Thanks! I don’t disagree. Btw the link to the Remembering self is dead.
I’m glad I read this piece. It makes a good point!
Can you expand on the connection to EA? I’m not sure I quite see it.
Thanks for this great review. It helps outsiders understand how different EA groups and social scenes work.
Do you have estimates for how many people are involved in different groups and overall in Boston? Potentially for different levels of involvement? E.g. 30 hardcore/dedicated (whatever word seems best) EAs, 100 casual EAs.
Future Perfect put out an article on this recently.
Clearly both metaphors do work – I’m wondering which is better to cultivate on the margin.
My intuition is that it’s better to lean on the image of intellectual work as exploration; curious what folks here think.
I’m a bit unclear on the question exactly. You ask which metaphor is better to cultivate on the margin, but I’m not sure for whom or for what purpose. Both metaphors seem clearly true to some extent to me, and which metaphor it fits more depends a lot on individuals and fields IMO.
Dylan Matthews’ claim that nuclear war would cause “much or all of humankind” to suddenly vanish is unsubstantiated. The idea that billions of people worldwide will die from nuclear war is not supported by models with realistic numbers of nuclear warheads. “Much” is a very vague term, but speculation that every (or nearly every) human will die is a false alarm. Now that is easy to forgive, as it’s a common belief within EA anyway and probably someone will try to argue with me about it.
Could you expand on this or give sources? I do hear EAs talking about nuclear war and nuclear winter being existential threats.
I think Vox, Ezra Klein, Dylan Matthews etc would disagree about point 2. Not to put words in someone else’s mouth, but my sense is that Ezra Klein doesn’t think that their coverage is substantially flawed and systematically biased relative to other comparable sources. He might even argue that their coverage is less biased than most sources.
Could you link to some of the criticisms you mentioned in point 1? I’ve seen others claim that as well on previous EA Forum posts about Future Perfect, and I think it would be good to have at least a few sources on this. Many EAs outside the US probably know very little about Vox.
How many fellows do you plan to accept?
This is a really great and helpful post. Thanks so much for running it, trying to evaluate its impact, and writing it up!
Interesting question! I think Givewell’s estimate for how much money they’ve directed over the years should be counted in some way as well.
I want to echo other people in saying that this was both incredibly impressive and very impactful! Thank you so much :)
(Replying to my own comment) I’m copy-pasting the Criticism section on Wikipedia:
Members of the panel including Thomas Schelling and one of the two perspective paper writers Robert O. Mendelsohn (both opponents of the Kyoto protocol) criticised Cline, mainly on the issue of discount rates. (See “The opponent notes to the paper on Climate Change” ) Mendelsohn, in particular, characterizing Cline’s position, said that “[i]f we use a large discount rate, they will be judged to be small effects” and called it “circular reasoning, not a justification”. Cline responded to this by arguing that there is no obvious reason to use a large discount rate just because this is what is usually done in economic analysis. In other words, climate change ought to be treated differently from other, more imminent problems. The Economist quoted Mendelsohn as worrying that “climate change was set up to fail”.
Moreover, Mendelsohn argued that Cline’s damage estimates were excessive. Citing various recent articles, including some of his own, he stated that “[a] series of studies on the impacts of climate change have systematically shown that the older literature overestimated climate damages by failing to allow for adaptation and for climate benefits.”
Members of the panel, including Schelling, criticised the way this issue was handled in the Consensus project.
The 2004 Copenhagen Consensus attracted various criticisms:
The 2004 report, especially its conclusion regarding climate change was subsequently criticised from a variety of perspectives. The general approach adopted to set priorities was criticised by Jeffrey Sachs, an American economist and advocate of both the Kyoto protocol  and increased development aid, who argued that the analytical framework was inappropriate and biased and that the project “failed to mobilize an expert group that could credibly identify and communicate a true consensus of expert knowledge on the range of issues under consideration.“.
Tom Burke, a former director of Friends of the Earth, repudiated the entire approach of the project, arguing that applying cost–benefit analysis in the way the Copenhagen panel did was “junk economics”.
John Quiggin, an Australian economics professor, commented that the project is a mix of “a substantial contribution to our understanding of important issues facing the world” and an “exercises in political propaganda” and argued that the selection of the panel members was slanted towards the conclusions previously supported by Lomborg. Quiggin observed that Lomborg had argued in his controversial book The Skeptical Environmentalist that resources allocated to mitigating global warming would be better spent on improving water quality and sanitation, and was therefore seen as having prejudged the issues.
