The Hammer and the Dance

by casebash1 min read20th Mar 20204 comments


COVID-19 pandemic
Personal Blog

I'm currently running the Effective Altruism Coronavirus Discussion FB group. I saw a large number of posts each day, but this seems like the most important post for people to read at the moment because in order to know what to do, we need to have an idea of the end-game. Now obviously we need to discuss this post and consider possible flaws, ideally receiving input from epidemiologists, but I think this approach looks very promising.

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For posts like these, I recommend providing a brief summary of the main argument/most notable points in the linked article. Otherwise, it's hard for discussion to coalesce around any arguments in particular. (In my experience, linkposts get a lot more discussion when they include a summary and a bit of commentary.)

I certainly plan to read the article, though! Thanks for the link.

It's hard to do a summary without encouraging people to read the summary instead of the article.

Fair enough. I did think the article was excellent, and I encourage people to read it in full.

The post seems relatively optimistic. I'm worried that this may be motivated reasoning, and/or political reasoning (e.g., that people won't listen to anyone who isn't telling them that we can solve the crisis without doing anything too costly). Mind you, I'm not any kind of expert, I'm just suspicious-by-default given that most other analysis I've seen seems less optimistic (note that there are probably all kinds of horrible selection biases in what I'm reading and I have no idea what they are). Also, the author isn't an expert; they seem to have consulted experts for the post, but this still reduces my confidence in its conclusions, because those experts could have been selected for agreeing with a conclusion that the author came up with for non-expert-informed reasons.