Seeds of Science is a new journal (funded through Scott Alexander's ACX grants program) that publishes speculative or non-traditional articles on scientific topics. Peer review is conducted through community-based voting and commenting by a diverse network of reviewers (or "gardeners" as we call them). 

We just sent out an article for review that may be of interest to some in the LessWrong community (also cross-posted to EA forum) so I wanted to see if anyone would be interested in joining us a gardener to review the article. It is free to join and anyone is welcome (we currently have gardeners from all levels of academia and outside of it). Participation is entirely voluntary - we send you submitted articles and you can choose to vote/comment or abstain without notification (so it's no worries if you don't plan on reviewing often but just want to take a look here and there at what kinds of articles people are submitting). 

To register, please email with your  name, title (can be anything/optional), institution (same as title), and link (personal website, twitter, or linkedin is fine) for your listing on the gardeners page. From there, it's pretty self-explanatory - I will add you to the mailing list and send you an email that includes the manuscript, our publication criteria, and a simple review form for recording votes/comments.

Happy to answer any questions about the journal through email or in the comments below. Here is the abstract for the article. 

Moral Weights of Six Animals, Considering Viewpoint Uncertainty


Many utilitarians would like a number to use to evaluate the moral impact of actions that affect animals. However, there is a great disagreement among scholars involved with animal ethics, both about how much different animals can suffer and how much that suffering morally matters. This paper produces estimates of moral weight, accounting for this uncertainty. We ran a Monte Carlo simulation that samples the ranges of major viewpoints scholars hold in the field, to show a spread of uncertainty for how we should treat six representative animals: crickets, salmon, chickens, pigs, cows, and elephants. The results show that the uncertainty is very large, with a 90% confidence interval ranging between an animal having no value and being valued as much as a human being. Therefore, we present 20% and 40% confidence intervals, as well as the median and geometric mean.


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2 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:32 PM

I think this'll be a useful intuition pump, to the extent that the numbers diverge from any reader's beliefs.  Maybe.  You say "viewpoint uncertainty" rather than "disagreement of opinion" - is the ground truth here based on polling and opinions of "scholars involved with animal ethics", or something more verifiable (perhaps polling of wider audiences or better yet, revealed preference in terms of dollars spent for preservation per individual of the species)?  Do you do any weighting of the opinions, based on years or papers on the topic, or on strength of reasoning for their viewpoints?

To be clear, I am not the author - this is an article that was submitted to the journal. If you want to read the article just reach out the email above (if you want to take a look without registering to be a gardener that is okay).