saulius comments on Fact checking comparison between trachoma surgeries and guide dogs - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: saulius  (EA Profile) 11 May 2017 08:44:16AM *  16 points [-]

I think there is truth in what you said. But I also have disagreements:

"The only way to convince them is to ignore getting the numbers perfectly right and focus on the emotional impact"

That's a dangerous line of reasoning. If we can't make a point with honest numbers, we shouldn't make the point at all. We might fail to notice when we are wrong when we use bogus numbers to prove whatever opinion we already hold.

What is more, many people who become EAs after hearing such TED talks already think in numbers. They continue in believing the same numbers afterwards and are more likely to dismiss other cause areas because of it. I myself once mocked a co-worker for taking an effort to recycle when the same effort could do so much more impact for people in Africa. That's wrong in any case, but I was probably wrong in my reasoning too because of numbers.

Also, I'm afraid that some doctor will stand up during an EA presentation and say

You kids pretend to be visionaries, but in reality you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. Firstly, it's impossible to cure trachoma induced blindness. Secondly [...] You should go back to play in your sandboxes instead of preaching adults how to solve real world problems

Also, I'm afraid that the doctor might be partially right