Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Artificial Intelligence Researcher

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky is an American artificial intelligence researcher concerned with the Singularity, and an advocate of Friendly Artificial Intelligence. He blogs regularly at Less Wrong.

Eliezer Yudkowsky's Opinions

How is my religious family to comprehend it, working, as they must, from the assumption that [my brother] was murdered by a benevolent God? The same loving God, I presume, who arranges for millions of children to grow up illiterate and starving; the same kindly tribal father-figure who arranged the Holocaust and the Inquisition's torture of witches. I would not hesitate to call it evil, if any sentient mind had committed such an act, permitted such a thing.
18 Nov 2004    Source

I have weighed the evidence as best I can, and I do not believe the universe to be evil, a reply which in these days is called atheism.
18 Nov 2004    Source

The vast majority of religions in human history - excepting only those invented extremely recently - tell stories of events that would constitute completely unmistakable evidence if they'd actually happened. The orthogonality of religion and factual questions is a recent and strictly Western concept. The people who wrote the original scriptures didn't even know the difference. ... The idea that religion is a separate magisterium which cannot be proven or disproven is a Big Lie...
04 Aug 2007    Source

Here's my proposal: Let's argue against bad ideas but not set their bearers on fire. ... My syllogism runs, "I think Susie said something wrong, therefore, I will argue against what she said, but I will not set her on fire, or try to stop her from talking by violence or regulation..."
15 Apr 2007    Source

When someone actually offends us - commits an action of which we (rightly or wrongly) disapprove - then, I observe, the correspondence bias redoubles. There seems to be a very strong tendency to blame evil deeds on the Enemy's mutant, evil disposition. ... Realistically, most people don't construct their life stories with themselves as the villains. Everyone is the hero of their own story. The Enemy's story, as seen by the Enemy, is not going to make the Enemy look bad.
26 Jun 2007    Source

My position might perhaps be called "Requiredism." When agency, choice, control, and moral responsibility are cashed out in a sensible way, they require determinism - at least some patches of determinism within the universe. ... You are within physics, and so you/physics have determined the future. If it were not determined by physics, it could not be determined by you.
06 Jun 2008    Source

Mostly Disagree
I think that if there is ever a vow of honesty among rationalists, it will be restricted in scope. Normally, perhaps, you would avoid making statements that were literally false, and be ready to accept brutal honesty from anyone who first said "Crocker's Rules". Maybe you would be Radically Honest, but only with others who had taken a vow of Radical Honesty, and who understood the trust required to tell someone the truth.
10 Sep 2007    Source

When you're doubting one of your most cherished beliefs, close your eyes, empty your mind, grit your teeth, and deliberately think about whatever hurts the most. Don't rehearse standard objections whose standard counters would make you feel better. Ask yourself what smart people who disagree would say to your first reply, and your second reply. Whenever you catch yourself flinching away from an objection you fleetingly thought of, drag it out into the forefront of your mind.
05 Oct 2007    Source

Mostly Agree
What would humans with brain-computer interfaces do with their augmented intelligence? One good bet is that they’d design the next generation of brain-computer interfaces. Intelligence enhancement is a classic tipping point; the smarter you get, the more intelligence you can apply to making yourself even smarter. ... This positive feedback cycle ... rapidly surges upward and creates superintelligence (minds orders of magnitude more powerful than human) before it hits physical limits.
30 Sep 2007    Source

Why would anyone bite a bullet that large? Why would anyone postulate unconscious zombies who write papers about consciousness for exactly the same reason that our own genuinely conscious philosophers do? ... on a core level, the sane thing to do when you see the conclusion of the zombie argument, is to say "That can't possibly be right" and start looking for a flaw.
04 Apr 2008    Source

...I hope [from reading this you will] gain an entirely new perspective on where your "identity" is located... ...if your brain were non-destructively frozen (e.g. by vitrification in liquid nitrogen); and a computer model of the synapses, neural states, and other brain behaviors were constructed a hundred years later; then it would preserve exactly everything about you that was preserved by going to sleep one night and waking up the next morning.
12 Jun 2008    Source

...a man spoke of some benefit X of death [and] I said: "...given human nature, if people got hit on the head by a baseball bat every week, pretty soon they would invent reasons why getting hit on the head with a baseball bat was a good thing. But if you took someone who wasn't being hit on the head with a baseball bat, and you asked them if they wanted it, they would say no. I think that if you took someone who was immortal, and asked them if they wanted to die for benefit X, they would say no.
14 Oct 2007    Source

