Comment author: ChristianKleineidam 18 April 2017 03:48:33PM 0 points [-]

If you're passionate about politics and in America, than getting involved now seems like a potentially positive action but it wont be neglected if you align with Democrat positions (but potentially easier to get involved if you are Republican).

Why do you believe it's easier to get involved as Republican?

There are a lot more ways to get involved in state politics than in national policy.

Comment author: DavidNash 20 April 2017 10:46:25AM 0 points [-]

At the moment Democrats are a lot more motivated and have a lot of people volunteering for them. As the Republicans have a majority less people will be getting involved with them as there doesn't seem to be a need to be helped and there'll be less competition for good positions.

I agree that you can get involved at every level and depending on the state dynamics it may make more sense to get involved or to focus on national or international politics.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 31 March 2017 07:38:57PM *  3 points [-]

If Clinton had won there would still be a Republican House and Senate

These two outcomes are correlated, so it's unclear to me how true this statement is.


If Clinton had won, it’s likely Democrats would have to wait until 2028 until they control the Presidency and Congress

I agree that had Clinton won and had the Republicans still won the House and the Senate, it would likely be awhile until the Democrats would control all three, given the strong trend of midterm loss.

Comment author: DavidNash 31 March 2017 08:34:26PM 0 points [-]

It's probably correlated but it seems easier to imagine the scenario where Clinton got 10,000 more votes in Michigan, and 120,000 in Florida. Rather than winning three seats in the Senate and 20+ in the house (and still be massively behind in state legislature).

In response to Open Thread #36
Comment author: DavidNash 15 March 2017 09:33:17AM 3 points [-]

I think there is a goldmine of advice and practical tips on this website.

But instead of aiming to retire at 30, you'll be able to donate more and still have a healthy retirement fund by not spending all your money, and investing sensibly. The site below is useful with step by step guides.

At the moment I give 10% and invest any other savings over that but I probably wont be going into a high paying job and have the benefit of free healthcare.

I may slightly disagree with Linch about retirement money. I think it gives people a lot of power in their careers and job choices if they are able to tell their manager what they actually think and if they aren't desperate to succeed in a job interview. Being financially independent can make it a lot easier to take ethical decisions and make a stand against a bad policy, without having to worry about losing your job.

That depends on how much you think you need to feel secure.

In response to Open Thread #36
Comment author: Alexander 15 March 2017 04:28:33AM 0 points [-]

I am wondering if anyone has suggestions on where to volunteer one's time (not money)

Has this been discussed much by EA people?

In response to comment by Alexander on Open Thread #36
Comment author: DavidNash 15 March 2017 09:05:27AM 3 points [-]

Here is an overall summary for any cause area.

I think this is a good summary for people who care about animal suffering.

There is also for people that want to work on EA projects.

In response to Why I left EA
Comment author: DavidNash 20 February 2017 01:11:58PM 10 points [-]

It feels like there are a range of different communities for EA, both on and offline. I've never really looked into philosophy and most of my conversations with people revolve around practical things to do and rarely does it go into existential risk/invertebrates and there is a lot more focus on system change/mental health in terms of more popular fringe ideas.

Also there are quite a few people who dip in and out of the community and will turn up once a year or just read the latest updates which seems good to me, everyone has different priorities and tasks taking up their time.

This isn't really to persuade you, just to highlight to anyone reading that there doesn't seem to be one type of community, and that you don't have to be in or out, you can just use the tools provided for free.

Comment author: DavidNash 30 January 2017 02:34:17PM *  1 point [-]

I think the easiest way I have for explaining why people don't do the things that others expect of them, and may assume laziness or immorality, is to first ask themselves why they don't donate 1% more or give one more hour or spend more time researching.

This probably goes together with people having different weighting for different causes.

Comment author: DavidNash 20 January 2017 10:24:04AM 6 points [-]

This may be a community based thing but I haven't seen anyone advocating for lying in the UK and haven't heard of it much online either apart from one persons experience in California.

I agree with all the examples you have and think everyone should learn more about honest persuasion, but I'm not sure the myths to be bust are with the EA community rather than some peoples perception of the community.

Comment author: JBeshir 11 January 2017 10:21:28PM 7 points [-]

Thanks for the feedback, and I'm sorry that it's harsh. I'm willing to believe that it wasn't conscious intent at publication time at least.

But it seems quite likely to me from the outside that if they thought the numbers were underestimating they'd have fixed them a lot faster, and unless that's not true it's a pretty severe ethics problem. I'm sure it was a matter of "it's an error that's not hurting anyone because charity is good, so it isn't very important", or even just a generic motivation problem in volunteering to fix it, some kind of rationalisation that felt good rather than "I'm going to lie for the greater good"- the only people advocating that outright seem to be other commenters- but it's still a pretty bad ethics issue for an evaluator to succumb to the temptation to defer an unfavourable update.

