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I think I understand what you're saying, so I think the best response to that deontological thinking is to explain how use does not equate to abuse. Similar to how many animal rights advocates make the mistake of thinking that using animals for something is inherently bad, that way of thinking completely ignores the consequences of the actions. The workers are benefitting as well.

This article snippet explains it well:


Those papers do seem interesting to look into, I'll read 'em when I get the chance.

What Daryl said. 

As far as the issue of alleviating poverty in these countries, it's one of the best ways.

I encourage you to concede that going to college is actually a benefit for most people.

But you literally provided no evidence of such a claim.

Your argument is that you don't have to go to college to be a successful. Therefore, you probably shouldn't go to college.

Actually, my argument was that people in general shouldn't go to college because they'll major in useless crap. I don't really think anyone should major in art stuff frankly (and other things).

You COULD be successful, but in this day and age college is a waste of time for arts (as I said, you do better by doing things you like and going at your own pace rather than doing something some pretentious jackoff assigned to you. Also should mention you learn more by DOING rather than just "practicing"). 

Not using your right hand is a hindrance. Going to art school is  a hindrance.

A better argument would be: The benefit gained from getting an art degree is not worth the cost of college.

That was my point though. You may have just misinterpreted.

the numbers would probably suggest that college is a good investment (even for art majors).


Nathan I tire of this little debacle, either concede that 99% of art degrees are a waste of time and money, or just gunnae drap it.

You explicitly say at the start of your video that you recommend people go into psychology...

Right but I also said in my response to you:

"Social sciences" and a lot of psychology 


You also use images of art supplies in your video whenever you say the word "art".

It was a type of shorthand. I actually wanted to use other pictures for "studies" degrees but Pixabay is fairly limited.

It seems goal-post shifting to now claim you were actually referring to liberal arts in general. 

I thought it was implied when I said art degree and when I didn't mention things like "studies" degrees in majors I recommend .

It also doesn't at all address the fact that most college students don't go to private universities.

Of course, but most major in (not very useful) art degrees and many have crushing debt, unable to pay back loans.

I don't have to use my right hand to be successful.  But it would be silly to make a video called "You (Probably) Shouldn't Use Your Right Hand".

Sure you could learn how to use your left hand, but it's an impedes progress and doesn't really help you much in achieving your goals. Like art school.

It is misleading. The title is "You (Probably) Shouldn't Go To College." But you complain specifically about arts, language, and literature majors at private universities. This is not most people who go to college.

It's actually for most art degrees in general, which includes nonsense degrees like "Gender Studies" and most sociology. Since these things are soft sciences they're counted as art degrees instead of proper STEM.


Most of these are not STEM or Med-School.

"Social sciences" and a lot of psychology are soft sciences, and possibly even pseudosciences.

Asserting that humanities professors are pretentious jackoffs with dumbass interpretations is more easily interpreted as angry venting than as reasonable argument.

I'm not sure how else to explain it then. It's self-evident.

Think of it like this: People care if you graduated top of your class with a music degree from Julliard. Is it stupid? Maybe, but that's how it is. I didn't make the rules.

Did you have to in order to become a successful musician?

First, the video seems contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. For example, the title of the video is "You (Probably) Shouldn't Go To College" even though you seem to limit your criticisms to art, language, and literature majors at private universities. In other words, you clickbaited the title so people would go in looking for an angry disagreement. 

Of course it's clickbait, and I don't see anything wrong with using clickbait titles as long as they aren't misleading. I didn't intend for people to go in angry just looking at the title, and I don't think people would go in negatively.

If I titled it "You Definitely Shouldn't Go to College" or just "You Shouldn't Go To College" that certainly would be considered misleading. The title more expresses my view that college is not a good idea for most people (and I believe Trade School is a much better and more useful option).

This is even more obvious towards the end of your video where you say that in your experience people who teach humanities subjects are "pretentious jackoffs" who have "dumbass" interpretations. It's hard to interpret this as a good-faith argument about why people in general shouldn't go to college.