Under the heading “Wrong Question”, Sachs further argued that: “The panel that drew up the Copenhagen Consensus was asked to allocate an additional US$50 billion in spending by wealthy countries, distributed over five years, to address the world’s biggest problems. This was a poor basis for decision-making and for informing the public. By choosing such a low sum — a tiny fraction of global income — the project inherently favoured specific low-cost schemes over bolder, larger projects. It is therefore no surprise that the huge and complex challenge of long-term climate change was ranked last, and that scaling up health services in poor countries was ranked lower than interventions against specific diseases, despite warnings in the background papers that such interventions require broader improvements in health services.”
In response Lomborg argued that $50 billion was “an optimistic but realistic example of actual spending.” “Experience shows that pledges and actual spending are two different things. In 1970 the UN set itself the task of doubling development assistance. Since then the percentage has actually been dropping”. “But even if Sachs or others could gather much more than $50 billion over the next 4 years, the Copenhagen Consensus priority list would still show us where it should be invested first.” 
One of the Copenhagen Consensus panel experts later distanced himself from the way in which the Consensus results have been interpreted in the wider debate. Thomas Schelling now thinks that it was misleading to put climate change at the bottom of the priority list. The Consensus panel members were presented with a dramatic proposal for handling climate change. If given the opportunity, Schelling would have put a more modest proposal higher on the list. The Yale economist Robert O. Mendelsohn was the official critic of the proposal for climate change during the Consensus. He thought the proposal was way out of the mainstream and could only be rejected. Mendelsohn worries that climate change was set up to fail. 
Michael Grubb, an economist and lead author for several IPCC reports, commented on the Copenhagen Consensus, writing:
To try and define climate policy as a trade-off against foreign aid is thus a forced choice that bears no relationship to reality. No government is proposing that the marginal costs associated with, for example, an emissions trading system, should be deducted from its foreign aid budget. This way of posing the question is both morally inappropriate and irrelevant to the determination of real climate mitigation policy.
Quiggin argued that the members of the 2004 panel, selected by Lomborg, were, “generally towards the right and, to the extent that they had stated views, to be opponents of Kyoto.“. Sachs also noted that the panel members had not previously been much involved in issues of development economics, and were unlikely to reach useful conclusions in the time available to them. Commenting on the 2004 Copenhagen Consensus, climatologist and IPCC author Stephen Schneider criticised Lomborg for only inviting economists to participate:
In order to achieve a true consensus, I think Lomborg would’ve had to invite ecologists, social scientists concerned with justice and how climate change impacts and policies are often inequitably distributed, philosophers who could challenge the economic paradigm of “one dollar, one vote” implicit in cost–benefit analyses promoted by economists, and climate scientists who could easily show that Lomborg’s claim that climate change will have only minimal effects is not sound science.
Lomborg countered criticism of the panel membership by stating that “Sachs disparaged the Consensus ‘dream team’ because it only consisted of economists. But that was the very point of the project. Economists have expertise in economic prioritization. It is they and not climatologists or malaria experts who can prioritize between battling global warming or communicable disease,” 
Interesting! Could you expand on how CC is controversial and political?
Thanks for sharing this!
(Reposted under Nate Soares’ account, with Nate’s permission, by Forum admin aarongertler. Nate gave blanket permission to cross-post his old essays, and this is one of my favorites.)
I don’t understand this. Admins can post on behalf on users, making it appear as if the user themself posted?
Thank you! I appreciate these response and the thought behind your initiative. Best of luck! :)
Raising for Effective Giving was started by poker pros part of the EA community to raise funds from other poker pros to EA charities. It’s pretty quite successful. REG claims to have influenced over $6.5m, including $5.75m to global health, animal welfare, and x-risk charities, with a fundraising multiplier > 1:15.
Google turns up Juan Mata’s Common Goal initiative: ‘I am pledging 1% of my salary to Common Goal, a collective fund — run by the award-winning NGO streetfootballworld — that supports football charities around the globe.’
That’s a good point, but I think Larks is annoyed that they do make that tradeoff—they’re okay putting in jibes at conservatives because it potentially helps them with leftists.
This sounds very interesting! I’m trying to understand it better and have a few questions:
1a. You mentioned that other groups are trying to implement IRV and may not even understand that approval voting is superior. Can you explain why you think other people think this and even advocate for apparently inferior methods? Your article seemed convincing at first glance and I don’t think this is a particularly partisan issue.
1b. “We also haven’t faced organized opposition.” What kind of opposition do you anticipate facing? IRV supporters? Elected officials?
2. Since legislative reform is a nonstarter according to you and ballot initiatives for changing voting methods are present in less than half of US states, what is the medium-long term plan? Get as many cities on approval voting as possible and hope that this builds pressure for approval voting nationally?
3. What factors led to the convincing margin of victory in Fargo despite it being seen as a long shot by the media?
4. What would make you change your mind about approval voting being the best option to advocate for?