Comment author: RayTaylor 22 November 2017 11:01:09AM 1 point [-]

Don't just try to be more inclusive, include!

ie. go to where women and BME people already are, find those who also want their altruism to be effective, and see how they are ALREADY organising themselves, and support that....

....rather than imagining that we can co-opt THEIR skills and talent into OUR network!

It may be that we are not the ones who are best placed to shift the EA network to something more welcoming to women and BME people. I'm not saying effort isn't worthwhile, and valuable in itself, it is. but forming an alliance may be much more viable than trying to "include people in". be our best selves, rather than pretend we can be a level playing field. Humility doesn't suck! Presumption does.

I can't speak to where women with a likely interest in EA goals are, but for people from other cultures, two movements stand out: for South America, the Freirian movement, inspired by Paolo Freire and others. In India and Africa (and Canada and UK) the participatory movement and especially Participatory Evaluation - something we could learn a lot from!

Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 14 January 2016 10:56:15PM *  1 point [-]

Thank you for this thought-provoking article! We want to make it the topic of our next meetup, so I’ve tried to clarify what my new position should be.

Your first two points are easily conceded—in my view everyone should direct their donations to the, in their view, most effective charity when offsetting. Your third point is most interesting.

Nino already married your and Scott’s positions, but I find it more useful to structure my thoughts in a list of pros and cons anyway.

On the pro side I see the following arguments:

  1. Contrary to Claire’s point, I think offsetting also questions the act-omission distinction because instead of forgoing something, one engages in proactive activism. Having done that, it will be harder to later argue that doing good is supererogatory, because it would be inconsistent with one’s past behavior.
  2. Offsetting can be used as a starting point to extend the circle of compassion in that a person could be brought to care enough about the harm inflicted by friends and family members to offset for them too. (But I haven’t seen this implemented.)
  3. Charities that advocate for nonhuman animals are probably the most commonly chosen reference class, and they are highly funding constrained, possibly more than they are talent constrained, so that an additional regular donor may be worth many additional vegans.
  4. Outside EA there are many nonveg*ns that are compassionate and want to reduce suffering but find that for them or in their context, veganism would be hard. Instead of resorting to the defensiveness and denigration discussed at the last meetup, they can join in with highly impactful donations.
  5. Offsetting can counter the cliché that veg*ns are dogmatic Siths that only deal in absolutes.
  6. Bridging the schism between veg*ns and nonveg*ns can help make advocacy for farmed animals a universally accepted movement, which would greatly simplify political advocacy.

On the con side I see the following arguments:

  1. Offsetting also bolsters the act-omission distinction because it fails to provide incentives to scale one’s proactive activism beyond the low level of harm the average person inflicts, so that the offsetter will fall far short of their potential. (Unless they also offset for friends and family members or even larger circles.)
  2. Offsetting may incur moral licensing when the satisfaction a person gains from “having donated” doesn’t scale in proportion with the size of the donation, so that a small donation makes further donations unlikely to the same extend that a large donation would have.
  3. Advantage 3 only holds for our current state of an anti-inductive system. In a decade or two there will hopefully be a point when the suffering of farmed animals has been reduced sufficiently to make offsetting much more expensive. At that point, an additional veg*n will be more valuable than an additional offsetter given what the latter can be expected to be able to donate. In short, success in offsetting values spreading diminishes its own value. Core EA ideas don’t suffer from that problem.
  4. Offsetting when described in terms of offsetting is only compatible with a subclass of consequentialist moralities, so that it’s impact is limited or the framing should be reconsidered.
  5. Offsetting may signal a readiness to defect (in such situations as the prisoner’s dilemma or the stag hunt), which might interfere with the offsetter’s chances for trade with agents that are not value aligned.
  6. Offsetting when described in terms of offsetting may in turn introduce (or aggravate) the schism between deontological and consequentialist veg*ns.
  7. When offsetting funds are taken from a person’s EA budget, it is at best meaningless because the money would’ve been donated effectively anyway, and likely harmful if the reference class is chosen to exclude the most effective giving opportunities.
  8. When offsetting becomes associated with EA, it may increase the perceived weirdness of EA, making it harder for people to associate with more important ideas of EA.

Some of the disadvantages only limit the scope of offsetting, others could be avoided with different rhetoric. What other pros or cons did I forget?

Comment author: RayTaylor 08 December 2016 06:51:02PM 0 points [-]

did this happen at the MeetUp? outcomes?

Comment author: RayTaylor 08 December 2016 06:49:21PM 0 points [-]

Good points, but I would go further, having worked in this field both with meteorologists and politicals.

Individual Offsets are easier than behaviour change to do, so a handy sop to guilty conscience of middle class people, who want to keep driving and flying, so perfect for self-deception.

More here: www.rationalreflection.net/can-we-offset-immorality

Thus offsets at individual and local level = advanced greenwash, wrapped up as an environmental project.

In fact, most offsets are deeply flawed and many, particularly renewable energy projects (which may help with health and education and have many other justifications) lead to INCREASED emissions - as they tend to lead to purchases of electrical goods, and so a huge increase in energy use locally and in the countries manufacturing the goods, even with reducing carbon intensity.

The best destinations for carbon funds probably include wetland protection in semi-arid regions (see my own www.theglobalcoolingproject.com) or climate campaign groups eg EIA for their HCFC work on the Montreal/Kigali protocols or anyone working on aircraft emissions or in India/China or on combating denialism or bridging political divides (eg George Marshall from Climate Outreach).

Comment author: RayTaylor 13 November 2016 11:11:06PM 4 points [-]

Great Evan! Will try to contact you.

On Global Catastrophic Risks, relative risk of extreme weather vs abrupt climate change etc and health+food system recovery it's worth contacting Prof David Denkenberger an EA from GCRI.

(I work with him on www.FoodSystemShock.com, and before I came to EA on www.globalcoolingproject.com, which is an alternative to climate engineering, more like climate restoration, with support from NASA and Prof Peter Cox and others - difficult but possible.)

I think you should maybe include a section on common weaknesses of both EAs and the environmental movement

for example:

  • naivetee of idealists in relation to power, realities of implementation, finance and effectiveness of lobbying, denialism, media/mass psychology strategies, post-factual socio-political realities

  • western cultural blind spots / lack of awareness of own hypocrisies

  • lack of awareness of just how much we are a minority

  • poor communication and psychology awareness and strategies

  • the things I've missed, because I'm both an EA and an environmentalist, and have been for too long

Comment author: RayTaylor 08 May 2015 02:41:27PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: RayTaylor 08 May 2015 02:25:04PM 0 points [-]

Fantastic!

I hope there will be a way for people living in other continents to connect virtually?

.... so that in future there could be an event in China, India, Maldives etc?

(Maldives and Seychelles are among the easiest countries for all nationalities to get visas)

Comment author: RayTaylor 04 March 2015 07:10:37PM 1 point [-]

Appreciating this thread.

Is there an online forum or group or email list where global catastrophic risk and responses is discussed seriously?