Investigating Ideology: want to earn money, help EA and/or me? Then check this out; it may be a mighty neglected cause 2022-08-12T05:52:51.366Z
Why should someone do the MOST good? Does a normative argument even exist? 2022-08-05T06:29:04.598Z
Religion: want to talk about it? 2022-07-20T12:12:34.886Z


Comment by Dov (dov) on Another call for EA distillers · 2022-08-10T03:16:50.229Z · EA · GW

I fully support EA distillation since it often feels like I'm drowning in a sea of great content. I'd add that "You might be a good fit for this if you:"

are suffiecently motivated, and got something like High Performance Habits. That's the name of a book, that I'm not affiliated with anyway (except that it's done wonders for me), written by someone who's job it is to help people become more successful. And he writes:

"Everything is trainable. No matter what skill you want to learn, with enough training and practice and intention, you can become more proficient at it...

Perhaps the three best findings of contemporary research tell us that you can get better at practically anything if you keep a growth mindset (the belief that you can improve with effort), focus on your goals with passion and perseverance, and practice with excellence."

Comment by Dov (dov) on Survey: do you think infinite ethics is a serious problem? · 2022-08-10T02:56:24.642Z · EA · GW

Im very interested if infinite ethics includes the possibility that a person's sentience can persist for infinite time (i.e. wat lots of religions claim)

Comment by dov on [deleted post] 2022-08-08T09:13:05.995Z

Thanks so much! I didn't know that was an option.

Comment by dov on [deleted post] 2022-08-08T08:19:21.928Z

Good idea, but I'm not just looking for feedback right now. I'm also trying to test out the forum before making my first real post. And I guess it's not so bad if EAers get a sneak peek

Comment by dov on [deleted post] 2022-08-08T07:12:42.343Z

Thanks for the heads up! Do you know how to take it off?

P.S. I've tried editing the topics and even googling it :/

Comment by Dov (dov) on Why should someone do the MOST good? Does a normative argument even exist? · 2022-08-07T09:43:38.807Z · EA · GW

Thanks so much for your comment. I just finished reading or skimming the links you brought up and I'm still thinking it over. For now I just wanted to say I appreciate taking the time to post this.

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-05T07:12:57.467Z · EA · GW

There are many good critiques of the details of Pascal's wager. For example:

  • He assumed that reason couldn't help you figure out if God existed, so presumably it was just a leap of faith. [1]
  • He assumed God wouldn't mind someone brainwashing themselves into a religion they disagree with, out of pure self interest.
  • He gives little to no reason to follow one religion over another, since almost all of them claim there the afterlife can be very postive or painful

but I have looked and not found  any good reason to dismiss what I think is the heart of the argument: that we should take the possiblity of going to Hell or Heaven super seriously, more than any Earthly matter.

Pascal's wager offers little insight on what to do with this information, but I think a good next step is trying to find out for sure if Heaven and Hell are fiction or not or if any/which religion proclaiming them is plausible.

P.S. Please correct me if I'm wrong about anything here or if I missed anything important.

P.S.S. My main sources here are & both accessed April 2020. For example the former says about [1]:

"Pascal maintains that we are incapable of knowing whether God exists or not, yet we must 'wager' one way or the other. Reason cannot settle which way we should incline"

P.S.S.S. Thanks for sharing this really interesting, and I think neglected, question.

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-05T02:46:24.713Z · EA · GW

Oh in that case, I havent seen any good reasons not to take hell and heaven seriously (e.g. at least try to find out for sure if theyre fiction or not) from effective altrusits or others, but please let me know if you come across any.

I've been mulling over what this would entail, and plan on sharing my ideas on the EA forum in the next few days. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks for asking this really cool question.

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-05T02:35:47.837Z · EA · GW

Interesting. That passage could be interpeted very differently though like in favor of an evidentisalist God. (E.g. seeing is effortless while believing is harder and includes mulling over evidence).

I'm pretty sure that passage is in the context of doubting Thomas tho that dude was in a very different context. Instead of gods walking among us, we have many mutually exclusive religions vying for our attention. To have blind faith in one seems like a good way to end up in the wrong ideology.

As that article demonstrates, many experts in Christianity concluded reason is an essential guide to the correct ideology. And im sure they saw the passage ur refering to. So I'm inclined to belive them over some church you passed. Not to mention the strong evidentialist streak in other religions too.

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-05T02:27:29.866Z · EA · GW

That makes a lot more sense.

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-04T15:50:15.938Z · EA · GW

Very intersting question, though I wouldn't mind if you clarified it. What exactly do you mean by accepting Pascal's wager? Practicing any major religion until you start beleiving in it?

Perhaps more to the point: Pascal’s wager assumes "that God would not grant eternal life to a non-believer and that sincerity in one’s belief in God is not a requirement for salvation." which may not be obviously true to many EAers and religious adherents.

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-04T15:44:05.015Z · EA · GW

I'm pretty sure that religion and an Evidentialist God often don't contradict each other. This article has many examples from Christianity, though I'm certain there are many more examples in other religions: 

"Yet most religious traditions allow and even encourage some kind of rational examination of their beliefs."

Which also says "from the earliest of times, Christians held to a significant degree of compatibility between faith and reason." and Aquinas had a rule that ''an interpretation of Scripture should be revised when it confronts properly scientific knowledge.’’ 

Comment by Dov (dov) on What reason is there NOT to accept Pascal's Wager? · 2022-08-04T15:41:30.586Z · EA · GW

Why do u think that none of the existing world religions are compatible with what you called an Evidentialist God?

Comment by Dov (dov) on doing more good vs. doing the most good possible · 2022-08-01T16:19:51.676Z · EA · GW

i like that you included a further reading section.

Comment by Dov (dov) on EA in the mainstream media: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu · 2022-08-01T09:00:07.278Z · EA · GW

I'm an ignoramus when it comes to PR but this seems like such an obviously good idea that it makes me wonder if there are good reasons why it hasn't been implemented.

Like maybe a PR team would make EA more impervious to actually good and useful criticism.

But maybe that isn't necessary, and if there are no good reasons against a professional EA PR team, then you have my full support

Comment by Dov (dov) on Effective Altruism is an Ideology, not (just) a Question · 2022-07-31T10:52:46.052Z · EA · GW

There are probably more than enough comments already, but I just have to say that I think EA's ideology is not essential and not set in stone.

The ideological aspects are secondary to the question of how to do the most good. Therefore in theory EA can change its ideology without changing its essence, which may set it apart from other ideologies.


P.S. I loved this post, thanks so much for writing it out. I can't help but be convinced by most of the post: EA may not be an ideology, but it's been acting like one as of late.

Comment by Dov (dov) on Reducing nightmares as a cause area · 2022-07-20T14:20:26.103Z · EA · GW

Thanks for posting this. I'm curious how many people suffer from nightmares and get more a lot more clarity on how much suffering nightmares cause overall.

Comment by Dov (dov) on Global Animal Slaughter Statistics & Charts: 2022 Update · 2022-07-20T12:26:29.615Z · EA · GW

Thanks for sharing

Comment by Dov (dov) on Some unfun lessons I learned as a junior grantmaker · 2022-07-07T09:17:45.968Z · EA · GW

I agree