Comment author: Larks 17 June 2017 06:13:36AM 1 point [-]

One issue is that the party demanding the concessions usually attemtos to frame the issue in such a way as to obscure the fact that they are concessions.

In response to Red teaming GiveWell
Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 30 May 2017 02:06:53AM 3 points [-]

“GiveDirectly households reported a ... increase … on an index measuring psychological well-being. This improvement was largely driven by increases in happiness and life satisfaction, and reductions in stress and depression.”

However, "increases in neighbours' wealth strongly decrease life satisfaction and moderately decrease consumption and asset holdings''. Giving What We can also describe how neighbors of cash transfers recipients are less happy after their neighbors enrichment. This should come as no surprise: Participants in many foreign aid programs are better off but at the cost of those who aren't involved in the program.

The evidence for this is minor, but it has been enough that GiveDirectly now gives on the village and not the individual level. So this should no longer be a large concern. This is also an area of active RCT study and GiveDirectly also experiments with different targeting techniques.

Comment author: Larks 30 May 2017 11:14:03PM 1 point [-]

GiveDirectly now gives on the village and not the individual level.

Do you have a source for that? The linked webpage suggests otherwise:

In Kenya, we incorporate a range of factors into our eligibility criteria, including housing (e.g. house size), assets (e.g. presence of a latrine), vulnerable recipient status (e.g. homelessness), and other criteria.

In Uganda, we enroll families in homes that have thatched roofs and those who are homeless. People who live in homes with thatched roofs have been shown to be substantially poorer than their neighbors.

Comment author: Larks 06 May 2017 01:22:10PM 1 point [-]

However, the limited evidence may suggest that most recipients would not in fact buy deworming drugs or bednets even if they were available at the price at which deworming and anti-malaria charities can get them.

I think this suggests another argument from anti-paternalism that you do not address, namely that people choosing not to buy the drugs or bednets when available suggests they're not as valuable as you might think.

Comment author: Larks 05 May 2017 01:07:04AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for writing this, I thought it did a good job of addressing the concerns.

Comment author: [deleted] 30 April 2017 07:51:09PM *  1 point [-]

What do you think is the best counterargument? That is, what's the best reason to think that maybe this isn't as tractable/neglected/important as you think?

Studies didn't much control confounders. Twin/adoption studies will be able to control genetic confounders, but there are still many confounders (adoptive parents' education, SES, etc..)

Comment author: Larks 01 May 2017 01:30:10AM 1 point [-]

I responded on the neglected number 11.: ""Correlation does not imply causation": (1) difficult child may get physical punishment more; (2) physical punishment negatively correlates with parental education or socioeconomic status; (3) physical punishment strongly correlates with parental violentness (indeed, physical punishment itself is a paradigmatic example of parental violentness). However, randomized controlled trial to find harmfulness of physical punishment of children will be very unethical, and therefore, such research is not ethically possible. However, it seems prima facie true that physical punishment, especially on high frequency (3-18 times/week) will be profoundly harmful."

So basically your argument for this being causal rather than merely correlational is just "it is prima facie plausible" ?

Comment author: Larks 21 April 2017 02:16:58AM 15 points [-]

I'm worried that this impairs our ability to credibly signal that we are not a scam. Originally we could say that we didn't want any money ourselves - we were just asking for donations to third parties. Then we started asking for money directly, but the main focus was still on recommending donations to third parties. But now the main advice is to give us money, which we will then spend wisely (trust us!). It seems that outsiders could (justifiably) find this much less persuasive.

In response to Open Thread #36
Comment author: Larks 20 March 2017 02:21:42AM 6 points [-]

Meta: If you want to make an open-thread and seed it with topics, you should make a top-level comment about that topic to collect the discussion. Otherwise the discussion ends up scattered over many top-level comments, which makes it hard to discuss other topics - even though that is surely the point of an open thread!

Comment author: Larks 07 March 2017 02:16:36AM *  0 points [-]

Julia Wise: I work as Community Liaison at CEA, trying to help the effective altruism community thrive. Because I work at CEA, my role is of course not to give an outside view but to present issues that CEA wants input on, and to incorporate the panel’s feedback into CEA decision-making.

Claire Zabel: Claire is a research analyst at Open Philanthropy Project and serves on the board of Animal Charity Evaluators. She is a moderator of the Effective Altruism Facebook group.

Julia is also an EA facebook group moderator?

Comment author: RomeoStevens 24 February 2017 02:27:03AM *  6 points [-]
  1. sharing more things of dubious usefulness is what I advocate.
  2. I am not advocating transparency as their main focus. I am advocating skepticism towards things that the outside view says everyone in your reference class (foundations) does specifically because I think if your methods are highly correlated with others you can't expect to outperform them by much.
  3. I think it is easy to underestimate the effect of the long tail. See Chalmers' comment on the value of the LW and EA communities in his recent AMA.
  4. I also don't care about optimizing for this, and I recognize that if you ask people to be more public, they will optimize for this because humans. Thinking more about this seems valuable. I think of it as a significant bottleneck.
  5. Disagree. Closed is the default for any dimension that relates to actual decision criteria. People push their public discourse into dimensions that don't affect decision criteria because [Insert Robin Hanson analysis here].

I'm not advocating a sea change in policy, but an increase in skepticism at the margin.

Comment author: Larks 02 March 2017 06:29:11AM 2 points [-]

See Chalmers' comment on the value of the LW and EA communities in his recent AMA.

link

In response to Why I left EA
Comment author: Julia_Wise 20 February 2017 06:34:12PM 15 points [-]

Hi Lila,

Since you've indicated you're not interested in a debate, please don't feel that this is directed at you. But as a general point:

I think extreme ideas get disproportionate attention compared to the amount of action people actually take on them. EAs are a lot more likely than other people to consider whether invertebrates matter, and to have thought about Pascal's-muggging type situations, but I think mainstream EAs remain pretty unsure about these. In general I think EAs appear a lot weirder because they're willing to carefully think through and discuss weird ideas and thought experiments, even if in the end they're not persuaded.

Ideas like "being willing to cause harm to one person to benefit others" sound bad and weird until you consider that people do this all the time. We have fire departments even though we know some fire fighters will die in the line of duty. Emergency room staff triage patients, leaving some to die in order to save others. I wash my toddler's hair even though she dislikes it, because the smell will bother people if I don't. It's hard to imagine how societies would work if they weren't willing to do things like these.

I think EA has work to do on making clear that we're not a philosophical monolith, and emphasizing our commonalities with other value systems.

In response to comment by Julia_Wise on Why I left EA
Comment author: Larks 20 February 2017 11:23:59PM 6 points [-]

Ideas like "being willing to cause harm to one person to benefit others" sound bad and weird until you consider that people do this all the time. We have fire departments even though we know some fire fighters will die in the line of duty. Emergency room staff triage patients, leaving some to die in order to save others. I wash my toddler's hair even though she dislikes it, because the smell will bother people if I don't.

None of these seem to get at the core part of Lila's objection. The firemen volunteered to do the job, understanding the risks. The emergency room might not treat everyone, but that's an omission rather than an act - they don't inflict additional harm on people. People generally think that parents have a wide degree of freedom to judge what is best for their kids, even if the kids disagree, because the parents know more.

However, what Lila is talking about (or at least a Steelman version, I don't want to put words into her mouth) is actively inflicting harm, which would not have occurred otherwise, on someone who has the capacity to rationally consent, but has chosen not to. Utilitarians have a prima facie problem with cases like secretly killing people for their organs. Just because utilitarianism gives the same answer as conventional ethics in other cases doesn't mean there aren't cases where it widely diverges.

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