I have been researching sterilizing rodents instead of killing them to control their populations, and it’s much more popular already than I had realized. ContraPest is a bait that sterilizes rats with a few doses. It reduces sperm viability in males and induces aging of ovarian follicles in females, sort of like early menopause. There’s a bit of a lag before the population reduces, but it has the benefits of humaneness, not disturbing the rats’ territories (because older rats stick around, preventing movement between territories which can spread disease), and providing a better longterm maintenance solution. It’s already widely used, and Senestech, the company that makes it, has had big contracts with cities like NYC and Wasington DC. I was very surprised to find out how widespread the use of sterilants already was considering I had not heard of them for rodent pest control until last year!
I think this is a good cause not only to reduce harm to household pests, but because having to participate in cruelty toward animals can lead to cognitive dissonance or defensiveness or the status quo treatment of animals. Finding out about sterilants got me out of binary way of thinking towards rat infestation (it’s them or me) and that’s the kind of creative problem-solving we need if we’re ever going to make real improvements in wild animal welfare.
Look who’s never heard of intersectionality
I think this post is pretty damning of ACE. Are you saying OP shouldn’t have posted important information about how ACE is evaluting animal charities because there has been too much anti-SJ/DEI stuff on the forum lately?
Are you implying that Larry Summers was wrong or that Texaco’s actions were somehow his fault?
I think it’s important for EA to promote high decoupling in intellectual spaces. You also have to consider that this is a philosophy dissertation, which is an almost maximally decoupling space.
I don’t understand why thinking like that quote isn’t totally passe to EAs. At least to utilitarian EAs. If anyone’s allowed to think hypothetically (“divorced from the reality”) I would think it would be a philosophy grad student writing a dissertation.
Personally, I’m very self-conscious about my work and tend to wait to long too share it. But the culture of RP seems to fight that tendency— which I think is very productive!
I can answer 6, as I’ve been doing it for Wild Animal Welfare since I was hired in September. WAW is a new and small field, so it is relatively easy to learn the field, but there’s still so much! I started by going backwards (into the Welfare Biology movement of the 80s and 90s) and forwards (into the WAW EA orgs we know today) from Brain Tomasik, consulting the primary literature over various specific matters of fact. A great thing about WAW being such a young field (and so concentrated in EA) is that I can reach out to basically anyone who’s published on it and have a real conversation. It’s a big shortcut!
I should note that my background is in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, so someone else might need a lot more background in those basics if they were to learn WAW.
Such an answer is exactly what I am looking for!
I’m curious about people’s evaluations of (2)— how long would that go on? How bad would it really be compared to the losses from shutdown?
iirc, we actually did prompt them to take the exit survey and give them time to fill it out during the fourth meeting, but clearly not everyone did. But my memory of that is really not clear. We had been in breakout groups most of that session so maybe there was too much disorder when we asked them to take a survey at the end of that. And if we had done that then they wouldn’t have had their one-on-one meetings with us yet.
For the 9 month follow-up we just sent them an email.
Don’t forget that a lot of groups have other funding sources available, especially student groups. The EA groups at Harvard make use of CEA, and we wouldn’t be able to do as much without money from CEA, but we have plenty of other funding sources (such as Harvard and well-off alum EAs) and many of our events cost only volunteer labor.
Is it really a matter of incorrectness or just that you think that argument is really important and he didn’t include it? There are plenty of innocent reasons he might not have included that argument or many others. He might have thought it was a weak argument or maybe didn’t include it because it wasn’t relevant to his personal objections to NU.
But Peter, he just didn’t have time and the CV issue was too unimportant (not to publish—just too unimportant to verify):
The issue with Bostrom’s CV is a minor thing compared to the other things I write about in this text. For example, if I were to ask Bostrom something, I would rather ask him about the seemingly problematic behaviour of the organisation FHI he leads. There are also many other people that I mention in this text who I could have asked about more important things than a CV before publishing this text. But I doubt I would have time for that work, so I prefer to write based on the information I have in a hedged way using phrases such as ‘I doubt’ and ‘I suspect.’
Anon, do you think publishing something that attacks people’s individual reputations and damages the reputation of negative utilitarians as a whole despite “not having time” to do it right is an acceptable practice?
What’s unacceptable about this in your opinion, anon account?
None of the accusations here is shocking, and often they reflect the author’s naivete more than any wrongdoing on the part of the accused. Assistants contribute to writing books (however, private correspondence is meant to stay private). Organizations set ethical standards for the conducting and sharing of their research. People present themselves in the best light possible. Will is a co-founder of EA, not of the idea of maximizing social impact, but of the set of ideas and practices that governs this community today.
I don’t like Toby’s “Why I’m Not a Negative Utilitarian” essay because I think it doesn’t engage good arguments in favor of NU (to which I am partial). But I don’t think it’s in any way dishonest for him to have written an informal essay describing his views on the matter. I found it immensely helpful in understanding Toby’s writings about the kind of utilitarianism he endorses.