186 karmaJoined Nov 2019Working (0-5 years)Sydney NSW, Australia



I live for a high disagree-to-upvote ratio


I haven’t done an extensive search, but the ones that seem the best to me would be Thought Saver, UpLift, and Clarity CBT Journal. All three of these are from EA-aligned people and seem to be very evidence-based; Clarity is also very popular.

Meditation might be more approachable for people & is less medicalised. Headspace is the most-used and has the most evidence, but if your hypothetical friend wants something a bit less mushy both 10% Happier and Waking Up are really good (and are both doing something a bit different).

Under some frameworks, you’d be depriving them of many years of happy life; but then again, if you didn’t kill them as children they probably would never have been born for food. Here we’d be getting too deep into the moral philosophy for me to have a confident take 😅. Interesting nonetheless.

Yes! This came up in a different way in some of the Step-By-Step studies. Beneficiaries only had to take a phone call, but since it was during the work day this might’ve had a selection effect on recruitment (many of the participants in those studies were housewives).

What’s your theory for why the status quo tends to be wastewater?


I’m always surprised to see sheep get lumped in with cows in discussions of farmed animal welfare (ex. the SSC Adversarial Collaboration). Sure, it’s not a terrible proxy, but sheep are often freer, need to be regularly shorn to avoid overheating, and usually die of natural causes. There are definitely some practices which are awful, but sheep are quite hard to optimise in the same way we’ve done with pigs & chickens, or even cows.

However, we eat them when they’re babies so maybe it swings in the absolute other direction.

Thank you! It’s easy to get lost in the myopia of a good investigation. I’ve added a section to the intro, but in essence, the definition in the literature is very broad and essentially includes any self-learned psychotherapy, regardless of the evidence base for it! Anything that comes up when you type ‘mental health’ in an app store counts, and as such, effectiveness varies wildly.

The ones that tend to get studied are usually more evidence-based and adhere more strictly to the canonical forms of their associated therapies, which might explain why that difference isn’t wider. That’s a long-winded way of saying that yes, Waking Up and Thought Saver would both count (what I have in mind is something pretty close to Thought Saver).

Dumb question: Why are Joe Biden and Donald Trump not centrists?

(I feel like I can make a stronger case for the latter, would be more interested in your take on the former)

On your specific theory of change—Perdue falsely marketed OxyContin as non-addictive, and the FDA, government, doctors, etc lapped up their slow-release coatings & other measures, when they probably should've known that addicts would find ways to break them. This kind of ignorance is, in my eyes, only explainable by their salaries depending on them not thinking about it, for example through industry lobbying.

If your theory of change relies on lobbying, how would you out-gun the pharmaceutical companies? And even if not all pharmaceutical companies are bad actors, how would you tackle the ones that are?

On (2), while it’s obviously rhetorically slanted, isn’t that a fair framing of longtermism? They do care more about the gazillions of future lives than the smaller number of present ones and they seem to understand that this is not aligned with popular intuitions on the subject.

I am not sure longtermism is compatible with good PR or having ordinary people immediately grok its conclusions on intuition alone…

(Or was your problem more that this misrepresents the actual funding allocations, in which case I wholeheartedly agree 💙)

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