Woman // Christian // Canadian // Londoner // Married // Donates to Global Development // Works on Energy Policy
I agree! This was a very charming post and I smiled a lot as I read it.
I assume you don't have a problem with it when people are making the claim specifically about EA, as opposed to the wider world?
Like if I said "Building teams that come from a variety of relevant backgrounds and diverse demographics is neglected in EA", even if you disagreed with the statement, you probably wouldn't mind the "neglected in EA" part?
Although I agree that "neglected in EA" often leads to lazy writing... I think the argument above could be phrased a lot more clearly.
Thanks Habryka. In that case, I take it back - witch hunts are a better analogy than the cultural revolution.
EDIT: I also prefer any analogy which emphasizes continuity. I don't think people being "cancelled" this week face particularly different circumstances than Monica Lewinsky; I dislike analogies that suggest there's been a sudden change in how American society behaves.
I basically think the cultural revolution, witch hunts, and people being denounced as heretics are all equally good (and equally bad) comparisons. All three are examples of top-down, peer-enforced violence against an outgroup who can be accused for no reason.
The main differences I see here are that this doesn't seem really top down (neither the Republican party nor the church seem fond of cancel culture) and this has more to do with reputation/livelihood than physical harm. (I have more thoughts about why they're different but I'm self-censoring to be more convincing and because people are mean to me on the EA Forum e.g. when I suggest sexism exists in America.)
I suspect there are many other historical examples of people demonizing the outgroup as well.
Yeah I was really surprised by this as well. As someone who already works in policy, I would be disappointed to pick up a book about long-termist policy making and find out that it's just explaining how my job works!
Even chapter 5 doesn't seem very clearly focused on long-termist policy rather than policy generally from this table of contents, but I'm probably not understanding the nuances.
Yes, I've spoken in depth with one. I don't believe he shouldn't be able to make the comparison, but we agreed the comparison has no predictive power and is one of many comparisons that could be made (eg you could probably just as easily compare the current situation to witch hunts which is a more common analogy in Western circles).
We also agreed there are dissimilarities (eg in this situation in America there's no state backing of anyone being targeted; in fact, social justice protestors are much more likely to be injured or killed by the state than the people they oppose)
I agree that comparisons to the Cultural Revolution are bad. As someone with family members who were alive during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (one of whom died because of it), I'm pretty unsympathetic to people saying cancel culture is the new cultural revolution.
I would generally encourage you to consider what discipline(s) you expect to be researching within (are you going to be doing AI research? historical research? economic research?) and learn from the research methods that are common for researchers in that field.
It's worth noting that epidemiologists can do modelling of disease given particular assumptions or policy choices, but they do not make a career out of predicting policies, which is a lot of what this question is about.
Ah sorry, I had heard about the competition from others, heard the quality of writing varied significantly, and so assumed that it wasn't really a study. My bad!