[If you go through the logic], you should actually be able to see intuitively that successful cryonics preserves anything about you that is preserved by going to sleep at night and waking up the next morning.
12 Dec 2008    Source

Oh, sure, everyone thinks two plus two is four, everyone says two plus two is four, and in the mere mundane drudgery of everyday life everyone behaves as if two plus two is four, but what does two plus two really, ultimately equal? As near as I can figure, four.
01 Jan 2008    Source

So let me state then, very clearly, on behalf of any and all physicists out there who dare not say it themselves: Many-worlds wins outright given our current state of evidence. There is no more reason to postulate a single Earth, than there is to postulate that two colliding top quarks would decay in a way that violates conservation of energy. It takes more than an unknown fundamental law; it takes magic. The debate should already be over. It should have been over fifty years ago.
11 May 2008    Source

I'll take bets at 99-to-1 odds against any information propagating faster than c. Note that this is not a bet for the results being methodologically flawed in any particular way, though I would indeed guess some simple flaw. It is just a bet that when the dust settles, it will not be possible to send signals at a superluminal velocity using whatever is going on - that there will be no propagation of any cause-and-effect relation at faster than lightspeed.
27 Sep 2011    Source

It is a non-so-hidden agenda of this site, Less Wrong, that there are many causes which benefit from the spread of rationality - because it takes a little more rationality than usual to see their case, as a supporter, or even just a supportive bystander. Not just the obvious causes like atheism, but things like marijuana legalization - where you could wish that people were a bit more self-aware about their motives and the nature of signaling, and a bit more moved by inconvenient cold facts.
29 Mar 2009    Source

[Satirical reenactment of government officials:] It's done. The plane targeted at Congress was crashed by those on-board, but the Pentagon and Trade Center attacks occurred just as scheduled. ... Congress seems sufficiently angry in any case. ... I don't think the further steps of the plan will meet with any opposition. We should gain the governmental powers we need, and the stock market should move as expected. ... Have you prepared the conspiracy theorists to accuse us?
22 Dec 2009    Source

I don't believe that UFOs are alien visitors, but my skepticism has nothing to do with all the crazy people who believe in UFOs - the existence of wacky cults is not much less expected in the case that aliens do exist, than in the case that they do not. ... I don't believe aliens would (a) travel across interstellar distances AND (b) hide all signs of their presence AND THEN (c) fly gigantic non-nanotechnological aircraft over our military bases with their exterior lights on.
14 Mar 2010    Source

[By denying evolution you] engage in motivated cognition; and instead of focusing on the unthinkably huge heaps of evidence in favor of evolution, the innumerable signs by which the fact of evolution has left its heavy footprints on all of reality, ... ...instead you search your mind, and you pick out one form of proof that you think evolutionary biologists can't provide; and you demand, you insist upon that one form of proof; and when it is not provided, you take that as a refutation.
15 Feb 2010    Source

Comparisons with Other Experts and Influencers

The similarity between Eliezer Yudkowsky and each expert and influencer is calculated by looking at how the same questions were answered. These figures are used to calculate conforming, nonconforming, and projected opinions. The accuracy of the analysis depends on Eliezer Yudkowsky's coverage, which grows with the number of their opinions entered into TakeOnIt.

Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist
91% agreement / 6 opinions

Robin Hanson
Economics Professor
83% agreement / 6 opinions

Ayn Rand
Philosopher, Novelist
90% agreement / 5 opinions

Ben Best
CEO of Cryonics Institute
100% agreement / 2 opinions

H. P. Lovecraft
87% agreement / 2 opinions

Pickup Artist
87% agreement / 2 opinions

Mostly Agree
Steven Pinker
Psychology Professor
75% agreement / 4 opinions

Paul Z. Myers
Biology Professor
66% agreement / 3 opinions

James Randi
Magician, Illusionist, Writer, Skeptic
66% agreement / 3 opinions

Ricky Gervais
Comedian, Creator of The Office
62% agreement / 2 opinions

Friedrich Nietzsche
Iconic Philosopher of 19th Century
50% agreement / 4 opinions

Bryan Caplan
Economics Professor
41% agreement / 3 opinions

Steven Novella
50% agreement / 2 opinions

David Chalmers
Philosophy Professor
50% agreement / 2 opinions

Bill Maher
Political T.V. Host, Comedian
50% agreement / 2 opinions

John McCain
U.S. Senator, Republican
50% agreement / 2 opinions

Mostly Disagree
The Catholic Church
Largest Christian Church
21% agreement / 7 opinions