...Are you disagreeing with that analysis? 

Second, you present zero evidence for any claims you make. Your video is a list of assertions. You talk about doing a cost-benefit analysis, but then you handwave numbers out of nowhere.  Your video doesn't leave me feeling confident that you've looked at the data on the job prospects of those with vs without college degrees.

Well I'm actually not confident that you've watched the video in its entirety (or you misunderstood me to an extent). 

Do you NEED an art degree to become a successful artist? Especially nowadays considering how accessible all these resources are? Maybe a few decades ago, but nowadays it's much easier (and cheaper) to learn the arts. 

Now ask, do you NEED a STEM degree to go into science/engineering? Well you'll probably remember nothing of what you learned after five years, but a job in that field actually requires the piece of paper. Is it stupid? Probably, but that's how it is. I didn't make the rules.

Think of it like this: Let's say I'm making a video game and you need someone to compose music for it. I don't care if you graduated top of your class with a music degree from Julliard, since it tells me nothing about what type of music you're capable of composing. I'd much rather see previous music you've composed, since that'd actually give me information about your musical talents.

When we compare Art vs STEM, there are some key reasons as to why it's better to major in the latter. Art as I implied can be made at home; Not everyone has the budget and resources to build science labs.

I understand that the style of your video isn't a lecture that's comprehensively reviewing the research. But I think that's exactly the problem. Not that every video has to be a lecture. But I would like to see fewer uncharitable, uninformed Angry Rant videos on the EA Forum.

Not to disrespect anyone here but I think too many members in the movement are too passive and unwilling to cross the line deliberately. Sometimes you need a good asshole to get some things done.

My best attempt to interpret your view was something like "non-controversial content can work, but controversial content is almost always better". 

Right, that's what I was saying.

My response was to point out that the most successful communicators of EA have typically been "non-controversial" in their delivery, even if some of EA's core ideas are inherently radical. 

EA as a movement isn't a particularly mainstream thing (unlike Veganism, which is moreso). I think it'd be interesting to see how a less diplomatic figure in the community spreads the message.

If the goal is to eventually have almost everyone go meatless, there's some value in pushing a message that more people respond to in the long term. Having 10% of the population go meatless for 20 years < having 50% go meatless for 5 years.

  • This model is clearly oversimplified, as a set of initial supporters  might help to convert others — but on the other hand, if you can get a lot of people to spread a message in their "local" setting, shouldn't that message be the one that works on the highest percentage of people, because total reach isn't as much of a concern?

I'm arguing that total reach is a primary concern. I must be missing your point here.

  • If your brand is controversy, drama, and snark, you get a lot of people who enjoy controversy, drama, and snark.

Is that a bad thing? The snarky in your face people tend to be the types who post and share snarky memes that, once again, will reach many people (much like Vegan Sidekick, although he's unfortunately drank the antinatalist Kool-Aid, which hurts his activism). 

Isn't this the opposite of the point you were making? If people tend to reject a message after hearing it, that's an argument against using the message. 

My point was no matter how nice you are, some messages are just out of the envelope that your approach to it isn't as relevant. I don't think the same standard applies to veganism or effective altruism as a whole however.

  • If your brand is positive, welcoming, and low-key, you get some smaller number of people who will tend to be more positive, welcoming, and low-key.

Of course, and that's why we need the diplomatic types. 

EA, in particular, has a fairly deliberate strategy of trying to recruit people who have a natural tendency toward compassion + "taking numbers seriously", and being wary of the kinds of audiences we can bring in through overconfidence or an appeal to negative emotions. This may have reduced the movement's numerical growth rate, but at the same time, I'm extremely happy with the people who have been drawn to it so far, many of whom came in explicitly because EA stood out from the crowded field of "social movements using controversy to persuade".

Sure, and I dig that, but I don't want EA to be restricted to just the super-compassionate types. I want more people to partake in it, even if they aren't donating 90% of their income. Which is better, one hundred thousand giving 20 bucks a month or one thousand people giving 2000 bucks a month? It's the same amount, but I think it's a lot more difficult to find those 2000 dollar people than getting one hundred thousand people who aren't at charitable. Maybe I'm wrong though.

