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Austen_Forrester comments on Introducing CEA's Guiding Principles - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 17 March 2017 05:21:55PM *  3 points [-]

What's ill-founded is that if you want to point out a problem where people affiliate with NU orgs that promote values which increase risk of terror,

But they do not increase the risk of terror. Have you studied terrorism? Do you know about where it comes from and how to combat it? As someone who actually has (US military, international relations) I can tell you that this whole thing is beyond silly. Radicalization is a process, not a mere manner of reading philosophical papers, and it involves structural factors among disenfranchised people and communities as well as the use of explicitly radicalizing media. And it is used primarily as a tool for a broad variety of political ends, which could easily include the ends which all kinds of EAs espouse. Very rarely is destruction itself the objective of terrorism. Also, terrorism generally happens as a result of actors feeling that they have a lack of access to legitimate channels of influencing policy. The way that people have leapt to discussing this topic without considering these basic facts shows that they don't have the relevant expertise to draw conclusions on this topic.

Calling it "unnecessary" to treat that org is then a blatant non-sequitur, whether you call it an argument or an assertion is up to you.

But Austen did not say "Not supporting terrorism should be an EA value." He said that not causing harm should be an EA value.

Our ability to discern good arguments even when we don't like them is what sets us apart from the post-fact age we're increasingly surrounded by.

There are many distinctions between EA and whatever you mean by the (new?) "post-fact age", but responding seriously to what essentially amounts to trolling doesn't seem like a necessary one.

It's important to focus on these things when people are being tribal, because that's when it's hard.

That doesn't make any sense. Why should we focus more on things just because they're hard? Doesn't it make more sense to put effort somewhere where things are easier, so that we get more return on our efforts?

If you only engage with facts when it's easy, then you're going to end up mistaken about many of the most important issues.

But that seems wrong: one person's complaints about NU, for instance, isn't one of the most important issues. At the same time, we have perfectly good discussions of very important facts about cause prioritization in this forum where people are much more mature and reasonable than, say, Austen here is. So it seems like there isn't a general relationship between how important a fact is and how disruptive commentators are when discussing it. At the very minimum, one might start from a faux clean slate where a new discussion is started separate from the original instigator - something which takes no time at all and enables a bit of a psychological restart. That seems to be strictly slightly better than encouraging trolling.

Comment author: Austen_Forrester 19 June 2017 10:39:56PM 0 points [-]

Those radicalization factors you mentioned increase the likelihood for terrorism but are not necessary. Saying that people don't commit terror from reading philosophical papers and thus those papers are innocent and shouldn't be criticized is a pretty weak argument. Of course, such papers can influence people. The radicalization process starts with philosophy, so to say that first step doesn't matter because the subsequent steps aren't yet publicly apparent shows that you are knowingly trying to allow this form of radicalization to flourish. Although, NUEs do in fact meet the other criteria you mentioned. For instance, I doubt that they have confidence in legitimately influencing policy (ie. convincing the government to burn down all the forests).

FRI and its parent EA Foundation state that they are not philosophy organizations and exists solely to incite action. I agree that terrorism has not in the past been motivated purely by destruction. That is something that atheist extremists who call themselves effective altruists are founding.

I am not a troll. I am concerned about public safety. My city almost burned to ashes last year due to a forest fire, and I don't want others to have to go through that. Anybody read about all the people in Portugal dying from a forest fire recently? That's the kind of thing that NUEs are promoting and I'm trying to prevent. If you're wondering why I don't elaborate my position on “EAs” promoting terrorism/genocide, it is for two reasons. One, it is self-evident if you read Tomasik and FRI materials (not all of it, but some articles). And two, I can easily cause a negative effect by connecting the dots for those susceptible to the message or giving them destructive ideas they may not have thought of.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 15 July 2017 12:09:24AM *  0 points [-]

Those radicalization factors you mentioned increase the likelihood for terrorism but are not necessary

Yeah, and you probably think that being a negative utilitarian increases the likelihood for terrorism, but it's not necessary either. In the real world we deal with probabilities and expectations, not speculations and fantasies.

Saying that people don't commit terror from reading philosophical papers and thus those papers are innocent and shouldn't be criticized is a pretty weak argument. Of course, such papers can influence people. The radicalization process starts with philosophy

This is silly handwaving. The radicalization process starts with being born. It doesn't matter where things 'start' in the abstract sense, what matters is what causes the actual phenomenon of terrorism to occur.

to say that first step doesn't matter because the subsequent steps aren't yet publicly apparent shows that you are knowingly trying to allow this form of radicalization to flourish

So your head is too far up your own ass to even accept the possibility that someone who has actually studied international relations and counterinsurgency strategy knows that you are full of shit. Cool.

I am not a troll. I am concerned about public safety.

You are a textbook concern troll.

My city almost burned to ashes last year due to a forest fire, and I don't want others to have to go through that

Welcome to EA, honey. Everyone here is altruistic, you can't get special treatment.

That's the kind of thing that NUEs are promoting

But they're not. You think they're promoting it, or at least you want people to think they're promoting it. But that's your own opinion, so presenting it like this constitutes defamation.

If you're wondering why I don't elaborate my position on “EAs” promoting terrorism/genocide, it is for two reasons. One, it is self-evident if you read Tomasik and FRI materials (not all of it, but some articles).

But I have read those materials. And it's not self-evident. And other people have read those articles and they don't find them self-evident either. Actually, it's self-evident that they don't promote it, if you read some of their materials.

And two, I can easily cause a negative effect by connecting the dots for those susceptible to the message or giving them destructive ideas they may not have thought of.

What bullshit. If you actually worried about this then you wouldn't be saying that it's a direct, self-evident conclusion of their beliefs. So either you don't know what you're doing, or you're arguing in bad faith. Probably both.