MattBall

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Why I think the Foundational Research Institute should rethink its approach

This is a super interesting article, but...

I worry that FRI’s work leans on the intuition that suffering is real and we can speak coherently about it, to a degree greater than its metaphysics formally allow.

To me, it reads like it was written by someone who has never really encountered suffering.

http://www.mattball.org/2014/11/excerpts-from-letter-to-young-matt.html

Does Effective Altruism Lead to the Altruistic Repugnant Conclusion?

Thanks for the link, Halstead. A very good article, but it doesn't totally cure my unease with aggregating across individuals. But I don't expect to ever find anything that is fully in line with intuitions, as I think intuitions are contradictory. :-)

High Time For Drug Policy Reform. Part 1/4: Introduction and Cause Summary

Thanks so very much for this Michael. I think it would be great if you had the Summary on a page by itself, with links to the three parts. Then it wouldn't be so intimidating.

This is great. I haven't done a deep dive into the lit, but from what little I do know, this seems like a great course of action!

Thanks Mr Mather. As noted here http://www.mattball.org/2017/01/the-difficulty-of-evaluating-impact-of.html it is tough. But at least the message should minimize the number of people switching from red meat to chickens. You might also like: http://www.onestepforanimals.org/blog/experiment-evaluate-repeat http://www.onestepforanimals.org/blog/good-news-believe-it-or-not :-)

Mr Mather, Sorry for the delay in replying. I'm not sure what UPC does to get a reasonable, actionable message to the general public. One Step for Animals ( http://www.onestepforanimals.org/ ) has a psychologically sound message that they get in front of loads of people. For example, in the past 30 days, they have gotten their ads and videos in front of 1.8 million people on a budget of less than $10,000. Yes, I do think that replacing chicken (with plant or clean meat) is much more important than beef.

In addition to the difficulty in measuring small effect sizes, one of the significant problems with trying to evaluate advocacy is the necessary longitudinal nature of any meaningful study. Plenty of studies have shown that ~80% of people who go veg goes back to eating animals. What this doesn't capture is that all those millions of former vegetarians are actively working against others making compassionate choices, telling everyone they found it impossible to be vegetarian, how fanatical vegans are, etc. (Also, we would need to capture the full impact of our argument / advocacy, since most everything we put out there argues strongly for replacing red meat with chickens; http://bit.ly/2jrYBEB) IMHO, it is better to simply ask, "Don't eat chickens." Don't say "eat beef" or "eat vegan alternatives" -- just leave the ask as simple and straightforward as possible. More: http://www.mattball.org/2016/06/can-our-choices-make-difference.html Thanks for the conversation!

Thanks for the reply, Thomas. Two things:

  1. Regarding Having Kids: The main idea is to change the conversation from parents or women thinking in isolation, but instead having the rights of the future child and the interests of society be a part of any decision to have a kid. This should lead to smaller families.

I am curious as to why you think male contraceptions are a better means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, compared to empowering women and providing them with better contraception. My admitedly limited experience is such that men in general care much less about preventing pregnancy, and are even inclined to want a woman to get pregnant. As the economists would say, women are the ones who have incentive here.

  1. I am all for the work of The Good Food Institute and Hampton Creek! But I think that there will have to be demand for those products. As that One Step page points out, even with all our efforts and the advances in food technology, per-capita consumption of animals is at an all-time high. That's why I think there is a need for a re-thought demand-side campaign

Thanks again. Down with patent trolls!

Thomas, super interesting list, although I don't quite get the Patent stuff in terms of EA. I'd love to talk to you more about Having Kids. But first, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this: http://www.onestepforanimals.org/why-one-step.html Thanks, Matt

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