Thanks for posting this. Posts introducing books or other bodies of work not explicitly about EA or an EA cause area, but that introduce or explain relevant ideas from disparate disciplines, seem valuable and I would like to see more.
Thanks for clarifying! Perhaps clicking the “Blog post” button could autofill a standard note for this, that one could choose to delete. That way new users will be able to understand how this works right away. (Unless the idea is to phase out / discourage / remove this feature)
+1 thanks to Vipul for writing this. But I also want to balance the second part of Aaron’s comment by saying that I would like to see more posts explaining personal donations in general, and don’t think that will happen if the average level of quality and time has to hit this level. Please share your donation reasonings even if you don’t feel super confident about them and don’t have time to make a carefully researched and written post! I had originally thought “Blog posts” would be a good venue for such less-well-crafted posts, but I see now that attempting to make a new blog post simply takes you to the new post page.
Regarding applying to EA organizations, I think we can simply say that the applicants are doing good by applying. Many of the orgs have explicitly said they want lots of applicants—the applicants aren’t wasting the orgs’ time, but helping them get better candidates (in addition to learning a lot through the process, etc).
~1h sounds like the time to make a CV and cover letter personalized for Charity Science starting from an at least semi-relevant CV and cover letter for a previous job application.
Something that seems to be missing from this (very valuable) conversation is that many people also spend months looking for non-EA jobs that they have a personal fit for. I’m mainly aware of people with science PhDs, either applying for industry jobs or applying for professorships. It is not uncommon for this to be a months long process with multiple 10s of applications, as being reported here for EA job searching. The case of where this goes faster in industry jobs tends to be because the applicant is well established as having a key set of skills that a company needs and/or a personal network connection with people involved in hiring at the company. Some academics get lucky just applying for a few professorships, but others apply to 50+ jobs, which easily takes 100+ hours, perhaps many more. And in both cases you spend lots of time over the preceding years learning about the job search process, how to write cover letters, teaching statements, etc.
For the record, the AMAs were mentioned as upcoming in the New EA Funds management thread and a few-day window was given on Dec. 5 in the December quick update thread
I like this idea as well. As a thread grows, it can also be useful for the OP to edit the thread to maintain a structured list of links to key posts, as in the textbook recommendation thread on LessWrong
Small suggestion: I would find it helpful if you linked to the previous post(s) in the series in the beginning and, if the forum software allows it, to make references to individual sections (such as “Section 3 argued that”) to be clickable links to those sections.
Interesting post, thanks for sharing. Although I am skeptical for some reasons I note below, the potential upside to such a cheap treatment for a very unpleasant disease seems highly worth pursuing. For context, I’m viewing this post as an academic biologist who develops methods for microbiome data analysis and collaborates with some clinicians, though my background is ecology and evolution rather than medicine.
While reading the post, I struck by how the referenced evidence for the author’s (Martin Laurence) hypothesis is entirely from citations to his own papers and a short reply to a journal article (I don’t think peer reviewed) about anecdotal observations from six IBD patients. The author’s papers referenced take the form of reviews and argued hypotheses from research done by others, rather than original experiments, and seem to be about spondyloarthritis, prostate cancer and MS rather than Crohn’s directly. Given that IBD and Crohns disease are popular research topics in biomedical research and specifically in microbiome research, I found this lack of reference to others in support of the main hypothesis suspicious, and it made me think the hypothesis is controversial or not well subscribed to in the field. That is not to say it is unfounded, but I would have expected some acknowledgement if this is an “out there” view and discussion of why that included some references to the mainstream view and coverage of the controversy. I would also expect that building further evidence that would convince other researchers and mainstream funders in the field would be the next step, rather than crowd funding a clinical trial, and so would have liked to see an explanation for why this strategy isn’t being taken.
I also felt that the reasons under Neglectedness and Funding Gap didn’t explain why other biomedical researchers aren’t pursuing this, or why the author isn’t soliciting funds through standard biomedical funding agencies. The lack of incentive for private drug companies mentioned does not explain why standard agencies and organizations aren’t funding it. It is true that fungi are often neglected over bacteria in microbiome studies, but if there is good evidence that fungi are playing a role in Crohn’s and they’ve been historically neglected, they I would expect researchers to be jumping on this hypothesis, and for standard biomedical funders to be glad to fund it, unless for reasons mentioned above.
After reading the FAQ on the author’s website, I suspect the author is forgoing the mainstream route and soliciting small private donations because he is operating outside academia and lacks academic or hospital collaborators who can apply for the needed grants. But without these collaborators, I don’t see how the proposed clinical trial could be orchestrated. This is not to say that I think the author is wrong in pursuing this work or not credible, but I feel that ignoring these issues makes the post seem less credible than it might otherwise be.
It’s not just you, I’m also unable to log in with this forum’s credentials (“wrong password” error). The links to log in with Google or Github also don’t seem to be functional.