I love this post. It singles out a very specific problem and tackles it very thoughtfully.On website blockers: I have also quitted them regularly but since I have started using ColdTurkey I have quitted much less. I think it's better than other blockers. For myself, family life has done the trick of making me go to bed at a reasonable hour. But as soon as my wife and kids are gone for a day or two, I (regrettably!) just stay up forever. One of the reasons why I do so (and which doesn't come up on your list) is that my mood often happens to be very good when I stay up late and I also enter flow states more easily when working late at night.
Thanks for this!
Great!And just to add a small comment: The country of origin does not only affect transport distance but also the legal standards for animal welfare (and to a lesser extent how much GHGs are involved in production). My impression is that many people overrate this. They think "Oh yes, there is horrible animal farming elsewhere - but I only eat meat from my own country and surely everything is much better here." It would be nice to have something to counter this objection.
This is really nicely done and it is exactly what many are looking for. Thank you so much! If it is to be shared more widely it might help to add a remark about how sensitive the results are to which country the animal products are from and whether they're organic or not. The reason for this being that many in the public sphere (and not infrequently wrongly) assume that this makes a crucial difference.
This is tangential but I wonder whether there are side-benefits for unrelated areas if humanity collectively engages in thinking about how it would design a space governance framework. Some past thinkers used the literary device of utopias in order to think about real-world problems. In the same way, putting us in the mindset of creating rules for space governance from scratch could be a helpful exercise and helpful priming in order to solve other (short-term, earth-bound) problems.
Here's one piece of research -- it'd be wonderful if there were much more in this vein: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/mKGbeX5tQu4zshY4j/alice-redfern-moral-weights-in-the-developing-world
Nice and helpful -- thanks!
I've always been fascinated by the biblical vision of a perfect world which features the lion and the lamb (etc) living together peacefully: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_lamb_and_lion
It might be interesting to sift through the history of humanity in order to collect further pre-1970 visions which lament WAS or which feature a utopia without WAS. I know extremely little about Buddhism, Hinduism, etc but given the links between humans and animals via rebirths: isn't the Nirvana as a state without suffering also the ultimate vision for wild animals? Also, there is the biblical new testament reference to the *whole* creation groaning and waiting for redemption.
WHAT: A book like "Strangers Drowning", but focused on the "E" of EA rather than the "A" of EA.
WHY: narrative can be such a tremendous force in changing people's lives. It's often more powerful than argument (even for brainy people).
There's already a lot of world literature and newspaper stories on people who have been tremendously altruistic. There is much less literature about people who have been tremendously altruistic and -- this is key -- have been motivated by their altruism to care about effectiveness and listen to the evidence.
I'd love to have a book with biographies or stories that traces -- in narrative rather than argument -- people whose love for others has pushed them to care about effectiveness, care about evidence, and generally care about a results-oriented outlook that focuses on what 'really works at the end of the day'. (Note that the book should not generally be about people who care about effectiveness and evidence -- but only about people who have deliberately chosen to do so out of altruism (rather than, say, out nerdiness)).
Possible biographies could include: Florence Nightingale, Ignaz Semmelweis, Deng Xiaoping, figures from EA and utilitarianism, some theologians in the 2nd world war who pragmatically looked towards ending the killing (Bonhoeffer, Barth, etc?), etc. Not vouching for this list of examples at all -- it's more to give an idea.
By the way, creating such a book could be a project for EAs with a different skillset than the cliché EAs.
Thanks for this! Very interesting.
And really sorry for replying only now -- I somehow missed this and only saw it now.
--- On population increase: yes, many Christians work towards population increase but it's equally true that many Christians don't. An interesting side remark is that the influential passage Genesis 1,28 on which pro-natalism is often based calls for *filling* the earth. Arguably, humanity can claim to have unlocked this achievement. We can tick it off our To-Do-List. (Also, in terms of background information, my view that determining the optimal population size might be God's task rather than a human task started with this blogpost: https://greenfutureethics.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/god-as-a-solution-for-population-paradoxes)
--- On miracles: One thing is that I find it a bit hard to exclude miracles from classical theism. But even if we exclude them (or understand them to be compatible with natural laws) and even if we understand God to act within the causal history of the universe, one thing we surely can't exclude in classical theism is that God acts in addition to human agency (including acts which might be surprising). To the extent that this is true, Christian concern with x-risks should continue to be somewhat mitigated relative to the atheist's concern?
--- And thanks for the helpful observation that the blogpost unhelpfully avoids clear upshots (and thus also avoids responsibility for actions that might follow from it). The thing is: I find it genuinely extremely hard to think about the right approach to long-termism from a Christian perspective and this actually was *merely* a start. The parliamentary model etc would indeed be needed to derive actionable conclusions. (And, just to say, I do agree with many EAs that the far future should definitely receive more consideration than it typically does).
Thanks for this, Michael! I will look at it.