RE: Yourofsky, I was highlighting how his controversial strategy helped start the wave of veg over there (even he claims he can't take all the credit, but it served as a starter for the activists). Still difficult to argue with those results.

Also, I should emphasize that none of this has anything to do with my opinions about your content — I'm more focused on the general argument at hand, which comes up a lot. I think you should make whatever videos you feel like making (while trying to figure out whether people are responding in the way you'd hope).

Nae bother, I actually these discussions are important to have. I also have a few non-Youtube related endeavors I hope to be materialized, but YouTube I find is important too.

My experience talking to people within animal advocacy is that PETA tends to be seen as more embarrassing than effective — a mishmash of campaigns that end up making the animal movement seem gimmicky, without much in the way of clear impact.

But how many people see the articles? Say about a million people saw their silly article, and only 1% of people actually stuck around their website and learn more about veganism with the rest brushing it off as ridiculous. That's ten thousand people who just might reduce their consumption of animal products and will consider buying vegan alternatives, which will influence their friends, families, and market forces alike. I'd say that's a win for the animal rights movement. Would they have gotten that same level of effect if they did something that wasn't silly?

As someone who is very concerned with animal wellbeing, every person reducing meat consumption is a massive positive.

Make no mistake, I don't agree with some of what PETA does (they've done some things I find to be counterproductive; As I've said, you shouldn't overstep the line) but from what I know they have a pretty small marketing budget, and they're making the most of it.

Yes, easily!

There are lots of human feelings you can successfully reach aside from "anger" or "(eats popcorn)". Controversial content sometimes sells, but so does other content! 

I did say that it is possible to be non-controversial and reach a large audience (I'm sure it wasn't your intention, but you sort of made it look like I didn't say that).

My point was controversy usually gives people a bigger chance of being recognized. Internet algorithms favor what people find interesting, and most people find controversial interesting (even if they don't agree with it).  If you're already recognized it's not really necessary to be uncontroversial if you don't want to, but if you're really striving for that media attention (and thus reaching millions of people), people want something that'll really strike emotions. Either that, or be amusing in some way (Tim Urban's blog is a good example, of a fun to read format).

I should also add that sometimes just saying controversial things is useful (such as EA's defending of Sweatshops; I've seen so many people, who, even after being explained to why Sweatshops are beneficial to people in developing countries, just reject the message).

I think the problem with the Effective Altruism and Animal Rights movements is, a lot of people don't think of those things as "cool" necessarily. I think the informal, in-your-face approach is very useful for dispelling that idea, while I find the continued diplomatic and compromising might not reach that 10% of people that being controversial would..

I think probably the best example of a controversial activist (and, I would argue, the most effective of our time in terms of good done) is Gary Yourofsky. I have so many criticisms of that guy, but you can't deny that the man got results.  After one of his speeches went viral, not only did it spread all over the internet amassing tens of millions of views, but it went viral in Israel, and it's credited with converting roughly 10% of their population to veganism/vegetarianism. This is thought to be because he compared factory harms to the Holocaust (which is extremely controversial) which resonated with the Jewish population there and made them reconsider their lifestyles.

It's all something to consider, anyway. One thing I'm certain of in activism is avoiding pseudoscience (doesn't look like that's really a problem in EA but in veganism it's just about everywhere), but as far as methods go, I'll go with anything that works. I don't see any good reason to believe being an asshole would be guaranteed harm for these movements.

There was a great article I read a few years back about the usefulness of being an asshole, but I can't find it now, unfortunately. 

(I'm not sure if you'd get a notification for my reply to Koen so I'll send a direct reply just in case) 

Thanks for the compliment, though I think the editing style is a bit simplistic right now, mainly because I'm focusing on getting videos out as quickly as possible at the moment. Later down the line I'm hoping to have the budget for more produced videos.

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