Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 10 August 2017 12:57:21AM 0 points [-]

This is a super interesting article, but...

I worry that FRI’s work leans on the intuition that suffering is real and we can speak coherently about it, to a degree greater than its metaphysics formally allow.

To me, it reads like it was written by someone who has never really encountered suffering.

http://www.mattball.org/2014/11/excerpts-from-letter-to-young-matt.html

Comment author: Halstead 28 July 2017 02:12:42PM *  4 points [-]

I don't agree with the response suggested (recognising that it cites an article I co-authored). The DALY and QALY metrics imply the ARC. It seems reasonable that these metrics or ones similar are in some sense definitive of EA in global poverty and health.

Then the question is whether it is correct to aggregate small benefits. It's fair to say there is philosophical disagreement about this, but nevertheless (in my view) a strong case to be made that the fully aggregative view is correct. One way to approach this, probably the dominant way in moral philosophy, is to figure out the implications of philosophical views and then to choose between the various counterintuitive implications these have. e.g. you could say that the badness of minor ailments does not aggregate. Then you choose between the counterintuitive implications of this vs the aggregative view. This seems to be a bad way to go about it because it starts at the wrong level.

What we should do is assess at the level of rationales. The aggregative view has a rationale, viz (crudely) more of a good thing is better, Clearly, it's better to cure lots of mild ailments that it is to cure one. The goodness of doing so does not diminish: curing one additional person is always as valuable no matter how many other people you have cured. If so, it follows that curing enough mild ailments must eventually be better than curing one really bad ailment. A response to this needs to criticise this rationale not merely point out that it has a weird seeming implication. Lots of things have weird seeming implications, including e.g. quantum physics, evolution. Pointing out that quantum physics has counterintuitive implications should not be the primary level at which we debate the truth of quantum physics.

See this - http://spot.colorado.edu/~norcross/Comparingharms.pdf

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 09 August 2017 10:59:57PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the link, Halstead. A very good article, but it doesn't totally cure my unease with aggregating across individuals. But I don't expect to ever find anything that is fully in line with intuitions, as I think intuitions are contradictory. :-)

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 09 August 2017 10:57:49PM 2 points [-]

Thanks so very much for this Michael. I think it would be great if you had the Summary on a page by itself, with links to the three parts. Then it wouldn't be so intimidating.

In response to Introducing Enthea
Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 09 August 2017 10:53:39PM 0 points [-]

This is great. I haven't done a deep dive into the lit, but from what little I do know, this seems like a great course of action!

Comment author: tjmather  (EA Profile) 05 February 2017 10:15:43PM 1 point [-]

Thanks Matt. In theory it sounds possible that your message could have impact for the reasons you gave - though I'd be interested in seeing empirical evidence that people would give up chicken for ethical reasons.

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 11 February 2017 04:59:15PM 0 points [-]

Thanks Mr Mather. As noted here http://www.mattball.org/2017/01/the-difficulty-of-evaluating-impact-of.html it is tough. But at least the message should minimize the number of people switching from red meat to chickens. You might also like: http://www.onestepforanimals.org/blog/experiment-evaluate-repeat http://www.onestepforanimals.org/blog/good-news-believe-it-or-not :-)

Comment author: tjmather  (EA Profile) 20 January 2017 02:11:57PM 0 points [-]

That is a good point about the need for studies to measure the long term impact. What do you think of United Poultry Concerns? Do you know of any people who have given up chicken for ethical reasons but still eat other meat?

Do you think that cultured meat research should focus on developing alternatives to chicken instead of beef?

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 28 January 2017 09:01:23PM 0 points [-]

Mr Mather, Sorry for the delay in replying. I'm not sure what UPC does to get a reasonable, actionable message to the general public. One Step for Animals ( http://www.onestepforanimals.org/ ) has a psychologically sound message that they get in front of loads of people. For example, in the past 30 days, they have gotten their ads and videos in front of 1.8 million people on a budget of less than $10,000. Yes, I do think that replacing chicken (with plant or clean meat) is much more important than beef.

Comment author: tjmather  (EA Profile) 07 January 2017 02:57:17PM *  0 points [-]

I believe that both contraceptive delivery and research are important, and wouldn't advocate for funding one over the other. I was thinking more in terms of high priority funding gaps for both areas, and because male contraceptive research is so neglected, there appear to be some low hanging fruit. There are scientists who want to work on a clean sheets pill as well as other methods but who haven't been able to for years due to lack of funding. If successful, the clean sheets pill might be able prevent both pregnancy and STDs such as AIDS.

