Comment author: Liam_Donovan 24 November 2017 11:29:22PM -1 points [-]

Considering that most people would be unhappy to be told that they're more likely to be a rapist because of their race, we should have a strong prior that many Effective Altruists would feel the same way. What strong evidence do you have that, in fact, minorities in EA are just fine with being told their race makes them more likely to be rapists? Seems like a very strange assumption.

Apart from Lila's argument, this "non-white people are more likely to be rapists" is a terrible line of thinking because (IMO) it's likely to build racist modes of thought: assigning negative characteristics to minorities based on dubious evidence seems very likely to strengthen bad cognitive patterns and weaken good judgement around related issues.

If the evidence were incontrovertible, this might be acceptable, but it's nowhere near the required standard of proof to overcome the strong prior that humans are equally likely to commit crimes regardless of race (among other reasons, because race is largely a social construct). Additionally, the long history of using false statistics and "science" to bolster white supremacy should make one more skeptical of numbers like this.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 28 November 2017 06:29:45AM *  2 points [-]

Considering that most people would be unhappy to be told that they're more likely to be a rapist because of their race, we should have a strong prior that many Effective Altruists would feel the same way.

Well I saw statistics that suggest that I'm more likely to be a rapist since I'm a man, the post explicitly said that I have a 6% chance of being a rapist as a man in EA, and that didn't make me unhappy. And I haven't seen anyone who has actually expressed any personal discomfort at the OP nor any of my posts, leaving aside the secondhand outrage expressed by characters such as yourself. So my prior is that this is false.

Apart from Lila's argument, this "non-white people are more likely to be rapists" is a terrible line of thinking because (IMO) it's likely to build racist modes of thought: assigning negative characteristics to minorities based on dubious evidence

Well you can actually ask rape victims what race their attacker was and then see what the statistics are, as RAINN did in the link I provided. That's not dubious evidence.

If the evidence were incontrovertible, this might be acceptable, but it's nowhere near the required standard of proof to overcome the strong prior that humans are equally likely to commit crimes regardless of race

Huh? Why on earth would you have that prior, given the long long history of different ethnic groups behaving differently and being treated differently throughout Western history? And we have damningly strong evidence that people of difference races commit crimes at different rates, as a pure statistical fact backed up by mountains of data gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and many other institutions. What you want to attribute that to is up to you, but refusing to acknowledge it is the height of denialism which even race and progressive activists don't do. The actually well-informed progressive/leftist activists and philosophers don't grasp at concepts of rationality to try to throw together some skepticism about whether different races commit crimes at different rates, they just say that the cause of these differential rates is social and a result of structurally racist society, but if you gave a whiff of charity to my posts then you would know that nothing that I have said in any way assumes that the increased propensity of blacks to commit rapes relative to whites in the Western world is not a direct result of structurally racist society.

among other reasons, because race is largely a social construct).

This is a silly cop-out. Only uninformed right wing pundits who strawman poststructuralism think that for something to be a social construct implies that it doesn't matter and isn't real. We can define race as minimally as "the color that people check on surveys when they are asked about their race" and it is still true that people commit crimes at different rates in correspondence with how they identify. Dodging these issues by disputing how much biological reality there is or isn't associated with social race constructs blindly sweeps over enormous realities about how race, ethnicity and skin color are perceived and operate in contemporary society.

Additionally, the long history of using false statistics and "science" to bolster white supremacy should make one more skeptical of numbers like this

Those dastardly white supremacists at the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network! Or is it the rape victims - you think we shouldn't believe the rape victims when they tell us what race their aggressor was, is that right? I'm almost offended by that. And yet you try to lecture me about things that will "strengthen bad cognitive patterns and weaken good judgement"...

Comment author: Lila 21 November 2017 11:44:41PM 0 points [-]

Neither of those statements are upsetting to me.

It's often useful to be able to imagine what will be upsetting to other people and why, even if it's not upsetting to you. Maybe you'll decide that it's worth hurting people, but at least make your decisions with an accurate model of the world. (By the way, "because they're oversensitive" doesn't count as an explanation.)

So let's try to think about why someone might be upset if you told them that they're more likely to be a rapist because of their race. I can think of a few reasons: They feel afraid for their personal safety. They feel it's unfair to be judged for something they have no control over. They feel self-conscious and humiliated.

Emotional turing tests might be a good habit in general.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 22 November 2017 01:20:00AM *  0 points [-]

It's nice to imagine things. But I'll wait for actual EAs to tell me about what does or doesn't upset them before drawing conclusions about what they think.

Comment author: Lila 21 November 2017 08:51:10PM *  1 point [-]

I hope you're just using this as a demonstration and not seriously suggesting that we start racially profiling people in EA.

