CDH

Cornelis Dirk Haupt

@ UBC
515 karmaJoined Oct 2021Working (0-5 years)

Bio

The guy in the panda hat at EAG

How others can help me

I am look for employment at a full stack developer with 3-4 years of experience with React + Django

Comments
85

Shrugs, sure it's possible. It's also possible that if we employ counterfactual reasoning that had the UN not existed that a better institution would have arisen in its place. It is quite possible that the dynamics of post-WW2 just made it inevitable for some coordination-institution to be built out of sheer geopolitical necessity and that we got one of the worse possible outcomes.

If the US medical system didn't get created in its current form that doesn't mean that counterfactually what would have happened otherwise is that the US would just have no medical system whatsoever. Nobody seriously defends the US medical system by saying it is "better than nothing" because a world where something like it doesn't exist at all is practically impossible - probably much like a world without something resembling the UN. Too many social, economic and political forces demand that both exist in some shape or form.

Of course you could say the exact same thing about Effective Altruism as well. Had EA not been created in its current form something - counterfactually - with a better foundation might have been culturally constructed. I suppose the difference for me is that it is probably orders of magnitude easier for me to picture a better US medical system or better UN that could have been constructed instead than it is for me to picture a better EA. Maybe this is a failure of imagination on my part.

Anyway, this game of "if this-thing-I-like-had-not-existed" is a fool's errand and strongly susceptible to motivated reasoning. And that is true whether we do or do not employ counterfactual reasoning.

There are few organizations in the Western world that could survive with the allegations of mismanagement, scandal, and corruption that permeate the United Nations. For many delegates, officials, and employees, particularly those from developing nations, the UN is little more than an enormous watering hole.

Concerned about its shabby image, the UN recently developed a multiple-choice "ethics quiz" for its employees. The "correct" answers were obvious to everyone [Is it all right to steal from your employer? (A) Yes, (B) No, (C) Only if you don't get caught].

The quiz was not designed to determine the ethical sense of UN employees or to weed out the ethically inept but to raise their level of integrity. How taking a transparent test could improve integrity is unclear. There has been no mention of how management and other officials did on the test

~ Snakes in Suits, a study of psychopaths in the workplace

 

Are there many EAs that consider the UN a serious institution from a "makes the world a better place" perspective? I thought most of us viewed it the same way we view the US medical system: which is to say woefully ineffective, credentialist, in some cases net-negative for public health and something that is ripe for systemic change to make the world better (It would be interesting to see how many "systemic change" criticisms of EA could apply just as well, if not more, to the UN).

That said, you do have a point. I still haven't heard a pro-Israeli argument that properly parses the whole anti-Israel UN position. The most salient answer to me is still "Israel is actually in the wrong for a lot of things." Otherwise surely the UN would be a tad bit more split on the issue?

I just wouldn't place quite as much stock as you do in the UN. Same goes for the US medical system. Get multiple opinions. Always. Including from those from within the system that argue the entire system has systemic flaws (e.g. vegan doctors that face opposition from practically their entire field). The overall UN position is one signal among many, but it isn't that strong of a signal.

since your ilk would just want to commit a slow genocide while ignoring it.

 

There are multiple atrocities of similar moral urgency happening in Northern India, Ethiopia, Sudan, Myanmar and elsewhere that are still being ignored. The world has being paying disproportionate attention to the Palestine-Israeli compared to these other places. I've read of Indian reporters flying to Palestine to cover the way and Indians are asking "why are they leaving when there are just as bad things happening at home." Well, because the world doesn't care about other parts of the world. It isn't newsworthy.

Obviously this doesn't make ignoring Palestine justified. I'm just pointing out that anyone ignoring Palestine might just be actually focusing on something more important. There are a million things on fire in the world. We have to triage. Sometimes that looks like some people not caring when a genocide is happening but sometimes that does not mean they don't care and it is incredibly uncharitable, rude and presumptuous to say what you did. How you feel about others and who they actually are, are two different things.

This was all extremely clear, as Scott Ritter clearly points out. Also Hamas literally spelled out their plans in documents like Jericho Wall.

It doesn't matter what Hamas planned. It matters what they did.

If you are Muslim this concept is rooted in the Hadith, where it's stated that actions are judged by intentions, but the ultimate value lies in the action itself. Any Muslim EA can feel free to tell me I'm wrong. I lived in the middle east for 3 years so I know a thing or two but not much. But this seems like an obvious moral truth all religions and secular moral institutions have at their core.

There was friendly fire which caused many civilian deaths, and possibly the majority of them. Please do some basic research.

There is not a single credible source I can find that says this - including sources highly critical of Israel. Even the Palestinian Authority has taken back their claim that friendly fire from Israeli helicopters caused a whole lot of friendly-fire deaths.

Incredible how the Palestinians crimes are so exaggerated, while all of the unending horrors from the Zionist side are either downplayed or ignored.