Many men do care about their partners and avoiding unintended pregnancy, and many women struggle to find a contraceptive method that works for them with manageable side effects. Even looking at it just from a purely selfish perspective, many men do want to avoid the responsibility of having kids and having to pay child support.

I completely agree that there is a need for re-thought on the demand side campaign. I'm hoping that with the ACE research fund ( http://researchfund.animalcharityevaluators.org/ ) we'll learn more about what works on the demand side, the challenge being able to measure small effect sizes. It does seem plausible that advocacy could be more effective if the ask is smaller, e.g. switching from chicken to beef or better yet a tastier meat alternative.

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 17 January 2017 03:41:31PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: tjmather  (EA Profile) 07 January 2017 02:57:17PM *  0 points [-]

I believe that both contraceptive delivery and research are important, and wouldn't advocate for funding one over the other. I was thinking more in terms of high priority funding gaps for both areas, and because male contraceptive research is so neglected, there appear to be some low hanging fruit. There are scientists who want to work on a clean sheets pill as well as other methods but who haven't been able to for years due to lack of funding. If successful, the clean sheets pill might be able prevent both pregnancy and STDs such as AIDS.

Many men do care about their partners and avoiding unintended pregnancy, and many women struggle to find a contraceptive method that works for them with manageable side effects. Even looking at it just from a purely selfish perspective, many men do want to avoid the responsibility of having kids and having to pay child support.

I completely agree that there is a need for re-thought on the demand side campaign. I'm hoping that with the ACE research fund ( http://researchfund.animalcharityevaluators.org/ ) we'll learn more about what works on the demand side, the challenge being able to measure small effect sizes. It does seem plausible that advocacy could be more effective if the ask is smaller, e.g. switching from chicken to beef or better yet a tastier meat alternative.

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 08 January 2017 10:56:10PM 2 points [-]

In addition to the difficulty in measuring small effect sizes, one of the significant problems with trying to evaluate advocacy is the necessary longitudinal nature of any meaningful study. Plenty of studies have shown that ~80% of people who go veg goes back to eating animals. What this doesn't capture is that all those millions of former vegetarians are actively working against others making compassionate choices, telling everyone they found it impossible to be vegetarian, how fanatical vegans are, etc. (Also, we would need to capture the full impact of our argument / advocacy, since most everything we put out there argues strongly for replacing red meat with chickens; http://bit.ly/2jrYBEB) IMHO, it is better to simply ask, "Don't eat chickens." Don't say "eat beef" or "eat vegan alternatives" -- just leave the ask as simple and straightforward as possible. More: http://www.mattball.org/2016/06/can-our-choices-make-difference.html Thanks for the conversation!

Comment author: tjmather  (EA Profile) 06 January 2017 02:31:49PM *  0 points [-]

I agree that the patent stuff might not be a top EA cause - the inclusion here was based on my personal experience of being sued by a patent troll.

I have looked at http://havingkids.org/ I don't really see their model taking off as it seems difficult to understand and a bit unusual.

I'm currently focused on male contraceptive research in order to help reduce unwanted pregnancy and abortion. Approximately 40% of pregnancies are unwanted worldwide, many of which end in abortion. I'm donating to https://www.malecontraceptive.org/

I believe that behavior change is very difficult, and it might be more pragmatic to develop technologies that people want and that help animals as a side effect. Examples are better male contraception and tastier meat alternatives.

I think http://www.onestepforanimals.org/why-one-step.html does raise some very good points on why we should focus on reducing chicken consumption, thanks for sharing that!

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 06 January 2017 09:06:52PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the reply, Thomas. Two things:

  1. Regarding Having Kids: The main idea is to change the conversation from parents or women thinking in isolation, but instead having the rights of the future child and the interests of society be a part of any decision to have a kid. This should lead to smaller families.

I am curious as to why you think male contraceptions are a better means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, compared to empowering women and providing them with better contraception. My admitedly limited experience is such that men in general care much less about preventing pregnancy, and are even inclined to want a woman to get pregnant. As the economists would say, women are the ones who have incentive here.

  1. I am all for the work of The Good Food Institute and Hampton Creek! But I think that there will have to be demand for those products. As that One Step page points out, even with all our efforts and the advances in food technology, per-capita consumption of animals is at an all-time high. That's why I think there is a need for a re-thought demand-side campaign

Thanks again. Down with patent trolls!

Comment author: MattBall  (EA Profile) 05 January 2017 04:30:53PM 0 points [-]

Thomas, super interesting list, although I don't quite get the Patent stuff in terms of EA. I'd love to talk to you more about Having Kids. But first, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this: http://www.onestepforanimals.org/why-one-step.html Thanks, Matt

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