This unpleasant tangent is a great example of why applying aggregate statistics to actual people isn't a good strategy. It should be clear why people find the following statements upsetting:

Statistically, there are X rapists in the EA community.

Statistically, as a man/black person/Mexican/non-college grad/Muslim, there is X probability you're a rapist.

Let's please not go down this path.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 21 November 2017 10:13:25PM *  0 points [-]

I think it's pretty odd of you to try to tell me about what upsets EAs or how we feel, given that you have already left the movement. To speak as if you have some kind of personal stake or connection to this matter is rather dishonest.

I hope you're just using this as a demonstration and not seriously suggesting that we start racially profiling people in EA.

Racial profiling is something that is conducted by law enforcement and criminal investigation, and EA does neither of those things. I would be much more bothered if EA started trying to hunt for criminals within its ranks than I would be from the mere fact that the manner in which we did this involved racial profiling.

It should be clear why people find the following statements upsetting:

Neither of those statements are upsetting to me.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 13 November 2017 07:37:57AM *  0 points [-]

An outrageously crude estimate of life saving potential:

7,600,000,000 (world population)

3,800,000,000 (females, approximately half, because the suicide figure I have is for females)

760,000,000 (females raped, based on figures from just one country because I don't have all ~200 figures)

36,53,846 (suicide deaths related to rape, phrased in past tense because the research isn't about the future)

6,211,538,200 (cost of saving 36,53,846 people through deworming)

Point: If 6.2 billion dollars is enough to find a cure for rapists, and rapists pay for their own prescriptions so that nobody has to use charity money for their treatment, then funding research for a cure for rapists would have as much life-saving potential as deworming. Of course, I have no idea how much research funding is needed to cure rapists and it would take a lot of time to investigate that. This is why my global scope section says more research is needed. So basically all you have to do to see why I'm curious about this is to think about it on the right level of scale.

The rest of your comment contains so many egregious straw men of what I actually wrote that I have decided not to address it. There might be some valid concerns in there, but I don't have the time to tease them apart from the straw men.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 13 November 2017 12:49:37PM *  3 points [-]

There are an estimated 276,000 annual cases of female suicide in the entire world (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3367275/). If, say, half of them are associated with sexual violence (guess), and you throw males in as well, then the eventual lifesaving potential is maybe 150,000 people per year.

Most of these suicides are in SE Asia and the Western Pacific where I believe healthcare and medication provision are not as comprehensive as they are here in the west.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 13 November 2017 12:12:32AM *  1 point [-]

I'm glad to hear you would find that easy, Zeke. I made dozens of estimations in this article, and decided that instead of upgrading every single one of them to the maximum level of quality, I should focus on higher value things like raising awareness and persuading people to test methods of sexual violence reduction and doing in-depth evaluations of the two scalable sexual violence reduction methods. Unfortunately, I don't have time to upgrade all these estimations to the maximum level myself.

How long do you think it would take you to upgrade every single estimate to the maximum quality level? (I'll just let you count the number of estimations in the article since they're right there.) Would you be up for meeting my quality standards if I laid them out as a set of criteria?

Please provide your estimate as the number of hours you will require to upgrade every single estimate in the article to the absolute maximum level of quality.

Also, would you be able to do this for free? I'm in the middle of a career change.

(I normally wouldn't ask but you said you would find it easy and asking can't hurt!)

Thanks.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 13 November 2017 02:33:31AM *  3 points [-]

How long do you think it would take you to upgrade every single estimate to the maximum quality level?

Um I don't know, I just said I would estimate this one number. I think I was clear that I was talking about "this particular question".

Assuming 2,300 people in EA per the survey, for every 100 rape victims:

Out of the 25 rape victims who are spouses or partners of the perpetrator (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence), 20 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

Out of the 45 rape victims who are acquaintances of the perpetrator, 30 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

Out of the 28 rape victims who are strangers to the perpetrator, 20 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

Out of the 6 victims who can't remember or are victimized by multiple people, 4 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

For the 1 victim who is a non-spouse relative, the victim will be outside of EA.

This makes a total of 30% of rape victims of EAs being in EA.

Assuming 13,000 people in EA per the FB group, for every 100 rape victims:

Out of the 25 rape victims who are spouses or partners of the perpetrator (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence), 23 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

Out of the 45 rape victims who are acquaintances of the perpetrator, 40 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

Out of the 28 rape victims who are strangers to the perpetrator, 24 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

Out of the 6 victims who can't remember or are victimized by multiple people, 5 will be outside of EA, when the offender is in EA.

For the 1 victim who is a non-spouse relative, the victim will be outside of EA.

This makes a total of 12% of rape victims of EAs being in EA.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 13 November 2017 12:04:41AM -1 points [-]

I am already aware of a pretty large number of correlations between sexual violence and a lot of different things. I'm telling you that there are a bunch of other things on that list I provided which would significantly alter the result of the estimate.

