MattBall

President @ One Step for Animals

Bio

Matt is the author, co-author, secondary-author, ghost-author, and non-author of articles, speeches, book chapters, and even entire books!  The most recent is his blockbuster* The Accidental Activist (which Amazon claims is by his wife Anne Green. So it goes.). Currently, he is President of One Step for Animals; previously, he was shitcanned from more nonprofits than there is room to list here. (Although there’s still time for more!) Before Matt’s unfortunate encounter with activism, he was an aerospace engineer who wanted to work for NASA (to impress Carl Sagan). 

His hobbies include photography, almost dying, and XXXXXX (Hey! This is a family-friendly website! -ed). He lives in Tucson with Anne, along with no dogs, no cats, and no African tortoises, although he cares for all of these via friends and family.
*JK

Comments
54

I'm not saying the analysis is wrong. I'm just curious if the analyst has ever suffered from depression. Or had someone they love suffer from depression. 

It is easy to empathize with polio or malaria, but not as much depression. And when a cheap drug (as noted by other comments) can take one from suicidal to life worth living....

In the fourth decade of animal advocacy, I honestly wonder what has hurt animals more than AR advocates pointing to polls. 

Why would we ever, ever, ever look at opinion polls, when every day, everyone is casting an actual ballot at the grocery store and restaurant? 

This reminds me of all the interviews where Beyond Meat's Ethan Brown said, "People tell me they don't want GMOs." He is simply talking to the wrong people. Nearly everyone only cares about cheap meat. Full stop. Nothing else matters, no matter what they say.

I think this is useful, but I think we should emphasize that ethics is not about expected value.  So much of EA is "I can top your expected value!"

Obv not all EAs. But often the loudest / most "I will beat you down with 80,000 words on every post" folks. 

Once again, researchers fail to distinguish between "pain" and "suffering." 

https://www.mattball.org/2022/10/ed-yong-on-insects.html 

Open Phil is pretty much the only place I've seen that's done a good job of honestly exploring this distinction:

https://www.openphilanthropy.org/research/2017-report-on-consciousness-and-moral-patienthood/

I think we should just stop overreacting, period. This guy's money doesn't mean he is EA. No one person is EA. 

If we spent as much time figuring out how to better be more effective as we do on self-loathing and self-over-analysis, we'd be further along.

IMHO. Of course, I could be wrong.

Hey Vasco,
As a founder of One Step for Animals, you don't need to convince me we should be looking to help chickens.  :-)
It is when we say that X chickens = 1 human, or Y mosquitoes = 1 human, or Z electrons = 1 human -- that's where I get off the train (as I lay out in Losing My Religions).
Thanks again and keep up the great work!

What Jamie said -- the number of neurons across a population is irrelevant. What matters is the capacity for suffering, and that is dependent on the number (and arrangement) of neurons in an individual. This is my favorite discussion:

https://www.openphilanthropy.org/research/2017-report-on-consciousness-and-moral-patienthood/

I fear that thinking in the terms above (total neurons in some group) does significant harm.
 

This doesn't add much, but thank you for sharing this. I honestly believe that the world would be much better (and many people on this forum much happier) if more people did this. 

When I worked as a Department of Energy Global Change Fellow in the 90s, there was a well-known commentary that we're always at peak oil (coal, natural gas, etc.). It never turns out to be true.
Also, about 15 years ago, New Scientist ran a very convincing article that we were about to run out of the metals we need for modern society. It, also, didn't turn out to be true.
I think that posts like this will read like "The Population Bomb" in the future.

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