Aidan Perreault

19 karmaJoined Pursuing a professional degree


I am a law student in Canada, and am considering earning to give.


Super compelling argument (based on nothing but common intuitions about personal responsibility).

This is a potentially powerful idea combined with the refrain I've been hearing around lately, that being an EA means 1) dedicating some significant chunk of my personal resources to impartial altruism plus 2) aiming to perform those altruistic efforts as efficiently as possible.

The intersection of both ideas is an EA can have a normal human personal life, apply EA principles (and probably focus all their giving efforts on one cause area as a result, e.g. x-risk), and still take responsibility for externalities.

Again, nothing but common sense morality / social norms guiding my interests here, but this is an attractive picture.

Thanks for posting. 

I've donated $20 USD for the year based on your calcs.

Now I'm trying to offset my contributions to farmed animal suffering for the year. I'm starting with the number of farmed animals in Canada, where I live, but am not sure where to go next.

Any tips for approximately offset-able measures of "How much did I contribute to farmed animal suffering this year?" would be appreciated. Will update if I think of anything.

Throwaway account named after an Islamic Sultan who took back Jerusalem from the Christians.


You may be right, but a few more data points to consider.

  1. Paul thought his collections for the saints in Jerusalem was a very important part of his ministry. He exhorted the Gentile churches to send money to Jerusalem in almost all of his letters.
  2. Christ's commandment in John 15 is "Love one another as I have loved you." The rest of the Johannine literature, I think, suggests this is a special duty to love other Christians (a new form of partiality).

Geographic proximity may not be important, but there may also be a special duty to lay one's life down for other Christians.

A communication issue I want to flag:

I'm sure there's another name for this, but I'm gonna call "demographic collapse" and example of a "Devil's Premise." A Devil's Premise is a purely descriptive idea which could, given some additional background assumptions, be used to justify a separate normative conclusion which OP evidently doesn't want to infer. I'm calling it a Devil's Premise because the thing you do want to say (which  contains no prescriptive element whatsoever) is only one tiny step removed from the kinds of prescriptions that OP absolutely does not want to proscribe. 

OP is evidently making this point in the article. "More people are needed to avoid demographic collapse in X society" is a (probably true) premise which, given certain other background assumptions (e.g., PANIC!!! nothing matters right now besides preservation of X society) is only one tiny step removed from "we should compel our female population to produce more children."

So OP points out that this is a Devil's Premise, and concludes that because the premise is true, and because the authorities and influencers in society X are soon going to realize it's true, those of us who prefer that the authorities DO NOT EVER compel the female population to produce more children will soon have to invest some resources in preventing those authorities from doing so.

Like I said, Devil's Premise is a big communication issue that it's worth discussing openly. I would be willing to bet part of the reason the Collins' are getting this nasty response (current total votes -38) is because of Devil's Premise issues. 


Issue 1: Jumping to conclusions: Because Devil's Premise (DP) is one tiny step removed from Unwanted Conclusion (UC), readers conclude that OP endorses UC.


Issue 2: Inertia/Soldiering: When OP explicitly and carefully rebukes UC, readers refuse to change their minds about what OP believes, probably because readers find UC so gnarly and inflammatory that trusting OP's self-revelation is just way too risky.


Issue 3: Personal Ad Homonym: Because OP endorses all the premises for UC, but refused to admit they believe in UC, OP must also be manipulative and deceitful, and OP is not to be trusted.


Issue 4: Conceptual Ad Homonym: Readers then associate manipulative and deceitful X-ists (e.g. misogynists') with the very idea of affirming DP. Therefore, they will not affirm DP themselves, nor will they trust anyone who does affirm DP.


Idk what the solutions are, but my mind is usually calmed on these issues when I recall the all important is/ought distinction. Just because OP says Demographic Collapse is going to happen in X society, doesn't entail that OP is endorsing that one evil policy that just popped into your mind, nor (and this is the most important part) does it entail that you cannot believe in demographic collapse unless you also endorse that same evil policy.

In fact, I think this article only really makes two prescriptive points. 1) The solutions currently on the books for demo collapse are inadequate, and we have to come up with new ones, and 2) Insofar as we have any solutions on the books in the first place, those solutions are evil paperclip optimizer type solutions.