391Toronto, ON, CanadaJoined Mar 2022


Canadian version here. He did a really good job.

The viridis package is good for colourblindness and is also pretty: https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/viridis/index.html

I have a similar intuition, but I think for me it isn’t that I think far future lives should be discounted. Rather, it’s that I think the uncertainty on basically everything is so large at that time scale (more than 1k years in the future) that it feels like the whole exercise is kind of a joke. To be clear: I’m not saying this take is right, but at a gut level I feel it very strongly.

As an academic, I appreciate people thinking about these things. However, I think Goodhart’s law would bite most new measures hard (just as it bites the current ones). This would apply most clearly to textual analysis.

That’s a good question. I’m not sure. I was raised very religious and for a while when I was younger I found the logic compelling, so maybe? At this point in my life I think the answer is “no.”

Imagine an empty graph with an x and y axis. Imagine quality of life is on the y axis and amount of additional life is on the x (horizontal). If you add a year of life at perfect health, that’s a tall rectangle like a skyscraper. If you add lots of years of life at low quality (maybe with high pain), then that’s a long but low rectangle. The area of each rectangle is the number of QALYs. You can imagine many differently shaped rectangles can have the same area. Does that imagine help?

But as I understand it the whole point of the wager is the heavenly pay off. In that case, you can’t just say “I pick heaven” and defer the part where you pick a religion, as that influences whether or not you get the payoff. So I think this is less like a binary decision and more like picking the right card out of a deck.

Many rankings will add the required complexity, I think, but I’ve definitely heard this said about Jews (by Christians). Surely many Christians would also disagree ofc.

The binary choice nature of the wager always seemed bizarre to me. The real-life choice isn’t “Christian God: yes or no,” it’s “try to pick the right option among these very many religious choices.” It also seems to me that some possibly right choices have rankings that go: my god > no religion > wrong religion. None of this necessarily means that you shouldn’t take the wager, but given the above it definitely isn’t obviously right to me.

For example, in this paper Eva Vivalt, using a sample of impact evaluations, regresses effect size on variables like number of studies and sample size. As one would expect, the larger the sample size, the smaller the estimated effect size. I always wondered if you could just use the regression coefficients she presents to estimate how much an effect size would be expected to shrink if one conducted a larger study.

This is an interesting idea, but a note of caution here is that effect sizes could shrink in larger studies for 2 reasons: 1. the "good" reasons of less publication bias and more power, etc, 2. the "bad" (bias) reasons that larger studies may be more likely to be implemented more loosely (maybe by government rather than a motivated NGO, for example). The latter issue isn't statistical, it's that  a genuinely different treatment is being applied.

Whether or not this matters depends on exactly the question you're asking, but there is some risk in blurring the two sources of shrinkage in effect sizes over the size of the study.

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