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What opinions that you hold would you be reluctant to express publicly to other EAs?

by arikr1 min read7th Sep 20199 comments



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That I've wondered if reducing abortions might be a suitable focus area for EA (more abortions per year in the US than people dying of smoking related illnesses in the US).

Due to politicization, I'd expect reducing farm animal suffering/death to be much cheaper/more tractable per animal than reducing abortion is per fetus; choosing abortion as a cause area would also imperil EA's ability to recruit smart people across the political spectrum. I'd guess that saving a fetus would need to be ~100x more important in expectation than saving a farm animal for reducing abortions to be a potential cause area; in an EA framework, what grounds are there for believing that to be true?

Note: It would also be quite costly for EA as a movement to generate a better-researched estimate of the parameters due to the risk of politicizing the movement.

6Larks2yThere are a lot of EAs who think that human lives are significantly more important than animal lives, and that future lives matter a lot, so this does not seem totally unreasonable. The most recent piece I read on the subject was this piece [https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/03/26/cortical-neuron-number-matches-intuitive-perceptions-of-moral-value-across-animals/] from Scott, with two methodologies that suggested one human was worth 320-500 chickens. Having said that, I think he mis-analysed the data slightly - people who selected "I don't think animals have moral value commensurable with the value of a human, and will skip to the end" should have been coded as assigning really high value to humans, not dropped from the analysis. Making this adjustment gives a median estimate of each human being worth just over 1,000 chickens. Bearing in mind that half of all people have above-median estimates, so it could be very worthwhile for them. Using my alternative coding, the 75th percentile answer was human being worth 999,999,999 chickens. So even though it might not be worthwhile for some EAs, it definitely could be for others.
2Liam_Donovan2yDoesn't that assume EAs should value the lives of fetuses and e.g. adult humans equally?

That I don't think it's terrible that Trump is President.

I'm curious about your reasoning on this. Can you elaborate?

4RomeoStevens2yAlthough I lean in the direction that Hillary would have been a lower war risk than Trump, the fact that it's at all uncertain is depressing.
2arikr2yThanks. Your comment helped me realize that I didn't accurately describe my position. My position is more accurately: I think that most people who think it's terrible that Trump is President are heavily biased by tribal ideology, and that this makes it hard for them to see clearly, and hard for them to realize that they're not seeing clearly.
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