13251 karmaJoined Sep 2014


Topic contributions

Thanks for sharing. I didn't quite understand the methodology in the paper (e.g. why 4.1 degrees as baseline? and I saw 0.29 as the total lifetime impact, rather than 1.16) but either way it seems to agree that the post's implicit estimates were way too high.

In this case, the example is no longer hypothetical as an individual who changes his habits to reduce carbon emissions is literally saving not one but many children who are at risk of drowning from floods caused by rising global temperatures, among other disasters caused by global warming. Thus, there is strong support for the second premise. The actions an individual can take to reduce the carbon emissions of his consumption habits are simple and at little cost to the individual. These actions include switching off electrical appliances when not in use, using fans instead of air-conditioners, switching off water taps when brushing teeth and air-drying clothes in the sun instead of using a dryer.

I think if you actually attempted to do these calculations rather than just gesturing at you would not get such a large impact. Suggesting that a single person making lifestyle adjustments 'is literally saving not one but many children' (though they are only 'at risk'?) seems like a dramatic overestimate to me. It seems basically impossible for this to be the case given that you are a very small fraction of the total population and a small fraction of carbon emissions.

Dumb suggestion: is there any way you could find someone in Germany who needed one and then make a directed donation? Maybe there is a Facebook group or Reddit for such people.

But I think there's a fundamental problem with that approach: in this scenario, the EVFs aren't employing anyone! They are deciding whether or not to make grants of EVF assets and IP to wholly independent, newly formed organizations. You'd need a legal authority that made it illegal for EVF to adopt a policy of generally not making these kinds of grants to organizations whose boards were wholly lacking in certain forms of diversity. 

This does not seem to be a stretch to me. Your proposed strategy would allow for widespread circumvention of anti-discrimination laws; rather than directly discriminating in employment, organizations could repeatedly reincarnate themselves into a series of new organizations selected on racist criteria, thereby avoiding legal responsibility. I'm not an expert on the subject but it seems far more likely that this sort of 'discrimination by proxy' would also be ruled illegal; at best EVF avoids violating the rules, but all the assets and IP are now owned by a new organization which did violate anti-discrimination law and remains liable.

I am behind at life (having had major surgery earlier this week), so will likely not be in a position to engage further on this one.

Sure, happy to leave it here then.

I think there are a number of presumptive criteria the EVF Boards could set for approval of a spin-off: ... not all men; not all White people; not all US or all UK people, etc.

This sounds like a bad idea to me. Board membership decisions should be made on the basis of merit, not discrimination. As EV/CEA previously said: "CEA is committed to building an EA community where racism is unacceptable".

In addition to being immoral, I also think this would probably be illegal. The use of racial and sex-based quotas in employment is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The case for boards is I think slightly less clear, but just last year a federal court struck down a California law that mandated racial quotas for corporate boards, and given the recent decision in Students for Fair Admissions vs Harvard I would expect SCOTUS to affirm this. While theoretically possible that racial discrimination quotas might be legal for board membership but not employment or education, I suspect the same rule will be applied in all cases.

This also applies to 'US or UK' because national origin is also a protected characteristic.

If an would-be spinoff org wants a variance, it needs to make an affirmative case to the Boards as to why the advantages of a variance outweigh the reasons behind the presumptive criteria. 

This seems quite backwards to me. Racial, sexual and national origin discrimination is presumptively immoral and presumptively illegal. We should require an affirmative case before engaging in discrimination.

I think this is sort of right - while climate change is often the main ideological reason people quote for not wanting to have children, typically personal reasons for the would-be parents come first (lifestyle, housing etc.). See for example:

Those who do not have children and do not want to have a child in the future more often express concern about their personal situation, compared to external factors, as influencing their decisions:

  • Personal independence: 54%
  • Personal financial situation: 46%
  • Work/life balance: 40%
  • Housing prices: 33%
  • Safety: 31%
  • US politics: 31%
  • Climate change: 28%

Younger adults more frequently than the general population agree that people should not have children due to anticipated harm it causes to others and the planet.

One in 5 US adults (20%) agree with the statement that people should stop having children because of the harm it causes (i.e. to other people, animals, or the environment). That number climbs to 1 in 4 among young adults (25%).

While one-third of US adults (34%) agree that “people should stop having children because their children’s quality of life will be poor,” that number increases among young adults (42%).

Lastly, while more than half of US adults (52%) are concerned about the impact of overpopulation on the planet, 58% of young adults share that concern.

As you probably are aware, there was recently a successful EA-adjacent campaign against the Bully XL dog in the UK.

These dogs were explicitly bred from pitbulls for fighting and aggression, and as a result are very dangerous - >70% of human deaths from dog attacks were from Bullies, and they are massively over-represented among dogs seized by the police. They are estimated at below 1% of the dog population - though the recent figures suggest they are far from 1% - meaning they are more than 300x more dangerous than the typical dog population.

Despite this, due to a strange loophole they were not banned in the UK, because the police regarded them as a distinct breed from Pitballs, and hence not covered under the Dangerous Dogs Act, while the civil servants responsible for the act thought they were Pitballs, and hence already illegal so there was no need to expand the act.

Thankfully in 2023 we saw a very successful campaign on this issue by a small number of people lead by Lawrence Newport, and as a result the law has been updated and the breed has been banned - existing specimens will have to be neutered and muzzled, and no new bullies can be bred or imported.

However, my understanding is that the RSPCA actually opposed this reform, and supported the continued legality of the Bully, despite the harm they caused to both humans and animals. I also understand the RSPCA was partially responsible for Scotland brief opposition to a ban (now reversed as a lot of the dogs were moved from England to Scotland and started attacking people up there). Further, the apparently the RSPCA wanted to not only allow Bullies but to bring back Pitballs! Would you be able to comment on why the RSPCA took this position, given the ban seems like a clear win for both human and animal welfare?

By now I think people are well aware of the basic arguments for and against grant application feedback. To move the conversation forward it might be helpful for people to try to quantify how valuable and/or costly it would be to them. For example, if you are a grant applicant, how much lower a probability of funding would you be willing to accept in return for brief or detailed feedback? If you are a grant evaluator, how much extra time would it take to provide feedback, and how often would the feedback be so critical the applicant would likely find it unpleasant to receive?

We can safely say that their low income significantly reduces their life expectancy:

Unless I've misread it I don't think the linked article shows this? It shows they are correlated, but not how the causation goes, and there are many clear candidates for common causes. For example, having a serious medical condition might make it harder for you to work, reducing your income, and cause you to die sooner, reducing your life expectancy.

I would expect lower income to reduce life expectancy somewhat but for things like health, pollution, IQ, drug addiction, conscientiousness etc. to be common factors, resulting in a causal influence lower than suggested by the correlation alone. 

Also talk to me if you recognize this cultural offputtingness I'm talking about: I'm preparing a series of posts on diversity and AI and need to back it up as much as I can, despite the youth of the field. 

The "please send me supporting anecdotes" method of evidence gathering.

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