Thanks for this response. I guess the motivation for me writing this yesterday was a comment from a member of NZ's public sector, who said basically 'the Atomic Scientists article falls afoul of the principle of parsimony'. So I wanted to give the other side, ie there actually are some reasons to think lab-leak rather than parsimonious natural explanation. So I completely take your point about balance, but the idea is part of a dialogue rather than a comprehensive analysis, that could have been clearer. Cheers.pablo_stafforini on [deleted]
Okay, I'm retagging these posts and deleting this tag.akash on Ending The War on Drugs - A New Cause For Effective Altruists?
I think the steelman of the neglectedness argument would be something like: "The less neglected something is, the less likely it is that we would be able to make them do it slightly better."
This is both because (a) it is harder to change the direction of the movement and (b) it is harder to genuinely find meaningful ways to improve the movement.
In (b), I wonder if there are some specific limitations of the current War-on-Drugs movement that would match the skills/interests of (some) EAs.akash on Ending The War on Drugs - A New Cause For Effective Altruists?
I'd be curious to learn more about the "types" of EAs that might be best-suited for this work, or how the "EA perspective" could enhance ongoing efforts.
As it stands, the case for scale (i.e., the magnitude of the problem) is very clear. However, I think scale is usually the strongest part of most cause area analyses (i.e., there are a lot of really big problems and it's usually not too difficult to articulate the bigness of those problems, especially using words rather than models). I think the role that EAs would play is less clear (as has been reflected in other comments relating to neglectedness). So, I wonder:
Are there some clear gaps or limitations in the current anti-War-on-drugs movement that could be filled by EA perspectives/skills? (As an example, one of the commentators emphasized that global efforts to legalize drugs may be neglected, and EAs who have skills/interests related to global advocacy might be especially helpful).matt-boyd on Is SARS-CoV-2 a modern Greek Tragedy?
Thanks for these. Super interesting credences here, 19% (that health organisations will conclude lab origin) to 83% (that gain of function was in fact contributory). I guess the strikingly wide range suggests genuine uncertainty. Watch this space with interest.michaeldickens on A Comparison of Donor-Advised Fund Providers
Where are you getting that info? I thought Fidelity Charitable had no distribution requirement. Distribution requirement is definitely relevant if there is one.ramiro on Ramiro's Shortform
Not super-effective, but given Sanjay's post on ESG, maybe there are people interested:
Ethics and Trust in Finance 8th Global Prize
The Prize is a project of the Observatoire de la Finance (Geneva), a non-profit foundation, working since 1996 on the relationship between the ethos of financial activities and its impact on society. The Observatoire aims to raise awareness of the need to pursue the common good through reconciling the good of persons, organizations, and community.
The 8th edition (2020-2021) of the Prize was officially launched on 2 June 2020. The deadline for submissions is 31 May 2021. The Prize is open to people under the age of 35 working in or studying finance. Register here for entry into the competition. All essays submitted to the Prize are assessed by the Jury, comprising academics and professional experts.
Relevant external predictions:
Bayesian analysis on Rootclaim
Metaculus questions on
Will it turn out that Covid-19 originated inside a research lab in Hubei? (Note that the resolution criteria here is weird, so I'd trust the final probabilities less than the reasoning/links people gave).
Credible claim by 2024 that COVID-19 likely originated in a lab?
If you're thinking as a citizen, this question isn't so relevant: it doesn't really cost you anything to support this policy change, talk to your friends about it, etc., and it's not as if supporting this would take public money from anything else you might value - indeed, it's a revenue raiser. I leave it open how valuable it is to spend extra 'citizen time' on this vs some other policy. Drug policy reform could be one item in a potential basket of 'no-cost' policies an effective altruist might support alongside, say, improved animal welfare. (I previously posted about a policy platform back in 2019 [EA · GW], but nothing much happened.)
This assumes (possibly correctly, but should still be noted) that supporting policy changes/talking to friends etc about this is indeed close to free. I think there are some reasons to think otherwise (eg time spent supporting specific policy changes can be spent supporting other policy changes, time spent being in an "activist mindset"about X policy when talking with friends trades off against both being activisty about Y policy and also with time being in more exploratory modes of thinking, etc).newptcai on Should you do a PhD in science?
Have you published your results?