RandomEA comments on How fragile was history? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: RandomEA 02 February 2018 02:28:52PM *  3 points [-]

As far as I'm aware, there's no way to predict whether delaying the moment of conception will result in a better or worse person. I do not see why a completely unpredictable effect like this should affect our decision making.

For example, let's say that I've decided I want to donate to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF). My friend then reminds me that because AMF saves the lives of children today, it could affect the identity of children born a generation later. Without any way to predict whether this change in identity will be positive or negative, there is no reason for me to consider it in my decision.

It seems to me the more relevant question is how often actions have their intended effect as well as how often they have unintended effects that could have been predicted (and whether those unintended effects would be positive or negative).