My take is that it only takes a strong enough worldview to resist this influence, and that most EAs/rationalists have one. I think this mostly just comes down to intuitions about 1) how strong of an influence a psychedelic experience can have on someone’s worldview and 2) how strong of a worldview does the average EA/rationalist have. I don’t think a strong psychedelic experience alone is enough to create bad epistemology, and that it probably also takes some environmental factors pushing in this direction, which EAs/rationalists generally aren’t exposed to.
It seems like our intuitions probably differ on this, so I’m wondering what your take is based on? Also wondering if you can provide more details on the hard-to-describe personality trait, as I’m not sure what you mean there.
My impression agrees with Issa’s: in EA, psychedelic use seems to go along with a cluster of bad epistemic practice (e.g. pseudoscience, neurobabble, ‘enlightenment’, obscurantism).
This trend is a weak one, with many exceptions; I also don’t know about direction of causation. Yet this is enough to make me recommend that taking psychedelics to ‘make one a better EA’ is very ill-advised.
… in EA, psychedelic use seems to go along with a cluster of bad epistemic practice (e.g. pseudoscience, neurobabble, ‘enlightenment’, obscurantism).
Could you link to some public-facing examples of the bad epistemic practice you have in mind?
(I don’t share your intuition so would like to get a better idea of what’s generating it.)
People probably won’t give those examples here, for civility reasons. The SSC post linked above covers some practices Greg probably means, using historical examples.
Thanks. The Slate Star Codex post is definitely interesting, though it’s easy to construct a set of countervailing examples – people who use psychedelics & seem pretty sensible (e.g. Steve Jobs, Eric Weinstein, Tim Ferriss, off the top of my head).
edit: Sam Harris, Elon Musk, Aldous Huxley are also in the “use psychedelics & seem pretty sensible” category.
Also, Gregory was noting a correlation within EA specifically; none of these examples speak to that.
Also note that the Openness result Scott talks about hasn’t replicated: https://www.enthea.net/griffiths-2017-2.html
(More research needed, as always.)
Given the weakness of the trend & uncertainty about how the causation runs, “very ill-advised” seems too strong.
Also your view doesn’t account for the potential upsides of psychedelic use.