nil

software developer | abolitionist transhumanist | Abolishing severe suffering is my supreme goal.

Comments

Investing to Give Beginner Advice?
  1. For a new investor, I think a simple and good method is getting a Vanguard Lifestrategy ISA with 100% equities - this buys you stocks across lots of different markets.

Does anyone know if there's an ISA (Individual Savings Account) w/ a fund that doesn't invest in meat and dairy companies and companies that test on animals? (I know that I can open an ISA on something like Trade 212 and invest in individual stocks myself. But due to having more important things to work on, I'm looking for a more "invest-and-forget" type of investing.)

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

Thanks, Pablo. The criteria will help to avoid some future long disputes (and thus save time for more important things), although it wouldn't have prevented my creating the entry for David Pearce, for he does fit the second condition, I think. (We disagree, I know.)

The unthinkable urgency of suffering

(I observed downvotes from 10 to 5. Is there anything that controversial in or about the post?..)

The unthinkable urgency of suffering

Imagine how it would change humanity's priorities if each day, "just" for a minute, each human adult experienced the worst suffering occurring that day on the planet (w/o going psychotic afterwards somehow). (And, for the reasons outlined in the post, we probably underestimate how much that torturous mind-"broadcasting" would change humanity's lived-out ethics.)

Kardashev for Kindness

The slow (if not revese) progress towards a world without intense suffering is depressing, to say the least. So thank you for writing this inspiring piece.

It aslo reminded me of David Pearce's essay "High-tech Jainism". It outlines a path towards civilization that abolished suffering while also warns about potential pitfalls like forgetting about suffering too soon, before it's prevented for all sentient beings. (In Suffering-Focused Ethics: Defense and Implications (ch. 13) mentioned in the post, Vinding even argues that, given the irreducible uncertainty about suffering re-emerging in the future, there's always risk in disconnecting from suffering completely.)

Constructive Criticism of Moral Uncertainty (book)

The more pessimistic argument is that moral progress arises as a function of economic and technological progress, and can't occur in isolation. We didn't give up slaves until it was economically convenient to do so, and likely won't give up meat until we have cost and flavor competitive alternatives.

FWIW this assessment seems true to me, at least for eating non-human animals, for I don't know enough about the economic drives behind slavery. (If one is interested, there's a report by the Sentience Institute on the topic, titled "Social Movement Lessons From the British Antislavery Movement: Focused on Applications to the Movement Against Animal Farming ".)

It's tempting to wash away our past atrocities under the guise of ignorance, but I'm worried humanity just knowingly does the wrong thing.

I would put it something like "as a rule, we do what is most convenient to us".

And I would also like to add that even if one causes terrible suffering "knowingly", there's still the irreducible ignorance of being disconnected from the first-hand experiencing of that suffering, I think. I.e, yes, we can say that one "knows" that one is causing extreme suffering, yet if one knew what this suffering is really like (i.e. if one experienced it on "oneself"), one wouldn't do it. (Come to think of it, this would also reduce one's moral uncertainty by the way.)

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

I didn't have in mind to sound harsh. Thanks for pointing this out: it now seems obvious to me that that part sounds uncharitable. I do appologise, belatedly :(

What I meant is that currently these new, evolving inclusion criteria are difficult to find. And if they are used in dispute resolutions (from this case onwards), perhaps they should be referenced for contributors as part of the introduction text, for example.

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

Perhaps voting on cases where there is a disagreement could achieve a wider inclusiveness or at least less controversy? Voters would be e.g. the moderators (w/ an option to abstain) and several persons who are familiar w/ the work of a proposed person.

It may also help if inclusion criteria are more specific and are not hidden until a dispute arises.

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

I should have been more clear about Drexler: I don't dispute that he is “connected to EA to a significant degree”. But so is Pearce, in my view, for the reasons outlined in this thread.

Propose and vote on potential EA Wiki entries

Chalmers and Hassabis fall under the category of "people who have attained eminence in their fields and who are connected to EA to a significant degree". Drexler, and perhaps also Chalmers, fall under the category of "academics who have conducted research of clear EA relevance".

First, I want to make it clear that I don’t question that any of the persons I listed in my previous comment should be removed from the wiki. I just disagree that not including Pearce is justified.

Again, I honestly don’t think that it is true that Chalmers and Drexler are “connected to EA to a significant degree” while Pearce isn’t. Especially Chalmers: from what I know, he isn’t engaged w/ effective altruism, besides once agreeing for being interviewed at the 80,000 Hours podcast.

As for the “attained eminence in their fields” condition, I do see that it may be harder to resolve for Pearce’s case since he isn’t an academic but rather an independent philosopher, writer, and advocate. But if Pearce’s field as suffering abolitionism, then the “attained eminence in their fields” condition does hold, in my view: he both is the founder of the “abolitionist project” and has written extensively on why’s and how’s of the project.

Also, as I mentioned in the original comment proposing the entry, Pearce’s work has inspired many EAs, including Brain Tomasik, the Qualia Research Institute’s Andrés Gómez Emilsson, and the Center for Reducing Suffering’s Magnus Vinding, and the nascent field of welfare/compassionate biology. Also, Invincible Wellbeing research group has been inspired by Pearce's work as well.

I don’t have any new arguments to make, and I don’t expect anyone involved to change their minds anyway. I only hope it may be worth time of others to contribute their perspectives on the dispute.

And as Michael suggests above, it may be more productive at this point to consider how many entries on EA-relevant persons are desirable in the first place.

Best regards,

nil

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