I am a little confused about the purpose of this post, because surely meta-EA is just EA? I feel like the major innovation of EA is the idea that altruists can and should compare the value of different interventions (which you appear to consider meta-EA). In other words, EA is meta-altruism.
The content might be useful as a road-map, but I think that the terminology is a bit misleading. What these areas have in common is that they are indirect, as opposed to having some kind of abstract meta-ness property.
This is a really neat idea. I used to debate a lot during my undergrad, and while I have quite a lot of negative feelings towards the sport from my own experience, I do agree that debaters are a very receptive audience for EA ideas for the reasons you mention.
One major challenge I see is getting debaters to take more than a superficial interest in ideas that sound interesting. Debates about AI, global health, animal rights and many other EA issues were fairly popular motions when I debated, but didn't necessarily lead to deeper consideration than simply as... (read more)
Can we get CGP Grey to consult on this?
Comments about moral uncertainty and wild animal suffering are valid, but I think kind of unneccessary. I don't think the argument works at all in its current form.
I think the argument is something like this:
But how do we estimate the EV of estimating the EV of general intellectual progress?
On a less facetious note, it's about the average effect of intellectual progress on innovation right? What EV comes from general intellectual progress that is not a result of innovation?
So you try to causally estimate the effect of innovation on things you value (e.g. GDP), and you try to create measures of general intellectual progress to see how those causally impact innovation. That's obviously easier said than done.
We did not use it in a name calling way but rather as a neutral term to describe the intellectual movement.
I have no doubt that the term was used in good faith. I apologise that my post was worded a bit poorly, so it sounded like I was accusing you of name-calling.
What's your basis for claiming that 'randomista' is a non-neutral term?
The '-ista' suffix sounds pejorative to me in English,like someone who is a zealous dogmatic advocate. Corbynista was the example I referred to, which is a term used often to in the UK to bash the ... (read more)
Interesting post, very stimulating. A couple of thoughts:
Randomista is clearly not a neutral term, and I think constitutes a kind of name calling
What's your basis for claiming that 'randomista' is a non-neutral term? That is not my impression. A popular book that presents a positive picture of the field is titled Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World. A recent article by one of the world's most prestigious science journals uses the headline "‘Randomistas’ who used controlled trials to fight poverty win economics Nobel", and includes the following ... (read more)
Isn't factory farming a clear-cut case of injustice? A pretty standard view of justice is that you don't harm others, and if you are harming them then you should stop and compensate for the harm done. That seems to describe what happens to farmed animals. In fact, as someone who finds justice plausible, I think it creates a decent non-utilitarian argument to care about domestic animal suffering more than wild animal suffering.
As my last sentence suggests, I do think that justice views are likely to affect cause prioritisation. I think you're right that justice may lead you to different conclusions about inter-generational issues, and is worth a deeper look.
I think high amounts of concern for wild animals is actually a bit of a defect in utilitarianism. A quite compelling reason for caring more about factory farmed animals is that we are inflicting a massive injustice against them, and that isn't the case for wild animals generally. We do often feel moral obligations to wild animals when we are responsible for their suffering (think oil spills for example). That's not to say wild animals don't matter, but they might be further down our priority list for that reason.
I think the visualization is great. I think the exploding red dots is very powerful, demonstrates just an immense amount of bloodshed.
Thank you for sharing this Holly. Have you read Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar? It's a book full of stories of extraordinarily committed "do-gooders" (some effective altruists, some not), as well as some interesting analysis on the mixed reaction that they receive from society. I think there's a lot of overlap with some of what you've written and the experiences of the individuals in Strangers Drowning, so you're definitely not alone.
I suppose the extent that anyone experiences any of these 8 challenges really depends on how motivated ... (read more)