Matt Goodman

291Joined Jan 2020


Ok, I didn't pick up that was where the prediction was in the article. I think of (good) predictions as having a clear, falsifiable hypothesis.  Whereas this seems to be predicting ... that virtue ethicists continue believing whatever they already believed about EAs?

The reason I downvoted this article is the use of the term 'moral schizophrenia'. Even if it's not your term originally, I think using it is:

a) Super unclear as a descriptive term. I understand in mainstream culture it's seen as a kind of Jeckyll/Hyde split personality thing, so maybe it's meant to describe that. But I'm pretty sure that's an inaccurate description  of actual schizophrenia. 

b) Harmful to those who have schizophrenia when used in this kind of negative fashion. Especially as  it seems to be propagating the Jeckyll/Hyde false belief about the condition.

Lastly, the 'moral schizophrenia'/coldness described here seems much more like a straw-man of EAs than an accurate description of an EAs I've met. The EAs I know IRL are warm and generous towards their families and friends, and don't seem to associate being that way as at all incompatible with EA kind of reasoning. Sure, online and even irl discussions can seem dry, but it would be hard to have any discussions if we had to express, with our emotions, the magnitude of what was being discussed.

I'm quite skeptical of post-hoc articles with titles like 'X was no surprise', they're usually full of hindsight bias. Like, if it was no surprise, did you predict it coming? 

Although there's almost nothing about SBF here, is this part 1 of a series?

Thanks, that makes sense. For some reason I read it as a kind of generalisable statement about epistemics, rather than in relation to the neuron count issues discussed in the article.

"the more measurable a metric we choose, the less accurate it is, and the more we prioritize accuracy, the less we are currently able to measure"

Can you expand on this? Is it a reference to Goodheart's Law?

Hi emmannaemeka, I don't know how best to respond to this, but please know that you have my sympathies for you in this situation. I often read news of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria, and it is a terrible thing to see. I admire that you resist against this and continue providing education!

I agree with Kei here. It seems very odd to credit 'EA' as significant to the election result. To do so seems to imply that there was some kind of coordinated, unified effort to influence the election, whereas what OP is describing is major donations from one actor who was also associated with the EA movement.

This is about much more than not unfairly associating EA with SBFs actions (and donating to the Democratic party is hardly a bad thing to be associated with, compared to SBFs other actions). It's an incorrect description of EA beliefs and culture as a whole. I think if you asked 100 EAs 'what's the best thing you could do with a few billion dollars', 'donating to the Biden campaign' would be fairly low down the list of results.

"This is despite EA significantly contributing to Biden's win in 2020."

What makes you think this?

Interesting you say that. I was involved in an EA group that looked into campaigning for vaccine patent relief during COVID. There was the 'One day sooner ' campaign to allow human challenge trials (I believe this was EA aligned). There was an EA campaign against cuts to the UK's foreign aid budget, and I can think of two similar efforts in other countries (I'm currently writing this on mobile, it's hard to post links).

Then there's the whole animal welfare side to EA, which is distinctly 'political', running campaigns for stricter animal welfare laws and suing to uphold these laws. I don't think EA is anywhere near as apolitical as you claim it to be.

All that being said, these are all political campaigns focused on specific issues. I wouldn't think the marginal benefit of just donating to a major political party is anywhere near as good as these examples.

What do you mean by:

"downplaying engaging in politics in order to make societal institutions better and more just"?

I can interpret it a couple of ways:

  • Criticism that EA doesn't engage in politics enough
  • Warning about the risks of getting involved in politics

Either way, SBF was a major political donor. I'm reading he was the 2nd biggest donor for the Democrats:

Lawful good/ neutral is part of a Dungeons and Dragons character's 'alignment' chart. It's a way people sometimes use to describe people's morality and motivations in real life.

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