/​​why-i-am-not-rene-descartes/​​

  13. http://​​​​wiki/​​Roko’s_basilisk

  14. http://​​​​talks/​​superintelligence.htm

  15. http://​​​​wiki/​​Cybernetic_revolt

  16. http://​​​​wiki/​​Transhumanism

Some blindspots in ra­tio­nal­ity and effec­tive altruism

Remmelt Ellen19 Mar 2021 11:40 UTC
34 points
27 comments12 min readLW link

Crit­i­cism of some pop­u­lar LW articles

AllAmericanBreakfast19 Jul 2020 1:16 UTC
64 points
19 comments6 min readLW link

No Really, Why Aren’t Ra­tion­al­ists Win­ning?

Sailor Vulcan4 Nov 2018 18:11 UTC
25 points
85 comments5 min readLW link

Self-Con­grat­u­la­tory Rationalism

ChrisHallquist1 Mar 2014 8:52 UTC
70 points
395 comments10 min readLW link

Ex­treme Ra­tion­al­ity: It’s Not That Great

Scott Alexander9 Apr 2009 2:44 UTC
196 points
277 comments8 min readLW link

You’re Cal­ling *Who* A Cult Leader?

Eliezer Yudkowsky22 Mar 2009 6:57 UTC
59 points
121 comments5 min readLW link

Our Phyg Is Not Ex­clu­sive Enough

[deleted]14 Apr 2012 21:08 UTC
38 points
515 comments3 min readLW link

Pu­tanu­monit: If ra­tio­nal­ity is a re­li­gion, it’s a crappy one.

Jacob Falkovich15 Apr 2017 16:44 UTC
8 points
0 comments1 min readLW link

[LINK] EA Has A Ly­ing Problem

Benquo11 Jan 2017 22:31 UTC
19 points
34 comments1 min readLW link

Why I Am Not a Ra­tion­al­ist, or, why sev­eral of my friends warned me that this is a cult

Algernoq13 Jul 2014 17:54 UTC
21 points
193 comments3 min readLW link

Self-Im­prove­ment or Shiny Dis­trac­tion: Why Less Wrong is anti-In­stru­men­tal Rationality

patrissimo14 Sep 2010 16:17 UTC
126 points
261 comments16 min readLW link