xccf's Comments

Should EAs be more welcoming to thoughtful and aligned Republicans?

Maybe you could choose to only vote in a party's primary if you also precommit to voting for your chosen candidate in the general election if they win the primary.

Should EAs be more welcoming to thoughtful and aligned Republicans?

I think if you're in a blue state like California, it generally makes sense to register as Republican to vote in the Republican primary, because there will be fewer California Republicans voting in that primary, but California still contributes the same number of electoral college votes?

Genetic Enhancement as a Cause Area

I think a good way to explore potential downsides of this proposal, and also potentially reduce the taboo around genetic enhancement, would be to steelman the concerns of people who are reflexively opposed to it.

For example, how likely is it that talking about genes more (e.g. the genetic basis of intelligence) will cause people to associate moral value with genes or feel contempt for those are genetically unlucky? You could do psychology experiments where you tell participants that X% of variation in some trait is genetic and see how that affects their attitude towards people without that trait. Does the framing matter? Do some framings cause dehumanization and others cause compassion?

You could also look at historical case studies and try to tease apart causality: Did the progressive eugenics movement amplify the racism of that time period or just reflect it? Did Hitler become interested in genes because he was racist, or did he become racist because he was interested in genes?

You're both looking for potential downsides to this kind of advocacy, and also looking for framings which will minimize potential downsides while framing genetic enhancement in a way that broadens support among those who might consider it taboo. For example, subsidize it as a way to decrease inequality. Genetic inequality is arguably more unfair than any other kind!

Finally, regarding the We risk creating a race of enhanced humans who won’t care about (or will subjugate) the rest of us. point, one idea for mitigating this is to introduce genetic enhancement soon, before we are very good at it, so there is a gradual increase in the level of e.g. intelligence instead of a sudden one. That could decrease tribalism, since instead of there being an "ultra-enhanced" tribe and a non-enhanced tribe with nothing in between, there are many people with many different levels of enhancement in the middle to keep the peace and foster compassion and understanding.

Leverage Research: reviewing the basic facts
I also hope your faith in Bennett is well-placed, that whatever mix of vices led him to write vile antisemitic ridicule on an email list called 'morning hate' in 2016 bear little relevance to the man he was when with Leverage in ~~2018, or the man he is now.

Perhaps it'd be helpful for Bennett to publish a critique of alt-right ideas in Palladium Magazine?

  • In Bennett's statement on Medium, he says now that he's Catholic, he condemns the views he espoused. If that's true, he should be glad to publish a piece which reduces their level of support.
  • Since he used to espouse those views, he has intimate understanding of the psychology of those who hold them. So a piece he edits could help deconvert/deradicalize people more effectively than a piece edited by an outsider. And whatever persuaded him to abandon those views might also work on others.

Bennet might complain that publishing such a piece would put him in an impossible bind, because any attempt to find common ground with alt-righters, and explain what originally drew him to the movement to do effective deconversion, could be spun as "Jonah Bennett doubles down on alt-right ideology" for clicks. Bennet might also complain that publishing such a piece would make him a target for alt-right harassment. However, if Bennett is sincerely sorry for what he said, it seems to me that he should be willing to accept these risks. At least he could offer to publish a critique of the alt-right that's written by someone else.

If he does publish such a piece, I personally would be inclined to tentatively accept him back into civil society--but if he's unwilling to publish such a piece, I think it's reasonable to wonder if he's "hiding his true power level" and be suspicious/condemnatory.

I do feel we should have some sort of path to forgiveness for those who sincerely wish to leave extremist movements.

Evaluating Communal Violence from an Effective Altruist Perspective
communal violence seems to be common in post-colonial contexts, where many borders have been drawn in disregard to geographic grouping of social groups.

Hmmm, would this reasoning also imply that immigration restrictions could reduce communal violence in some cases? If putting people of different social groups in the same country tends to cause conflict.

Is preventing child abuse a plausible Cause X?

There are non-political ways to address this, such as better contraceptives like Vasalgel.

EA already has semi-official positions on intractable political issues like immigration. If stable two-parent families are indeed an effective way to prevent child abuse, I don't see why we shouldn't have a semi-official position on promoting those as well. It could help address conservative underrepresentation in the EA movement. I think if some positions are taken publicly on both sides, that increases our credibility as an independent source of truth. Otherwise we might be seen as "EA-washing" the political positions that we already held as coastal liberal types.

But really I think stable two-parent families are a bipartisan issue. For example, abortion probably helps reduce the incidence of single motherhood (though of course the ethics of abortion itself is another can of worms). I don't think your average liberal person is actually against fatherhood or stable households, they just prioritize other outcome measures (perhaps incorrectly if the data here is right).

Is preventing child abuse a plausible Cause X?

"Obviously we can't say this is all causal - in general all good properties are correlated, so it's likely there are shared genetic etc. causes."

Possible causal mechanism:

Through infanticide, males can eliminate the offspring of their competition and get the female back to full baby-making capacity faster

Can you provide a reliable source supporting the claim that the UK legal system does not allow the accused access to all evidence?

I did some research of my own, and from what I can gather, it seems the provision you refer to is mostly about not letting the public know the name of the alleged victim. I find it hard to believe that the accused sometimes does not know the name of the alleged victim in the UK legal system.


FIRE has some discussion on their website if you search for "cross-examine" here. Maybe you can provide legal background on how this situation differs from a college disciplinary hearing.

But I'm less interested in legal technicalities and more interested in what the best policies for Effective Altruism are. There's a decent chance this is the end of Jacy's career as an EA. It's important for CEA to wield its power in this area responsibly.

I'm not saying Jacy should definitely be allowed to cross-examine witnesses. I'm just saying it's a complex issue that deserves careful consideration.

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