Ok, I didn’t pick up that was where the prediction was in the article. I think of (good) predictions as having a clear, falsifiable hypothesis. Whereas this seems to be predicting … that virtue ethicists continue believing whatever they already believed about EAs?
The reason I downvoted this article is the use of the term ‘moral schizophrenia’. Even if it’s not your term originally, I think using it is:
a) Super unclear as a descriptive term. I understand in mainstream culture it’s seen as a kind of Jeckyll/Hyde split personality thing, so maybe it’s meant to describe that. But I’m pretty sure that’s an inaccurate description of actual schizophrenia.
b) Harmful to those who have schizophrenia when used in this kind of negative fashion. Especially as it seems to be propagating the Jeckyll/Hyde false belief about the condition.
Lastly, the ‘moral schizophrenia’/coldness described here seems much more like a straw-man of EAs than an accurate description of an EAs I’ve met. The EAs I know IRL are warm and generous towards their families and friends, and don’t seem to associate being that way as at all incompatible with EA kind of reasoning. Sure, online and even irl discussions can seem dry, but it would be hard to have any discussions if we had to express, with our emotions, the magnitude of what was being discussed.
I’m quite skeptical of post-hoc articles with titles like ‘X was no surprise’, they’re usually full of hindsight bias. Like, if it was no surprise, did you predict it coming?
Although there’s almost nothing about SBF here, is this part 1 of a series?
Thanks, that makes sense. For some reason I read it as a kind of generalisable statement about epistemics, rather than in relation to the neuron count issues discussed in the article.
“the more measurable a metric we choose, the less accurate it is, and the more we prioritize accuracy, the less we are currently able to measure”
Can you expand on this? Is it a reference to Goodheart’s Law?
Hi emmannaemeka, I don’t know how best to respond to this, but please know that you have my sympathies for you in this situation. I often read news of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria, and it is a terrible thing to see. I admire that you resist against this and continue providing education!
I agree with Kei here. It seems very odd to credit ‘EA’ as significant to the election result. To do so seems to imply that there was some kind of coordinated, unified effort to influence the election, whereas what OP is describing is major donations from one actor who was also associated with the EA movement.
This is about much more than not unfairly associating EA with SBFs actions (and donating to the Democratic party is hardly a bad thing to be associated with, compared to SBFs other actions). It’s an incorrect description of EA beliefs and culture as a whole. I think if you asked 100 EAs ‘what’s the best thing you could do with a few billion dollars’, ‘donating to the Biden campaign’ would be fairly low down the list of results.
“This is despite EA significantly contributing to Biden’s win in 2020.”
What makes you think this?
Interesting you say that. I was involved in an EA group that looked into campaigning for vaccine patent relief during COVID. There was the ‘One day sooner ’ campaign to allow human challenge trials (I believe this was EA aligned). There was an EA campaign against cuts to the UK’s foreign aid budget, and I can think of two similar efforts in other countries (I’m currently writing this on mobile, it’s hard to post links).
Then there’s the whole animal welfare side to EA, which is distinctly ‘political’, running campaigns for stricter animal welfare laws and suing to uphold these laws. I don’t think EA is anywhere near as apolitical as you claim it to be.
All that being said, these are all political campaigns focused on specific issues. I wouldn’t think the marginal benefit of just donating to a major political party is anywhere near as good as these examples.
What do you mean by:
“downplaying engaging in politics in order to make societal institutions better and more just”?
I can interpret it a couple of ways:
Criticism that EA doesn’t engage in politics enough
Warning about the risks of getting involved in politics
Either way, SBF was a major political donor. I’m reading he was the 2nd biggest donor for the Democrats:
Lawful good/ neutral is part of a Dungeons and Dragons character’s ‘alignment’ chart. It’s a way people sometimes use to describe people’s morality and motivations in real life. https://www.wnyc.org/story/the-chart-that-explains-everyone-character-alignment/
The way you are assessed for eligibility for a seasonal COVID booster in the UK is a short online questionnaire. I ticked that I “thought I might be at high risk of COVID” (I don’t, but I want a booster) and was able to book one without being asked for any extra supporting evidence.
Now, this could be bad if the NHS relies on survey response data to estimate how many people are actually at risk (this seems very unlikely to me, given that they must have much higher quality data on disease rates in the UK). It could also be bad if the UK is constrained on supply of vaccines—but again this seems unlikely to me.
All in, as a very mild act of civil disobedience, I think it’s net-positive, and worth it for me. I’d buy a dose if I was allowed to, but the UK gov won’t allow me to...
Something I used to call ‘outside view’ is asking ‘what would someone other than me think of this’, like trying to imagine how someone outside of myself would view something. I think it’s a technique I learnt from CBT and would often take the form of ‘what would a wise, empathetic friend advise you to do?’ . I realised you could do it with various viewpoints. For example, you could imagine looking at current affairs from the viewpoint of an alien viewing earth from afar. I’m not sure what the term for this is.
EDIT: I changed the section title to ‘Welcome Refugees’ and unlinked the Brian Caplan article. Noting this for clarity.
thanks for the feedback! I agree, I tried to focus on how relaxing visa requirements for people fleeing persecution can do a lot of good, and probably over-reached by naming the section ‘Open borders’ and linking the Brian Caplan article. Unsure what the forum’s rules for editing posts are, but I might change that section later.
Thankyou for the kind words
I guess I’d be much more likely to assume good intentions to someone who says ‘yeah, I don’t want to work on AI safety’, than someone who says ‘yeah I don’t want to step into a shallow pond to rescue a child’. In the first example I’d think something like ‘ok, this person has considered working in this area, decided again it, and doesn’t want to explain their reasoning to me at this point in time’. I think that’s fine. It can be quite draining to repeatedly be asked to justify to others why you’re not working in the area they judge to be the highest priority.