I'm definitely not going to alter the estimate to incorporate just race. I am definitely not going to alter the estimate to incorporate the entire list.

I think the most worthwhile way of getting a better estimate is to do a study, so I will not put further time into this discussion.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 13 November 2017 02:18:40AM *  -1 points [-]

I think you'd get better results if you spent your time simply including things that can easily be included, rather than sparking meta-level arguments about which things are or aren't worth including. You could have accepted the race correlations and then found one or two countervailing considerations to counter the alleged bias for a more comprehensive overall view. That still would have been more productive than this.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 12 November 2017 02:32:35AM *  0 points [-]

The way in which gender is relevant while race is not is that sexual attractions are limited by gender preferences in most humans.

Given that most sexually violent people attack one gender but not the other, and given that our gender ratio is very seriously skewed, gender is a critical component of this sexual violence risk estimate.

Given that you believe a race adjustment should go with gender adjustment, I don't see why you are not also advocating for all of the following:

  • age
  • marital status
  • literacy
  • education
  • employment status
  • occupation
  • geographical location
  • place of birth
  • previous residence
  • language
  • religion
  • nationality
  • ethnicity
  • citizenship
Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 12 November 2017 01:41:25PM *  2 points [-]

The way in which gender is relevant while race is not is that sexual attractions are limited by gender preferences in most humans.

Sexual violence tendencies are correlated with racial status in most humans. Why treat it differently?

Given that most sexually violent people attack one gender but not the other, and given that our gender ratio is very seriously skewed, gender is a critical component of this sexual violence risk estimate.

And given that sexually violent people are disproportionately represented across racial categories, and given that our race ratio is very seriously skewed, race is a critical component of this sexual violence risk estimate.

Given that you believe a race adjustment should go with gender adjustment, I don't see why you are not also advocating for all of the following:

Try and find some statistics for both EAs and sex offenders with comparable data categories on those topics and you'll see.

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 12 November 2017 02:16:55AM *  0 points [-]

Actually, to avoid bias when adjusting a prior, we really need to include as many adjustments as possible all at once.

Otherwise, unscrupulous people can just come along and say "Let's adjust these three things!", which all make the risk look smaller, thereby misleading people into thinking that the risk is negligible.

Or an ordinary biased human being could come along and accidentally ask for ten things to be adjusted which all just so happen to make the risk look super exaggerated.

We'll have a lot of vulnerability to various biases if we adjust stuff without careful consideration.

Also, if we think it is always better to chuck in arbitrary adjustments, then this creates an incentive for people to come along with a pet political belief and try to have everyone include it everywhere all the time, just for the sake of promoting their pet belief constantly.

One arbitrarily selected adjustment is not better.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 12 November 2017 02:21:51AM *  2 points [-]

Well that's true. Depending on how many unscrupulous people you think there are on the EA forum :) Though you don't necessarily need to include all possible adjustments at once to avoid biased updates, you just need to select adjustments via an unbiased process.

Demographics is one of the more obvious and robust things to adjust for, though. It's a very common topic in criminology and social science, with accurate statistics available both for EA and for outside groups. It's a reasonable thing to think about as an easy initial thing to adjust for. You already included adjustment for gender statistics, so racial statistics should go along with that.

Comment author: Alex_Barry 12 November 2017 01:29:14AM 2 points [-]

The post explicitly talks about false rape accusations, so his second point does not seem irrelevant to me? (Although it is clearly irrelevant to the 6% figure).

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 12 November 2017 01:31:34AM 0 points [-]

It mentions them, but does it make any points based on the assumption that there are too few of them?

Comment author: Kathy_Forth 12 November 2017 01:07:08AM *  1 point [-]

I am using estimates to make other estimates. I clearly labelled each estimate as an estimate.

It would be nice to have high-quality data, such as from doing our own studies. First, someone needs to do an estimate to show why the research questions are interesting enough to invest in studies.

I am doing the sorts of estimates that show why certain research questions are interesting. These estimates might inspire someone to fund a study.

Comment author: Zeke_Sherman 12 November 2017 01:17:11AM *  6 points [-]

Again - I'm not making any demand about putting a lot of effort into the research. I think it's totally okay to make simple, off-the-cuff estimates, as long as better information isn't easy to find.

On this particular question though, we can definitely do better than calculating as if the figure is 100%. I mean, just think about it, think about how many of EAs' social and sexual interactions involve people outside of EA. So of course it's going to be less than 100%, significantly less. Maybe 50%, maybe 75%, we can't come up with a great estimate, but at least it will be an improvement. I can do it if you want. And you didn't write that the number was 100%, but the way the calculation was written made it seem like someone (like me) could come away with the impression that it was 100% if they weren't super careful. That's all I'm suggesting.

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