Robert Todd Carroll
Philosophy Professor
35% agreement / 5 opinions

Osama Bin Laden
Former Leader of Al Qaeda
25% agreement / 4 opinions

Barack Obama
United States President
33% agreement / 3 opinions

Christian Encyclopedia
33% agreement / 3 opinions

Douglas Hofstadter
Professor of Cognitive Science
37% agreement / 2 opinions

Albert Mohler
President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
8% agreement / 3 opinions

Andrew Sullivan
Journalist, Author
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Kevin Rudd
Australian Prime Minister, 2007-2010
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Kenneth Miller
Biology Professor, Christian
0% agreement / 2 opinions

Conforming Opinions

Eliezer Yudkowsky's conforming opinions are opinions that align with the group of experts and influencers Eliezer Yudkowsky typically agrees with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Disagree Does God exist?
High Agree Did complex life evolve through the process of natural selection?
High Disagree Is truth relative?
High Disagree Is God just?
High Agree Should marijuana be legal?
Medium Agree Is self-deception a fault?
Medium Mostly Disagree Can we handle the truth?
Medium Disagree Are our enemies innately evil?
Medium Agree Is cryonics worthwhile?
Medium Disagree Is censorship acceptable?
Low Disagree Have aliens from outer space visited Earth?
Low Agree Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?
Low Disagree Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks?
Low Disagree Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?
Low Agree Is the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics correct?

Nonconforming Opinions

Eliezer Yudkowsky's nonconforming opinions are opinions that contradict the group of experts and influencers Eliezer Yudkowsky typically agrees with.

Coverage Group Answer Expert Answer Question
Medium Mostly Disagree Disagree Is free will an illusion?
Medium Neutral Mostly Agree Is a technological singularity likely?
Low Mostly Agree Agree Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?

Projected Opinions

Eliezer Yudkowsky's projected opinions are opinions Eliezer Yudkowsky is expected to have if their opinions align with the experts and influencers that they typically agree with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Disagree Does astrology work (is personality correlated with the positions of celestial bodies at birth)?
High Agree Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?
High Neutral Does religion encourage good behavior?
High Disagree Do we have an immaterial soul?
High Neutral Is free trade generally beneficial for a country?
Medium Disagree Must God exist to explain how the universe began?
Medium Mostly Agree Is capitalism good?
Medium Mostly Disagree Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?
Medium Neutral Is "ought" derived from "is"?
Medium Agree Should abortion be legal?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is intelligent extraterrestrial life common in our galaxy?
Medium Mostly Agree Is morality objective?
Low Disagree Does minimum wage help the poor?
Low Mostly Disagree Is hypocrisy acceptable?
Low Mostly Agree Should paternity testing be mandatory?
Low Agree Can reductionist methods help explain consciousness?
Low Agree Could a computer ever be conscious?
Low Disagree Is democracy the best form of government?
Low Agree Should psychoactive drugs be legal?
Low Disagree Is the health risk of a psychoactive drug a legitimate reason to make it illegal?
Low Disagree Is quantum mechanics needed to explain consciousness?
Low Disagree Are psychic powers real?
Low Disagree Do ghosts exist?
Low Agree Is cryonic restoration technically feasible in the future?
Low Mostly Disagree Does cryonic preservation with today's best technology cause irreversible brain damage?
Low Disagree Is the theory of evolution falsified by fossil evidence?
Low Agree Is the world explainable without God?
Low Disagree Do miracles happen?
Low Disagree Does government spending help mitigate a recession?
Low Neutral Is there a Law of Karma?
Low Neutral Should women have the right to vote?
Low Agree Should the federal government ban gay marriage?
Low Neutral Are pickup artist strategies effective?
Low Neutral Are pickup artist strategies misogynistic?
Low Mostly Disagree Are pickup artist strategies morally acceptable?
Low Neutral Should pickup artist strategies be considered good education?
Low Neutral Do pickup artists underestimate the diversity of women's personalities?
Low Neutral Has feminism gone too far?
Low Mostly Agree Is efficient market theory the best approximation of the truth for the average investor?
Low Disagree Do Gödellian arguments refute a computational model of the mind?
Low Neutral Is creativity overrated?
Low Agree Is global warming caused primarily by humans?
Low Neutral Is it plausible that we're living in a simulation?