Exaggerated how exactly? I said Hamas, not Palestine. Those are two different things just like Israel and the Knesset and Zionists are three different things.

"Resistance Raid" is a bizarre framing of deliberately targeting and slaughtering defenceless women and children in their homes with the deliberate goal of mass terror.

Unlike say the ANC from my home country of South Africa that deliberately tried to only target government targets... that is clearly not what Hamas did. They aren't freedom fighters, maybe some are, but not their organisation as a whole. Any support for the organisation - given what their charter said pre-2017 - can under no reasonable lens not be seen as tantamount to, at the very least, be supporting ex-Nazis insofar as explicit genocidal antisemitism is concerned. What reasonable counterargument justifying support for Hamas is there that isn't "Israel is much worse"?

I do not understand why it is so hard for some people to comprehend that both the IDF and Hamas can be net-negative and evil. You don't have to support the one you judge as the lesser evil and use euphemisms to describe their actions. You can oppose both and say both are savagely genocidal against the other.

"You claim responding against the emotional propaganda is wrong, but writing even close to the parallel from the Palestinian side would result in a perma-ban."

I don't believe this is the true given the contentious posts I've seen here over the years. I presume you have evidence of someone who is Palestinian and identifies as an EA that was perma-banned for writing from the Palestinian side? (i.e. not a political bot, someone who is actually part of the community) Because I'd be just as interested in reading that as I was reading this piece. And I wouldn't be putting the two against each other, but be extending empathy to both authors as fellow human beings.

 

Also during the Oct 7th raid we know Israel killed many of it's own civilians and it was a highly planned out military operation. If that's a "terrorist" attack then what israel is doing is even worse than a genocide.

 

I had to do a double-take and am now only rereading this part after writing my response. You actually believe Israel deliberately perpetuated part of the Oct 7 raid? I'm at a complete loss for words...

Robin Hanson - the guy that came up with the grabby aliens hypothesis that seems to have solidified itself within the EA-rat zeitgeist - also has some very interesting and fun ideas on what UAPs might be - some that actually answer some of your questions:

I'm surprised I don't see his blog cited anywhere by you or mentioned anywhere in the comments.

Given it is the Giving Season, I'd be remiss not to point out that ACE currently has donation matching for their Recommended Charity Fund.

I am personally waiting to hear back from RC Forward on whether Canadian donations can also be made for said donation matching, but for American EAs at least, this seems like a great no-brainer opportunity to dip your feet in effective animal welfare giving.

The forum has a thing where people with more karma have more upvote/downvote power (at least this was a thing last year. I presume it still is).

This means that even though you got -14 in minutes, that might just be 2 people downvoting in total. 

Worth keeping in mind.

Someone else feel free to point out I am mistaken if I am indeed mistaken.

If you're an animal welfare EA I'd highly recommend joining the wholesome refuge that is the newly minted Impactful Animal Advocacy (IAA).

Website and details here. I volunteered for them at the AVA Summit which I strongly recommend as the premier conference and community-builder for animal welfare-focused EAs. The AVA Summit has some features I have long thought missing from EAGs - namely people arguing in good faith about deep deep disagreements (e.g. why don't we ever see a panel with prominent longtermist and shorttermist EAs arguing for over an hour straight at EAGs?). There was an entire panel addressing quantification bias which turned into talking about some believing how EA has done more harm than good for the animal advocacy movement... but that people are afraid to speak out against EA given it is a movement that has brought in over 100 million dollars to animal advocacy. Personally I loved there being a space for these kind of discussions.

Also, one of my favourite things about the IAA community is they don't ignore AI, they take it seriously and try to think about how to get ahead of AI developments to help animals. It is a community where you'll bump into people who can talk about x-risk and take it seriously, but for whatever reason are prioritizing animals.

Meta-note as a casual lurker in this thread: This comment being down-voted to oblivion while Jason's comment is not, is pretty bizarre to me. The only explanation I can think of is that people who have provided criticism think Michael is saying they shouldn't criticise? It is blatantly obvious to me that this is not what he is saying and is simply agreeing with Jason that specific actionable-criticism is better.

Fun meta-meta note I just realized after writing the above: This does mean I am potentially criticising some critics who are critical of how Micheal is criticising their criticism.

Okkkk, that's enough internet for me. Peace and love, y'all.

 

I think another useful question to ask could be something like, “what is your fantasy partner/complement organization?”


This part here is where my eyes widened. Adding this as standard question on EA grants is, in hindsight, so obviously a good idea to me that I am kinda in shock we don't do so already.

Creating a group of EA free agents that can be allocated/rented to EA-aligned non-profits?

Actually, this already exists I believe! I know there is a website called "EA Services" that allows you to sign up to basically be allocated around EA/EA-aligned orgs. Can anyone link the website? I've lost the URL.

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