All of Eze Paez's Comments + Replies

Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

I must say I am pretty confused as well.

Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

Hi Neel. Thanks for your respectful reply. Yes, I have been present in discussions in which all parties have been comfortable. Suppose that the background assumption is that gender/racial/class/whatever discrimination exists in the EA community, that it is unjust and that it needs to be addressed. Suppose that the EA organisations involved have taken steps to address it. Suppose that a further assumption is that the burden of evidence lies with those who claim that addressing its existence in the EA community should not be an overwhelming priority.  My hypothesis is that these are conditions that allow for a healthy and constructive discussion.  

Concerns with ACE's Recent Behavior

It seems to me that Eric Herboso's reply already does an excellent job of explaining how one can, at the same time, follow proper epistemic rules and promote social justice. I would like to add a couple of considerations. First, I think Hypatia is engaging in a straw man fallacy. They describe social justice norms as having three features:

  • Placing great emphasis on standpoint epistemology;
  • Displaying great intolerance and hostility toward dissenting views;
  • A general skepticism of empirical evidence.

Given their definition of such norms it is understandable tha... (read more)

 Evidence-based reasoning, with the understanding that the burden of proof lies with those who deny that the EA movement must make strenuous efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination in its midst.

I feel somewhat skeptical of this, given that you also say:

This may include in some contexts behaviour consisting in denying that such discrimination exists or that it needs to be addressed.

It feels like 'trying to provide empirical evidence that the EA movement should not make overcoming discrimination an overwhelming priority' can certainly feel like... (read more)

I'm confused about why this comment was heavily downvoted. I'd be curious if people think (a) the norms ("assign greater credence to the beliefs of members of discriminated groups" etc.) described by Eze are bad, or (b) they don't accurately describe actual "social justice norms" or potential norms at ACE or whatever actual norms may be relevant for this discussion, and therefore the comment is besides the point, or (c) something else.

AMA: Lewis Bollard, Open Philanthropy

First I'd like to thank Ula for raising the important issue of how employees in the animal movement are treated. Unfortunately, there is mounting evidence that these are not isolated cases. Former employees of other organizations like Animal Equality have reported similar disturbing practices, for example:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10161295462184852&set=pb.799184851.-2207520000..&type=3

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10161238998724852&set=pb.799184851.-2207520000..&type=3

Given all this, I'd like to ask:

  1. What is Open Phil
... (read more)

I was an employee of Animal Equality for years and I have witnessed several cases of harassment from the leadership. Retaliation and harassment are common practices in the organization. Unfortunately, Animal Equality is a dictatorship. If you are an employee and you disagree to some degree with the leadership you might be fired without any prior notice. Even people that exceed the goals and expectations for the role are fired without any previous bad feedback. 

In order to avoid more retaliation for the current staff, I suggest that OPP ... (read more)

Thanks for the questions Eze. I encourage readers to also check out my answers to Ula and Daniela above, since they apply here too. I’ll focus here on your specific questions about how Open Phil addresses problems at grantees.

In general, when we learn of problems at grantees — like mistreatment of employees — we first try to learn more about the specifics of the situation. We then have a range of proportional responses we consider and adjust depending on how they go. This ranges from extensive discussions with grantee leadership to specific demands of them... (read more)

1mativazquez9mothis is really serious
1[comment deleted]9mo

First of all, I would like to explain that I have just registered on the forum to maintain anonymity and not to harm anyone.

Unfortunately, the case you give as an example of Animal Equality is not the only one of bad practices towards their employees. As a former employee of Animal Equality, I have witnessed on numerous occasions harassment at work, abuse of authority, lack of transparency, lack of democracy, falsification of statistical data and fraudulent campaigns by the international direction.

It is very sad, it would be good if finally the appropriate actions were taken so that these bad practices do not continue.

This is such a sad thing to learn :(

EA and tackling racism

Thanks for this post. The EA movement will be a flawed instrument for doing the most good until it addresses the the racism, cissexism (and, I may add, Western-centrism) in its midst. We need an organisation to supervise EA charities on these issues.

Building healthy relationships between people and nature and synergizing stewardship projects to benefit the wellbeing of wild animals

Thanks, Cameron!

It seems to me that the piece you linked (which is great) does not exactly make a non-consequentialist/non-welfarist case for improving wild animal welfare. Rather, it claims that if we reject speciesism and believe (on whatever moral grounds) that there should be positive legal obligations towards humans, then we must conclude that there should be similar legal obligations towards animals as well.

I think that the most complete rendering of that line of reasoning for our moral (rather than legal) obligation to intervene in nature on behalf ... (read more)

1Cameron_Meyer_Shorb2yAgreed! I appreciate the correction. Thanks for sharing Catia's dissertation! I hadn't seen that before and I'm looking forward to reading it.
Building healthy relationships between people and nature and synergizing stewardship projects to benefit the wellbeing of wild animals

Hi!

Thanks for your research and for this post! It was a very interesting read. I was just thinking about how to strengthen the case for wild animal welfare, in the spirit of increasing the chances and the solidity of a pragmatic coalition between those who care about wild animals and those who care about restoration ecology.

In this sense I think it would be good for us not to suggest that one needs to be a utilitarian in order to be on board with improving wild animals’ lives. This is mainly for two reasons.

First, you really don’t need to be ... (read more)

3Cameron_Meyer_Shorb2yGreat point, Eze Paez! I'm glad you added it. 1. For what it's worth, I don't think Jane was trying to say you have to be a utilitarian to support wild animal welfare. I interpreted her comment as mostly referring to the intellectual history of the wild animal welfare movement, which does seem to have its roots primarily in utilitarianism. 2. One of my favorite illustrations of a non-consequentialist/non-welfarist rationale for improving wild animal welfare (backing up your points b and c) is "Legal Personhood and the Positive Rights of Wild Animals [https://was-research.org/writing-by-others/legal-personhood-positive-rights-wild-animals/] " (Jay Shooster 2017). Well worth checking out if you haven't already!
How Much Do Wild Animals Suffer? A Foundational Result on the Question is Wrong.

Thanks for the reply! I think you are not missing anything: if there's total net positive/negative value then, necessarily, there's average net positive/negative value, and viceversa. But average net negative value can be lower than total net negative due to some individuals having much better lives than others. Some axiologies care for average, some for total, so it would be interesting to have separate measurements of each.

How Much Do Wild Animals Suffer? A Foundational Result on the Question is Wrong.

Hi Zack. Great work! I have one clarificatory question. It is unclear to me whether you use your model to yield predictions about net average welfare or about net total welfare. Sometimes you seem to speak about one and sometimes about the other (on average, on the whole, etc.). Thanks!

4zdgroff2yThanks for this comment. I think the model equally yields predictions on both. In no way does the model give any sense of scale or units. The only thing it's useful for at this stage is saying whether suffering exceeds enjoyment or vice versa, and that should be true on average if and only if it's true on the whole, unless I'm missing something.