I think some of this might be that the EA community was overly aggressive in finding them and sort of treating them as the animal charity GiveWell, because EA wanted there to be one, when ACE weren't really aiming to be that robust. A good, robust evaluator's job should be to screen out bad studies and to examine other peoples' enthusiasm and work out how grounded it was, with transparent handling of errors (GiveWell does updates that discuss them and such) and updating in response to new information, and from that perspective taking a severely poor study at face value and not correcting it for years, resulting in a large number of people getting wrong valuations was a pretty huge failing. Making "technically correct" but very misleading statements which we'd view poorly if they came from a company advertising itself is also very bad in an organisation whose job is basically to help you sort through everyone else's advertisements.

Maybe the sensible thing for now is to assume that there is no animal charity evaluator that's good enough to safely defer to, and all there are are people who may point you to papers which caveat emptor, you have to check yourself, for now.

Comment author: DavidNash 12 January 2017 12:24:45PM 5 points [-]

Maybe I'm being simple about this, but I find it's helpful to point people towards ACE because there doesn't seem to be any other charity researchers for that cause.

Just by suggesting people donate to organisations that focus on animal farming, that seems like it can have a large impact even if it's hard to pick between the particular organisations.

Comment author: HenryMaine 20 December 2016 08:13:15AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for providing one of the several sensible responses in this thread.

I realize that some of the evidence I have been providing is shocking and uncomfortable to think about, and that the people here may not agree with my theories about why these events are happening (e.g. they might not agree with my hypothesis is that mass immigration is a case of Hansonian hypocrisy, where it's really about getting leftist votes, and the moral and economic Koolaid is cooked up afterwards). But I think I provided enough novel information to deserve further investigation.

Your suggestion of some kind of more formal approach to evaluate political arguments is a good one. Or else you will have a situation where important topics are left up to a "gotcha" debate with an outsider.

What I would say is that the audience here shouldn't let an imperfect messenger like me get in the way of learning something. Maybe I'm over-stating the problem. Maybe I'm under-stating it. I don't have infinite knowledge about what's going on in Europe or infinite patience to explain what I think is going on.

Despite all the skepticism towards my claims about law and order breaking down in Europe, today, a Pakistani refugee killed 8 people in Berlin (and wounded 48 others) with a truck. Perhaps this event will inspire some people to update and realize that what I'm talking about is real. Perhaps the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey will teach some utilitarians that terrorism has consequences beyond the numerical quantity of lives lost.

But if you are going to update, do it soon, because in a few weeks, it will lose significance (like the Nice attack, Paris attack, or the San Bernadino attack) and everyone will be lulled by the press into becoming accustomed to regular terrors attacks in Europe. It's the new normal.

Comment author: DavidNash 20 December 2016 11:41:56AM 0 points [-]

It's good that you're providing this point of view, although I really think it's worth looking into the long term history of terror and violence in Europe which is quite different to America. There is also much larger media focus on terror attacks than there used to be in the past.

I'm not sure it'd be a new normal, especially for people in the UK.

Comment author: Vidur_Kapur  (EA Profile) 10 December 2016 06:21:00PM *  2 points [-]

The main problem with this post, in my view, is that it's still in some places trying trying to re-run the election debate. The relevant question is no longer about who is a bigger risk or who will cause more net suffering out of Trump or Clinton, but about how bad Trump is on his own and what we can do to reduce the risks that arise from his Presidency.

I agree that Trump's views on Russia reduce global catastrophic risk (although his recent appointments seem to be fairly hawkish towards Russia.) However, he'll likely increase tensions in Asia, and his views on climate change seem to me to be a major risk.

In terms of values and opinion polls, immigrants to Western nations have better attitudes than people from their native countries. Furthermore, immigrants when they return to their native countries often take back the values and norms of their host countries. I'm not saying this to make a judgement on whether immigration on this scale is good or bad, just to make the point that our aim is to make the world a better place, not to decrease crime rates in Europe.

That said, far-right extremists are on the rise in both the United States and in Europe (thanks in part to irrational overreactions and hyperbolic statements like law and order is breaking down, which is just patently false as others have said, and thanks in part due to a number of false beliefs about immigration and immigrants themselves, Muslim or not) and I think that one way to stop them from taking power in elections and from attacking immigrants, refugees and others is to give them the sense that they have control over 'their' borders; in other words, tactically retreating on the issue of immigration may well be a good thing. Did we need to elect Trump, with all of the risks that come with his Presidency, in order to do that?

I don't know, but I do know that Trump has been elected now, and that many of his stated policies are terrible, and if individual EAs think that trying to change the policies of the Trump administration from the inside would be an effective thing to do (as Peter Singer has suggested) then I'd say that's plausibly true for a small number of EAs.

I think, in general, it's true that a small number of EAs going into party politics would be an effective thing to do, over and above the policy-change focus which already exists in the EA community and some of its organisations, but that this should be done on an individual basis: EA-affiliated groups and organisations should not get involved in party-politics.

Comment author: DavidNash 14 December 2016 10:53:35AM 0 points [-]

Is it that the far right is on the rise, or that the views they held have been dropped by the centre right, and so now they have their own parties that seem larger than they used to be, but the positions they hold don't have as much public support as they did in the past.

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